Spoiler alert: This post contains details from 11.22.63 episode “Soldier Boy.” Read at your own risk.
Who better to break down the adventures of Jake Epping than the woman behind it all, right? That’s why Bridget Carpenter, the showrunner of Hulu’s 11.22.63, is writing weekly blogs. Found exclusively on EW, Carpenter’s blogs will take viewers behind the episode they’ve just watched with everything from photographs to stories from set and more.
Dear Constant Viewer,
You were my first love/And you’ll be my last love
I will never make you blue/I’ll be true to you….
—”Soldier Boy,” The Shirelles
We’re getting closer.
We’re almost there.
The clock is ticking. Then again, it always has been.
I co-wrote “Soldier Boy,” our penultimate episode, with Co-EP Quinton Peeples. He came up with the title. And Oswald’s whistling. Also, he pointed out that this is the episode in which we address two significant questions: Why did Oswald do it? And who is the Yellow Card Man? What we never do is overtly state the specifics of either. People may interpret in any way they want. But it is clear — isn’t it, Constant Viewer? — that there is more than one rabbit hole. And more than one time traveler. Take that, Internet!
James Kent directed this episode, and if you haven’t watched Inside Job, the UK miniseries that he directed, I urge you to do so as soon as possible.
In this week’s episode, Sadie makes it clear that Jake’s mission is also her own. She’s strong, our Sadie — she’s not going to let Jake get away with any bulls–t. Faulty memory or no.
Soldier boy/Oh my little soldier boy/I’ll be true to you…
What does it mean to Lee, to be a soldier? He was a soldier; he defected to Russia; he became disillusioned with his role in Minsk; he returned to America. What did he feel his country owed him? What did the world owe him, Constant Viewer? What was in the letter he wrote to Agent Hosty? What would have happened if Hosty had answered that letter? What would have happened if Lee’s ride hadn’t honked at that moment in the morning? If Marina had taken Lee’s hand?
The Past keeps that information to itself.
Cherry Jones as Marguerite, turning away from her son. She knows something is not right; she knows. Her face is everything here.
Al Templeton leaning over Jake, coughing.
Sadie and Deke dancing in his living room.
And the sudden rush of knowledge that Jake has in Oswald’s kitchen, realizing he can kill Lee Harvey Oswald. He can end this nightmare, save JFK. And then he comes out of the kitchen … to find Lee holding his baby girl.
When Kevin J. O’Connor did his monologue as the YCM in the car, people on set started to tear up and couldn’t stop.
I can’t write anything much about George McKay and his portrayal of Bill because if I do I will start to cry. I will say this: I knew we were going to end up in an asylum. (In the pilot episode, Jake lectures about how awful state psychiatric institutions were in the 1950s and 60s.)
Once again, Carol Spier and our Art Department came up with incredible locations. Here is the asylum:
And here is paper in a typewriter no one will ever see.
Notes from the set
The rain was an ongoing problem. It actually rained during the rain sequence in the car with the Yellow Card Man. We had to stop at one point because of lightning strikes. Lowered the rain rig, because, you know — lightning.
Also rained on the day of Bill’s funeral. Everyone crowded under the video village tent to wait it out. Except James Franco, who sat in his chair reading with an umbrella.
When Bill jumped out the window, he actually dropped onto a platform built just below the window. Because we were three stories up.
A close viewer will note that during the scene in the car with this Yellow Card Man, the rain is is running in reverse on the car close-ups. A tie-in to the symbol on the Yellow Card.
The graveyard we used was actually right next door to Jodie High School. Cheerful.
The Toronto production team.
Take my love with you
To any port or foreign shore
Darling you must feel for sure
And I’ll be true to you
Next week, Constant Viewer… next week is the finale. Which means my final post.
The future wants to happen, doesn’t it? I’m going to let it play out. See you then.
For more insight, follow Bridget on Twitter @BridgetCarpen12.