John had gone back to France in World War 1 to find his son – but not just find his son, but save him from where his fate to die in an ambush.
HG needs to go back and stop this (obligatory Martin saying “but saving lives is a good thing” so HG can point out that breaking time lines is bad in cause the audience has forgotten the central problem of every single time travel show and book ever since the genre was created) but he insists on going alone. Despite not speaking French and having no clue about World War 1 – Jane who speaks French and is a historian so could be quite useful but she is told to stay home because she’s a woman. Jane calls him out for being sexist and he responds by putting his manly foot down
So Jane… pouts and has a little tantrum and does as she’s told
John has made contact with his son Henry and finds that Henry is a completely good man, a doctor with no inclination towards serial killing at all. He has a fiancée, he’s happy and is all bright and good. Oh and he hates his father, believing his dad abandoned his mother completely, running out on the family.
We get lots of John’s conflicted sad face that his son isn’t like him, that his son hates him but also kind of hopeful that his son is a good and decent man unlike him. Yes we’re doing John the morally conflicted serial killer thing.
Since Henry doesn’t want to abandon his unit just on John’s say-so, John resorts to kidnapping to save his son’s life. (HG tries to intervene, he’s not exactly effective) His son is not amused and certainly not grateful and continues to speak bitterly of his father
Leading John to have a massive rant about everyone judging him without even knowing him – history, his son, etc etc. Is this a rant against people condemning him (because that’s kind of ridiculous) or a rant against people not knowing about him (we’ve seen he was deeply troubled by his anonymity next to HG’s fame) or a rant because the one person who may know him as a father rather than a serial killer also hates him? I don’t know – could be any or all of the above.
To add to that he also holds up Henry as the one good thing in his life – because he’s produced a genuine, caring gentle son who seems to be a good person.
However Jane, in the present, does some research and discovers actually Henry died somewhere else (and spills all this knowledge and more to Griffin) and hurries back in time to save HG who she sees now being caught in the explosion. Back from the future she runs straight into John and quickly reveals that Henry is under threat again because she’s skilled like that
To the exploding café! John desperately helps Henry with his fiancée – but once she is safe the genuinely good Henry cannot resist running into a burning café to save anyone else – there he perishes. John cannot stop him. (I would posit the idea that this means fate cannot be altered but since we’ve seen John kill people in the future, I’m less sure of that – unless it’s only the past that can’t be changed).
HG is dying and Jane appeals to John to help. First with medical care and then asking him to help her get HG back to the time machine even though it will mean he will be imprisoned. And… he agrees?
She appeals to the fact he’s a doctor, that he’s more than a serial killer and maybe by the example just shown by his oh-so-good-son but oh boy please put the breaks on this redemption train
To the present and to Vanessa who does just that – she acknowledges that, yes, John saved HG. He’s still a serial killer. He’s still Jack the Ripper. This changes nothing.
Jane… almost had a moment of usefulness where she went back in time, defying her instructions in order to… do very little. I mean she walked straight into John AGAIN (does he have a tracking device on her) and her “helping” HG was basically appealing to a man for help. Then again, HG wasn’t exactly a useful contributor either
Ok… what is Time after Time trying to do with John? I mean really? Is this redemption? Is this the beginning of a redemption train? (Can we not, please. No, really, Jack the Ripper does not need a redemption train). Is it an attempt to introduce pathos to this character to make him sympathetic (we don’t need this. Jack the Ripper doesn’t need to be sympathetic). Is it because we need to make him all complex and more to him than being a serial killer (we know there’s more to him than being a serial killer. It’s also irrelevant). Is our media so saturated with good looking bad boy villains that it’s almost compulsory to inch them enough towards the light to be acceptable lust objects?
Where are we going with this? And I’m concerned that, since he has been captured AND is kind of being sidelined as the primary antagonist that we’re going to see a slide from “HG vs John” to “HG & John work together to defeat the enemy”. This whole episode seems to exist to throw in lots of possible confusion regarding John’s motivations
Now to the other cast members – Brooke heals Griffin of his injuries from last episode using Utopia technology – and it’s clearly awesome stuff. She wants to show off what else she can do – showing test subject Nick who has the strength of 6 men.
Griffin is impressed… but worried. He doesn’t think she’s being very legal with human testing and if legal, probably not ethical. He’s also not thrilled with lying to Vanessa who he genuinely cares for and isn’t all that willing to jump on the vengeance-for-what-your-dad-did-to-my-dad train. Also he’s running for senator and I think having a sister who experiments on human beings may poll badly.
Brooke is all in, though, and when it seems Vanessa has tracked down a colleague of her father’s who knows more about the Utopia project. So Brooke sends in Nick to assassinate him. More conflict for Griffin
But it may not have been enough – because Vanessa has the man’s computer