11.22.63: Other Voices, Other Rooms
February 29, 2016 10:25 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Jake finds an unlikely ally in his quest.

With Bill Turcote, Jake travels to Dallas and gets a teaching job at small town Jodie High School, where he meets school librarian Sadie Dunhill. Jake constructs a double life - teaching by day in Jodie and spying at night on Lee Harvey Oswald.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (14 comments total)
Well, this episode didn't work for me at all. The previous two were paced very well, even though they moved through a lot of material. In this case, it just felt disjointed.

The episode descriptions I've found (which I've edited and paraphrased here), including the one on Hulu, all indicate that Oswald is living in Dallas during this episode, but my memory of this part of the book, which matches the actual history, is that Oswald and Marina were living in Fort Worth after Oswald's return to the US in 1962 (the book and show places it in April/May, but it was actually in June). That's the "bad" neighborhood they were in, not in Dallas, and IIRC King describes this neighborhood extensively. It's at 7th and Summit, which I think is called "Upper West Side". I can't find any historical information on that neighborhood -- now it's just downtown office and very little or no residential.

Of course, it's also the case that the fictional town of Jodie in the book was not "between Fort Worth and Dallas", but rather somewhere near Waco (west?), about sixty miles away from DFW. Even in 1960 the area between Fort Worth and Dallas was filled in with suburbs or towns that wouldn't be quite like Jodie; Irving is where Oswald's mom lived.

And the biggest change is this addition of Bill Turcote. Unless I'm having a major brain failure, this character didn't exist in the books, except that I do recall the guy that saw him outside Harry's house. But no one like this in Texas.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:04 PM on February 29, 2016

The part where he has a dumb young partner seemed like a bad enough idea. Now he's dating a coworker? What shall he commit to next to make his mission more difficult? Tupperware parties at his apartment? He could invite the CIA!

I typically enjoy romantic subplots, but the premise of this show is so good that it doesn't need one. He's like Kyle Reese, only getting emotionally entangled with this person is not going to result in a baby that will save Kennedy. Is she the past pushing back? I don't care. This can serve little purpose except to distract Jake from the interesting main story. It's obviously going to go wrong with her, so I just hope they don't stretch it out.

The Oswald tantrum at the end was good stuff, though.
posted by heatvision at 4:54 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not really sure how much you can talk about book versus movie in this thread, but I'm getting the impression this is not going to be a stellar adaptation.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:34 AM on March 1, 2016

Well, it's already been mentioned that the addition of Bill Turcotte is a pretty major deviation from the book - but I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that he's basically there as a narrative/expository replacement for Jake's inner monologue in all of the "spying on Oswald" parts of the story, which would have been hard to adapt to the screen otherwise. I don't know why they had to go with such a hayseed stereotype, though.

I assume they're trying to wrap this up in one season, which means they've had to compress a lot of stuff that felt like it grew and evolved more naturally in the book (the Sadie subplot included.) It's 1962 already? Unless I missed something they jumped straight from Halloween night, 1960 to Jake teaching high school in 1962.

I did love the filling station scene, though!
posted by usonian at 8:43 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

In an unmarked thread like this (it's neither "show only" nor "books included"), book talk is okay but spoilers are definitely not okay. Sometimes that can be a difficult needle to thread and I think if there's ambiguity, one ought to favor avoiding potential spoilers.

So, yeah, Turcote is a major change. I suppose it makes sense as unsonian argues, but, well, I'm not totally convinced they couldn't have done the Oswald-spying without him. For me, the bigger issue is just how fast they sped through a lot of time/developments.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sadie start at the high school earlier in the books? This speaks to heatvision's complaint in that if Jake is there for three years, it's kind of hard to fault him for falling in love with someone he meets and works with every day for a long time. But when it happens in his last year or so, it's a bit more unwise of him.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:07 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just a quick note: the apartment definitely IS in Fort Worth in the show. They mention that extremely briefly.
posted by destructive cactus at 1:25 AM on March 2, 2016

Bill Turcotte is in the book - just like in the TV series, he shows up to confound Jake's plans to kill Frank Dunning - but he doesn't stick around.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:11 AM on March 2, 2016

Yeah, this episode is a bit weird, and there was a time warp, but otherwise it seems to be sticking to the book somewhat decently. Agreed this episode was a bit weaker than the first two, though. It kept my attention, but it took a bit of effort on my part to help it.
posted by wierdo at 10:21 AM on March 2, 2016

I have a theory about the end of the series that I want to get down for the record, but since it's based partially on knowledge of the book, I'm going to ROT-13 it. It's not technically a spoiler, as it is just speculation on my part, but I'll err on the side of non-spoileriness:

Onfrq ba Fnqvr zragvbavat gung fur unq n zvyxfunxr va Yvfoba, Znvar "gjb lrnef ntb", V guvax gur frevrf vf tbvat gb raq jvgu Wnxr ergheavat gb gur cerfrag. Ur jvyy gura tb onpx vagb gur pybfrg, gurerol "erfrggvat" gur cnfg, jurer ur jvyy svaq Fnqvr rawblvat n funxr naq fgnl creznaragyl va gur cnfg jvgu ure.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 AM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Rock Steady, can you memail me your theory? In plain English? I have no patience for ROT 13 but I LOVE this book and I'm interested in your thoughts...
posted by pearlybob at 1:12 PM on March 3, 2016

The episode was much more lighthearted than the previous two, so that could be why it felt a little off.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:37 PM on March 3, 2016

That scene where Jake's walking down the school hallway, you see the banners in the background change from 1960 to 1961 and then 1962. It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of timespanning wink, but it's there.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:19 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I don't think I can hang with this show anymore. I completely buy into the time travel premise and its random rules, but all the small day-to-day stuff is too untrue and preposterous. They're not even having fun with it. :(
posted by iamkimiam at 7:15 AM on March 13, 2016

he's basically there as a narrative/expository replacement for Jake's inner monologue

Right, yes; King tends to write from inside his loner protagonist's heads, which is hard to render on-screen without using a lot of voiceover.

But also Bill's there as a source of extra danger to Jake's mission: he tells Jack Ruby (!) that Jake came from the future; he screams at spiders in Oswald's attic. That felt a bit cheap; part of the tension of the book is that the success or failure of the mission rides entirely on Jake's shoulders.

I think also the presence of Bill undermines the Jody storylines a bit by reducing the contrast between Jake's public and private lives? The Dallas/Fort Worth stuff feels a lot less lonely with a sidekick.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:56 PM on May 13, 2019

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