Welcome to Last Night on TV, our ongoing series that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next day.
The last time we left our boy Jake on the singular quest to stop JFK from being gunned down, it was more than a month until the fateful date. But then Jake had the shit kicked out of him and, now we’re suddenly just a few days before November 22, 1963.
Seems like Jake had both his stuffing and his memories beat out of him. When he wakes up in his bed, he’s alternately seeing 2016 where people are using cell phones and other modern contrivances, while also seeing 1963. He sees his ex-wife, Sadie, and even Al as he struggles for consciousness. Even when he does finally start to become coherent, it looks like he’s missing his memories. In other words: he’s royally screwed.
Or maybe we are, as the audience. Because no matter what happens on this show, you’ll still find yourself yelling at the screen because Jake is more of a procrastinator than Hamlet ever was. So we’re suffering as an audience, and wishing that Deke had been the one imbued with time travel abilities so he could just go back in time and take out Hitler, or Robert E. Lee, or even Satan himself. Because dammit, you believe he could do it.
Jake on the other hand… is a mess. This episode is largely concerned with Jake trying to get his memories back. While signing out of the hospital, he has a flash about signing Bill into a mental facility and knows where he is. When he and Sadie visit, they find a doddering, electro-shocked Bill in place of the fiery passion Bill. While Jake makes arrangements to take Bill home, he jumps out a window and commits suicide. Yet another life taken by Jake that is unrelated to his purpose.
Still addled, Jake develops a pill addiction while getting frustrated with Sadie’s attempts to help. Finally, he ditches the prescription and asks her for help. He remembers a street name, “Madison,” and off they go in search of his other house. They eventually find out, but there’s a highly unfriendly woman living there now.
Upstairs, they bump into Lee, and while they talk to him in his apartment (Lee remembers Jake and asks where he has been. While Lee and Sadie chat, Jake suddenly remembers everything and knicks a kitchen knife in order to kill Lee. However, Lee is just walking back into the room with baby June, and he can’t bring himself to do it.
At first Jake conceals his restored memory from Sadie, and he tries to slip out with a gun and kill Lee on his own… only to find Sadie already waiting in the car for him. They try and find Lee’s rifle at Ruth Paine’s house in the garage, but it isn’t there. So they head to Dallas and try to sleep in Jake’s car in Dealey Plaza the night before the assassination, but a cop tells them to move along.
Jake parks nearby at a factory, and after Sadie falls asleep Jake is visited by the Yellow Card Man, who tells Jake that he is forced to relive his daughter’s drowning over and over, and that you can’t change the past. Jake assures him he can, and suddenly he’s back next to a snoozing Sadie who wakes and apologizes for falling asleep.
There’s a tragic moment the next morning where Marina reaches out to Lee and tries to get him to stay home, and seeming to offer reconciliation. He nearly gives him, but a car horn startles him from his reverie and he heads off to the Texas School Book Depository Building. Jake and Sadie wake up at 8:30am on 11.22.63, and scramble to make their way to Dealey Plaza by stealing a car, as Jake’s isn’t working. The past is pushing back. When we get back to Lee, he’s assembled his rifle and built a sniper’s nest on the sixth floor, and he’s ready and waiting.
One more episode to go, and we’ll find out if Jake has what it takes. Oh, and Ms. Mimi has passed away. Was very sad to see her go, especially since that took place off-screen. She was a great character.
For more TV reviews, check out the Last Night on TV archives.