11.22.63: ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’ Review

11.22.63 'Once Upon A Time'

“Some people were crying. Some people just stopped in the middle of the sidewalk cus we all knew something had been broken in all of us and it could never get repaired.” -Al

11.22.63 went back in time and then jumped forward two years to 1962 where we catch up with Jake and Bill who are planning to stop the JFK assassination from ever happening. The series is slowly settling down in the past and I think ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’ was setting things up for what is to come. We were introduced to some new characters, specifically Principal Deacon, Ms. Mimi and Jack Ruby and Sadie, who is obviously going to be Jake’s love interest, is also back in the mix.

Admittedly, this is one of the best Stephen King adaptations I have seen in a long time so even a slower episode like this is still super interesting and I really like how the series is not wasting any time in getting to Jake’s mission. I am still pretty pissed off that Jake didn’t go back to the present to see what effect murdering Frank had on the rest of the Dunning family but at least we don’t have to wait around for three years. Oswald played a much bigger role in this episode and we finally got to learn a bit more about him and his child-like temper.

Plus, I have come to love any scene with Chris Cooper’s Al. He has the perfect storytelling voice and I have really enjoyed how the show jumps back and forth to provide us with more info about Al’s time down the rabbit hole and hopefully this trend will continue as the season rolls on.

Now, let’s all introduce ourselves to Lee Harvey Oswald and enjoy the review, fellow time travelers!

A Moment You Will Never Forget

We kick things off with Billy the Kid, who has Jake at gunpoint after Jake was able to take out Frank Dunning and save the day at the end of the last episode. And Billy sure is asking a lot of questions but who can blame him? He did find a newspaper clipping from the future and he’s hanging out with a man who claims to be a time traveler. Jake finally spills the beans on his ultimate plan to prevent the JFK assassination but JFK isn’t even President yet. At least they answered one of my biggest questions and it all made a lot of sense. All of us have been wondering why Jake doesn’t just kill Oswald and go back through the Rabbit Hole to confirm he was the shooter. Well, it’s going to be very difficult considering the fact that Oswald is hanging out in communist Russia until 1962. So since Jake is going to have to wait it out for two years anyways, he might as well confirm that Oswald is, in fact, the shooter so he doesn’t have to waste another three years if he’s wrong. And unlike every explanation in Under the Dome, this one actually makes a lot of sense 🙂

Once he confirms that Jake is from the future, Bill decides that he wants Jake to go back in time and save his sister but unfortunately for Bill, he obviously doesn’t quite understand how this whole time travel thing works. Clearly, Jake is not able to go back further than October 21st, 1960 so Bill is, unfortunately, shit outta luck.

"We have to go back, Jake. We have to go back."

Hopefully LOST fans will get the above reference (-wink-). So Bill and Jake team up and go on a road trip to Dallas and we immediately get things rolling by going to the scene of the crime where Jake shows us the potential locations of the shooters on that fateful day in November of 1963.

Jake is reminded of Al’s story from that day and we go back to the present (well, sort of) when Al was rehashing the story of the JFK assassination when he was only a young boy. I love the scenes with Al Templeton and I’m super happy the show is jumping back and forth to fill in the gaps. It’s very powerful storytelling and Chris Cooper has been a pleasure to watch as crazy old Al.

“I was never much for all that Camelot shit.”

When Al is speaking, I am listening. There is something about this guy that has me intrigued. Maybe it’s his dedication to his mission or maybe it’s the fact that he has his own interesting story to tell but here’s hoping that we get more of Al as the season progresses. This time Al is telling the story of when he was eight years old and he explains how people reacted when the news broke out. Some people were crying, some people just stopped in the middle of the sidewalk because something had been broken in everyone and it could never get repaired. And all I can say to this is WOW! Clearly, I was no where to be found in 1962 due to the fact that I didn’t exist but I have heard stories from people who were alive when this happened and it’s pretty much a moment that everyone remembers. And this scene did a phenomenal job of illustrating how devastated people were when JFK was shot.

Jake and Billy make their way to Jodie, Texas, a perfect spot for their plan since it’s right between Dallas and Fort Worth, two cities in which Oswald will eventually call home. Jake has found a job as a teacher and we’re introduced to Principal Deacon ‘Deke’ Simmons who should eventually become an ally of Jake’s as the story progresses. We’re introduced to Ms. Mimi as well and apparently it was frowned upon to offer a black woman a cup of coffee in the ’60s.

