I can't find an exact number of episodes expected for this series, but I'm surprised we spent as much time as we did with Harry and his dad as we did.
The intro was great. I think it did a good job of reminding us of facts about the assassination but also showing us that we're really here for all the connections and linkages among the individuals involved. And time, of course.
Someone at Entertainment Weekly pointed out that this means we aren't going to go back to Derry, Maine, and seeing the It kids. While I think that was a lovely, poignant scene in the book, it doesn't add much plot wise. It's just a nice bone for us King fans. I don't think it's really missing here.
The bullying at the beginning of the episodes seems unnecessary. We're seen what this guy becomes. We know what's he in for. Did we need to see all of this torture? Poor kid. Also, why hasn't he reset already? Maybe he's waiting to see what he can do with Harry before he goes back? Honestly, it just feels kind of meandering and without purpose compared to the book. In the book, he seemed much more straightforward. This was a test of the time rules. He took care of Harry's dad on purpose and for a clear reason.
This is the most impressed I've been with Josh Duhamel, ever. Of course, the knowledge that this guy is day's away from murdering his family does a lot of the heavy lifting.
Side note: he's from the future. There's an episode of Boy Meets World where Corey goes back in time (I think it's a dream?) and he tells everyone he's Tom Cruise. Dude, you're from the future! Just pick a movie you know really well - Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Field of Dreams - and use it whenever anyone asks your name, profession, background, whatever. Jake struggles so much when they ask what his book is. Just give them the plot of The Shining! Quote some Beatles or Nirvana. Blow 'em all away.
As far as the titular Killing Floor... This didn't happen in the book, right? Like at all? I remember a scene at a bar with Harry's dad, but that was about it. Killing animals seems cheap and unnecessary. Also, Jake can't kill a cow but he's going to be able to kill a couple of dudes a few days later, no problem? And did Frank really need to kill the cow? Wasn't the cow just there for Jake's 'initiation?' Finally - the music in this episode is very heavy-handed. We get it. Sometimes just let the scene play out instead of telling us every emotion we should be feeling with over dramatic music.
Jake's attempts at dissuading Frank from murder are cute and obviously ineffectual, doomed to fail, from a suggestion at the bar to a free vacation at a Howard Johnson's. Gotta fight violence with violence. The past is obdurate, after all. Also, the vacation offer - he would just kill again, eventually, right? If this is his thinking, why not just somehow get Kennedy to not go to Dallas!
Him watching the election - I'm jealous. I would like to know the outcome with the shit show going down on cable news right now. But the MASH reference was nice. That's what I was talking about with Forrest Gump and Shawshank!
As for the war hero speech, well done. The realities of war continue to be much more traumatizing and fucked up, to be blunt, than anything mentioned during discussions of PTSD or foreign affairs or defense planning. But here's his reality: everyone's a suspect. You can't trust anyone, but you'll regret it forever. There's always a good reason. There's an intimacy to war. Like the German with the knife in Saving Private Ryan. And anything that evokes that movie can't be bad. And even if Jake kills Oswald and the world is rainbows and roses because Kennedy lives, Jake will have always killed a man. And I guess it's going to be worth it.
I don't know, I don't speak Kraut.
The last thing you can say about killing a man is that it's brave.
Or as they say in Hamilton - taking someone else's life, that's something you can't shake.
Why the hell does he get in a car with this guy? I mean, seriously? Show!Jake might be a dumbass. Aw more rules. The glue that holds this all together. From time travel to a butcher shop. I am curious how Frank lined up the Howard Johnson offer with Jake. I guess he had people watching his wife's house? Obviously the Howard Johnson thing wasn't going to work, but it backfired rather spectacularly. Also, all I can think about is Megan and Don and all that DRAMA. Speaking of DRAMA, so far the show has added a bunch that seems unnecessary. This Harry excursion was really just to test the time travel business and it's effectiveness. Not to get shit stirred.
Buying a gun sure is easy! Thought honestly, in parts of the US, it's probably still that easy.
While the flashbacks to Al are a change from the book, I do like the actor. He's great. We'll just pretend this was a super long night we keep flashing back to. Also, I think the cripple girl story is from the book? It does a good job of explaining the Groundhog-day-ness of time travel as it's described in this world. And a good reminder - the past is obdurate! And can give you cancer, apparently.
And then it gets to the meat of this story. This feels almost verbatim from the book and does a great job of setting up the mood of the original story.
'I'm from the future!' In the book, this is a very tortured confession that comes with a lot more work than this does. I can't believe he would throw that out that quickly. Say you're a psychic or heard something first. Chill out dude. Don't admit to time travel! Didn't you see Back to the Future.
Super disappointed he doesn't check in with the present, see what his actions have wrought. This was a great part of the book - seeing how his actions influenced the future, to see real outcomes of his adventures. It's definitely missing some impactfulness to not show that.
And then he's washing off the blood... Out out damn spot. I hope those lives are worth it! The past has changed. Now jump back to the present for a second to see what that really did. Spoilers: in the book, not much. Harry ends up dying in Vietnam and it fucks stuff up for his family even more. Also, I don't believe this blackmail shit ever went down in the book. It seems like an unnecessary complication for an already-complicated story. Just get to Jodie and meet Sadie and settle into a bit of old-fashioned love story, please.