11.22.63: ‘Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald’ Review

11.22.63 'A Time Traveler's Not-To-Do List

“Tell me one more thing about the future.” -Sadie

11.22.63 celebrated Oswald’s birthday and this story is officially crazy! Jake has now made a number of errors on his quest to prevent the JFK assassination and ‘Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald’ dealt Jake numerous bad hands. Luckily, we’re going to do things a little bit differently this week and provide some tips on exactly what you SHOULDN’T do when traveling in time, as told by Jake.

Al had provided him with lots of advice prior to his departure into the past but obviously Jake is one stubborn fox and has ignored pretty much everything Al told him. His mistakes continue to pile up and it seems as though he ruins the lives of everyone he gets close to. This time around, Bill was the one to take the fall after he too failed to follow Al’s rules but ultimately Jake is to blame for Bill’s new home at Briarcliff Asylum.

Obviously this series would have been pretty boring without Jake and his time travel rule-breaking antics so I was thrilled to put together this short list for future time travelers. Here is what NOT to do if you ever head back in time based entirely on the events of this episode. Enjoy the review, fellow time travelers and please, if you ever go back in time…LISTEN TO AL!

1. Stick To Your Plan and Listen To Al

If you have a plan while time traveling, you should probably stick to it. Jake, however, did not. Our story jumps forward another six months and we’re only a month away until the JFK assassination. We first catch up with Oswald who is able to persuade his way into a job at the book depository, a key location in the JFK assassination. After securing the job, he immediately heads over to Marina’s. This is not exactly how I picture an assassin spending his day off.

The calm before the storm.

Marina has left Lee for the time being and it looks as though no amount of convincing from Lee is going to work. Meanwhile, Bill is trying to do some convincing of his own but Jake refuses to take out his target before he confirms that Oswald is the shooter. If this was me, I would have immediately killed Oswald and went back to the present, even if it meant waiting three years. I can think of a number of fun, and less stressful, things to be doing while I wait for Oswald to arrive from Russia. Jake, on the other hand, decided that murder was the better option.

"Killing people feels like shit."

Obviously, this pastime doesn’t come with pleasant feelings so Jake decides to completely change his plan. Somehow I don’t think kidnapping Oswald and waiting it out is a good idea, especially with the past trying to fuck shit up for ya. Even though this hasn’t technically happened yet, I think Jake should probably stick to the original plan. Al had a bit more time travel experience before he sent Jake through the rabbit hole and yet Jake continues to ignore the rules and change up the plan. Future time travelers…have a plan and stick to it!

It’s also a terrible idea to interact with your main targets and Jake had done a pretty good job of that until now. In his attempt to strangle information out of George de Mohrenfuck, it seems to be more and more evident that Oswald acted alone and is simply bat shit crazy. Al even said that if Lee was set up, George was the only guy that could have done it so it looks like it’s time for Jake to take Al’s advice and kill Oswald. And based on this time traveler’s not-to-do list, I’m not so sure Jake’s going to be able to go through with it.

"Bitch, tell me everything."

2. Don’t Make Friends With Anyone 

This rule kinda sucks but if you’re gonna make friends in the past, at least don’t get emotionally attached to anyone and be sure to keep it strictly FUN! Doesn’t seem that hard, right? Well it is for Jake who is already responsible for Sadie’s facial scar although it’s up for debate whether he actually saved her life by intervening with her and her ex hubby. On the one hand, Johnny may have eventually murdered Sadie if Jake had never been around so maybe his interference was exactly the thing Sadie needed. I suppose I’d rather have a barely visible facial scar than be dead and so would you. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jake wants to bring Sadie back with him to the present which is an all-around terrible idea. This is the equivalent of a three year vacation to a DIFFERENT TIME PERIOD which also happened to be SWINGIN’, and Jake decides to get into a long term relationship which can only end in heartbreak.

It also seems as though Sadie was supposed to die because the past has a plan and that plan involves murdering Sadie, Final Destination style, on the operating table during her last surgery. Clearly Jake has no idea what he has gotten himself into but this guy totally does:


You might remember this dude from the premiere when Jake first arrived in the past. He repeatedly told him he shouldn’t be here and now that we’re getting closer to the big day, I think the yellow card man is about to become a whole lot more relevant to our story. I also think that Sadie was supposed to die at the hands of her ex-husband but because Jake prevented that from happening, the past is now course correcting in new ways. If that’s the case, preventing the JFK assassination might be more pointless than we first expected.

Final Destination

Jake wasn’t happy with just one friend though and Bill’s fate was hands down the worst. Jake decides that he’s getting much too close to Oswald and proceeds to have Bill committed into an insane asylum.

