The Time Traveler’s Wife, a new Steven Moffat series, has finally arrived on television, and it’s every bit as twisty and complex as fans of his time on Doctor Who would expect.
And the first episode ends with an unusual twist, foreshadowing a potentially unpleasant fate for the time-displaced Henry (Theo James) in future episodes of the literary adaptation.
But what are *those* gruesome relics, and what do they mean for Henry and Clare (Rose Leslie)? Read on to find out, but be warned: there will be spoilers for the first episode, so if you haven’t seen it yet, turn away now.
First, some background. Throughout this first episode, we learn about Henry’s unfortunate condition, which causes him to randomly time travel throughout his and his family’s lives, with no control over where he arrives. He’s also naked wherever he lands.
This leads to an unusual, out-of-order romance with future/past wife Clare (Rose Leslie), which is the point of the series, but it also provides him with some dark hints about his own future – including a couple in this first episode.
While cleaning his apartment, Henry notices a large pool of blood on the floor. As he goes to clean it up, it vanishes, and he later explains to Clare that this is because every part of him vanished.
He knows he’s going to lose a lot of blood at some point; he just doesn’t know where (or rather, when) that blood will come from. Then things get even worse.
28-year-old Henry hears the distinctive swooshing noise of his time travel after an argument with Clare and a time-traveling, older version of himself. He enters an alleyway in search of himself… Instead, he is confronted with a pair of amputated feet, one of which bears the distinctive birthmark on the left foot that he displayed earlier in the episode.
Meanwhile, an older version of him speaks to the camera, and when he disappears, he reveals he’s in a wheelchair, hinting at Henry’s difficult fate. Henry clearly loses his feet on some future journey in his middle age. And, given how much his survival depends on his ability to run and fight his way to safety whenever he time travels, this isn’t a condition Henry would be able to tolerate for long.
Moffat added the detail of Henry’s teeth, blood, and other body parts travelling with him to Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel (though it does line up with other plot points, which we won’t spoil here).
This new detail allows for some more foreshadowing in this adaptation, which – however grisly – may keep fans who haven’t read the source material guessing about Henry’s fate. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next…
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