The first episode of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” takes us through the chaos that unleashes when a man is born with the power to travel through time. Henry DeTamble, the time traveler, calls his special capability a disability, knowing how it has affected the normalcy of his life. The series stays true to the ending of the book authored by Audrey Niffenegger, confirming the loss of his feet in the first episode itself. With multiple Henrys going around, one from the present time while the rest are from the past or the future, the world of Clare and Henry’s romance is unlike any other. A question that startled them was when they were asked about the first time they met each other, because it depended a lot on which versions of themselves they were asking the question.
Episode 1: Recap Summary
Henry can travel through time, and his present self is often dictated by Henry from the future, who knows how his life is going to be. Henry cannot travel time at his own free will; it occurs involuntarily. It almost feels like a fit, and within a few seconds, he is transported to a different reality. Henry travels within his life span and mostly stumbles upon the significant moments of his personal life. According to Henry, one of the major problems of time travel is that he cannot carry any clothes from the present time and always ends up naked after transporting to a different reality. Time travel had taught him to steal, fight, and run. Those were the things he had to learn to survive against the odds he had to encounter. What was worse was that he could not decide how long he was going to travel; it could be a few hours, or even weeks or months.
Clare became a part of his life once they met at the library Henry worked. Though Henry’s future self, who had fallen in love with Clare and had married her, traveled to the past when Clare was young. Young Clare was initially scared of the man who spoke from the bush, but soon he became her best friend. She used to wait for him with clothes, and later, he asked her to write down the dates when he visited her. Clare had a diary that was all about Henry and his visits. From a young age, Clare was attracted to Henry. Clare knew about various instances in Henry’s life that he would talk about after experiencing them. After growing up and while working as an artist, she finally met Henry, a young Henry who had no idea who Clare was. He was taken aback when she started sharing her memories with him. Because 28-year-old Henry had never met Clare before the library incident, that version of himself did not know about the impact Clare would have on his life. Even though Clare knew him, she knew an older Henry. The one who had already married Clare in his reality. The version of Clare, who had known Henry all her life, waited for the man she thought she knew because young Henry was not the mature, sensible man she had known for fourteen years of her life.
HBO’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” series brings a freshness to the story after the 2009 film adaptation of the same name. The unsettling chaos of always living under the shadow and influence of a voice from the future, along with the reappearance of elements from upcoming life events, ends up haunting Henry as well.
Why Was Clare Disappointed After Meeting Henry?
Clare met Henry when he was in his late twenties. He had assumed that she would perhaps meet an older Henry, but as it turned out, she met him while he was still young. From childhood, Clare was infatuated by the man who magically appeared and provided her with his company on the farm. She knew she would marry this man after growing up. After all, that was their destiny. After meeting Henry by coincidence, she shared all that she knew about it. While Henry found it difficult to process, he could not reject her proposal for a date. He appeared in front of her with a bunch of flowers (stolen after returning from a quick time travel journey). Clare showed him her diary, which consisted of the dates he visited her. They went to Henry’s place for the night, which Clare did not find quite as pleasing because it did seem to belong to an adult man. Nonetheless, she was glad to have found the love of her life, and they made love. To her surprise, Clare went to the washroom and found the clothing of another woman. She wanted answers from Henry, who informed her that he had a girlfriend named Ingrid. He did not reveal the truth to her because he wanted to take advantage of the situation, as well as because he could not make himself confess the truth, knowing that the woman in front of him believed she would be his wife.
In her argument with young Henry, she threw her shoe, which fell on older Henry, who had just been transported at that time. He followed an angry Clare to a bar and sat down with her. He apologized on behalf of his younger self, who knew too little to value what was around. Clare expressed disappointment in knowing his younger self since she had fallen in love with the older Henry. She had assumed she would meet him at a mature point in his life, unlike what she was going through. Clare fell in love with a version of Henry that he was yet to be in the reality that she was living in. After consoling Clare, he asked young Henry to focus on two things in life. One was to find the love of his life, and the other was to die as slowly as possible. He said that he was advised by an old man to do so, referring to his older self, who was bound to a wheelchair. The older Henry travels back to his reality, where we find Clare sleeping on one side of the bed. She asked him where he had traveled, and he showed her the head injury, referring to the night she threw her shoe out of the window. Henry lived the same moment over and over again in different realities. While he could not make any changes to it, he tried to make it better.
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ Episode 1: Ending, Explained – What Do The Severed Feet And The Blood Indicate?
When Henry was cleaning his bathroom before his dinner plan with Clare, he noticed his bathroom floor turning crimson red, with blood all over the place. A few seconds later, it was gone, and his bathroom was as clean as before. While making love with Clare, she noticed how he kept a tooth in a glass. He said that was because it wasn’t just him who traveled through time but also parts of his body. He kept his hair long to avoid coming across chopped hair. So often, even his nail clippings traveled through time. His baby tooth that he had lost as a child traveled to this reality. He kept it safe, knowing that it would get transported back to its reality. This hints at the fact that the blood that Henry had witnessed was the blood that he would lose as a result of a probable accident.
At the end of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” Episode 1, after the two Henrys had a conversation, the young Henry heard a noise. He went closer to the source and found his severed feet. He knew it was his feet as they had the strawberry-shaped birthmark. Therefore, a future danger lurks over Henry while he continues to tell himself that it was not going to happen this very day, but in the back of his mind, it was something that was bound to happen. At the very beginning of the series, Clare and Henry are interviewed, and we watch the video recording of it. In that video, Henry is bound to a wheelchair, indicating how he would eventually lose his feet.
While both “The Time Traveler’s Wife” film and the series have their obvious sets of similarities, there is a clear difference in treatment, making it quite interesting to watch. At the core of it, it is a story that is driven by fate and destiny, where the partner struggles with the loneliness that comes with living with a man who is mostly absent and lives in the past.