Time travel is just a recipe for a number of ways things can go wrong. “Out of Time” was proof of that. I have been enjoying certain elements of Time After Time, but one of the primary criticisms I have with the show right now is that it is introducing far too many characters in too short a time. They’re relevant to the plot in ways we don’t know yet, but they don’t quite hold any weight yet to stand out besides being smaller pieces of an unsolved mystery. It makes things more complicated and sometimes takes away from the interactions between the lead actors. Here’s the episode breakdown:
John’s fall from power
The second episode (which I missed, I’m sorry) continued to paint John as a murderer, but one who stopped from killing Jane and the young woman he kidnapped. He’s sort of on the edge of a crisis of conscience when he meets a neuropathologist named Brooke (Jennifer Ferrin) and their flirting leads to a one-night stand. John is ready to murder her, fearing that he’s beginning to feel attachment and human, but she manages to sedate him before he gets the chance. It turns out, she knows who he is.
This was a surprise turn and it’s intriguing that someone was finally able to one-up John. He was starting to make killing seem far to cool and casual, which would have eventually gotten dull. But with Brooke, who was the most interesting new character introduced in this episode, the tables were turned and perhaps John will find that he’s not the only person who lacks a moral compass. Having both of them be doctors brought about a deep discussion. John expresses that what he likes about being a surgeon is the “power, control,” over who lives and who dies. It gave us new insight into the darkness of his psyche and willingness to take lives. He is the opposite of his profession and the continuation of this exploration could lead to fascinating territory. Trapped by Brooke, he is the one no longer in power or control.
H.G., Jane, and destiny
H.G. and Jane continue to be charming together. After having tried to destroy the time machine to stop John from escaping 2017, they seek to find the Alexandra gemstone, a rare stone that powers the machine and was cracked during the attempt. He and Jane are also rushing to meet the twelve hour deadline before John kills again. With the help of Vanessa’s colleague, H.G. is able to alter the time machine key to make it come back to wherever they want it to be.
Throughout the episode, H.G. and Jane flirt and give each other meaningful looks. H.G. feels despair because he believes that he never should have built the time machine and that time travel was only ever meant to be used to observe, not meddle. But what if he is exactly where he should be? What if he was meant to be in 2017 and meet Jane. What if it’s all destiny? The concept of destiny is definitely one that’s been used to give meaning and a unique quality to the events that are happening with characters. It can also be quite a lovely romantic trope if used properly and Time After Time certainly has the potential to build up to a sweet romance between its two lead characters if it keeps going like this.
Elsewhere in the episode, we find out the creepy stalker is a guy named Chad. He sneaks in to see his ill mother and tells her that she was right about H.G. and John being in the present. Apparently, their goal is to make sure they both don’t return to 1893. However, while threatening H.G. and Jane, he is shot by Vanessa’s head of security. Vanessa finally tells Griffin the truth about her great, great grandfather and H.G. finally gets the time machine, with all alterations, up and running. Except now they’ve hit a snag because John won’t be meeting his deadline.
The stuff between John and Brooke and H.G. and Jane worked really well. Their interactions managed to keep the episode interesting. The show can have really strong moments when it pays attention to its characters and their progress. Chad’s subplot means nothing in the overall scheme of things except for a way to add some intrigue that the show doesn’t particularly need at this point. I’d like to see the writers further develop Vanessa outside of simply warding off her husband’s curiosity. She seems like she has a lot going for her and seeing it come into play more would be nice. As it is, the subplot between her and Griffin didn’t quite feel right since there isn’t enough investment in Griffin in particular. “Out of Time” had some great moments, but was kind of overshadowed by unnecessary characters.
Time After Time airs on Sundays at 9/8c on ABC and stars Freddie Stroma, Genesis Rodriguez, Josh Bowman, and Nicole Ari Parker.