The British sci-fi crime thriller Bodies weaves a narrative around the concept of time travel, in which we see the characters going back and forth in time, altering events, and causing temporal displacement whenever an individual enters a timeline where they originally shouldn’t have been. Before we speculate or theorize any facet, we need to understand that Bodies leaves a lot of things unexplained and does not delve deep into the entire concept of time travel; rather, it opts for a convenient approach and expects its audience to simply buy what they are saying. We will try to fill in the gaps left by the narrative, to rationally conclude how an event could have happened and the implications it could have had on the scheme of things, and then figure out what the makers wanted to imply by the ending scene where we saw Iris Maplewood in the 2023 timeline, driving a cab that was hired by Shahara Hasan.
Shahara Hasan boarded a cab, and she said that sometimes she felt that the city was about to explode with all the chaos and madness that happened on a daily basis. She felt a sort of unease hearing the sirens, and that’s when we caught a glimpse of the eye of the driver, and we instantly came to the realization that it was Iris Maplewood. Now, this version of Iris knew Shahara as she called her by her name, and then we saw a digital display on a building with the familiar words “KYAL” inscribed on it. There could have been a myriad of possibilities as to what would have happened, so let’s try to ascertain that and also try to find out where the world is headed from that juncture.
Iris had gone back in time, to the year 1890, where she had tried to create doubts in the mind of Elias Mannix, who had assumed the identity of a man named Julian Harker, who came from a wealthy family. When Iris told Hillinghead everything about Elias, he went and confronted him, and that brought about a change in the entire series of events. That seed of doubt inside Elias kept growing, and in his last moments, he accepted the fact that he had committed a grave mistake by coming back in time and creating his own existence. The young Mannix shouldn’t have been born in the first place, and that’s why the older version of Elias Mannix left a recording, telling his younger self not to detonate that bomb. The young Elias Mannix agreed with his older self, and as soon as he decided not to explode the bomb, we saw that a lot of changes happened in the lives of people in the past. Hillinghead was still alive, and he never had an affair with the photographer/journalist Ashe, whereas Esther never saw Karl Whiteman with Gabriel Defoe’s dead body, so she never blackmailed him. Mannix also disappeared in 2023, and probably his entire lineage was never born. But apart from these major alterations, which were quite positive in nature, there would have been a million other events that occurred, which wouldn’t have happened if Iris hadn’t come back in time. We believe that a ripple effect would have been caused, where the future and past timelines would have experienced certain changes, branching out from that one decision of Maplewood to come back.
First, let’s talk about the KYAL organization, which was started by Mannix in the original timeline (referring to the timeline where the bomb exploded and where Mannix went back in time). Now that Mannix did not exist in this new world, we could rationally surmise that the organization was being run by someone different altogether, but the point is that it did exist, which means that there will come a time in the future when the world will become like Mannix’s utopian reality, with some other individual at the helm of affairs this time. This new owner of the Know You Are Loved organization might or might not have a similar set of ideologies as Mannix, but he would lead the world to its doom. As of then, the organization hadn’t caused a lot of damage, but it had pushed society on its threshold, and anytime it could reach its breaking point. Hasan felt that same thing when she was going back to her home in the cab, and we believe that the feeling wouldn’t have seeped inside her if changes hadn’t happened in the past timelines. To say it in layman’s terms, Hasan experienced something similar to the Mandela effect, where on one side, the positive outcomes of the time alterations were that her son came back, but on the other, she saw the world moving towards its doom. The events had been rearranged, corresponding to the change that Hasan, Iris, and others together had brought to the timelines.
We don’t know if this Hasan, from the 2023 timeline, recognized Iris or not. Originally, Iris was born in 2023, and she met Hasan in 2053 for the first time. We can presume here that Iris, who was driving the cab, had come back from the future, and in the new timeline, probably she and her brother didn’t suffer from the disability as the bomb had never gone off in the first place. Now, because we believe that this new Iris has traveled back in time, it implies that Defoe’s time machine was created sometime in the future.
The question that arises is: what does all this leave us with, and what kind of havoc will the “Know You Are Loved” organization end up wrecking on the world in the times to come? We believe that though Iris and Hassan were able to break the loop initiated by Mannix and make sure that the bomb didn’t go off, another loop was created due to the ripple effect that the action and inaction of several characters had on the timeline. So we can say that an endless cycle is created where the elimination of one time-loop will lead to the creation of another. Now the organization, KYLA, will remain the villain, no matter who it is run by, in every timeline (presumably), and probably Iris, Hasan, and Gabriel Defoe would have to team up yet again to prevent the inevitable from happening.