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‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ Season 1 Ending Explained: What Happened at the Wedding?

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Time Traveler’s Wife. The wedding bells were ringing in the finale of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Based on Audrey Niffenegger‘s best-selling novel, the HBO adaptation to the small screen follows the out-of-the-ordinary romance between Clare Abshire (Rose Leslie) and Henry DeTamble (Theo James). A time traveler since his childhood, nothing in Henry’s life is sequential. Instead, he relives the past and experiences the future, while trying to have somewhat of a normal routine in the present. In the same way that Henry’s life doesn’t follow a traditional order of events, his relationship with Clare is unprecedented. After all, she meets him for the first time at six years old, but he meets her for the first time when he is 28. Although their story seems confusing on the surface, the series comprehensively details each time travel instance in their lives.


Throughout Season 1, viewers got to watch Henry and Clare’s ups and downs as they try to navigate the side effects of time travel on their relationship. From their moments at the meadow playing chess to their rocky romantic kickoff, these two characters learn to love one another through different walks of life until they finally get to say “I do” at the altar in the finale. Here is an explainer of all that happened at the end of Season 1 and what questions were left unanswered for a potential Season 2.

RELATED: ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ Review: An Irresistibly Watchable Melodrama Almost In Spite of Itself

Henry’s Distaste For Videos

Right at the beginning of the episode, we meet 42-year-old Henry speaking to the camera about his hatred of videos, since they often make you nostalgic. From his perspective, nostalgia is the ultimate enemy for a time traveler, because you don’t get to look at it fondly. After a few moments, sitting in his wheelchair and detailing his reasons to the audience, Henry begins to cough and leaves his clothes behind while he travels to the past and meets 14-year-old Clare at the meadow. As the two chat, he hears “Get Me to the Church on Time” playing from Clare’s house and begins to cry as he thinks back to a special moment that is revealed later in the episode.


During Henry and Claire’s interaction, his twenty-eight-year-old self visits the house he will live in with Clare in the future. He sees the clothes lying folded in the wheelchair and the camera positioned in front of a desk, wondering what had happened to his older version. Then, Henry time travels to the present, in which he is arguing with Clare about having a wedding video. Since he doesn’t like to relive the past, he is against the idea of having their wedding filmed on tape. However, Clare is also adamant about them having a video that she can watch from time to time.

Henry’s Time Travel Frequency

Given that Clare’s parents are ready to make the ceremony the event of the season, Henry feels anxious about his upcoming nuptial and begins to travel through time more often. One of his next trips is, once again, to his and Clare’s future home, where he sees his future wheelchair in a closet and Clare as an elder. She is crying on the sofa as she watches their wedding video, but Henry doesn’t stay long enough to uncover the reasons behind her tears. When he returns to the present, he and Clare speak about their different perceptions of love. To him, love is what gives hope to mortals, while she believes that love is what gives meaning to life.


Henry Rekindles His Relationship With His Dad

Weeks away from their wedding day, Henry takes Clare to meet his father, whom he doesn’t normally speak with. As she meets Richard DeTamble (Josh Stamberg) for the first time, they get along right away and joke about her choice to marry his son. From that moment, viewers catch a glimpse at Richard’s alcohol addiction that developed after his wife, Annette (Kate Siegel), passed away. There is also a flashback to when Henry reveals his time travel condition to his father during his teens. Before he finds out the truth, Richard is sitting on the sofa and watching his wedding video. Similarly to older Clare, he weeps as he reminisces about the time when his wife was still alive.

The Constant Visits To The House

As aforementioned, the closer Henry gets to his wedding day, the more he travels through time. Particularly to his future home with Clare following their marriage. His third visit to the house takes place when the couple visits it for the first time, seemingly happy. The following trip isn’t as bubbly, because he sees Clare crying in the bed as she touches a small wooden box on her nightstand. After seeing her despair, the next time Henry visits the house he tries to open the box to see what is inside it. Yet, he slips back to the present before he is able to open it. Henry revisits the house a couple more times before the wedding day.


The Drug Alternative

Since Henry has been traveling through time uncontrollably, he pays a visit to an old friend named Ben (Will Brill). The intent behind the visit is to check if Ben can supply any drugs that can help detain Henry’s time travel frequency. However, the pill that he hands off to Henry does the exact opposite. Instead, Henry time-travels to various different instances that occur in his future home, including his funeral and a fight between his older self and Clare.

Once his travel comes to a stop, he is left in the future, following the fight he had witnessed. As he goes up to Clare’s studio, he is finally able to open the wooden box he had seen before. Inside it are multiple positive pregnancy tests. After seeing Clare crying in the side of the room asking him to leave, Henry comes to the conclusion that all the babies had died. He then leaves her studio and meets his older version in the office. The two Henrys fight over the vasectomy and Clare’s happiness. Given that they are both from different time frames, they have contrasting perceptions of marriage. After the fight, the wrong Henry ends up in the present on the wedding day.


The Wedding Day

After jumping to the past, Henry has to get ready to walk down the aisle, but there is a slight problem. Since he already has grey hair, he must use a shoe polish to cover up the white strands in order to look more like his twenty-eight-year-old self. Once he is almost ready to go, Henry questions his father about the grief he experienced following Annette’s death. Richard shares that although their marriage had a tragic fate, it was worth it because it led to Henry’s birth. This comment reassures Henry that following through with the wedding was the right move.

While he and Clare share their “I dos”, the twenty-eight-year-old Henry trapped in the future watches the wedding tape alongside older Clare. After the couple shares their vows, Clare’s bridesmaid and best friend, Charisse (Natasha Lopez), starts singing “Get Me to the Church on Time”. This was the song that forty-two-year-old Henry heard during his visit with Clare at the meadow in the beginning of the episode. Now viewers know why he became so emotional.

Post Credits Scene

In a short but purposeful scene after the wedding, older Clare and twenty-eight-year-old Henry come up with an idea to potentially conceive. Since younger Henry didn’t undergo a vasectomy yet, his wife encourages him to visit her more often whenever he time travels. That way she could still get pregnant by sleeping with her husband’s younger self, since his forty-year-old version already had the procedure. For the book and the movie fans, you already know that the couple is destined to have a daughter named Alba. Maybe this tactic could lead to her birth in the next or future seasons.

What Could Happen Next?

Since Season 2 hasn’t been confirmed yet, we aren’t sure if there will be a continuation of Clare and Henry’s love story. However, Season 1’s ending did leave a couple of questions unanswered for fans. For instance, viewers didn’t get to witness the couple during their married life, other than the brief instances when Henry time-traveled to their house in the future. Although Henry’s death is implied all through the episodes, the cause of death hasn’t been revealed so far. Lastly, the post credits’ scene could indicate that if there is a following season, Claire will have the chance to become a mom.

As we wait for a confirmation on the future of the HBO series, it’s worth noting that you can watch the 2009 film adaptation to witness a different take on Clare and Henry’s relationship.


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