THE BOOM TUBE: 11.22.63: Episode 8

As imperfect as it was as a whole, 11.22.63 really stepped up its game in the last two episodes. The final episode, The Day in Question, combined with the previous, make for two hours of the most entertaining television you can imagine.  My favorite part was actually the fact that we learn the outcome of Jake Epping’s (James Franco) attempt to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the first full segment of the show.  That left three more segments to experience the aftermath, both good and bad.

I’ve been liberal with spoilers when I’ve written about 11.22.63, but I’m hesitant to give any here. I’ve revealed too many details about the adventures that got Epping to where he is at the beginning of the finale, but I’m not going to tell you how his story ends, even though you’re likely to anticipate one of two general outcomes when he returns to the future, based on whether or not he was successful in his mission.   The final hour is full of twists and turns that were not always present throughout the entire series.

The episode begins on 11.22.63, “The Day of the Assassination.” Jake and Sadie (Sarah Gadon) race frantically to Dealey Plaza and the book depository, with the past throwing all kinds of obstacles in their way, both in reality and in their imaginations.  At times, Jake is able to face somebody physical and confront them with what he knows is supposed to happen based on 2016’s past, but he has probably changed himself just by being there.

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If you haven’t suspended your disbelief due to the nature of the concept itself, you have to do it in the finale for two instances that the plot turns on sudden, unexplained, illogical and/or coincidental developments. These are big ones.  During one, I literally spoke aloud, “What?  Come on!”  That’s not necessarily a complaint.  It shows I was so involved and engaged that I even noticed the oddities.  For many shows, I’d just shrug them off.

I realized during the finale that events from the middle episodes about which I complained actually had an important purpose. To a certain extent, the mission changed for Jake… at least in his heart.  When it’s all said and done, he’s convinced that he was meant to go back in time so that he would be with Sadie.  Regardless of how things ended in 1963, it’s not over for him until he reconciles his feelings for her.  Much to my surprise, the resolution was quite emotional.

I stick to my guns that 11.22.63 did not need to be an 8-episode series; it could have been tightened in the middle and been no more than six. While you might not share the same emotional reaction, I bet you could watch the first two episodes and the last two to get just as much suspense out of it.  This does not mean I don’t recommend you watch it.  I loved the book and I liked the series very much.  Without having read the book, I may have even loved the series.

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