The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3 finally justifies its adaptation by exploring the story from Clare’s perspective – but will it do so again?
This article contains spoilers for The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3.
It has taken several weeks, but The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3 has finally justified its adaptation. Based on the bestselling debut novel by author Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of the most unusual love stories in fiction, as its romance is literally marked by destiny because its model of time travel essentially precludes free will. Clare never chose Henry; she first met him when she was just six years old, and she grew up shaping herself around him. Henry never chose Clare because she burst into his personal timeline as the woman declaring he was destined to marry her.
In this way, Niffenegger intended the novel to serve as something of a metaphor for her own failed relationships. The focus was really on Clare, a woman who would spend her whole life waiting for her husband, although Niffenegger insisted Henry’s uncontrolled time travel meant he could not be blamed for his constant absences. The story served as the inspiration for a movie in 2009 and for the ongoing HBO TV series written and produced by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffat.
Ironically, it has taken until episode 3 for The Time Traveler’s Wife to really justify this new adaptation. Moffat’s script has felt as though it focused more on Henry’s relationship with time than his relationship with Clare, especially in the case of episode 2. The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3 is the first one to really focus on Clare, to explore her experience of this strange man who literally appeared in her life when she was just a child and who has had such a profound influence on her. The narrative is in Clare’s timeline order, helping viewers enter into her experience and feel what it is really like to live a lifetime of waiting.
Those only familiar with the 2009 movie will likely be very surprised by episode 3, but HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife honors the book rather better than the Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams-led movie, which removed some of the more difficult scenes. Clare’s experience with Jason, and his attempted rape, will feel very much left-field to viewers who haven’t read the book – but they, too, are part of Niffenegger’s original tale. The climax of this, in which Clare gets revenge on the man who had hurt her and invites her female friends to do the same, provides a disturbing catharsis for her character.
It is, however, unfortunate that every episode of The Time Traveler’s Wife appears to be relatively stand-alone and dedicated to exploring a single theme; episode 2 was really about Henry’s trauma and his mother’s death. It’s unlikely further episodes will focus on Clare in quite the same way, which is a shame given Niffenegger intended her entire narrative to hang on to her experience of waiting. As a result, The Time Traveler’s Wife episode 3 has justified this adaptation – but only just.
More: Time Traveler’s Wife Show Already Answers The Movie’s Biggest Question
New episodes of The Time Traveler’s Wife air on HBO Sundays at 9PM EST and release on HBO Max afterward. Subscribe to HBO Max here.
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