TV Show Review

TV Review: 11.22.63: Season 1, Episode 5: The Truth [Hulu]

11.22.63 George MacKay James Franco

Hulu‘s 11.22.63 The Truth TV Show Review. 11.22.63: Season 1, Episode 5: The Truth both pushes and pulls, giving our characters long-awaited discovery of the truth in some parts of their lives, and in others causing them to miss out on the truth completely.

This episode takes place in April of 1963, just as Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber) is nearing his attempted murder of General Walker (Gregory North). Jake (James Franco) and Bill (George MacKay) plan to stake out the shooting in order to discover whether Lee is acting alone or as an agent of the CIA. Jake explains to Bill that this information will help them to determine their next steps; if all goes according to plan, Jake plans to kill Lee, escape to Maine, and head back to 2016.

Jake doesn’t have so much of a plan for his personal life, though. His recent escapades have gotten him fired and lost him the trust of Sadie. On the day that Jake and Bill plan to stake out Lee’s shooting, Jake returns to his home in Jodie to tie up all the loose ends of “Jake the teacher.” While cleaning, he receives a disturbing call from Johnny (T.R. Knight), Sadie’s husband. Here, Jake has to make a choice between Sadie (Sarah Gadon) and the mission for which he was sent, and he doesn’t hesitate. Calling Bill to let him know that he’ll have to watch Lee on his own, Jake rushes over to Sadie’s.

He arrives to a horrifying sight: Johnny has gouged a hole into the side of Sadie’s face. “You did this,” he says to Jake. He says that Jake made Sadie dirty, and that things can’t go back to normal after she shared Johnny’s embarrassing secret. Johnny forces Jake to kiss Sadie, and then pours him a glass of bleach, threatening to kill Sadie if he doesn’t drink the whole thing. Just then Sadie knocks over a glass bowl, causing it to shatter, and Jake realizes that she wants him to use a piece of glass as a weapon. Sadie begins to tell yet another of Johnny’s dirty secrets to distract him, this time about an inappropriate relationship with his grandmother, and just as Jake is reaching for glass the doorbell rings.

Jake silently tells the students who have come to the door to call the police. Then he throws the glass of bleach in Johnny’s eyes, temporarily blinding him. Johnny attempts to shoot Jake and Sadie, but they kill him first: Jake drives a poker into his head, and Sadie shoots him just as the police show up.

Meanwhile, Bill indulges his crush on Marina (Lucy Fry), Lee’s wife, by inviting her to share a forbidden cigarette. He confides in Marina that his sister Clara died and that he still misses her. Upon finding them, Lee doesn’t suspect Bill of anything; instead, he gives him a copy of the Communist Manifesto to read, saying that “it tells the truth.”

That night Bill heads out to observe Lee as she shoots General Walker. Just before the shot, though, Bill sees a woman who looks just like his sister Clara. He sprints off to find her, hearing Lee’s shot just as she turns around and Bill realizes that she is not Clara. He has missed Lee’s attempt, sacrificing the chance to find out the truth about Lee for the chance to discover the truth about his sister; he admits to Jake on the phone that Clara’s body was never found and he still looks out for her.

The shot that Jake has been waiting for has been ruined, and on top of that he could be arrested for murder. But when he’s questioned, Jake simply tells the truth: “It felt f***ing great to crack his skull because he deserved it. You can put that in your book.” To which the officer responds, “I don’t need to.”

After a great deal of waiting, Jake is allowed to see Sadie after her surgery. He tells Sadie that it was she who saved his life, that he can’t do this without her, and that he’s going to tell her the truth. And so he does- as well as telling Sadie that he loves her. She responds that she loves him too.

Jake has been lying to the people around him since day one, and that lying has almost been taking up more of his energy than his actual investigation has. Finally in this episode Jake is unburdened by keeping up appearances, and instead he simply has to rely on quick thinking and judgment of what it means to do the right thing. When he does this, he proves to Sadie that it’s worth it to stick around and trust him about the truth.

However, as with much of the series, Jake seems to be focusing less on saving JFK and more on his own life. His mission has almost become a side story, and Bill is continually given more and more power within it. Unfortunately, though, Bill has his vices as well; his crush on Marina and his preoccupation with his sister have kept him from discovering the truth about Lee’s attack on General Walker, and it’s unclear where he and Jake can go from here.

11.22.63 continues to thrill and to deftly mix time travel, adventure, love, and mystery into this highly original story. We can only imagine where the last three episodes might take us.

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About the author

Leah Singerman

Leah writes about life lessons found in unconventional places. She especially likes to draw random connections, think about the things that we all share as humans, and find the important life lessons in seemingly fluffy romantic comedies. Leah’s other interests include Harry Potter, music, and the great outdoors.

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