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Friday, September 11, 2020

Amazing Stories (2020)1.5: "The Rift": Time Travel and a Candy Bar

Well, Amazing Stories saved the best for last in its short five-episode season on Apple+ TV this past Spring, and it made a fine bookend with the first episode, because both were about time travel.

This time the time travel involves a World War II pilot, shot down and meant to die in Burma in December 1941 but thrown through "The Rift" instead, winding up in his home town in Ohio in early 2020 (right, before COVID).  (A second parenthetical note: I can't get too much time travel.)  As in many time travel stories, this going through a rift has a purpose: he never said goodbye to his wife when he left her in 1941 to go off to war.  But in a nice additional touch in this kind of story, the pilot's travel through time has a second purpose.

The second story is also a kind of love story, with a happy ending, in its own right.  Actually, even happier than the primary story, in which the pilot after giving closure to his wife has to go back to 1941 to die.  The people who help the pilot -- a boy and his step-mother (nice job acting by Duncan Joiner as the boy and Kerry Bishé as his mother), on her way to delivering the boy to his aunt in Indiana, so she can leave the painful memory of her late husband behind, and start a new life in California -- also see their lives changed for the better, when the pilot convinces the step-mom to take the boy with her out West.  

But here's what I really liked best about this fine episode.   The pilot gives the kid a Whiz candy bar - which really existed in our reality, by the way.  Later, we find out that in order for The Rift not to rip up the current world, anyone who went through it has to return to the past exactly as he or she left it on their trip to the future.   The boy needs to give the candy bar back to the pilot -- but the boy has eaten the bar (he got hungry).  No problem -- the pilot realizes that as long as the purposes of the time travel trip are served, The Rift's needs will be served, so it doesn't matter if he travels back in time with no candy bar.

You can always tell a good narrative by how well it handles the details.  "The Rift" handled them perfectly, and gave us a happy ending in a time travel story.   It did get me in the mood for a chocolate bar -- which I'm going to resist -- but that's ok, because I'm even more in the mood for more Amazing Stories, which, just like the Whiz candy bar, began its life in our reality a long time ago.

See also Amazing Stories (2020) 1.1: "The Cellar": The Tops ... Amazing Stories (2020)  1.2: "The Heat": Life After Life ... Amazing Stories (2020) 1.3: "Dynoman and The Volt!": Sweet Superpowers ... Amazing Stories 1.4: "Signs of Life": Happy Revivals








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