So, now we’ve made it: the last episode of 11.22.63. And a very eventful episode it is.
We basically start where we left off last week: Jake and Sadie are driving at breakneck speeds to the Texas School Book Depository to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating Kennedy. True to what’s happened before, the past starts to push back, throwing a rather large number of obstacles in the way.
First, the two end up in a traffic jam. This is fairly easily remedied, however, as they just exit the car and start running. This is when they (quite literally) run into a couple of old friends: Frank Dunning and Johnny Clayton.
This only deters the two for a moment, however, as they duck into an alleyway and continue running. On the way there, Jake explains some things to Sadie about the assassination. The exit the alley, and run into another obstacle: a red car that starts to speed up in an attempt to ram them. They duck into a nearby bus, and the car plows into it.
After Jake manages to convince the janitor to let them into the building and telling him to call the police, Jake and Sadie start going up the stairs to the sixth floor, where Oswald is hanging out and waiting. The staircase they took doesn’t go all the way up, however, but Sadie remembers seeing another staircase that they can take. They finally come to a door, which is stuck, but they manage to pull it open. At this point, it is 12:30 PM, and Oswald takes his first shot (which misses).
Oswald doesn’t get a chance to take a second shot, however, because Jake calls his name and manages to distract him long enough for the motorcade to get away. Oswald is, naturally, none to happy about this and starts stalking Sadie and Jake around the depository. They end up behind a bookcase. Jake tells Sadie to stay there, then goes out to try and talk Lee down.
This goes about as well as can be expected. Lee takes a couple of shots at Jake, all the time raving about how he he’s there to do something and how his mother always told him he could do anything he put his mind to. Jake manages to get behind him, and the two start to tussle. He gets the gun away from Oswald and shoots him in the chest, killing him.
So, yay! Jake managed to stop the Kennedy assassination! Everything should be all sunshine and roses, right? Well, seeing as how the episode isn’t even half over at this point (plus the fact that this is a Stephen King story), Jake’s victory comes at a cost.
Sadie was shot during Jake’s altercation with Oswald, and is dying.
I have mentioned before that I’ve read the book, so I did know that this was going to happen. That said, Sadie’s death was still like a punch in the gut, particularly due to James Franco and Sarah Gadon’s excellent performances. Sadie begs Jake not to leave, and he doesn’t, holding her hand until she dies.
Then, the cops burst in and arrest Jake. He’s taken to the station, where he’s interrogated by both the police captain and FBI Agent Hosty. Jake explains that he was there to prevent Oswald from assassinating Kennedy, saying that Oswald had flat out told him that he was going to do it. Agent Hosty thinks that he’s full of shit, and puts forth the theory that Oswald, Jake, and Sadie are all Russian spies that were sent to kill the president, and Jake was left to take the fall. Interestingly enough, Hosty knows that Jake’s real last name is Epping, not Amberson, and seems to have been keeping tabs on him for quite some time.
The interrogation is stopped by Jake receiving a rather interesting phone call. It seems both President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy know that Jake had stopped Oswald from killing them, and want to say thank you. The first lady also offers condolences to Jake for Sadie’s death.
This seems to convince everyone that Jake is actually the hero of the day, and they let him go. Hosty drives him to a bus station, and the two talk some more. Mostly they discuss Oswald’s motivations, and Jake says he doesn’t think anyone will ever know why he did it. Hosty also offers condolences to Jake. Jake doesn’t reply, and just goes into the bus station and buys a ticket.
While he’s waiting for the bus to Maine to arrive, he looks up and sees Sadie across from him, reading a book. She looks at him, smiles, and disappears after someone else passes in front of her.
Jake makes it back to Lisbon, and the rabbit hole. Before stepping through, however, he says that he’ll fix everything and promises Sadie that he’ll be right back, then steps back through to 2016.
To find that everything is basically in ruins.
