A wittier than usual episode 1.4 of The Time Traveler’s Wife on HBO last night, and the dialogue in the series has been pretty witty so far.
[Spoilers ahead … ]
Grey haired, short haired Henry is with long haired young Henry at a dinner party with 19-year old Clare and some significant friends. Before the evening is over, we have older Henry from 2021 sharing stock tips with the group in 2008. Buy Netflix and face masks are noted by Gomez, and from here in 2022 they are interesting choices. In 2021, both were riding high. A year later, Netflix posted some big losses, and face masks have gone out of favor. (Not be me, by the way, and I also still think Netflix has a great future.)
But the even deeper question is one which has challenged medical ethicists for who knows how long. Do you tell a person who’s going to die that that’s going to happen? The current thinking is yes. But there’s an argument that a white lie is better — let the person enjoy whatever life they have left, to the max. (See Sissela Bok’s Lying for more on this, which I recommended in my review of TTW 1.3 just last week.) Henry, under pressure, tell’s a character she’s going to die, and that she doesn’t have much time left, but refuses to tell her exactly when. That’s a sensitive choice.
I think the best part and deepest value of The Time Traveler’s Wife is how it handles such ethical issues. They arise all the time in our off-screen real world where time travel is almost certainly impossible (it engenders too many paradoxes). But time travel puts them in high relief, and it’s both fun and mind-charging to see how well they’re handled in this series.