Vinnie: Let’s start this week with the IMPORTANT question….when Jake finally wakes up from his ass-beating-induced coma, which insane bearded man does he resemble more? Is it Robin Williams in Jumanji?
Or Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber To?
Drew: I’d say the former. I mean, just like the Kennedy assassination, Jumanji has led to a lot of conspiracy theorists who have dedicated their lives to solving the riddle of “Why Van Pelt was played by the same actor as Alan’s dad?” I mean, it’s clearly a Mr. Darling/Captain Hook casting decision to represent how parental authority is seen as threatening (and vaguely sexual) by young children, but sure, no, let’s assume that “the evil plant things manifested Alan’s subconscious fears in the form of a 19th century big game hunter with incredible sideburns.”
I mean, we’re talking a whole “Second musket-man on the grassy knoll”-level paranoia here. And that’s just for the movie Jumanji. Suddenly, Jake’s quest seems a little less banana-town. Well, maybe the same level banana-town, but at least we have some context!
Vinnie: For realskies, this episode, entitled “Soldier Boy” after the song that blasts way too loud at the end credits and scared the shit out of me in public, was so damn funny. 11.22.63 continues to be the Batman vs. Superman of streaming TV shows, in that it consistently makes zero narrative sense, critics are taking it WAY too seriously, and both star James Franco in James Franco’s mind. Honestly, I’ll try and recap but it’s mostly going to be me ranking scenes on the level they made me say, out loud, “hahahaha what? Dumb.”
Drew: The Strain! Oh my god! The bad guy from Jumanji is the old bad guy in The Strain! WOW. AND! He was also Bruce Ismay, the coward of the Titanic in the movie Titanic! And the bad guy in a fez hat who is eaten by scarabs in The Mummy! Man, he’s been a bad guy in EVERYTHING! (Except Richie Rich, where he played an Alfred Pennyworth-esque butler aiding Macaulay Culkin’s shenanograms.)
I mean, I would go as far as to say that Jonathan Hyde really paved the way for Jason Isaacs, the “vaguely evil/sexy father figure” for the modern, discerning man. (Jason Isaacs also played Mr. Darling/Captain Hook in that blowsy, sparkly remake with the kid from Friday Night Lights in 2003, where he was VERY sexy.)
Sorry…were you saying something?
Vinnie: I love how this show whizzed through Jake’s coma, Jake’s recovery and memory loss, and Bill’s death so quickly because, SUPER IRONICALLY, it is quickly running out of time. Like Jake is released from the hospital after being in a legit coma with some pills–what pills? Just memory pills or whatever–and Deke is just like “Yeahup, I see severe near-total memory loss all the time with the boys who get their bell rung playing football.” Which I KNOW is inaccurate because–fun fact–I got a concussion playing football in high school, and I’m only missing, like, twenty minutes of my memory, during which I apparently couldn’t stop telling my dad I lost my cell phone. Which, although I don’t remember it happening, makes perfect sense because my cell phone is where I keep all my hilarious viral parrot videos.
Drew: Haha, I ALSO caught that Deke line. I mean, remember that we’re in the adorably quaint 1960’s, when head trauma was something a boy earned on his way to becoming a man. It was probably thought of as a good way to inoculate young boys against remembering the horrors of ‘Nam. “Just start them forgetting stuff real early!”
But also, were they MEMORY pills or UN-memory pills? I think the latter, as we’re probably just talking garden variety painkillers here, which can definitely cloud your judgement and make you think it was okay to date a time-traveler (see: Sadie) or forget you were a time-traveler in the first place (see: Jake).
However, as someone who has a history of prescription drug abuse behind her–and someone who has legit dumped a whole bottle of pills down the toilet in a bold “I’m going clean!” move like Jake’s (though they didn’t show the follow-up scene where you obviously start frantically scooping up the disintegrating toilet pills into your mouth because NOOOOOO! WHAT DID YOU DOOOO???), I have never “forgotten” who killed JFK. I mean, that’s just pretty obvious, and the kind of fact you don’t really lose even if they take a bulldozer to your mind palace.
So maybe the whole “forgetting” thing has more to do with Jake’s head injury than his budding prescription opiate addiction?
Vinnie: So apparently Jake remembers he travelled back in time but forgot A) JFK’s name and B) That he committed Bill to fucking Arkham Asylum. Seriously, Bill’s storyline is near-identical to Penguin’s storyline on Gotham right now. And, like penguins, Bill apparently cannot fly.
Drew: That reminds me of my favorite joke of all time from The Critic:
Vinnie: Then–correct me if I’m wrong–we get about 15 minutes of nothing but Jake having headaches and not really caring that Bill died, even though Bill’s death was 1 million percent Jake’s fault in every single way. My favorite scene is when Jake symbolizes it’s time to stop feeling sorry for himself by flushing all his memory pills down the drain. I hope the series finale is 45 uninterrupted minutes of Jake sitting at his kitchen table staring at his wall, and it ends with him like “fuck I really should’ve kept some of those pills.”
Drew: He can’t remember to feel bad about Bill, dummy. We’re just lucky that he remembered Bill wasn’t his REAL BROTHER, which would have been so much more confusing.
