"I went to a place to eat. It said 'breakfast at any time.' So I ordered french toast during the Renaissance". --Steven Wright ... If you are a devotee of time travel, check out this song...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Outlander 2.3: Mother and Dr. Dog

A more low-key than usual Outlander 2.3 last night, but still very satisfying. We've seen Claire apply her medical knowledge from the future many times before, but this time featured a new character, Mother Hildegarde, and her intrepid dog Bouton, literally sniffing out illness at the hospital.

This is a very well constructed little narrative, that takes full advantage of the centuries.  We know in the 21st century that dogs can definitely be trained to use their noses to point out disease of all kind in humans.  This was not known - certainly not in any widespread way - in the 1940s, Claire's original time.  She thus shows suitable surprise when Bouton finds the hidden infection back in the 1700s, while we the audience understand and appreciate instantly what has happened.

Mother Hildegarde also strikes me as someone who will have more relevance to this story than just in the hospital.   Like some of the women Claire encountered back in Scotland, something about Hildegarde suggests she knows more than just medicine, and may indeed be involved or will be in time travel of some sort.

The other good part of last night's episode features Claire and Mary Hawkins, whom Claire realizes will bear at least one child from Black Jack, whom she now knows is alive, which will eventually lead to Frank.   She realizes that of course that has to happen - Black Jack alive and marrying and impregnating Mary - otherwise how could Frank have existed at all in the 20th century?

And this brings us face to face, once again, with the famous grandfather paradox (which could also be a grandmother paradox) which is so much fun and so fundamental to time travel.  If I do something to prevent my grandparents from meeting in the past, I would no longer exist in the present, so how could I have traveled back to the past in the first place?  Claire's situation is analogous if not quite as extreme.   If she did something to prevent Black Jack and Mary from having a child,  how could she have been married to Frank in the 1940s in the first place?

One way out of this is that the universe, intent on keeping its history in tact, won't allow me to prevent my grandparents from meeting, or Claire from getting in the way of Black Jack and Mary.   Another way is the alternate universe solution:  Paul Levinson1 (PL1) from Universe1 travels back in time and prevents his grandparents from meeting.  This creates Universe2, in which PL2 doesn't exist.  But that's no problem, since PL1 not PL2 is the one who did the time travel.

It will be interesting to see which course of action Claire et al take in Outlander.  It's good to see the story on the edge of this swirling paradox.

See also Outlander 2.1: Split Hour ... Outlander 2.2: The King and the Forest

And see also Outlander 1.1-3: The Hope of Time Travel ... Outlander 1.6:  Outstanding ... Outlander 1.7: Tender Intertemporal Polygamy ...Outlander 1.8: The Other Side ... Outlander 1.9: Spanking Good ... Outlander 1.10: A Glimmer of Paradox ... Outlander 1.11: Vaccination and Time Travel ... Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny ...Outlander 1.13: Mother's Day ... Outlander 1.14: All That Jazz ... Outlander Season 1 Finale: Let's Change History

Sierra Waters series, #1, time travel


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