It’s one month before John F Kennedy is due to be gunned down in Dealey Plaza and Jake Epping’s plans are in disarray. He’s spending most of his time looking after the injured Sadie back in Jodie, leaving the surveillance and sheer monotony of constantly watching Lee Harvey Oswald to Bill Turcotte. Oswald has got himself employed at the Texas School Book Depository and, still with no conclusive proof he is to be the shooter – or, indeed, the only one – Jake is in a race against time.
Oswald and Marina are separated but Oswald would dearly love to be reconciled with his heavily pregnant wife; it makes him very angry that she will not agree to this. Unbeknownst to him, Bill Turcotte has struck up quite the relationship with her. Lee is away a lot and has hardly treated her well, and Bill has become extremely protective of her. With Jake only returning to Dallas once a week, Bill has also decided to take his own approach to the mission at hand; namely, he has also befriended Lee himself and is becoming convinced he had nothing to do with the Walker shooting he missed, nor will be involved Kennedy. Annoyed at being left alone so much, Bill turns on Jake and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t leave for good. Surely they’ve already changed history enough? Jake points out that any attempts at tinkering with the past always results in it pushing back, something that hasn’t happened with Bill’s interactions, but he’s not convinced and again threatens Jake.
Meanwhile back in Jodie, Sadie continues to recuperate following the assault from her ex six months previously. She’s preparing for reconstructive surgery on her scarred face and it’s clear she and Jake are in love and contemplating marriage. But as she goes into hospital and is wheeled into surgery, Jake glimpses the Yellow Card Man once more. It’s the past pushing back, putting Sadie in danger, and Jake only just manages to stop her being put under a lethal dose of anaesthetic. She’s saved, but the surgery is postponed indefinitely.
Back in Dallas, Jake watches as Bill and Lee Harvey Oswald chat and laugh as they inspect a rifle – the very one history says Oswald will shoot JFK with – and has the terrible realisation that Bill may become the second shooter. He’s pushed him too far. Luring Bill to the hospital on the pretence of Marina Oswald asking for him whilst in labour, Jake manages to have his ‘brother’ committed. This proves an easy task when Bill starts ranting about Jake being from the future.
With time running out, Jake then takes a huge risk, assaulting and questioning George DeMohrenschildt who may well hold all the answers. But when he fails to provide any at all, Jake is left with the inevitable; Lee Harvey Oswald will act alone, will kill JFK and must die. He telephones Sadie to say his mission is almost complete and proposes marriage. And then, en route to kill Oswald, Jake is beaten to a pulp by the backstreet bookie he’s been winning bet after bet against using his knowledge of the future. Unconscious and delirious in the hospital, can he recover in time to complete his mission?
We’re picking up speed here, and the six month jump from last week’s episode only cranks up the tension. Having Bill Turcotte be a potential turncoat and become the second shooter that conspiracy theorists always say was present in Dallas that fateful day is something of a twist of genius, but you can hardly blame the guy. This was Jake’s mission after all and he’s off playing house with a beautiful blonde, leaving Bill in a crappy apartment doing all the hard work. What’s his motive in all this? No wonder he’s turned his thoughts and actions elsewhere. With two episode to go much remains unanswered; Will Jake stop Oswald? If not, will Oswald be the shooter? And the only one? And if he does stop JFK from being killed, what will change and will Jake return to 2016 to see those changes?
11.22.63 is released Mondays on Hulu. Episode 7 is available 03.28.16