What's up nerds? I haven't written in a while. Winter break. Got some gifts. Ate a lot. Got fat. Yet, even with all that gift-giving, food-engorging awesomeness going on, one thing was missing--some good TV shows! But now spring is in the air and so is new programming. Speaking of new, 11.22.63 does not disappoint. There are spoilers ahead just FYI.
The master, Stephen King, has done it again with 11.22.63, a mini-series based on his book of the same title about a man's attempt to foil the assassination of President Kennedy via a time portal in a diner. James Franco plays Jake Epping, a recently divorced writing teacher, who is enlisted by his ailing friend Al to finish what he started--going through "the rabbit hole" and stopping the murder of the president in hopes that that change in history would prevent the Vietnam War and other tragedies.
The first episode pulls you in right away, introducing us to Harry, one of Jake's beleaguered students who regales Jake's class of the gruesome tale of how his entire family was bludgeoned by his father with a sledgehammer on Halloween in 1960. He tells the story with heart-wrenching emotion and of course his assignment earns him an A plus.
Next we meet Al Templeton, the owner of a diner and Jake's friend. Al confides in Jake about the rabbit hole in the diner and his plan to stop JFK from being killed. However, now that Al has cancer he can no longer see it through and he asks Jake to take over. Jake was hesitant at first but of course he ends up agreeing to do it, otherwise there wouldn't be a story, right? But there are rules about the rabbit hole: no matter how long you stay gone in the past, only two minutes pass in the present; and every time you come back everything resets as if you were never there. Also, you may run into kinks while trying to change things.
The second episode is more eventful. Jake resigns to prevent Harry's tragic fate since Halloween is nigh. It doesn't take him long to find poor young Harry, who is not only terrorized by his father but frequently bullied by other kids. Jake first tries to sway his father, Frank, played with menacing mastery by Josh Duhamel. Frank humors Jake at first, but it soon becomes clear that he is suspicious of him. He and his drunk friends take Jake to the slaughterhouse to kill a cow "for fun." When Jake refuses, Frank and his crew taunt him and leave him there.
Jake then tries to convince his wife, Doris, to leave town by pretending she's won a vacation. Later, Frank pays Jake a visit and takes him to his butcher shop where he finds Doris with a black eye. Frank accuses Jake of trying to seduce his wife, then he pummels him and kicks both him and Doris out. Now convinced that if he doesn't act Harry's family will be killed, Jake heads to Doris's house to stop Frank from killing them. He is nearly held up by Bill, the resident bartender, but Bill also hates Frank and tells Jake that Frank killed his sister. Frank arrives right on time, and after a brawl Jake manages to strangle Frank to death while Doris and the children hide in another room.
In the respite of his success, Bill finds him again and confronts him with a newspaper clipping he found from the future. Uh-oh!
Franco portrays Jake as believably as possible for what is most certainly an unbelievable plot. We watch a hero form before our eyes--someone determined to save a family from a horrid death, even if it means he must take a life to do so. We see that Jake has what it takes to see this quest through to the end, and I'll be right there along for the ride with him. Until next time, nerds....