This does raise the question: after Jake told Sadie he was a time-traveler…was that the end of the conversation? Did it never come up again? Because she doesn’t seem to have a lot of other helpful information. Like, not only does she not know who Jake was surveilling the entire time she knew him (what happened to those tapes again?), she didn’t know that Jake had been living downstairs and/or next door (it gets confusing, to be fair!) to the guy who he suspects killed Kennedy? No? Did Jake not mention that the guy had a voice like a deaf guy, which would have been a pretty helpful clue in this context? That his wife was Russian? That his name was Lee Harvey Oswald? No?
So this begs the question: what DID Jake tell Sadie after she had her face slashed? “I’m a time-traveler, and I’m here from the future to stop someone from shooting…someone else.” And Sadie is like “Cool, I heard you the first time.” Because honestly, with a face scar like that, you don’t get to ask a lot of questions to the guy who won’t even agree to marry you. You just thank your lucky stars he doesn’t keep a drawer of clothespins near the bedside table.
Vinnie: You know what else is funny? When Sadie says “You never would’ve remembered about Oswald if it wasn’t for me.” Haha ummmmmm okay, technically, like the smallest, thinnest “technically” possible in the human language, yeah Sadie you’re right. Thank goodness you were dancing the Madison in the living room because you can’t decide how seriously you’re taking this from scene to scene, and Jake happened to remember he lived on Madison Street. And, okay, maybe Sadie drove.
Drew: I mean, now I’m getting confused. Didn’t Sadie go to the house to catch Jake’s recording of Oswald? So doesn’t she KNOW where he lived? Or….that was a different house? So we’re talking about Jake’s MOST RECENT HOUSE, which Sadie had never been to? In Madison? Ugh, sorry to be a real Jonathan Hyde over here!
Vinnie: Wait, you know what ELSE was really funny? When Jake remembers everything about Lee Harvey Oswald while sitting in Lee Harvey Oswald’s apartment, and then he just leaves. Oh. My. God. Jake, were you not wearing your murder fedora last episode before getting your ass kicked? Just DO IT. Wait until Lee puts down his baby shield and bash him to death with the nearest lamp. Use the baby. I don’t care.
Listen, I’m not even on board with changing the past at all anymore, but apparently Jake SUPER IS ON BOARD (until he’s not, but I’ll get to that), but still insists on making it near-impossible when it shouldn’t be. Instead of going all the way home to concoct the plan “If he doesn’t have his gun, he can’t do murder” just dooooooooo it.
Drew: I can’t even. Jake makes me mad the way Matt Murdock from Daredevil makes me mad. “Oooh, I’m soooooo against killing people…except when I inadvertently cause a BUNCH of murders, probably.” You can’t tell me Matt Murdock has never punched a dude so hard he goes into a permanent vegetable state or possible dies. And, like you mentioned, Jake has ACTUALLY KILLED PEOPLE, and yet the one thing he retains from his pre-TSD is that he can’t kill Oswald until literally the last moment possible, just to be sure? Jake, you damn murdered a man based on someone’s “It Happened to Me!” personal essay!
Vinnie: The Jake Epping moment to end all Jake Epping moments is when the yellow-card hat guy reveals himself as an immortal time-traveller(?) who is repeatedly going through time to watch his own daughter drown again and again and again and Jake is just like “Yeah but this is different.”
Drew: Really? Cause I thought the Jake Epping moment to end all Jake Epping moments is when he is thwarted by diligent car owners who don’t want their shit stolen.
“I thought people kept things unlocked in the 60s!!!!” – Jake Epping.
Vinnie: So thanks to that dream/vision/Final Destination sequel with the yellow card man, Jake–ON THE DAY OF THE ASSASSINATION–suggests to Sadie maybe they should just forget the whole thing. And honestly….yes. Do that. That is the best plan. Do you know why this show, even though technically there’s nothing wrong with it, always just feels a little off? Do you know why it took Stephen King like 50 years to write the book? Because boiled down, the story just doesn’t make sense. None of this needs to happen. Look out the window. Is there a damn Terminator pointing a bazooka into your window? What future is Jake SAVING us from with all this effort? Basically, the entire crux of 11.22.63 is that a grumpy old man doesn’t like Twitter and can’t quite figure out Snapchat, so someone who isn’t him needs to spend two years in the past on the off chance the result is a SLIGHTLY better world than the one we have now.
Hey, completely unrelated, but here’s the first sentence of that article I linked to in the last paragraph: “Stephen King is afraid of cellphones.”
Drew: To me, the show’s greatest failing is how it didn’t really link up Jake’s meddling to Oswald’s motives. We got a hint of that when it seemed like Bill was defecting because he read a book about Marxism and had hay for brains, but otherwise…nothing. We’re supposed to assume that Lee Harvey Oswald goes from gentle family man to Natural Born Killer because…nobody at the FBI would deliver a letter for him? Because his mommy said he was destined for big things? (Wow, maybe Oswald is the real Oswald Cobblepot???) Because he saw a newspaper headline about Kennedy coming to town? Or…wait for it…because a child stared at him wrong?
Vinnie: Drew from now on every time you tell me to do an assignment I don’t want to do, I’m just gonna be like “You know I’m a Marxist, right?”
Drew: Just try it, Vinnie. That’s when I jump on my hoverboard to grab a Diet Tab out of the fridge and tell you to eat my dust! Goddamn Millennials.