“Why is love intensified by absence?” Claire asks in the The Time Traveler’s Wife series premiere, and she knows a thing or two about waiting for her soulmate MIA.
Adapted by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Sherlock) from Audrey Niffenegger’s book, the drama begins with Clare (played by The iron Throne‘ Rose Leslie) posing this question on camera, while a much older Henry (sandit‘s Theo James) separately says that time travel is “not a superpower. It is a handicap. That’s what’s wrong with me.
Presumably, someone behind the camera then asks when Clare and Henry first met. “I married a time traveler. It’s complicated,” Clare replies with a smile.
If you ask Henry, here’s how the couple’s first meeting goes: A 20-year-old Clare goes to the library one day, where she meets 28-year-old librarian Henry. She is amazed to see him, especially so young and with such long hair. But Henry does not recognize her. She mentions a birthmark on his foot and a scar on his forehead, then explains that she’s known him for 14 years and is well aware of his time travel problem. They agree to meet for dinner, and Clare practically jumps in excitement as she leaves the library. Meanwhile, Henry is frantically cleaning his apartment and hiding products that clearly belong to his girlfriend, when he temporarily sees a giant pool of blood on the bathroom floor. (All of Henry travels with him, including his baby teeth, his nail clippings and, in this disturbing example, his blood.)
For their date, Henry arrives sweaty and with a cut, holding a bouquet of flowers. Claire shows him the diary of 152 dates that he dictated to her; that’s the number of times he came to see her. Henry wonders why he went back in time to visit her so often. Clare eventually blurts out, “I’m your future wife.”
Then Clare wonders who taught Henry all these rules of time travel, and we see that the first time he traveled when he was seven years old, he met another time traveler: himself at 28 years. Older Henry keeps his identity a secret as he teaches his younger self (general hospital(Jason David) how to survive when he falls down the timeline with no clothes, resources, or food. (“There are three things I got good at: running, fighting and flying,” Much Older Henry tells the camera.)
When 7-year-old Henry looks back on his time, 28-year-old Henry walks in just before his first date with Clare. He lands in an alley, where he steals some asshole’s clothes and asks the asshole’s girlfriend if he can have her flowers. After their dinner, Henry takes Clare back to her apartment and she pretty much bangs him. She’s never seen him so young and sexy, and it’s been 14 years, she points out as if she were Rose in this “It’s been 84 years…” Titanic same.
When Clare gets out of bed to go to the bathroom, she finds Henry’s girlfriend’s bra and lashes out at him for not mentioning Ingrid. “Well, I’m here now,” Clare exclaims, and Henry calls her crazy.
Meanwhile, 36-year-old Henry disappears from the clearing and surrenders on the night of Clare and Henry’s fight as she leaves. While Clare has a drink at a nearby bar, Henry, 36, sits across from her. He tries to defend the behavior of his younger self, explaining that time travel has never done a single good thing for Henry, 28, until today. For this Henry, the future is the scariest thing of all, because “anyone can take any kind of torture except hope.”
“Older I take you, and I make you younger, who’s an asshole. It’s not fair… How he get to be youClare wonders in disbelief. The short answer is her. As she formed around Henry’s idea, he formed around her.
Outside, the two Henrys have a not very friendly conversation, during which Henry, 36, gives himself advice, courtesy of their old man: find the love of his life and die as slowly as possible. “You saw the blood. You know something is happening. No more time to lose, ”he warns, before finding Clare, 28, at home.
As for Henry, 28, he hears a din in a nearby alley. When he investigates, he finds his feet cut off. Not today, he told himself. Then we see that the much older Henry, who spoke to the camera, is in a wheelchair.
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