American Horror Story: Asylum

Wait, WHAT?! In Jake’s defense, Bill did threaten to murder him and tell Oswald everything so it was totally in Jake’s best interest to have him committed. Plus, it was pretty easy since who in the hell is going to believe Bill even if Jake is a fo’ real time traveler. Welcome to Briarcliff, Bill!

And poor Ms. Mimi. She’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer and her only potential saving grace is experiments in Mexico…

“Experiments in Mexico? Umm...no.”

As you can see, it totally sucks getting attached to people in the past so don’t even bother. All it does it create all sorts of moral and ethical dilemmas so remember, if you’re traveling to the past and you’re going to make friends, be sure not to get attached and party instead. Shots, anyone?

3. Don’t Get Caught By The Guy You’re Trying To Take Out

Oswald is already super paranoid about the FBI. He thinks they’re keeping an eye on him, including his wife Marina, who has since split up with Oswald. Bill has been doing some mad flirting with Marina and has clearly become way too involved with the Oswald family and now Jake is forced to also get involved, breaking another one of Al’s rules. At least there’s a party going on:

Let's Party

Jake and Bill have pretty much broken every rule in the time travel book so might as well have some shots with the person you’re supposed to be targeting, right?


Terrible fucking idea all around but it certainly makes for some awesome television. Naturally, Jake is pissed off with Bill for being at Oswald’s birthday bash and the two start arguing. Either the past is getting really fucking pissed off about what Jake is up to or Jake is a fucking idiot for doing this:

Lampshades of the Past

Yup, that’s right, the cat is out of the bag. Luckily Oswald has no clue that Jake and Bill are the one’s responsible for planting the bug but this certainly will add to Oswald’s paranoia. We also learned a valuable lesson here so if you ever find yourself traveling to the past, don’t even attempt to interact with your target and especially don’t do what Jake and Bill did or you’re going to have a bad time.

4. Don’t Place Bets All Over Texas

Jake decides to place bets all over Texas and clearly the past is pushing back since it’s onto Jake’s plan to try and change the past. Sorry ladies, it’s becoming pretty evident that the past is a male since it doesn’t want to be changed. This was also completely Jake’s fault for being a moron. I understand that he needed the cash money to survive in the past but he probably shouldn’t have let Bill in on the action. He also should have placed these bets in moderation so this wouldn’t have happened because $15,000 was a fuck ton of money in the ’60s:

The past and the future don't get along

Nighty night, Jake…

Jake falls over

Wait, what?! Jake got the crap beat out of him and is now unconscious in the hospital? Um…this can’t be good and it looks like the past just totally fucked up the future.

A Thing of the Past

Well, I guess technically the past isn’t fucking anything up but rather keeping things the same. Seriously though, how long has Jake been unconscious for? Did he miss the assassination? Obviously if he did, he’s going to have to hit the reset button but with only two episodes left, I don’t even think that’s a possibility. The question should be WHEN because I have a feeling Jake won’t have nearly as much time to prevent Oswald from shooting JFK as he had hoped. And clearly, he shouldn’t have placed bets all over Texas. See kids, gambling ain’t cool.

The Verdict


Mikey Likes It11.22.63 has proven that it’s a pretty damn good TV show. Obviously this review is making fun of Jake’s decisions but that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love the series. After the disappointment that was Under the Dome, I’m so glad to finally see a Stephen King adaptation that is both fun to watch and completely bat shit crazy. I don’t think any of us know what the hell we would do if we were sent to the past so it’s definitely been fun watching Jake wing it. Keep up the good work, show!

I totally didn’t see Bill’s trip to the mental hospital coming nor did I predict Jake’s run-in with his gambling buddies or George de Mohrenfuck. The show has done a masterful job of keeping us in suspense, including those who have read the book. With only two episodes left, we will definitely be seeing what happens during the day in question, I just hope we’ll also get to see Jake return to the present if he succeeds. And who knows…maybe we’re already living in a world where someone went back in time and changed a major event we know nothing about. It’s possible, right? Probably not but that’d be fucking cool.

I also wasn’t expecting Oswald to find the bug in his apartment. After watching pretty much everything go wrong, I decided that it was time to compile this list and I hope you all agree that these rules should never be broken when traveling to the past (unless, of course, you’re just there for vacation).

So what did everyone think of ‘Happy Birthday, Lee Harvey Oswald’? Would you follow the rules of time travel if you had to go back to the past? Or are you a rule breaker just like Jake? Let us know all of your thoughts and theories in the comments and thanks for reading, fellow time travelers! NOSTROVIA!

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