This is a reposting of a series I did for Killer Moose.
Welcome back to the shitshow, darlings.
It’s episode 6! And we are picking up six months after the end of the last episode, making our date 10.16.63.
We open with Oswald successfully interviewing for a job at a Texas school book depository. Ok — that’s set up now. And then he goes to try and convince his pregnant wife into coming back to him (implying that she has left him at some point). She is currently living with a random woman.
Jake and Bill, of course, are still bugging and following Oswald. And Jake, of course, is still kinda treating Bill like crap. Bill wants to know why they just can’t make a whole lot of money with big bets from their fancy future gambling book.
Jake says that’s a bad idea, and for a single hopeful, glimmering moment I think that maybe, just maybe, Jake has learned from his mistakes.
Anyway, Jake & Bill are listening in on Oswald when FBI Spook Guy returns! He and Lee get into a brief conversation that amounts to:
FBI Spook Guy: “Hey — so why did you shoot at General Walker and miss?”
Oswald: “Huh? I wouldn’t waste my time with Walker.”
FBI Spook Guy: “Oh then it wasn’t you?”
Oswald: “That’s a funny thing to say.”
Jake is MYSTIFIED by this conversation! After all, he knows that FBI Spook Guy told Oswald to shoot at Walker! (Except he doesn’t. Because he never did. You assumed, Jake! There’s a difference.)
Bill — in another moment of shocking logical clarity — reminds Jake that they’ve never actually heard Oswald make any plans. And hey — maybe is it possible that by living below the Oswalds all this time they’ve already affected the future?
Jake finds Bill’s logic confusing and insulting, and says no, that’s not possible.
But why? Bill wants to know.
Jake has some answer about not “interacting directly.”
Bill ponders this and wants to know again why, if Jake is so absolutely sure, they can’t just go ahead and kill Oswald now and be done with it?
Jake’s answer is that he has to be absolutely positively double extra sure before he just goes and murders a man. Ya know, because that would be a bad thing to do.
… It’s almost cute when Jake tries to act like anything he’s doing makes consistent competent sense.
Jake then achieves a whole new level of astounding me when he says that if they can’t resolve this whole “certainty” issue by the end of the month then he’s going to just kidnap Oswald.
YES, THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN EXCELLENT PLAN, JAKE.
Bill’s response to this idea? “Then what?”
YES, THAT IS AN ENTIRELY REASONABLE QUESTION, BILL.
Jake’s answer to Bill’s ludicrous demand for detail? “I dunno.”
… I am not shocked by this in the slightest.
Jake then spouts off about about incapacitating Oswald SOMEHOW! … Like locking him in a car trunk (seriously… not making that up) or giving him a bunch of sleeping pills (no, really, these were entirely serious suggestions he had.)
Bill — very rightly — laughs at Jake.
Jump to bland scene with mostly-recovered Lady Whitebread who knows all about the future now and is on the verge of undergoing an $8,000 face surgery (that Jake is entirely paying for). Remember: she needs this $8,000 face surgery because SHE IS SO UGLY NOW.
Then jump to a random scene with Jake and Miss Mimi — who does indeed have cancer!
IS THIS YOUR FAULT, JAKE???
No matter — If Prometheus has taught me anything I can CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT’S YOUR FAULT!
Miss Mimi discusses possibly going to Mexico for experimental treatments, quotes scripture, and basically gives Jake a bunch of tropish “noble black lady wisdom” on love and life.
Jake’s next stop: a bar! to make a bet! When the bookie asks who he is, he basically introduces himself as “Jake Amberson, English Teacher.”
Which makes me wonder — does Jake have his job back? If so — how? Why? Did that whole “moral clause” thing just go away? Are the bets the only way he is making money now? Why does it have to be that way at all? Is there literally no other job he could possibly get? Why was holding a job as an English teacher ok, but securing any other job isn’t ok?
