Jake brings Bill Turcotte into his confidence and enlists his help with the mission at hand, and the duo head to Dallas to prepare for the arrival of Lee Harvey Oswald. With three years until Kennedy’s assassination, Jake takes a job at a local high school where he meets beautiful librarian Sadie Dunhill. Thoroughly enjoying his 1960’s life in Smalltown USA, can he remain focused to the task in hand and save Kennedy?
With nothing better to do, Bill Turcotte decides to throw-in with Jake Epping and head to Dallas and a date with destiny. “I’m from the future. 2016”, Jake calmly tells Bill in a dingy motel room. Bill is naturally somewhat sceptical but by the time our future-altering heroes arrive in Dallas, he’s fully on board. They have three years until Kennedy is gunned down in Dealey Plaze and, with betting on certain odds from Jake’s very own ‘Sports Almanac’ provided by Al somewhat dangerous, Jake decides to get a job. Deciding to settle in the small town of Jodie, mid-way between Lee Harvey Oswald’s two future residences, Jake gains the position of substitute teacher at the local high school where me meets and falls for the captivating Sadie. But leading a double-life is tiring and Jake soon starts to make mistakes.
Repositioning the character of Bill Turcotte as Jake’s sidekick, and thus vastly different from the original in Stephen King’s book, was a smart move to keep the story moving and provide a useful source of exposition. But it also throws up some anachronistic quirks. These boys need money to live but instead of having Bill, whose time this is, go off and find gainful employment we still have Jake going to play teacher, interacting with the past and placing the mission at hand in jeopardy. Then there’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘two years later’ jump to get us all a lot closer to the fateful date, where nothing whatsoever seems to have changed save for the date. It’s a small grumble but as there is so much to set-up this week, it gets a pass. Jake meets and falls for Sadie, newly installed librarian at Jodie High, whilst also living a double-life the other side of town as he and Bill rent a dive next door to where Lee Harvey Oswald is due to arrive in a few days. Investing in some serious surveillance kit – “New, from Japan” – they wire Oswald’s future abode for sound. Oswald was always suspected of the attempted shooting of a General Walker, a WWII vet transitioning into politics and gaining traction with his far-right views. If Jake and Bill can get proof Oswald was this shooter, his complicity in the death of JFK would seem certain and Jake can feel justified in taking him out.
However, Jake is enjoying the 1960’s and his new life a bit too much. His pupils are bright and eager to learn, everywhere is clean and then there’s Sadie, his own personal femme fatale that he can’t help but be attracted to. King’s novel was always a love letter to the past, to the Utopia-that-never-really-was of his childhood, and shone brightest in the time set in Jodie, which the series seems intent on echoing. Jake’s juggling of two disparate lives stretches him too thinly and when Oswald defects back from Russia and moves in next door, Jake and Bill are almost rumbled.
But the game is now afoot and most of the players are in place for the remaining five episodes. Is Oswald really the shooter and is he going to act alone if so? Can Jake calmly and coldly kill him for what hasn’t done yet? Or will Jake and Bill get discovered long before they can effect any changes at all?
11.22.63 is released Mondays on Hulu. Episode 4 is available 03/07/16.