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The Time Traveler’s Wife Episode 2 Recap and Ending, Explained

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‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ episode 2 is a melancholy exploration of the inevitability of events and how Henry is forced to regularly revisit the saddest moment of his life. Clare slowly learns just how tragic Henry’s condition is and begins to warm up to him. The convoluted, time-bending romance keeps getting deeper as the two learn more about each other, and episode 2 tells us a lot about Henry’s past. Let’s take a closer look and make sure we’ve picked up on all the details. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Time Traveler’s Wife Episode 2 Recap

The episode opens with Clare and Henry on a train and apparently in the middle of a fight. At this point, she is 20, and he is 28, and the two are on their second date. Following their first date, which ends in an argument, things remain frosty between Henry and Clare. They seem inconvenienced by the inevitability of their relationship, and Clare attempts to change plans by suddenly getting off the train. When it turns out that she accidentally got off on the right stop, Henry begins to explain how it is impossible to change some things.

Realizing she might as well get to know him better, Clare brings up Henry’s past. He reveals that his mother was a famous singer, and we then see his recurring travels back to the moment his mother died. The incident occurred when he was eight, and his mother was decapitated. Tragically, different versions of Henry keep coming back to the moment of the accident so that at one point, there are over a dozen versions of him (of different ages) watching his mother die.

Clare is shocked by Henry’s revelation and wonders if he’s ever tried to stop his mother from dying. More flashbacks describe how, just like his parents’ meeting was inevitable (which Henry also witnessed), his mother’s death is also set in stone. We then see a young, 8-year-old Henry travel back in time a few months after his mother’s death and try to tell her about the accident, but she doesn’t believe him. Around this time, older versions of Henry also begin training the 8-year-old tricks like stealing and being inconspicuous in order to help him survive time traveling in the future.

The Time Traveler’s Wife Episode 2 Ending: How Does Henry’s Mother Answer Clare’s Question?

Back in the “present,” where Henry (28) and Clare (20) are still on their date, he takes her to the library he works at. There, he reveals a hidden collection of his mother’s recordings and begins playing them for Clare.

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At the end of one of his mother’s performances, Henry stops the tape and tells Clare to ask a question that she would’ve liked to ask his mother. She wonders aloud a query about what keeps couples together. Henry begins playing the tape again, and to her shock, his mother’s voice in the recording greets Clare and answers her question.

The culmination of episode 2 reinforces the surreal nature of time travel, particularly for someone like Clare, who gets to experience it through Henry. The recording of his mother that he plays for Clare is from before she was born. Yet, his mother refers to Clare by name and answers a question that Clare thought up on-the-spot, decades later.

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Henry explains how his future self, at some point, knowing the question Clare would ask, travels back to one of his mother’s concerts. Though she doesn’t recognize the grown version of Henry to be her son, there is something about him that appeals to Henry’s mother, and she agrees to grant him his wish. At the end of her next performance, Henry’s mother calls out to Clare, who she says is listening in, and poetically answers her question.

Interestingly, Henry reveals that he, too, has never heard that particular recording of his mother and therefore doesn’t know what she says in it. Therefore, it appears that a future version of him tells Henry about the recording and its significance. Thus, Clare’s question and the so-far-unheard recording from decades ago essentially serve as an introduction between Henry’s mother and his future wife.

Read More: Where Is HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife Filmed?

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