11.22.63: ‘The Day In Question’ Review

11.22.63 'The Rest Is History'

“We never know which lives we influence or when or why but I am so very grateful to be part of yours.” -Sadie

11.22.63 wrapped things up with ‘The Day In Question’ and it was everything I didn’t know I needed in my life. Seriously though, this was a beautiful finale and quite frankly, a lot of other shows could learn a thing or two from 11.22.63. Everything was wrapped up perfectly, no question was left unanswered and the ending hopefully had you smiling. I know I was (and with tears in my eyes).

Surprisingly, our main plot was wrapped up rather quickly with Jake and Sadie preventing Oswald from shooting JFK. An average show probably would have spent the entire finale focusing on the day in question but 11.22.63 had a lot more story to tell. I was very happy to see Jake return to the present and, with Sadie not making it out of the shootout alive, Jake’s decision to return was a straightforward one. Even more surprising, however, was the present he returned to. After preventing the JFK assassination, I thought for sure the world would be a much better place but instead it was a dark wasteland. It goes to show you that it would be 100% impossible to know what effect changing the past would have on the future and will hopefully teach future time travelers a very valuable lesson. Also, my apologies to Jake because he should have NEVER listened to Al in the first place.

I am going to deeply miss this show. It was way too short and I really hope Hulu decides to go the anthology route and bring this back for another season. The possibilities are endless and I have compiled a list of possibilities for future seasons at the end of this review. Personally, I think this series has the perfect recipe to become an anthology where each season would focus on a new time period and event. Admit it, this would be fucking cool! Let’s just all hope the execs over at Hulu are reading this and plan on getting Mikey involved in the storytelling (and then I woke up from my dream).

Now I know we didn’t ask for this room or this music but since we’re here, let’s DANCE and enjoy the review, fellow time travelers.

Saving The Day

Jake and Sadie are hightailin’ it to the book depository as time is slowly running out on Jake’s mission. Oswald is ready and in position and the only thing that is going to to stop him from making history is Jake, if he can get to scene of the crime in time. The past must have taken a day off though because Jake and Sadie didn’t have much of a problem reaching their destination. Sure, Jake and Sadie started hallucinating and all sorts of dead people showed up in an attempt to stop them but it didn’t really seem all that hard.

I see dead people.

Plus, this happened:

Crash Course with History

Yup, some idiot decided to crash their vehicle directly into a bus. Luckily for Jake and Sadie, they are perfectly fine and simply get off the bus, pull a gun on Oswald’s co-worker and make their way into the book depository. Honestly, I was a bit surprised to see the past slack off so much on such an important day but I guess we’ve all had days like that. Still, the past should probably be fired for its laziness.

Jake and Sadie are in a race against time as they make their way up the stairs to the sixth floor where Oswald is gettin’ his gun on. Oswald pulls the trigger but, just like in the history books, he misses his first shot.

Call of Duty

Jake and Sadie reach their destination in the nick of time and Jake is somehow able to distract Oswald long enough and JFK manages to escape with his life. Mission totally fucking completed! Of course, there is still a crazy lunatic with a rifle in the room. Luckily, Jake was able to perform a sneak attack on Oswald and also grabbed his gun in the process. Jake then proceeds to do this:

Fucking Up The Past

Yup, Oswald is dead and JFK is alive. That was easy, right? Oh wait…I guess I should have also mentioned that Sadie was shot by Lee during their little scuffle and ends up dying. Wait, WHAT?! Jake literally just saved her life from her bat shit crazy ex-hubby and now she’s dead at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald. Unbelievably tragic stuff but absolutely necessary for that amazing ending to happen. Unbelievably, Jake has already completed his mission and we still have 45-minutes of finale left.

Love Lost

An American Hero

After Sadie’s death, there’s clearly only one thing left for Jake to do and that’s jump back down the rabbit hole and rejoin the rest of us in 2016. The problem, however, is that he’s been arrested for the attempted murder of JFK and ain’t going no where. Also, these cops totally blow:

“It’s too bad you banged your head on that doorframe, son.”

Jake tells the cops his story and it’s pretty fucking hard to believe. In fact, they think Jake’s story is complete horse shit and who can blame them. Luckily for Jake, Making A Murderer is still 52 years away from existing and he’s able to talk his way out of this insane predicament.

"I didn't do it, dude."

Good thing too since Jake has already murdered Harry’s father and Sadie’s ex-husband, his alleged brother Bill committed suicide after Jake had him committed to an insane asylum and, of course, he just recently murdered Oswald with his own rifle. Easily one of the coolest scenes from the finale, Jake ends up getting a call from the President himself and John F. Kennedy and the first lady thank him for his brave act. At the very least, Jake got a pretty amazing souvenir from his trip and is now the only man in the history of the world to speak to JFK after his assassination. Fucken eh!

