Monday, April 4, 2016

What I’m Watching: 11.22.63

11.22.63: Season 1, Episode 7 “Soldier Boy” (B-)

Could there have been a worse time for Jake to sustain a severe and traumatic head injury? I hadn’t realized the degree to which he had been beaten at the end of the last episode despite the hints provided by his inability to distinguish what time period he was waking up in, hallucinating his ex-wife and Al both being at his bedside. The intertitles that kept skipping ahead a few times indicated just how problematic the missing pieces of Jake’s memory were, and he essentially started from scratch, so unaware of the details of his mission that he cluelessly wandered into Lee Harvey Oswald’s living room for a casual chat. The most jarring and intense moment of the episode was when Bill jumped out the window when he was about to be released from the mental institution, and I suppose we’ll have to blame Jake’s mental state for his lack of compassion and deep sorrow in that moment. What this episode did show is that Sadie is a great character, so committed to Jake that she won’t let him abandon what he came to the past to do, even if it means they may not make it through it in one piece. Jake seeing the creepy man in his passenger seat is hardly the past fighting back, but I think he’s in his head enough to let what little he does know to be true cloud his judgment, especially if he’s so strongly considering letting JFK get shot. Right after I watched this episode, I happened to go see a film premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival starring James Franco, a reminder that maybe he isn’t the best choice for this relatively square role that doesn’t provide him the opportunity to use his comedic skills to create a compelling character.

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