Spoiler alert! The following contains details for Sunday’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Do not read until you have seen Episode 4. The warning does not apply to time travelers.
It is complicated.
In Episode 4 of Sunday’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” a troubled Clare (Rose Leslie) makes the ultimate friendship mistake, embarking on adventures with her two best friends. Best friends who happen to be in a relationship: Gomez (Desmin Borges) and his girlfriend, Charisse (Natasha Lopez), who is also Clare’s roommate.
We told you. Complicated.
Even Henry’s (Theo James) womanizer, Clare’s date, time-traveling lover, wouldn’t get into this kind of personal dumpster fire. ‘Game of Thrones’ star Leslie was surprised when she read about the head-spinning developments of the two besties’ bedding in the HBO series’ storyline.
“It was like, ‘Oh, my God, what’s going on with this woman?’ ‘ said Leslie. “It was wild.”
In the episode, a troubled Clare tells Charisse after their surprise kiss, “Oh my God, what was that? It’s just that you’re my best friend, and Gomez is my best friend. And I could never betray one of my best friends with another of my best friends. It would be just awful.
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Throughout the many iterations of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” Clare has blurred the line of friends to varying degrees. In Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel, Clare sleeps with BFF Gomez (twice), despite her relationship with her best friend, Charisse, and their eventual marriage.
In the 2009 film “Time Traveler’s Wife,” Ron Livingston’s Gomez clearly has deep feelings for Clare (Rachel McAdams), even trying to talk her out of marrying her time-traveling boyfriend Henry (Eric Bana).
In any situation, the four directors – Clare, Henry, Gomez and Charisse – remain somehow the best of friends.
In the HBO series, it’s even more difficult with the development of Charisse which quickly follows Clare’s banter with Gomez. Clare attempts to stop Charisse’s wine-induced kiss. But we quickly cut to the scene the next morning with Clare looking guilty and Charisse popping up on the bed next to her.
Leslie says she and Lopez had several conversations to think about the dynamic.
“We were wondering why Clare and Charisse are still quite close when she’s not a great friend to her closest friends,” Leslie explains. “We were interested that there wasn’t this girlfriend-to-girlfriend conversation, ‘I slept with your man, and now we slept together too.’ “
Even with all the wary or aware parts of others, “this group of friends is very stable,” Leslie says.
The answer to how is never fully developed in Season 1 of “Time Traveler’s Wife.” But there’s room for exploration in potential future seasons (HBO hasn’t officially greenlit a new season). “Hopefully, fingers crossed, this is something we could explore if we could start over,” Leslie says.
As for Clare’s motives, it’s something to distract herself while she misses her “time-falling” Henry, the man she wishes to spend her life with. “It shows a kind of narrow-mindedness, not thinking about the repercussions, just wanting to get away,” Leslie explains.
Whatever the personal complications, it’s not nearly as frantic as Episode 4’s dinner scene with Clare, Charisse, Gomez, and two Henrys (2008’s time-traveling Henry, 2021’s older Henry), as well as Henry’s girlfriend, Ingrid (Chelsea Frei).
The rapid-fire dialogue scene was the foreground of the entire series – with James filming all of his Henry 2008 parts, then his Henry 2021 parts the next day.
“It was a dance with a steep learning curve. But also very rewarding,” says James. “I have to play two very different versions of myself as the same character. How often do you do that?”
Leslie had it relatively easy with Clare sitting at the table for the entire scene.
“I was able to sit and watch what Theo had to go through, remembering exactly where his eldest son Henry had put the salad bowl or his glass of wine,” says Leslie. “It’s the first time I’ve seen something like this.”