“Holy shit. I’m talking to a dead President.”

With that, Jake has completed his mission and everyone he got close to in the past is dead. That means there is only one thing left to do and that is to head back to Maine and hjump back through the rabbit hole so we can all see what effect this American hero has had on American history.

Dystopia

As I was watching the finale, I couldn’t help but feel a lot of things for Jake. He literally just went back in time for three years and prevented a significant tragedy from ever occurring. I’m not even quite sure what that would feel like, and I doubt I ever will for obvious reasons, but you just had to feel something for the guy. For me, I felt a whole lot of relief, some sadness over Jake’s loss and a lot of excitement to see what 2016 looks like. Unfortunately for all of us, a world where JFK is not assassinated is not a world any of us should ever want to live in.

“What happened to the fucken diner?”

Yup, the world is now a nuclear wasteland and somehow Jake’s improbable mission has transformed the world into the worst planet ever. This is easily the shittiest possible outcome and evidently Al was completely fucking wrong about everything (except Vietnam which never happened in this new timeline). Way to go, Al!

But hey, at least Harry is okay after Jake saved his entire family from being murdered in the past. I should also mention that Harry looks like he’s ready for the gold rush:

Welcome to the Wild West

Howdy, partner! Harry is perfectly normal now and remembers when Jake showed up years ago but is obviously questioning why Jake still looks as young as he did back then. Of course, Jake just wants information about this new world and we learn that JFK was President two times before George Wallace took over. Wait, what in the fuck? George Wallace was President? There was no Vietnam and no 9/11 and yet everything is completely fucked up? Well, that’s depressing.

We also learned about the Kennedy refugee camps which were created in 1975 after the first bombings (use your imagination, folks). The camps were, as Harry says, bad places where bad things happened. So basically, the new 2016 totally sucks balls after Jake changed history and I think it’s time to head back to 1960 to hit the ole reset button.

"Just like Nintendo."

How fucking cool was this though? For those who have read the book, I know you probably expected this to happen, as did I, but I was still just as shocked as the first time I read the book and seeing it on the TV screen made it seem that much more dark. Seriously though, Jake’s entire mission was for nothing and he ultimately destroyed the world instead of saving it. I’m willing to bet that not a lot of us saw that one coming but it definitely made for an epic ending.

Happily Ever After

The world has gone to complete shit so Jake has no choice but to go back to the ’60s to live out his days with Sadie and who can really blame the guy? His mission was a complete success but, unfortunately, it turns out that preventing the JFK assassination actually made the world a much worse play to live. Who would have thought? In terms of Jake’s character, he’s made a lot of selfish decisions throughout the season but I think his final decision to leave Sadie in the past was his most selfless one and was also one of the saddest and happiest moments of the series.

All Smiles

Jake absolutely wants to be with Sadie but he comes to the conclusion that no matter what he does, Sadie’s life will always be extinguished early as long as he is involved. The Yellow Card Man warned him of this repetitive and vicious cycle and so the only way to ensure that Sadie would be able to live a long and happy life was to leave her alone. Yup, 11.22.63 turned out to be a love story and it was a pretty damn good one at that.

It Always Ends The Same

No matter what Jake does, Sadie will always die if he’s involved in her life so leaving her in the past was clearly the best decision Jake could make. The smile on Sadie’s face said it all though and it was so satisfying to see how happy she was, even if it meant that her and Jake would have to spend the rest of their lives apart. It was also pretty damn hard to fight back the tears. Damn you, show.

The tears continued to roll when Jake has a breakdown after his class and repeatedly apologizes to Harry for not being able to help him. Even though he never did get that promotion, Harry thanks Jake and lets him know that he’s a good man and he is absolutely right about that. It was one of those moments that made you feel terrible for Jake who has been through a helluva lot during his trip to the past.

Luckily though, it was all worthwhile. Jake is able to track down Sadie in Jodie, Texas where they are celebrating her new title as ‘Texas Woman of the Year’. And this would never have been possible if Jake had stayed with Sadie in the past. There is not too many times that I’m so blown away by an ending but this was one of those moments that I will never forget because of how powerful the dialogue was. Sadie reads a poem of Deke’s, someone Jake knows all too well, and these words speak for themselves:

“We did not ask for this room or this music. We were invited in. Therefore, because the dark surrounds us, let us turn our faces to the light. Let us endure hardship to be grateful for plenty. We have been given pain to be astounded by joy. We have been given life to deny death. We did not ask for this room or this music, but because we are here, let us dance.”