Anyway… Jake places $800 on something with 4:1 odds.
Wait… Does that really qualify as a “small bet,” Jake? Weren’t you just giving Bill shit about this exact thing? And now you’re making fairly large bets?
Ugh. Whatever. So Jake makes his bet, returns to the house, and picks up his headphones to eavesdrop on Lee Harvey Oswald’s birthday party. And GASP! he overhears Bill is at the party! Talking to Marina!
Shocked and furious, Jake goes up the party to fetch Bill and realizes that Bill is basically buddies with Lee’s entire family. This makes Jake tell Bill he’s fucking everything up. And Bill, in turn, argues what if he’s making things better? After all, he and Lee talk about books! He tells Jake to stop being an asshole.
Now I’m not pretending that Bill has been making the best choices here, but it’s still very hard to side with Jake.
Even more angry at being called-out as an asshole, Jake tries to forcibly drag Bill out of the apartment… They scuffle… Knock over a lamp… And surprise surprise, it reveals one of their wires they’ve been using to tap the apartment!
Lee Harvey Oswald is, I think rather understandably, spooked and upset by this.
But the Jake + Bill drama is not yet over! Oh no!
Jake catches a glimpse of Bill and Marina sharing a moment together which leads into a full on brawl in their apartment. Jake calls Bill “so fucking dumb” … and Bill wants to know that if he’s so “dumb” then how come it’s taken Jake six months to notice??
Hey — I kinda have to score that one to Bill, actually…
Bill informs Jake that should he attempt to come between him & Marina, he’ll tell Lee everything Jake’s been doing. Then he pulls an actual gun on Jake, and tells him to leave and that it’s all over.
So yeah. THAT all escalated unnecessarily…
However! A visceral Jake-hating part of me cannot fault Bill for being enraged and fed up with Jake treating him like shit for years now. Because Jake has totally been doing that.
Next we get a scene of Oswald at a shooting range (um… because?), followed by a couple more scenes of Jake and Lady Whitebread.
You see, Lady Whitebread is about to undergo her expensive face surgery at the hospital when Jake notices GASP! Mr. Yellow Card appears! Jake gets locked in a hall (by the universe?) and starts freaking out because he knows that they need to get to Lady Whitebread before something bad happens to her!
And something bad is about to happen to her! Something about the gases for her anesthesia mixing wrong…? Anyway. Lady Whitebread was totally about to die while getting her face fixed, but Jake intervenes.
At this point I really can’t keep up with how the universe is deciding to operate. Hmm… it’s almost as if the universe threats are merely following convenient plot threads for convenient drama moments…
Anyway! Jake barges into the room, stops the surgery, and Lady Whitebread is saved! She is crushed by this, and tries to resign herself to just being a “woman with character” from now on.
YOU ARE ALL THE WORST ASSHOLES! STOP ACTING AS IF SHE FELL FACE-FIRST INTO A VAT OF ACID JOKER STYLE!! IT’S A SCAR! AND IT’S NOT EVEN ACROSS YOUR FACE!! HELL, I KNEW TO LOOK FOR IT AND I STILL ALMOST DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE YOU HAD ONE AT FIRST BECAUSE YOUR HAIR ALMOST COMPLETELY HIDES IT!!
… Yeah… I really really hate this entire sub-subplot…
Once Jake is certain that Lady Whitebread is safe, he goes to “talk” to Bill, and from a distance observes as Bill and Lee bond and chat about a rifle.
Jake’s eyes nearly boggle out of his head as once again his mind makes another stunning leap straight into an wild assumption: “the second shooter” he mumbles in horror to himself.
At this point I am going to pause and take a breather before we talk about what happens next…
Ok. So. Jake goes to Bill and tells him that Marina is having her baby right now! and she is asking for him.
Nope. That’s not happening. What is happening is that Jake is luring Bill to the hospital so that he can trap him into being forcibly committed to psychiatric care (remember that they’re supposed to be ‘brothers.’)
