"You'd never waste your whole night watching a science fiction TV show." Mark Hamill's silky but spooky voiceover work continues to snipe lightly at the audience who dare to delve into the horrifying realms of DIMENSION 404. In the sci-fi anthology's third episode, "Chronos", we're brought into the world of Susan Hirsch.
An every(w0)man physics student whose nostalgic obsession with a cartoon time travel TV show from her childhood, is her excuse to procrastinate even beginning her thesis 8 hours before the submission deadline. The twist? No one seems to remember her favourite TV show.
That hardly seems relevant given where Susan's priorities should lie, but this episode quickly merges both her favourite cartoon TV show come to life and a deep dive into the quandaries of time travel.
Pay close attention to the first act and all the curious disturbances that occur around Susan and the second act explains them spectacularly. Time Ryder appears from the future chasing an escaped prisoner named Entropy, a villain determined to destroy Time Ryder's timeline permanently by preventing Susan from completing her thesis. Each obstacle Entropy throws in their path that they fail to avoid, requires the trio to go back and try again, until there's three or four iterations of the time-travelling trio necessary to stop one villain.
It doesn't get any less complicated from thereon in: although Entropy is apprehended at the midway point, he leaves behind a ring that tempts Susan to abandon any final suggestion she might complete her thesis in time and transports her to Sundial, the creative base for the Time Ryder show, in the 1980s - but all the staff are from the future. (Yeah, this episode is quite hard to follow.)
While Susan gets to meet her hero, the show's creator Wally Nash, it's soon the entire Sundial staff who are starstruck by her. Why? Well I won't tell you. I have to leave you wanting more, after all. This is by a country mile, the best episode of the series yet - so I recommend you go and watch it.
I'll run through the messages of the episode regardless, the big two being "never procrastinate" and "don't focus on the past so much that you miss your future". Susan's obsession with her favourite childhood TV programme, coupled with a significant lack of self-discipline, almost leads her to miss out on her future - quite literally. Although the chances that any of us procrastinating would lead to such dire consequences are drastically low, you just really can never be sure.
However, one thing I am sure of is this: if time travel is invented in the future - I would leave my "Chronos" review right here.
- Aired on Syfy, October 19 2017 at 21:00.