And dance they did.

Someone you knew in another life

I could honestly watch that final scene over and over and over again, it was that fucking good! For me, this will go down as one of the best finales I have ever seen and definitely makes the entire season worth every minute. Take a bow, show! You’re getting a standing ovation and we’ll play some Sam Cooke in the background, the same song that Sadie and Jake shared their final dance to:

The Future

With this amazing season of time travel coming to an end, I think it’s safe to say that we all hope 11.22.63 returns for more trips through time. This series would work so well as an anthology, much like True DetectiveFargo and American Horror Story where each season could focus on a new time period, a new historical event and a new method of time travel. Admit it, you would totally love this!

I’ve put together a quick list of historical moments that I think would make for an absolutely stunning season and hopefully someone out there with the power to renew this series is reading this because the possibilities are endless (or maybe ‘timeless’ is the better word to use).

(1) 09.11.01 – Obviously September 11th, 2001 was a date that changed the world forever, especially America. The possibilities are endless with this one but it might get a little complicated considering how many planes were used on that day. Still, this date and event are an obvious choice given how the world changed overnight.

(2) 04.15.65 – I’m guessing some people won’t recognize this date and it’s probably because you wrongfully assumed I was referring to 1965 when, in fact, I was referring to 1865. Going on a similar premise to the JFK assassination, how cool would it be to see a new character head back in time to the 1800s to try and stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Instead of Oswald, we would get to see John Wilkes Booth in action, minus all of the technology. Count me totally fucking in.

(3) 06.28.14 – I hope you didn’t fall for it again. Obviously this date is not referring to 2014 but rather 1914, the day archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. For those not familiar, this is pretty much THE event that started World War I so how awesome would it be for the series to head to Europe and explore this major event that ultimately led to war.

(4) Any date in the past – While the focus of 11.22.63 was to prevent a historical event from ever happening, there are some individuals who have done some pretty despicable things in history. Instead of focusing on a date, the series could explore an individual and the time traveler would be given the task to stop them. One individual who comes to mind here would be Adolph Hitler who is obviously one of the most crazy fucker’s in world history so having an entire season revolving around trying to kill him before he rises to power would be epic in every way.

(5) Any date in the future – While all of the focus has been on the past, why not have an entire season dedicated to time traveling to the future. I’m not quite sure what the plot would look like for this one given the fact that the main character couldn’t possibly know what is going to happen in the future but I think we should definitely consider going forward in time just as much as going back.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LOVES TIME TRAVEL

Mikey Likes It11.22.63 has easily been one of the best new series of 2016 and this finale all but confirms it. Without such a strong ending, I’m not sure if my feelings would have been the same but this illustrates perfectly why it’s so important to finish strong. Other shows such as The Walking Dead find ways to trick the fans into coming back for more when they don’t need to and I think 11.22.63 just proved why this is such a big mistake. You don’t necessarily have to give the fans exactly what they want as long as the story itself is interesting and finishes strong and this finale was straight up epic.

Jake was able to complete his mission in time but the end result of this accomplishment was complete and utter devastation. You would think this would make us upset and feel like we just wasted our lives watching Jake spend 3 years in the ’60s. Yet, I’m so satisfied with the way things ended that none of this even matters by the time the credits rolled. For me, watching Jake go back to the ’60s only to have to say a final goodbye to his one true love was heartbreaking but necessary and I was beyond satisfied knowing that Sadie was able to live a long and happy life, touching many other lives around her. It really was one of those beautiful moments that only comes around ever so often.

The other interesting aspect of the finale was with respect to the dystopian future Jake came back to after preventing the JFK assassination. I’m sure most of us would think like Al and assume that preventing such an event would have positive consequences on the rest of the world. We are, however, failing to realize that there is no way of actually knowing. In fact, in this particular case, the world was a much better place to live with JFK taking the bullet. How’s that for some deep, existential shit?

The moral of the story though seems to lie with Sadie. With her alive, she was able to touch so many lives and, even though she was never going to be remembered like JFK, keeping her alive in the world turned out to be more important in the end.

So what did everyone think of ‘The Day In Question’? Were you in complete shock that the world became a nuclear wasteland by letting JFK live? Or are you ready to hit the reset button on this series altogether? Let us know all of your thoughts and theories and thanks for reading, fellow time travelers! It’s been an absolutely epic journey through time and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Follow Mikey on Twitter and/or Facebook for all the latest reviews, memes and gifs from all of your favorite episodes of 11.22.63 and more.