Sadie’s growing mistrust of Jake derails their relationship and Jake starts to take stock and realise he’s back in the past for one reason and one reason only – to save JFK. But when Sadie is put in danger at the most crucial phase in his mission, Jake is torn between duty and love. Just which will he choose?
Picking up immediately after episodes-end previously, Sadie has found Jake’s recordings of the Oswalds and, after effectively getting a brush-off with Jake saying that there are things he simply can’t tell her, dumps him. The next day high school head Deke Slayton effectively does the same, telling Jake to resign; recent events and Sadie’s mistrust count for a lot back in 1963 and the ‘morality’ clause in his contract means that Jake is no longer welcome at Jodie High. Bereft, Jake takes stock and reminds himself exactly why he’s back in 60’s America, forcing himself to concentrate on the job at hand.
Still living below Lee Harvey Oswald and his not so happy family, Jake and Bill are preparing for the time when local right-wing politician General Walker will be shot at in an attempted assassination. They intend to be there and, if it’s Oswald pulling the trigger, Jake’s plan is to kill him; it would be proof enough that he would then go on to be the shooter of JFK. Preparing for the past to push back on this mission, they prepare for all eventualities as well as they can. But when the hour approaches, fate of a very different sort intervenes.
Johnny Clayton, Sadie’s yet to be ex-husband has returned and taken his wife hostage with the intention of luring Jake. And it works like a charm, Jake rushing to Sadie’s house after telling Bill to take full responsibility for witnessing Walker’s shooting and shooter.
Arriving at Sadie’s, Jake is shocked to discover her drenched in blood and the psychotic Johnny welcoming him with a gun pointed to his head. A tense stand-off takes place resulting in Jake embedding a fire-poke in Johnny’s head and Sadie shooting him dead. Bye Johnny. Meanwhile, the past pushes back against Bill, giving him a vision of his dead sister to pursue at the exact time General Walker is wounded. Who was the shooter? Bill missed it all. As Sadie is patched up at the hospital, Jake realises his true feelings for her and decides to come clean. “I’m a time traveller” he calmly announces. “That’s not what I thought you were gonna say” replies Sadie. No shit.
Episode five of eight feels very much like a place-holder, a pause before exciting events take Oswald and thus Jake and Bill to Dallas, and Dealey Plaza. The reappearance of Johnny Clayton merely provides a little excitement along the way. But all of this does nothing more than highlight a book depository-sized plot hole in the proceedings; why doesn’t Jake simply shoot Oswald then go back to 2016? If Oswald was the sole shooter, JFK will not have been assassinated and his mission was a success. If JFK had still been cut-down, Jake could start again, going back to 1960 and beginning a second attempt at changing history, armed with all the knowledge he has obtained. Including that Oswald wasn’t the shooter.
Logic in time-travel yarns is always a bit of a bugger and plotting needs to be tight and fast to avoid tricky questions being asked by an audience. With only three episodes to go, we can be at least assured of things picking up for Jake, Bill and co. from now on.
11.22.63 is released Mondays on Hulu. Episode 6 is available 03.21.16