A solid outing from Jake Epping and pals this week.
While I’m still not a fan of Franco as Epping (which I’ve said countless times now), his work with his supporting fellows and ladies were excellent during episode six. Even from the title of the episode, “Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald” I knew that this was going to be a heartfelt and tension-filled week, and I am happy to say I was correct. It’s great that so much happened in this episode because we only have TWO weeks left, which means things are going to be very chaotic from here on out. My mind may be mainly focused on Wrestlemania 32 that’s taking place on April 3rd, but episode seven & eight of “11.22.63” will help fill the void until then because I am intrigued about seeing what will happen next in the past.
Cinematics – 4
First things first, this episode starts off with a large time-jump. Six months is the amount of time that has passed since last week, and while this time-jump is necessary for the show to end in eight episodes, it’s still a little too large for my book. So large that it induces moments of obvious exposition from the characters. Exposition is necessary at times like these, but with how obvious it sounds coming out of the characters’ mouths, it kind of takes you (me) out of the immersion factor. This show needs to be expedited though, so that’s why I’m not ripping it a new one for such a time-jump. The creators do handle it well, and by the end of the episode you know six months have passed but you don’t feel like you’re missing any information.
There were some great developments with Jake and Bill’s relationship during this episode. Bill has become a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald while he’s sleeping with Oswald’s wife, which has kind of turned him into a mini-Oswald altogether. Mix this formula with some violent and dramatic scenes, and we get an excellent performance from George MacKay. He controls every scene he’s in, all while staying in character and completely believable. I have no doubt in my mind that MacKay will get A LOT more work after this series is over, and his performance in this episode will most likely be his main highlight.
Another great performance comes from Daniel Webber as Lee Harvey Oswald. He’s not in the episode a bunch, but each scene he’s in is entertaining and frightening, especially the scene in the beginning with Marina, Oswald’s wife. Speaking of Marina, her and Bill’s relationship has escalated quickly; to the point where the child that currently grows in Marina’s belly could possibly be Bill’s, not Lee’s. That’s a development we haven’t seen grown to its full potential, yet, but I do hope it becomes a plot device in episodes seven & eight… it kind of has to at this point.
The great force of antagonism of the series, the past, makes several grand appearances during this episode, all in excellent fashion. While I still believe the whole “the past pushes back” factor has been very minimal since episode two, there’s enough of its presence in this episode to make up for lost time, including a surprise appearance by the Yellow Card Man (Kevin J. O’Connor). Every direction Jake turns during this episode seems to be halted by the past setting up a roadblock or putting a gun in his face, which is how vicious the past was in the novel. This increase in activity from the past can only mean one thing… it’s almost time for the climatic moment. I cannot wait for it, and I cannot wait to see how the past will fight back from here on out, especially to see if it’s going to “possess” any other characters, which I believe is the reason why Bill, Frank, and Johnny have gone as crazy as they have in some episodes.
Entertainment Value – 4
I had a lot of fun with this episode, particularly watching Lee and Bill’s performances. The “party” scene is wonderful, where Lee discovers one of the bugs Jake and Bill planted in his apartment. Lee believes it was planted by the F.B.I., but the feeling of suspense you get when he first touches the bug is nothing short of excellent. There are other scenes during the episode that are just as good, but this one truly stood out to me, probably because Webber and MacKay’s wonderful acting talents are fabulous to experience.
Jake and Sadie’s relationship has been a joy to watch throughout the series, and it gets even better now that Sadie has been scarred for life and knows Jake is from the future. It helps generate some romantic and sweet moments between the two, especially one moment coming from a statement like, “Tell me something about the future.” With how this episode ends and how Jake and Sadie have fallen even more into love, my heart is beating too fast because if the show goes in the “general” direction that the novel does, then episode seven & eight are going to be unforgettable.
It’s not my favorite episode, but I have already watched it three times. It’s the second best episode in the series, so far, and I’d have no problem watching it again.
- Entertainment Value
It was a good week for the mini-series about a man that travels back in time in order to save John F. Kennedy. Lots of good developments and performances can be seen during the duration of the episode, but there’s quite a bit of a time-jump at the beginning of the episode. Of course, this is only an eight-part mini-series, so there isn’t time for EVERYTHING that was in the novel, but a time jump of “S Months” is kind of a stretch in my book. It’s necessary, sadly, because we’re coming down to the wire where we’ll see if Jake Epping will succeed with his journey into the past. After this week, I am very excited for episode seven.