Previously on Time After Time
I have a confession to make. About ten minutes in to “Out of Time,” I was ready to call time on this show. It was bad – like seriously bad. Aside from the fact that Armani John had already killed two people, a man and a woman, in cold blood before title credits, I was stuck with the feeling that my initial disappointment from the series premiere was only going to get worse. I still couldn’t gel with Freddie Stroma’s H.G., or with Genesis Rodriguez’ Jane Walker. Their drippiness and all-round blandness didn’t sit well with me. It still doesn’t – but the rest of the show is running on a different tangent to them, and it’s all the better for it. Whether or not this is enough to save Time After Time from becoming a one-season-wonder is up for debate, but the events of the second half of this episode convince me to come back next week at least.
“Out Of Time” thankfully builds on the show’s premise, adding a number of intriguing supporting characters and throwing some interesting spanners in the works. Not everyone is who they appear to be, and certainly there are more than a few people aware of H.G. Wells and D. John Stevenson’s appearance in the 21st century. Add in a couple of dry remarks about Crossfit and Coldplay, and all of a sudden the show becomes intentionally humorous.
Let’s recap. While Ripper (and ripped) John settles in to his new digs, care of the unfortunate and now dead previous tenants, H.G. and co are mulling over how to fix the time machine, still out of action after last time’s failed attempt to capture Dr Stevenson. Vanessa introduces H.G. and Jane to Martin Scott (Omar Maskati), a guy who works in innovations. He hooks H.G.’s machine up to a computer and Bam! – it just about blows up again. As it turns out, the machine is powered by an Alexandrite gemstone, a crystal so rare it can only be found in the Institute of Gemology. As luck would have it, Jane has a friend Paul, an old flame, who works there, and he should be able to provide a replacement stone for H.G.’s time machine. New York, eh? It’s got everything for the weary traveller. All you need to know are the right people. Finding the stone is one thing; getting it while staying in one piece is another. Chad is on their tail.
Chad (William Popp) is the baseball-cap wearing mystery dude who’s been trailing both H.G. and Ripper John. We learn something important about him. His mother is being cared for at home by a nurse, and while the nurse is out getting groceries, Chad visits his mom and tells her that what she had foreseen was going to happen has indeed happened: namely H.G. Wells has come to 2017 and he’s brought Jack The Ripper with him. Chad’s mother’s response is doom-laden, to say the least. “Then you can stop them. There’s still time. Don’t let them go back. You can stop this all from happening. Please. Stop this!” Now we’re interested. This is why Chad has been following our main characters all along. Something’s about to go down in our present and it’s all because of H.G.’s time machine. Curiouser and curiouser. But it only goes so far for Chad. No sooner has he cornered H.G. and Jane in the Institute (Crossfit and Coldplay fan Paul is out for the count), than Doug shoots him in the back. But hey, they have a working crystal, right? Answers, people! We need answers! I hope the Chad subplot hasn’t died with him.
Rushing back to Vanessa’s mansion to get the time machine fixed up ahead of Ripper John’s deadline, H.G. and Jane are introduced to Vanessa’s beau, Griffin Monroe, a man hoping to get into the Senate. He’s totally sceptical about “George” being a time traveller, but when he’s shown how the machine operates, thanks to its new Alexandrite gemstone, he becomes a convert to the cause. But which one, though? He’s seen later telling an unknown third party that everything is going according to plan and that he has access to the time machine. Who is he talking to? It can’t be Chad, because he’s now semi-officially out of the picture. (I say semi, because this is a show about time travel, and some version of Chad could pop up next week for all we know.) It could be Chad’s mom, or it could be Brooke (Jennifer Ferrin).
Brooke is a neuropathologist who hooks up with John (whose serial killer alter-ego is now known as The Key Killer – unlock that one if you will) over martinis, and she’s very much taken by John’s rugged looks and innate need to have his ego stroked. Thinking he’s on to a winner, he accompanies her back to her place. Good and drunk, he films himself getting ready for the kill, hoping to stoke up emotions at Team Wells, only for Brooke to sedate and strap him to an operating table. She’s been waiting for him to arrive, it seems, and having her wicked way with him doesn’t involve copious amounts of alcohol and the morning-after pill. No, she wants to see what makes him tick – inside and out. When Good Dates Go Bad – film at 11.
So you see how this show went from being inexecrable to something a bit more involving? Okay, we’re still faced with the soggy biscuit that is H.G. and Jane’s blossoming romance, but look guys, away from the kid’s table we have a serial killer storyline that has jumped to the front of the queue in attention-getting. There could yet be meat on these flaccid bones, mark my words.
Doug is really terrible at his job. He never spotted Chad’s tail until it was nearly too late. And couldn’t he have wounded rather than kill him? Come on, dude. We need answers already.
Griffin Monroe is not a name you can trust. Ever. In Claude Rain’s 1933 movie version of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, the titular character went by the name of Dr. Jack Griffin. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
Omar Maskati’s character Martin Scott is a major Wells nerd. This should add continued humour to the show in the weeks to come.
H.G. and Jane kissing to sparks coming out of the machine was a little too much.