The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1 Review: First Meetings

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It can be very awkward meeting your future husband when you know you're fated to marry someone, and he doesn't.

HBO's adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's best-selling novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, injects humor into the dramatic love story about Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire. They struggle with Henry's time-traveling issue caused by a genetic anomaly.

We're introduced to the couple on The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1, and they begin in documentary style by informing the audience how Claire worries when Henry's gone.

Young Henry's First Time - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Before we delve into Henry and Clare's journey, let's discuss a little background information about how Henry became a time traveler.

His journey began as a child when he traveled back in time to the science museum, and he showed up naked and met his adult self.

He was unaware it was himself, and he looked nervous and excited about stealing clothes to survive.

Young Henry: Are we the bad guys?
Adult Henry: Survivors are always the bad guys. That’s why it’s my job to teach you to be the baddest guy out there.

While we haven't seen much yet, the few snippets that did play showed that Henry dangerously fighting for clothes and food, except for the times he's with Claire.

Meeting at the Library - The Time Traveler's Wife

You realize it’s happened again. He’s just a pile of clothes. Then it starts…the waiting.


The series used a non-linear storytelling method as it flashes between Henry's first meetings with Clare as a young woman and as a young child.  They also flash the characters' ages in the lefthand corner of the screen, which helps immensely when multiple Henrys interact.

Clare had the upper hand when she ran into Henry at the library since the future version of him hadn't met her yet, but she had been interacting with him for 14 years already.

Henry was enchanted and overwhelmed by the pretty redhead like many young men.

Henry: So, we’ve met then?
Clare: Yes, well no. I’ve met you. I saw that birthmark 14 years ago. I’ve known you for 14 years, and you’re standing like you’ve never seen me before.

 Thinking it might be a fun night, Henry agreed to go on a date with Clare, not believing his future would change drastically.

Taking It In - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Unbeknownst to  Henry, Clare had been waiting a long time to reunite with him. He might have found her obsessive since she saved the dates from when he had visited her 160 times.

She didn't mean to sound like that. He just needed her to slow down, so they could get to know each other in the present since he was fascinated by her.

I get it. It’s 14 years for me, just earlier today for you. It’s a lot.


When they returned to Henry's apartment, Henry made her count to 1,000 since he saw his apart was trashed. He assumed another Henry must have landed there, and an accident occurred, so he wanted to shield Clare from the dangerous part of his life.

Clare never cared that it wasn't a "grown-up" apartment or only their first date. She had loved Henry for years and was tired of playing checkers with him. In her eyes, she's waited long enough.

First Date - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Their hot make-out session was ruined when Clare found another woman's bra in Henry's bathroom.

They both had valid points in their argument.

Clare: So you’re happy to fuck crazy women?
Henry: Well, it would seriously limit my options if I wasn’t.

Until that night, Henry didn't know Clare existed or that he was fated to marry her, so he should've been allowed to date other women.

On the other hand, Clare met another version of Henry when she was a child, and then she met this 28-year-old version and just fell flat compared to the man of her dreams.

Meeting Young Clare - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Young Clare was often forgotten as a child. Her mom struggled with depression, and her dad and older brother ignored her.

Even though she was neglected, she was street smart and threw her shoe when she heard a stranger in the bushes. That was Henry.

It made perfect sense that she thirsted for attention, especially from a male role model.  Henry never crossed any lines with Clare.

He acted very fatherly towards her. He was fascinated by the girl that was his wife as a child, just as Clare was fascinated by the notion of time travel.

Young Claire - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Henry and Clare opened up to each other and became fast friends immediately. He even confided in her that his wife's name was Clare.

He was like a bright light in her life, and she looked forward to him coming to visit.

She never told anyone but the housekeeper about her imaginary friend who needed clothes in the meadow.

Obviously, Clare formed an attachment to this Henry and thought the younger version needed some improvement.

Henry's Screw Up - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Clare never hesitated to mince words and told the middle-aged Henry that the one she went on a date with was a jerk. Clare literary grew up longing for Henry and waiting to be old enough for them to be together.

While many couples try to change and be better people for the other person, Clare and Henry are fated to be together.  Clare longed for the version she knew as a child, not this jerk.

Clare: He’s not you. Seriously, how does he get to be you? Does he get hit by a meteorite?
Henry: Yeah, by the name of Clare.

 Since he wanted Clare to be happy until she transforms the younger Henrey into him, he gave the younger Henry some vital advice. 

He told him to find the love of his life and die as slowly as possible.

Something dubious is coming. We're unsure of what timeline yet, but Henry's feet were amputated.  

Henry arrives - The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1

Over to you, The Time Traveler's Wife Fanatics. What are your thoughts on this latest adaptation?

Do you think Henry and Clare are fated as the next timeless love story? Let us know below in the comments.

Remember, if you missed an episode, you could watch The Time Traveler's Wife online via TV Fanatic.

The Time Traveler's Wife airs at 9/8c on Sundays on HBO. It also streams on HBO Max.

First Meetings Review

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Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Time Traveler's Wife Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Time travel it’s not a superpower. It’s a disability. It’s what’s wrong with me.


You realize it’s happened again. He’s just a pile of clothes. Then it starts…the waiting.