Episode 4 of The Time Traveler’s Wife begins with Clare preparing for a dinner party for her friends Gomez, Charisse–and Henry.
Gomez tells Clare he thinks he’s seen Henry before, but she brushes him off. Meanwhile, Clare and Henry answer the door to find a 41-year-old Henry, naked and running from the police.
In the past, Clare switches out Henry’s clothes for a suit. It’s her 18th birthday and their last meeting for another two years. She kisses him for the first time.
Later, a 19-year-old Clare gets out of bed with Gomez. Charisse is coming back, so she tells him to leave. She’s crying because she just betrayed one best friend with another best friend. She insists it will never happen again.
Gomez tells her he loves Charisse, but he loves Clare more. She tells him she loves Henry, but Gomez won’t meet him for another year.
Gomez goes drinking that night. He hears a 27-year-old Henry chasing a woman who is telling him to stop following her. Gomez holds Henry off so the woman can get away.
Later, Charisse also reveals that she has feelings for Clare and kisses her. Clare pushes her away. She says she could never betray “one of her best friends with another best friend.” That night, they sleep together.
In the past, Clare tries to sleep with Henry. Henry admits that he essentially groomed her, so he can’t be her first. He also confesses that he never proposes to her, and she insists she won’t marry him in the future unless he does. He gets on his knees and proposes, she takes off her clothes, and they sleep together.
In the middle of the night, she starts crying. She doesn’t want to wait to see him again. She says she’s decided on an answer to his question, and he disappears. Now naked in a busy park, he starts running from the police.
41-year-old Henry drops in on the dinner. Henry’s girlfriend Ingrid pops in as well. She knows about the time travel, so the sight of two Henrys doesn’t faze her.
Ingrid pulls Clare aside. She tells Clare she loves Henry, but she doesn’t seem happy about it. Gomez comes in and recognizes Ingrid as the woman who was running from Henry on the street.
Henry brings them all into the kitchen, where his older self is cooking dinner. He tells them about his time traveling gene. Older Henry says Gomez and Charisse remain their best friends in the future. He writes Gomez a note. It says, “Help him. He’ll need you.”
Ingrid asks older Henry if she’s dead. He’s been looking at her oddly. He doesn’t answer. She asks how she did it. She has a right to know.
He tells her he is 41, and he’s never seen himself older than 42. “Knowing is hell,” he says. She insists he tell her how long she has. “Not very long.” She hugs him, and he disappears.
18-year-old Clare reads a note Henry left her after sleeping with her. “Have mercy.”
Two years later, after the dinner party, Clare asks Henry if she’ll see him again–the Henry he later becomes. She will, but he says she’ll have to wait a bit. She gets up to hug him, extending mercy to Henry he is right now.
The Episode Review
The Time Traveler’s Wife spices things up this episode by bringing in a few new characters. The addition of Gomez and Charisse livens up Henry’s time travel shenanigans. So, too, does Ingrid–but her presence also lends a note of sorrow to the slow-moving story.
Ultimately, the show is still about Henry and Clare and their convoluted romance. But it’s hard to root for them, seeing as their relationship depends on tragedy and–as Henry blatantly admitted–grooming.
As an older Clare stated in a video, she and Henry never actually chose each other. It’s as if the series can’t really decide if that is something romantic… but truly, it’s just sad.