With the Dunning matter seemingly settled, this episode shifts the focus back to saving Kennedy. It also deviates from the book to the greatest degree, though the changes are understandable. For one, Jake has a sidekick now. It does give him someone to talk to, allowing certain details to be brought up in lieu of narrative prose.
Where the book showed us Jake forming his new life in the past, here we jump ahead two years after he gets a job teaching. While it is an 8 episode series, it works for the best as TV pacing is very different from book pacing.
This is probably most evident in the romance between Jake and Sadie, who reunite after their brief run-in in the first episode. With everything going on, the episode doesn’t really have a whole lot of time to let the romance blossom, but fortunately, both Franco and Sarah Gadon show strong chemistry to make up the difference. Were it not for this, the Spider-Man dilemma that Epping ends up in would have no weight and the fact that everyone in the school almost instantly declares them OTP would come off as bizarre. As it is, you almost buy it.
The episode does give us a somewhat closer look at Oswald. He clearly has some issues, though as far as menace goes, he somewhat pales in comparison to Frank Dunning. That could change as we move further into the show, however.
Speaking of Frank, it appears that Jake isn’t taking the murder too well. Even though it was most certainly done for the greater good, we see that he’s going through some form of PTSD. It was only showcased in one scene, but it will likely lead to plot developments later on down the line.
The Jack Ruby appearance was a nice touch. He’s very nonchalant, but the look on Epping’s face after the introduction was priceless. Admittedly, that’s the look that most people would likely have in that scenario, but it was still amusing.
The reference to “Jimla” was also a nice touch. While it doesn’t look like that particular mystery will be much focus for the show, it was a nice nod to the fans.
As has been the case the last two episodes, Chris Cooper owns the one scene he’s in. It’s another flashback speech, only instead of further explaining the nature of time travel, he reminisces about Kennedy. You could argue that these scenes could be easily cut, but Cooper’s performance makes it worth it.
While this episode doesn’t quite have the forward momentum that the last two did, this was still fairly enjoyable in its own right. It was well paced and there was enough character driven material to keep you engaged for the entirety of the episode. The focus on a cute romance also acts as a nice breather after the fairly intense Dunning material.