That moment when you’re nice to a black woman in the ‘60s

I guess we should probably remember that the world was even more fucked up back in the ’60s. I mean, Ms. Mimi isn’t even allowed to fill up her gas tank unless she’s in the right neighborhood. Thankfully Jake is around to put these racists in their place.

"Why don't you shut your fucking mouth."

That’ll show Louis the gas station attendant who’s boss! We also meet someone of extreme importance at a local nightclub, that man being Jack Ruby. For those that have no idea who this is, he is actually the man responsible for shooting and killing Lee Harvey Oswald two days after the JFK assassination. I love this inclusion and so should you.

Jack Ruby "I hate my fucken brothers."

Perfect Timing

We then flash forward to 1962 although technically this would be a flashback for everyone except Jake, right? Time travel is such a mind fuck. We catch up with Jake who is still teaching at the local school and Sadie has taken a job as the new librarian. Small world, right? Or is this the past playing tricks on Jake and the rest of us? If I’m Jake, I’d be a little weary of this coincidence, especially considering that he obviously has the hots for Ms. Sadie.

“So, you gonna hit that?”

Back to the plan, Jake and Bill rent out a shitty apartment in Fort Worth so they can keep tabs on Oswald who lived there for six months. They also get the perfect apartment since it overlooks a window in Oswald’s future apartment. And this is why it totally pays off to do your homework, kids!

Oswald and his wife Marina arrive back in America right on time as expected and he is greeted by his mother Marguerite who is already planning on making fried chicken for dinner. Jake and Bill get their apartment set up so they can record everything that Oswald says but first, they’re going to have to break into the apartment in order to bug it. Why they didn’t just do this BEFORE Oswald returned to the US is beyond me but let’s just roll with it while we do the locomotion!

I’m loving the ’60s soundtrack and hopefully you are too! Sadie and Jake are getting to know each other at the school dance but not before Jake confiscates some liquor from some local highschoolers and spikes the shit out of the punch. Time to do some dirty drinkin’! It should be pretty obvious by now that Jake is going to fall head over heels for Sadie which may complicate all of his plans. Al did warn him not to make any personal connections with people and this was some pretty damn good advice since it’s going to be terribly difficult for Jake to jump back through the rabbit hole if he has fallen in love with someone from this time period. The two make a cheers to ‘timing’ but clearly the timing is actually fucked since Jake shouldn’t even be alive in 1962.

After getting their dance on, Jake realizes that he has to leave in order to meet Bill so they can bug Oswald’s place. Obviously someone comes home while they are doing this since they’re idiots for not doing this when the fucking apartment was EMPTY but, once again, I am going to choose to ignore this idiocy. Maybe the past is fighting back by making Jake and Bill become morons? Who knows. Either way, they are forced to hide in the attic as Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife Marina do the ’60s version of Netflix and chill. Of course, the past is also chillin’ only this time in the form of a nest of spiders which totally blows Jake and Billy’s cover.

Arachnophobia

Yup, an attic full of spiders is totally a place I never want to go. And no, Jake and Billy didn’t go back in time to the set of the 1990 movie Arachnophobia. With their cover blown and Oswald on the hunt, Jake and Bill somehow are able to find a way out of the attic and back to their apartment and it was all way too easy. I think the past needs to work on its ‘pushing back’ skills because this was another fail as Jake is successful in planting the bug. Mission accomplished…well, at least phase one.

Spaz Mode

Back at the school, Sadie is super pissed off with Jake about leaving the dance and not returning. I think she’s being a bit unreasonable here like every woman I know but apologies are like dandelions…they’re pretty enough and they sprout up fast but they don’t have much substance. Thank you Ms. Mimi for that wonderful metaphor.

Also, it seems like Oswald’s conversations have no substance. Jake and Billy continue recording everything from Oswald’s apartment but all they really get is a whole lot of complaining from the spoiled white boy. That is, until George de Mohrenschildt arrives at Oswalds. I think I much prefer Jake’s pronunciation of George’s last name so let’s start calling him George de Mohrenfuck from now on.

