11.22.63: ‘The Rabbit Hole’ Review

11.22.63 'Down The Rabbit Hole'

“The past doesn’t want to be changed.” -Al Templeton

11.22.63 premiered on Hulu with the opening episode, The Rabbit Hole, taking us back in time to October 21st, 1960. Based on the 2011 book by Stephen King, 11.22.63 is taking us back to a simpler time with an awesome cast of characters, an amazing soundtrack, a setting that feels fresh and nostalgic and a bizarre story line that finds our main character, Jake Epping, trying to stop the JFK assassination. This series is literally a blast to the past and the rules of time travel have taken a unique and original twist just like the book it is based on.

I’m going to take you all on a journey back in time as we unravel the mystery of who shot JFK every week and, having read the book, I’ll do my best to provide as much insight into the story as I possibly can. The premiere was a great reminder of why I truly appreciated the book. Time travel is not something you would expect Stephen King to explore but he did a masterful job making us feel like we were living in the 1960s and, just like the epic novel, the new Hulu series appears to be following in the same footsteps.

There was a lot happening in the premiere and, even though we didn’t spend a lot of time with some of the main characters from the ’60s, we did learn a lot about how time travel works and what Jake’s main mission is going to be as the story unfolds. So let’s get ready to jump through the rabbit hole and head to the swingin’ sixties where Jake is about to begin a new life in a completely different decade. Enjoy the review, fellow time travelers.

Jake In Wonderland

After heading down The Rabbit Hole, I’m highly satisfied with how this is all turning out. You see, once upon a time I had high hopes for a Stephen King adaptation called Under the Dome to be just as awesome as the book however it was not to be and Under the Dome ended up being one of the worst shows of all time, ever. Yup, it was that bad and please refer to my old reviews of this monstrosity for non-stop laughs every step of the way. Thankfully, 11.22.63 is not Under the Dome and the series premiere has me wanting more.

Everything gets started with a man named Harry reading a tragic story about his childhood where his sister, brother and mother were viciously murdered while he was spared. While this may not seem important yet, it will play a bigger role once Jake finds himself back in 1960, especially when we consider that all of this went down on Halloween night in the same year.

The opening scene was a emotional moment with Harry reading a story about a tragic event that happened to him when he was a kid. I should also mention that present day Harry is played by Leon Rippy who some of you might remember from his brief appearance on Under the Dome. Thankfully, the Dome days are over and we may actually be in for a ride of epicness with this latest Stephen King adaptation.

Harry Dunning (all grown up)

Obviously Harry’s mind is not all there and we can probably assume that Halloween night on 1960 had something to do with this. It should also be very clear from the final moments of the premiere that Jake is going to attempt to prevent this tragic incident from ever occurring. If that’s the case then I should probably introduce you to a young Harry Dunning:

Little Harry Dunning

We learn that Harry’s father decided to turn himself into a murdering lunatic and kill his entire family with the exception of Harry and the timing is very close to another important date, that being October 21st, 1960. This is the date Jake will arrive at after travelling back in time through the rabbit hole.

We were also treated to a number of awesome jams along the way and I love how the music changed depending on which time period we were in. The first notable track comes from Spoon and is titled Don’t You Evah. Be sure to hit the fucking play button below:

Jake is set to meet his ex-wife over some divorce papers and this is when things really start to get fucked up. Al Templeton, the owner of the diner, is selling top-of-the-line hamburgers at a premium price but it’s not until after Jake is done with his meeting that something was definitely up. You see, Al totally looked like a healthy, older-aged man until he came back from wherever the hell he went.

The Perils of Aging

Luckily for all of us, this is not Under the Dome where Dome Logic reigns supreme and the writers actually explain what happened to Al during that 5-minute meeting between Jake and his ex. First though, Al invites Jake over and tells him to head into his closet which is clearly some kind of code to hide the real purpose. And if you guessed that this was the entrance to Narnia then you would be completely wrong. Instead, Jake finds himself in 1960 and is greeted by a homeless man who can’t stop telling him he shouldn’t be here:

"You shouldn't be here."

They refer to him only as ‘The Yellow Card Man’ because of the yellow card he has on his hat and obviously he is going to be an important mystery going forward since Al specifically says that he isn’t important (total reverse psychology, folks). After Jake returns from his trip down the rabbit hole, Al tells him that he wants him to prevent the assassination of JFK and Jake is probably wondering what the fuck he got himself into because Al appears to be completely bat shit crazy. Al, however, is not crazy. He just needs needs to explain how all of this time travel stuff works and, thankfully, that was exactly what he does.

NEXT PAGE: The Rules of Time Travel