11.22.63 S01E05 “The Truth” REVIEW

11.22.63 S01E05 “The Truth” REVIEW


stars 3.5

Airing in UK on FOX, Sundays, 9pm
Writer: Bridget Carpenter and Joe Henderson based on novel by Stephen King
Director: James Franco


Essential Plot points

  • The date is 4.8.63.
  • Sadie splits with Jake after hearing the Oswald sex tape.
  • Deke fires Jake from school for immorality.
  • Jake and Bill plan to observe Oswald’s attempt on Walker’s life.
  • Bill asks if – when their mission is done – he can come to the present with Jake. Jake says no.
  • Jake goes back to his house in Jodie to erase his Jake Amberson identity.
  • Jake gets a phone call from Johnny, who has Sadie hostage.
  • Jake rushed to Sadie’s house – leaving Bill to deal with Oswald – and finds out that the gun-toting Johnny has badly cut Sadie’s face.
  • Bill goes to see Marina and Oswald gives him a book on Karl Marx.
  • After Johnny tries to make Jake drink bleach at gun point Sadie and Jake kill Johnny when Jake throws the bleach in his face.
  • Bill misses the Oswald shooting at General Walker because he thinks he sees his sister but it is just a random girl.
  • Sadie is rushed to hospital. She survives but will be left horribly scared.
  • Jake tells Sadie the whole truth about who he is.




This latest episode of 11.22.63 marks a return to form after last week’s lacklustre episode. The tension of previous episodes returns even if there isn’t a great deal of progress made in preventing the assassination of JFK by the all too convenient ending. “The Truth” is a bit of a detour but at least it’s an interesting detour.


The action picks up with Sadie storming out of Jake’s house in Jodie after she discovers the tapes of Oswald and Marina at the end of last episode. Once again it’s interesting to see how quickly Jake is able to think of a lie saying that the tapes were a radio play. But b now Sadie can see through Jake’s lies and she leaves telling him she never wants to see him again. What follows is a strange flash back (or flash forward?) to Jake’s classroom in the present where he puts the idea of time travel to his students. This intriguing scene begs the question: when did this happen? Was it just a random event? Was this after Al told Jake about the Rabbit Hole? Or is this just something taking place in his mind?


The scene does show Jake’s ability to teach as the kids have an honest discussion about time travel in relation to history and reference the Odyssey, which they have been reading. Jake also uses his capability as a teacher in an appeal to Deke, his ’6os headmaster, not to fire him after his split with Sadie but Deke has had enough. Miss Mimi’s reaction to Jake being fired shows she clearly cares about Jake but is that only because of the lie he told her in the previous episode?

There is another flash back this time with Al explaining that he only made it to 1962 before he had to return to the present and he talks about wanting to see if Oswald was alone when he took the shot at General Walker. So now Jake and Bill must try to discover the same thing: if Oswald is acting alone they can deal with him straight away to prevent the assassination of JFK, but if he’s working for the CIA, then taking Oswald out of equation will only mean they’ll find another patsy. As Bill and Jake case Walker’s house it feels vaguely reminiscent of a show like CSI as the camera pans and zooms around while Jake describes what is about to happen.


The boys prepare to seek the truth – a theme that defines this episode justifying the title – and Jake has prepared to fight the past by taking extra provisions including adult diapers, an amusing call back to the a previous episode. Jake explains if Oswald is a lone gunman and they deal with him, then he will return to the present. Bill asks if he can return with Jake and Jake says no. Bill appears to accept this a little too pragmatically, but this does hint at interesting narrative possibilities down the line.

Jake the receives a call from Johnny, Sadie’s ex husband. This is where the real meat of the episode begins as Johnny asks Jake to come to Sadie’s house, and Jake hears Sadie screaming in the background. What follows is a an excellent juxtaposition of Jake sprinting to Sadie’s house intercut with a call to Bill to tell him he must spy on Oswald alone.

Jake arrives at Sadie’s house for  series on incredibly tense scenes. Once again Johnny proves to be one of the show’s strongest characters – he is completely terrifying. He has mutilated Sadie’s face, which he reveals by pulling a blood-stained pillowcase off her head. The method by which Johnny wants to kill Jake – forcing him to drink bleach – disturbingly reflects Johnny’s psychotic obsession with cleanliness. Sadie refers to a hint of possible abuse in Johnny’s past in an attempt to distract him from trying to force feed Jake the bleach, at which point the doorbell rings and the action is left on a mini-cliff hanger as the perspective shifts to Bill.


Once again Bill goes to have a cigarette with Marina, only for Oswald to come out and instead of questioning Bill’s about what he’s up to hanging around with Marina (perhaps he doesn’t care?) he gives Bill a Karl Marx paperback. Let’s hope Bill doesn’t read it and come around to Oswald’s point of view, or as Oswald calls it “the truth”. (They’re getting their mileage out of that episode title, aren’t they?)

Mercifully the action returns to Jake, Johnny and Sadie. Two of the students from the school have come to the house to see Sadie. Jake is able to get rid of them, then, as he sits down to drink the bleach, he hurls it into Johnny’s psycho face instead. There’s a brief chase through Sadie’s house with Johnny firing blindly before Jake slams a poker into the side of Johnny’s head and Sadie finishes Johnny off with a shot to the chest from his own gun. While it seems a little unnecessary to shoot a man with a large metal object protruding from his skull, Sadie deserves to get revenge on this horrible man. Sadie is then rushed to the hospital and Deke comes to Jake’s rescue when he is questioned by the police for murder, which is a little convenient but Jodie is a small town.


Meanwhile Bill has been following Oswald and at the pivotal moment when Oswald is about to shoot, Bill sees what he thinks is his dead sister but it turns out to be just a random girl. This makes him miss the assassination attempt on Walker – was this the past playing tricks on his mind? It’s mysteries like this that will keep viewers coming back for more. The episode ends with Jake deciding to tell Sadie the whole truth – that he’s a time traveller.

This tender scene closes an episode that about the danger of concealing the truth. While the ending is a little bit too neat and tidy – and hardly proved a cliffhanger to get you back next week – there are plenty of questions left unanswered.


The Good:


  • The tension’s back!
  • Johnny is great character even though he’s super scary (again).
  • Johnny gets a good comeuppance.
  • So many unanswered questions!


The Bad:


  • Happily ever after ending.
  • Are Jake and Bill ever going to do something to stop JFK getting assassinated?
  • Will Sadie get in the way of the mission?


And The Random:

  • Jake threw away perfectly good enchiladas – what a berk.
  • Jake Epping’s real birth year is the same as James Franco’s.


  • General Walker did indeed hang the American flag upside down in his yard in real life. He said it indicated a country in distress or under attack.

Review by Ned Newberry


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