Of course, there is yet another major problem with Jake’s plan, that being the fact that neither him nor Billy Bob can speak Russian, the language of choice for de Mohrenfuck and Oswald. I’m not sure what these two have been up to over the last couple of years but they probably should have studied up on their Russian considering they had TWO FUCKING YEARS to learn it. I’m starting to think that Jake is just lazy more than anything but who am I to judge since learning a new language would totally fucken suck. After running out to fetch an English-Russian dictionary, Jake returns to find Bill knocked the fuck out and just like most women I know, the past is pretty pissed that Jake is trying to change it (my apologies ladies, I couldn’t resist).

The Past Just Kicked Your Ass

We find out that Raphael, one of the other tenants, was responsible for the attack so Jake and Bill decide to get back at him by pretending they are FBI agents so they can get their surveillance equipment back. Once again, it was all a little too easy but I guess they haven’t influenced the past enough for it to push back super hard, at least not yet anyways.

Meanwhile, Jake and Sadie mend fences and start making out in the library like two horny teenagers. It was a cute moment but I can’t help but think it’s also a terrible idea considering that Jake is only there for one purpose, that being to stop Oswald and prevent the JFK assassination.

Of course, shit finally hits the fan big time when Jake and Bill attend a rally for General Walker, who you’ll remember is also a victim of an assassination attempt (which failed as Walker survived). Al had mentioned to Jake that he thinks Oswald was responsible for this shooting and it appears he may be correct after we witness a complete mental breakdown by Oswald who goes ballistic on Walker after the rally.

Oswald throws a temper tantrum at General Walker

Most notably, Oswald starts screaming that he’s going to “fucking kill” Walker and that should probably be enough evidence that Oswald is probably the man behind the attempted Walker assassination. As all of this went down, my reaction was pretty much just like George de Mohrenfucks:

George de Mohrenfuck having a smoke

I think this pretty much confirms that Oswald is more than likely the shooter but it still might be best if Jake gets a bit more evidence first before he jumps to conclusions. If I’m a betting man, however, my money is on Oswald.

And with that, our episode ends and I’m excited to see where things are heading next after Oswald’s outburst. I will also say that I particularly enjoyed watching Daniel Webber’s performance as Oswald. The Stephen King novel, which is based on historical truths, portrays Oswald as a spoiled man who has a bad temper so I like that the character is staying true to the book. Oswald is politically motivated but I think his upbringing has a huge role to play in his story and I’m quite happy with the direction the series is taking with the character. Good job, show!

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LIKES IT (BUT DISLIKES SPIDER NESTS)

Mikey Likes It11.22.63 did a time jump to 1962 and it appears we’re headed all over time in this series which is definitely not a bad thing. I especially like it when we get to see Al talking about his time travel adventures and, even though they’re brief, Chris Cooper has done a great job as Al who is easily the most interesting character on the show.

I think jumping ahead to 1962 was an absolute necessity, especially considering Oswald doesn’t arrive until that year. While I could go without all of the flirting and making out between Jake and Sadie, their relationship is a major part of the book and so it was obviously a necessary inclusion. I also think it brings up something very interesting that we should all think about. If you traveled to the past and knew you were going to have to return to the present again, would you invest in personal relationships during your time in the ’60s? I mean, how in the hell could you not, right? But I think we all know where this is heading and I think this is something Jake is going to struggle with as his plan unfolds.

I am absolutely thrilled that 11.22.63 is staying true to the book and is keeping things just as fun…and dark. I think this proves my theory that no Stephen King adaptation can survive without being able to use curse words and this was something I think Under the Dome suffered from (it was originally picked up by Showtime, a network that would have allowed swearing, but this was changed to shitty CBS for unknown reasons).

My only complaint besides the fact that Jake is a moron for waiting so long to bug Oswald’s apartment is the fact that we never got to see Jake head back to the present after saving Harry’s family from certain death. This was something that actually happened in the book and I think it would have been totally bad ass to see this happen because of the resulting changes in the present. I won’t give anything away here, but do yourself a favor and pick up the epic novel…it really is a masterpiece.

So what did everyone think of Other Voices, Other Rooms? Are you spiking the punch in anticipation of the next episode? Or are you throwing tantrums like Oswald? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments and, as always, thanks for reading fellow time travelers!

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