11.22.63: The Kill Floor
February 23, 2016 1:54 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Thrown by the enormity of his goal, Jake decides the one thing he can do to make a real difference is save the family of his friend Harry Dunning. Harry's family was murdered in a small Kentucky town by Harry's father, Frank. But does Jake have what it takes to kill a man and what are the consequences of violence?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
No one else?

I loved it.
It was sadly lacking in the car porn, but the kiddie torture/bullying scene was torture.
And, I know it's a cliche, but the Korean Vet's description of war was really well done.

It feels like they're letting the story breathe and unfold, which is nice.

And it feels authentically King, which seems odd.

Now, if they can just avoid the temptation to stretch it out into multiple seasons.

And those meat prices... so cheap.
Let's be honest, the mark-up of the burgers in episode one was probably serious.

(On a non-spoilery book note: does anyone thing they'll include the 'King 'Verse' nods from the book? Because there's one scene I'd like to see.).
posted by Mezentian at 12:38 AM on February 24, 2016


I did not read the book, but am enjoying the series very much. This episode surprised me, because I assumed he was going to this little town specifically to kill the guy, as sort of a dry run to see if he was capable of it.

I did not see it coming that he would reveal himself as a time traveler. There should be some interesting conversations in the next episode.

LOVED the gun store scene.
posted by heatvision at 3:53 AM on February 24, 2016


LOVED the gun store scene.

Not 24 hours before I had seen an Australian TV show on whacky US gun laws, with an old granny buying a candy pink shotgun, and a family going to some NRA clusterfuck somewhere.

That gun shop thing... I guess nothing has changed.
posted by Mezentian at 4:55 AM on February 24, 2016


Having not read the book, I wonder if we're going to find out that Harry's still just as damaged in the present, but now it's because a wild-eyed stranger burst into his family's house on Halloween and strangled his father.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:56 AM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


This series is a fairly compressed version of the book's storyline, but they're doing a damned good job, I have to say!

One thing that's consistent between the book and the show is that Jake sort of bumbles into these scenarios without really preparing for them adequately in advance -- when you see him loading up on Kaopectate and diapers before his Halloween attack, it's the first time you notice that he is planning on fighting the "time pushes back" force. (If you're tempted to read the book, this scene in particular is totally worth it.)

Really great job casting Harry's father -- Josh Duhamel is that perfect blend of good-looking, charismatic everyman and terrifying American meathead. That scene in the slaughterhouse showed everything Jake is fighting against, and he's doing it alone. Only Al even knows he's gone back in time, and if Jake dies there, nobody will ever know what happened to him. That's got to be a sobering, terrifying thought to have the night before you plan to execute your first pre-emptive murder. He may have faked being a vet to fool his landlady, but you can tell he's never killed anyone before... I think choking out Harry's dad was the right move, but it would've been easier (and probably less emotional) to just shoot him.

God, every time they showed Harry's mom cowering with her broken arm I had to look away. Domestic abuse scenes are just terrifying and sickening to me, ugh.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2016


Old Guy: "So, every time I tried to change the past for even a tiny reason, something horrible happened and it didn't work and also I got cancer, anyway you should definitely go back in time and stop the assassination of JFK"
Jake: "I can't see any holes in this plan."

I like this show so far, but personally I am not really buying James Franco in the role. I just don't feel like he feels like this stuff is actually happening to him, you know? It's like he's almost winking at the camera, somehow.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:13 PM on February 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm okay with Franco's performance, but I have a problem with the character's motivation. The show hasn't convinced me that he really would be motivated to do the JFK thing (which is a huge deal and requires an amazing commitment). On the other hand, it gave the audience many reasons to believe that Jake would be motivated to help Harry.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:20 PM on February 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I agree with this assessment of Jake's character. For a guy who's really thoughtful and charming, curious, well-read, believes in others, and is relatively savvy off the cuff — you'd think he'd question things a bit more. He would think through this timeline and how it works. He'd be a bit more playful. He'd talk to yellowcard man. And he'd definitely go back through the portal, reset, and start over knowing what he knows now.

I'm dying to see the scene already in my head where he lands in 1960, hollers at the milkman, walks off to buy the Fairlane for a few hundred cheaper than the last time, perfects his speech to the barber, jokes with Alice about her future and the pie, gets the suit he wants with the right measurements from the last trip, changes back into his everyday clothes, makes a less insane bet, and charms the living pants off the religious innkeeper with some good 'ole Baptist sweet talk.

