Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Castle Rock Companion - 11.22.63 episode 4

This episode definitely felt more transitional than anything of merit or story on its own.  It moves Jake and Sadie's relationship forward and introduces her ex-husband, and adds a little more information on what's going on with Lee, but it all definitely feels more like set up than a stand alone.

On the Jake and Sadie side, it's possible that a mini-series or film is just never going to leave me satisfied when it comes to relationships and love. In the book we get the chance to see these two really get to know each other and become close, and here it seems like we're just skipping to the smooching and sleeping together with them barely knowing each other.  I feel like the show is expecting you to believe they're in love based solely on the chemistry of the two leads, and I'm just not feeling it that deeply.  Especially when most of the scenes are focusing on how much Jake is keeping from Sadie.

On top of that, Sadie's confession to Jake about what happened in her former marriage was very poorly handled.  For one thing, wouldn't that be something she'd want to discuss before sleeping with him?  I seem to recall that's the way it goes in the book, or she at least admits that things were not quite right with her husband.  When she does tell him, it comes out in a confusing jumble, like they didn't want to get into all the details King describes in the book so they just sort of skipped through it and it barely made sense.  It should have been a very sad moment but instead it just ended up confusing.

We then meet her ex-husband Johnny, and they could not have chosen to portray him any more over the top than he is.  I admit he's a lunatic in the book as well, but something about how he's portrayed here made him come off as really cartoony to me in an otherwise realistic world.  It just didn't work.  And once again, Jake handles it all really poorly. I think the idea that this mini series is trying to establish is that Jake will eventually decide the past is better without him, but boy is it tedious to watch it get there.

The other side of the episode is Bill watching the Oswalds.  King presents Marina Oswald as a pitiable character in the books, a beaten down wife under the thumb of her husband.  Bill is at least somewhat taking over Jake's role in witnessing the abuse and feeling sorry for her, but in what is now typical fashion the mini-series has to take it once step further and have him interfere and become affectionate with her.  I am starting to think of this as the dumbest timeline. 

Remember all that stuff in the earlier episodes where the past was fighting back every time Jake changed a little tiny thing?  All those horrors? Because the writers seem to have forgotten and not given a shit. Bill talking to Marina, Jake talking to Johnny, these should all be big events.  Where are the bugs and natural disasters?

And I feel like that gets right down to the heart of this. The writing on this series is just really poor.  I think we've witnessed at least three times now Jake driving all the way from Jodie to Dallas just to arrive, talk to Bill for a couple minutes, then turn around and go back home again.  Phones existed in the 60s, dude, just call him.  But this show doesn't care about that, it cares about "Here's this information, now let's move on to the next thing" without taking any time to think it through or act in a natural fashion.  They rush through the relationships, the humanity that makes the story so compelling and interesting, and instead insert a bunch of CIA conspiracy theory (that was not in the book at all) because they think that's what America wants to see.  Oh, and make sure you drop a few f-bombs per episode, we've got to keep it edgy.  Also can we include some strippers or whores in there?  Great, thanks.

Ugh.  As you can tell, I'm pretty disgusted.  I almost didn't write this review, thinking I might save it and lump future episodes together.  I don't like posting nothing but complaints.  I guess we'll see what happens next time, but if you don't see a post for a few weeks, it means I'm just tolerating this as best I can to do a wrap up at the end.

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