Yup. Our “hero,” Jake Epping, FORCIBLY COMMITS SOMEONE TO PSYCHIATRIC CARE IN 19FUCKING63!
FOR. FUCK’S. SAKE. YOU. ASSHOLE! DO YOU SERIOUSLY NOT KNOW WHAT THEY DID TO PEOPLE IN PSYCHIATRIC CARE IN THAT ERA??? MENTAL HEALTH CARE WAS NOT ANYWHERE CLOSE TO HOW IT WORKS TODAY, JAKE!!! YOU DON’T JUST ‘LOCK PEOPLE UP’ FOR CONVENIENT FUNSIES!!
And yet Jake’s only question when he signs the final papers is not about what they might do or might not do to Bill… Nope. It’s just checking that there is no way Bill can “sign himself out.”
Oh. And… uh… PS… WHERE IS THE FUCKING UNIVERSE ON THIS??
Yeah ok. Downing a cocktail and moving on…
We’re running through the rest of this episode as quickly as I can because I am so angry about this my head wants to explode, and I need coping ice cream ASAP…
So Jake follows FBI Spook Guy more (thereby answering my question about whether or not he still has a job), and then jumps FBI Spook Guy in his car with a rope. Jake proceeds to nigh-strangle him as he demands answers!
Wait no — I need to pause here a moment… WHERE IS THE UNIVERSE?? In the first episode, the universe was literally trying to kill Jake left and right for simply following this man around. And now Jake’s in a car basically strangling him and the universe is just sort of shrugging it off??? Seriously — does the universe just figure by now that Jake is so incompetent that it doesn’t need to worry about him after all?
Anyway. Total shock: FBI Spook Guy says he knows of no plan about killing Kennedy! He didn’t order Oswald to shoot at the General, he was just winding him up! All those envelopes of money?? They were for watering his lawn! He just wanted to help the Oswalds because Marina is from Minsk like he is!
Jake leaves FBI Spook Guy, and we get a brief Chris Cooper flashback.
At this point I may have literally hissed at the tv screen.
Flashback Chris Cooper says that should it turn out that FBI Spook Guy had no involvement in the plot against Kennedy, then the only recourse is to just kill Oswald. Simple.
HATE. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE OF YOU.
In 1963 Jake goes to a telephone booth to call Lady Whitebread.
Personally, I would think Jake might be a little dodgier about telephone booths… but whatever…
Jake asks Lady Whitebread to marry him. Over the phone.
… Because I guess forcibly committing and nearly strangling people just puts Jake in a romantic frame of mind?
He asks her to marry him… never leave him… come to the future with him… (Yup. All things he actually says.)
Lady Whitebread says yes.
At this point it is only extra confirmation that I literally do not understand anyone in this show as a human being.
Jake hangs up the phone… and proceeds to get chased and beaten by the bookie guy from earlier! Ya see, Jake and Bill have been placing all their bets in a bunch of places that all belong to this guy! And yeah, he’s kind of upset about that.
At this point I realize my egregious early episode naivety… Jake really has learned nothing.
Anyway. Jake gets put in the hospital with a traumatic head injury… where he keeps seeing dramatic flashes back and forth between Lady Whitebread and his ex-wife. It’s not compelling in the slightest.
The episode ends with Lady Whitebread and Doctor Donny Hendrix watching over unconscious, beaten Jake.
I would say that I hope Jake never wakes up, except that would mean Bill definitely gets trapped in 1963 Mental Health Care… And that would seriously upset me a lot. Not because I necessarily love Bill, but because the very idea of someone getting forcibly committed like that in 1963 is kinda triggery for me and makes me want to weep Fury Tears.
I really hope next week Bill gets out somehow and just outright murders Jake. At this point I figure history is fucked anyway, so he might as well.
I need ice cream now. You should all go get ice cream too.
Dear gods help us all, I’ll see you next week…