It's such an EASY WIN, that montage.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:35 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm dying to see the scene already in my head where he lands in 1960, hollers at the milkman, walks off to buy the Fairlane for a few hundred cheaper than the last time, perfects his speech to the barber, jokes with Alice about her future and the pie, gets the suit he wants with the right measurements from the last trip, changes back into his everyday clothes, makes a less insane bet, and charms the living pants off the religious innkeeper with some good 'ole Baptist sweet talk.

So Groundhog Day then?
posted by scalefree at 12:48 PM on February 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, exactly! But Stephen King style.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:24 PM on February 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Completely separate from the time-travel stuff, the reset behavior creates a Groundhog Day situation and that just shouts experiment! Of course, unlike Groundhog Day, Jake could be killed, so he would need to be careful. Even so -- wouldn't anyone explore this and find it difficult to resist that sort of GD optimization?

If you like this kind of story, there are two pretty good novels with this premise: Ken Grimwood's Replay (first published in 1986) and the more recent The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:00 PM on February 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


You couldn't do a full Groundhog Day situation, because you don't reset, and so you'd be getting older as you practiced everything. That's why Al isn't able to carry out his plan - because of the cancer he was running out of time. I think Harold Ramis said that he figured Phil Connors was stuck in Punxsutawney for 30-40 years. Without spoiling anything, I think it's safe to say there is a bit more of the back-and-forth resetting in the book.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:36 AM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ken Grimwood's Replay (first published in 1986)

This is an amazing book, and I reckon you should all read it.
I figure the lack of name recognition is why it has never been adapted/ruined, and having seen 2/3rds of Childhood's End I am okay with that.

Now, to actually get back to the topic at hand:
He'd talk to yellowcard man

Did he actually have a yellow card in episode one? I can't recall.
posted by Mezentian at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kind of a crappy photo, but here's the yellow card in the brim of his hat, Mezentian.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:46 AM on February 26, 2016


Thanks.
My memory has him as a low man in a yellow coat.

But, is that a pic from the first episode?
posted by Mezentian at 8:05 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yep it is, and I ALSO hear "low men in yellow coats" when I look for him! I think that's how he's decribed at one point in the book, but that description comes up in several of King's books (Hearts in Atlantis, for one, and in describing the can-toi in the Dark Tower series).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:16 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't know why (aside from the fact I love Hearts In Atlantis) but I love the phrase "low men in yellow coats", it's just so evocative.
posted by Mezentian at 8:29 AM on February 26, 2016


Right???? It makes me think of morally bankrupt, dyspeptic middle-aged men that smell like a pack of stale Kools selling "life insurance" in the outskirts of Atlantic City.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:41 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


"...and having seen 2/3rds of Childhood's End I am okay with that."

You too, huh? The OCD/completionist in me is uncomfortable with abandoning it at that point, but, hey, it wasn't good.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:47 PM on February 26, 2016


I still have it there, glaring at me.

It sits, unknown in the darkness, with episodes of Under The Dome, Sleepy Hollow and Helix.... scheming to show me unknowable colours.

To make this relevant, so far 11.22.63 has avoided everything that made Under The Dome so terrible: the episodes are relatively tightly contained, the story isn't being stretched, and we've been introduced to (if I remember) most or all of the key conceits of time travel and the core characters.
posted by Mezentian at 11:42 PM on February 26, 2016


I fianlly got caught up today, and I was overall impressed with the adaptation. The writer's have managed to hit the majority of the beats from the book. I was curious why they decided to change the date the rabbit hole drops you back in time. In the book it starts at September 9, 1958, at precisely 11:58 a.m. The series drops Jake in 1960. I suppose it is just to get the story moving, because there are points in the book where interesting side plots come up as he waits for time to catch up. We shall see.
posted by Benway at 4:32 PM on February 27, 2016


I would have been really okay with a version of this show that stretched its plot out over two or three seasons.

Ivan, I hear and appreciate your criticism of the book and show as doing a kind of whitewashing of the past, so boomers like King can tell the story from the point of view of the past we wish we had, rather than the past we had. On the other hand, I'm also okay with that sort of nostalgic view--one pleasure of fiction is that it can transport us to other places and times, and I'm fine with dwelling in some sort of mostly fuzzed-over, happy-fied version of the past that doesn't match the actual reality.

It's partly because I enjoy seeing Jake make his way through the past that I'd be happier with a much more slowly developing plot. In fact, that's one of the things that I really enjoyed about the book--and I did really enjoy the book.
posted by MoonOrb at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2016


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