He wonders, “What the fuck happened to the diner?” and starts walking around, trying to get his bearings. He approaches a woman with a bicycle, and asks what year it is. She confirms that it’s 2016. He then asks what happened to the diner. She scoffs at him, says she doesn’t know, and walks away.
He continues looking around, finding that the area seems to be mostly abandoned. He sees a man getting attacked by a group of teenagers, and goes to help him. He chases off the attackers, and the man turns around to face him: it’s Harry Dunning.
Harry takes Jake to his place, gives him something very strong to drink, and the two talk for a while. It turns out that Harry recognizes Jake from when he saves his family and killed his father. Jake asks Harry if JFK was ever reelected, to which Harry responds yes, before President George Wallace was elected. He then explains how the country came to be in the state it’s in.
See, the Cold War didn’t turn out to be quite that cold. Between riots and bombing, everything was more or less completely destroyed. Harry mentions going into a refugee camp in 1975, which were started by Kennedy after he was president. Harry then mentions that he wishes Jake had never killed Frank Dunning.
Jake leaves, then starts heading back to the rabbit hole to try and reset everything. On the way, he’s accosted by the teenagers who were hassling Harry earlier, but he manages to make it and go through. Back in 1960, Jake gets another look at the pink convertible that goes by: Sadie is sitting in the back.
He follows the car to a diner, where she’s sitting with her cousins. He goes in to talk to her, but she of course doesn’t recognize him, since she hasn’t met him yet. He tells her that he knows her, and certain things about her that he knows. Then he looks up, and sees the yellow card man looking at him through the window in the diner’s door.
Jake goes out to talk to him, and the yellow card man tells him that he’s stuck in his own loop now. Jake insists that he won’t make the same mistakes, he won’t try and stop the assassination or save Harry Dunning’s family, he just wants to be with her. The yellow card man tells Jake she’ll always die as he walks away.
Sadie comes out and asks if he’s OK. They talk some more, then Sadie takes Jake’s hand. She says that she thinks she may actually know him, and asks who he is. Jake lets go of Sadie’s hand and walks away. Sadie gets back in the car with her cousins, and says “I’m Sadie” as they drive away. Jake whispers to himself, “I know.”
Back to 2016. Jake is sitting in his classroom as his students take a test. The bell rings, and as his students are turning in the tests, one of them asks if he’s OK. He says that he is, then, when the classroom is empty, turns to look out a window.
Harry then walks into the room, and tells him that he didn’t receive his promotion, but thanks Jake for putting in a good word for him. Jake says that he’s sorry he couldn’t help him, then breaks down while Harry comforts him.
We then see Jake typing words into a computer. He’s doing a web search for Sadie, to see what happened to her in the intervening years. It turns out that Sadie’s been awarded Texas Woman of the Year, so he heads to the ceremony in Jodie to see her.
Sadie has, quite obviously, aged quite a bit in the intervening years, but that doesn’t really matter to Jake. She gives her acceptance speech, reading a poem that Deke used to hand out to troubled students.
After the speech, Jake requests a song from the DJ, then goes up to Sadie and asks her to dance with him. During the dance, they have a conversation. Sadie asks if he was a student there, and he responds that he’s a teacher and introduces himself as Jake Amberson. She says that sounds familiar. He asks her if she’s had a happy life, and she says that despite some of the challenges she’s had, she’s still very happy. She asks him why he asks, and he responds that it seems like she deserves it. The scene cuts to the dance they shared while Jake was living in Jodie, then back to the present.
Sadie says that she swears she knows him, and he responds saying he’s someone she knew in another life.
I don’t tend to get very emotional watching movies or TV shows, but I will admit that I was blubbering like a baby at the end of this episode. It’s easily the saddest of the bunch, though the ending, while not particularly happy, is still a good ending. All in all, I think that this was an appropriate closing for this series.
As for the series as a whole, I do wholeheartedly recommend it. It starts out slow, but gets better as it goes.