What’s In The Box?!
I love anything to do with time travel. From 12 Monkeys and The Ministry Of Time, through to 11.22.63 and Back To The Future, the sci-fi genre is spoilt for choice when it comes to this idea of going back to the past to course correct or change the present. The latest French series Twice Upon A Time, originally aired in France during the Summer to lukewarm reception. Sensing an opportunity to reach an international audience, Netflix snatched up the rights to Twice Upon A Twice, this slow-paced time travel romantic drama.
Episode 1 of Twice Upon A Twice begins with Vincent stumbling out of the bedroom after getting intimate with a girl called Claire. A party is in full-swing as Vincent rides his high before hitting a come-down, just in time to head home where he throws up in the toilet.
In the morning, a man drops off a delivery before Vincent heads out and looks at the damage to his car following an incident on the drive home. Louise meanwhile avoids a call from her boyfriend James as she wanders through London into a bar where she meets her Father. He’s pretty opinionated too and clearly has an issue with drink. He gives her 2 million, which she shrugs off coldly given his apathy toward their family life.
As we cut back to Vincent, more about their break-up comes into light and, heading down to the basement, Vincent unpacks the boxes which happen to hold weights and gym equipment. The final box however, doesn’t appear to hold anything but as he crawls inside, it leads to his own garage.
The screen cuts down and shrinks as Vincent creeps up the stairs to find Louise chopping oranges in this seemingly parallel reality or weird time in the past. Visibly confused, he asks her how long they’ve been together before they have sex. She leaves the house soon after though as Vincent pleads with her not to, leaving him alone with his thoughts and fragmented memories.
He crawls back through the box again and the screen returns to normal. After repeating this process several times, he returns to the present time to see police at the door, asking about the car. Vincent keeps calm and tries to explain about the incident the following night, but the police ask him to prove his explanation.
Louise meanwhile runs through London but struggles to run through a tunnel, instead turning back and walking through the graveyard, scribbling the face off a woman on a tombstone. Meanwhile, Vincent relays his concerns to his friend Thibault who suggests he see a psychiatrist.
After some familial drama with Nadege and Vincent’s brother, that evening Vincent crawls back through the box again. He visits Louise but while she’s at gym class, her brother Clement invites him into her apartment and offers him coffee. He tells her that she’s happy with him before he heads to the gym and watches Louise from afar. One of the personal trainers approaches him and warns him about the trainer working with Louise, commenting that her partner should keep an eye on her.
Vincent speaks to Louise about the time-traveling box after her gym session but when she asks him about why they broke up, he doesn’t know. Could this be foreshadowing for how they break up in the future? Is time travel the reason? Before we get an answer though, Vincent vows to win her back. After fighting in the street, Vincent crawls back through the box as Louise is hit by a car outside the graveyard.
There’s slow paced episodes and then there’s Twice Upon A Time. Across the 48 minutes, there’s a real lack of urgency and suspense, as our characters lackadaisically move from one plot point to the next. Despite that though, there’s enough intrigue to keep you watching but if this one doesn’t pick up soon, it may turn into one of the more disappointing entries to the time travel genre. Let’s hope that changes going forward!