Moffat’s Time Traveler’s Wife episode 5 joke is a big deal.

Warning: spoilers ahead for the time traveler’s wife section 5.

the time traveler’s wife Episode 5 makes a joke that normalizes abuse, and that’s a big deal for the HBO series. Written by the old man Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat, the joke marks a major misstep in a series that has already divided its audience significantly. The episode aired for the first time on June 12, and this is not the first time the series has been criticized for problematic elements since its release. the time traveler’s wife follows Henry DeTamble (Theo James) and Clare (Rose Leslie) through their complicated romance as the first travels back in time without control over his abilities. The non-linear love story is mostly light diet as the two cross Henry’s fleeting abilities through charming and witty retorts.

Episode 5 is about Henry’s first encounter with Clare’s family; an anxious moment in any relationship further complicated by the way time travel works the time traveler’s wife, as Henry’s abilities are triggered by stress. The events take a dark turn as Henry unexpectedly travels from Clare’s bathroom down a dark street and lands naked on top of an angry gangster. A fight ensues, leaving Henry beaten before he is dragged back to Clare’s bathroom. Sitting at the restaurant table, Clare mentions that they have been “match” unaware of the fight on the street as his puzzled family does not know what to make of it. Henry returns to the table, leaving a confused Clare trying to explain to her family that her battered condition was not the kind of fight she was referring to.

The scene must be a classic comedy of error, as the misunderstanding gets out of control, with Clare’s brother dismissing the incident as “normal wear “, and Henry and Clare claim that he “fell in the shower ”. The crew of the time traveler’s wife does an admirable job of selling the stage; but in doing so, the series inadvertently addresses the topic of abuse by turning it into a comic misunderstanding. Abuse is a very serious and difficult topic to talk about, and the scene plays and makes fun of real-life cases common to survivors of abuse, where many are silent and do not reveal or report the situation.

The scene actually draws attention to this, but instead laughs off with an awkward shrug: “never disagree with Clare, do you? ” Henry joker. Furthermore, the male victim of domestic violence is downplayed and belittled, with even fewer reporting due to a broader societal attitude that disables male survivors of violence. It is a miscalculated and meaningless joke, although the series has not been foreign to mixed opinions, such as. the time traveler’s wifeAudiences and critics are divided. Several reviewers point to the series’ problematic conceit as the reason for the low grades, though Moffat has gone out of his way to try to address the problematic age difference and care story at the heart of the original 2003 novel. Audrey Niffenegger.

However, the series has not escaped criticism. the time traveler’s wife simply referring to one’s own problems or the problems of one’s source material – sometimes in an overly light-hearted and humorous way – is not the same as consciously addressing and resolving these situations. Abuse is a topic that needs to be handled with care and unfortunately the joke in That the time traveler’s wife Section 5 did not. Although small and seemingly indifferent, the joke only serves to reinforce harmful and misleading attitudes on this very serious subject. Hopefully Steven Moffat will learn from these missteps if the HBO series is renewed for season 2.

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