After the pilot and first episode of TIME AFTER TIME started strong, I came into episode three with pretty high expectations. Many things were just as we’d left them last week: Freddie Stroma and Genesis Rodriguez are still very, very charming and carry a show inherently packed with logical doozies better than average, at the very least.
Let’s just dive right in to the source of my perpetual television ire: in case you had hopes (like me — should learn not to do that) that the violence against women would be reined in, we open yet another episode on the brutal murder of a woman. It’s especially galling because although we see the bloody aftermath of her murder, when her boyfriend comes back to the apartment, John definitely kills him too… but we don’t see it. I’m so on board for this show, guys. It’s so many things that I love, and all you have to do to get me to stump for a TV show is to throw in reasonably sensical time travel, but man it’s so frustrating to have to contend with the fact that there’s very minimal effort put into pretending that the people making this show don’t find violence against women sexy. Shudder. (Let’s also briefly talk about how if you go to the official Time After Time page on ABC’s website and click on “meet the cast” they only show you John and H.G.! Apparently, despite being main characters, Jane, Vanessa, and Brooke don’t merit there own pages. Just the boys!!)
Meanwhile, the time machine has taken up residence in Vanessa’s ballroom, and Jane has called off work at the museum to work on a “special project” for Vanessa — aka repairing the time machine with H.G. That’s where there’s the first real sensical time travel misstep. They try and introduce the way the time machine actually works in repairing it — apparently powered by a super rare Russian gemstone of a precise cut and clarity and shape to basically cast a laser that cuts through the time-space continuum. Yeah. Uhhh. Could be worse, honestly, but it’s not great. When John calls again, telling H.G. he needs to bring the time machine and key to a meeting place, and H.G. says it’s broken, John’s basically like “yeah okay whatever if I can’t get the time machine I’m going to kill somebody every twelve hours.”
This leaves H.G. and Jane with a very clear goal throughout episode three, or rather, two very clear goals. (1) Find a replacement gemstone that may or may not exist in the present century. (2) Flirt as much as humanly possible. They seem to spend a lot more time doing the latter than the former, and although at points you sort of want to grab the screen and shake it screaming, “wouldn’t this time be better spent giving me some PLOT?” On the upside, they don’t waste a lot of time on the will they won’t they. H.G. and Jane are very clearly into one another, and have done everything but acknowledge that they both believe they’re fated to be together by the halfway mark. It’s at least somewhat refreshing, even if a prolonged scene of a gemologist hitting on Jane in front of H.G. with H.G. is a little trite.
The guy with the serial killer wall from the end of the first episodes reappears, and it’s a relief to get a small scene with he and his dementia-ridden mother where it’s revealed his mother clearly interacts with H.G. and John at some point in her past, and this guy is either trying to avenge her or prevent things from happening, because he seems utterly inept at the whole stalking/covert ops situation. So it’s nice to know as he continues to be inept that he’s just some guy instead of a professional. He goes after Jane and H.G., trying to shoot the latter (presumably), but is taken down by Doug, Vanessa’s security guy. This is obviously a plot thread we’ll have to revisit, but it’s going to be interesting to see how now that serial killer wall guy is dead and out of the picture. H.G. and Jane do, however, manage to get the gemstone he needs. (What are the odds!)
Meanwhile, John meets a cool redhead, Brooke, who seems to be a great match for him. After sleeping together, John gets ready to murder her, only to be injected with some kind of paralytic or tranquilizer by Brooke. Can I just say how satisfying it was to watch one of these female victims get to bite back? It was REAL satisfying. John wakes up strapped onto a table in Brooke’s lab at the end of the episode. Super curious to see where that goes, and it also means that John doesn’t meet his deadline.
Vanessa finally tells her (definitely evil) senator boyfriend, Griffin, that H.G. is in fact the real H.G. Wells and introduces him to the time machine once H.G. has repaired it. Griffin then calls some mysterious somebody and reveals that he clearly knows more than he’s let on. Which, like, duh. This was obvious from his literal first scene, but it’s nice to have confirmation. It’s also nice because it probably means Vanessa is for real, since it would be weird to have them both double cross.
After testing out the time machine, Jane and H.G. finally kiss! I was using finally sarcastically there because it’s been three episodes, and their relationship progresses quickly. If, going forward, getting the pairing off out of the way clears the path for more A plot than romantic B plot, I’ll be really impressed. If, going forward, this just clears the way to use Jane to hurt H.G. or create relationship drama early on, I’ll be really annoyed. Time (After Time) will tell.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S1E03)
Time After Time airs Day at 9PM on ABC
Alyssa Thorne | Contributor