Welcome back to my weekly Time After Time recaps! Go here to read all of my previous recaps.
“Secrets Stolen” was very plot heavy and introduced several new factors that put a wrench in H.G.’s hopes of successfully returning to 1893 with John Stevenson in tow. The last episode ended with sparks flying as Jane and H.G. kissed for the first time; John had been kidnapped by a neuropathologist named Brooke. But new twists and turns complicate everything and make for an action-packed episode, but one with little heart.
Back to the future
After Chad’s death, Jane and H.G. go snooping through his apartment and find coordinates and a date. The pair track this information and they take the time machine back to 1980. They land in the backyard of Vanessa’s childhood home during a garden party. They quickly discover that Vanessa’s father, David, was working with a man named Robert Holland to steal research regarding the secretive Project Utopia. Upon learning that David doesn’t have his money, Robert threatens to leave, but Jane and H.G. are shocked as they watch David murder Robert and stash him in the trunk of a car.
The trip to 1980 was productive, and I truly enjoy when Jane and H.G. interact. They’re becoming kind of a dynamic duo. Jane, a historian, is able to lead H.G. through the knowledge of time periods while his optimism and sense of romance balances Jane’s pragmatism. However, as the show progresses, H.G.’s optimism, that happiness and wonder over being in a different time, has somewhat diminished. This is causing the show to slip a bit, especially since the plot in “Secrets Stolen” is so full of drama and dark turns. The sense of hope seems to be fading and this directly correlates with H.G. and Jane’s lack of interaction on a level beyond that of discussing the plot. The episode was so worried about moving the plot forward that it kind of left its characters behind, not stopping for any kind conversation aside from that. Because of this, “Secrets Stolen” lacked any real spark.
Brooke, Griffin, and their need for control
There were a lot of discoveries in this episode. One of many being that Robert Holland was Chad’s father, which explains why Chad knew about H.G. Then, there’s Brooke, who has drugged and tied up John, experimenting on him and taking blood samples. She’s into gene therapy and she explains (to him, because that’s what people who kidnap you do) that she’s expanding on her father’s research to be able to control the brain’s chemistry. But perhaps more shocking than finding out that Vanessa’s father is a murderer who stole gene research is the discovery that Brooke is Griffin’s sister. You remember Griffin, right? The least interesting and most one-dimensional character on the show?
It turns out the research David Anders stole belonged to Brooke and Griffin’s father. And so we’ve sort of come full circle. Only four episodes in, I really hope the show slows down a bit so that the characters can gather all the information and digest before running head first toward the next problem. But without knowing either of them for too long, it’s clear that Griffin and Brooke like to be in control and that they’ve been patient enough playing the long game. With this new information, it’s probably safe to say that Griffin is only dating Vanessa in hopes to be closer to H.G. and the time machine.
“Secrets Stolen” gave us a whole lot of information, but the episode was less enjoyable because it felt like it was moving from one plot point to another without stopping to allow the characters some much-needed development. H.G. and Jane are wading into the early stages of their romance, but this episode put it on pause to focus on the meaty plot. Ultimately, the episode was full of information that the writers could have waited to divulge at a later point. Space it out, don’t overwhelm, allow the characters to drive the narrative and not the other way around. Hopefully, episode five will allow for more character time.