Time travel concepts like the one we see in Netflix’s new drama If Only get complicated because the time traveler doesn’t just have to deal with the mind-boggling fact of knowing things are about to happen. everybody doesn’t know but the whole “butterfly effect” thing. where the changes they make affect the outcomes of many, many lives. Perhaps the characters are so charming that they overcome some plot holes. But this is not always the case. Can this new Spanish series navigate this complicated landscape?
IF ONLY: TRANSMIT OR SKIP?
Opening shot: A couple kiss and begin the journey of hot and romantic sex. Then we go back and see that it’s a scene from a movie on television, seen by a woman crying on one couch and a man sleeping on the other.
Essence: It’s July 25, 2018. Emma (Megan Montaner) and Nando (Miquel Fernández) are the couple who live this unromantic night. She ends up throwing the remote at him and telling him to go snore in the bedroom. What we don’t realize is that it’s a) their wedding anniversary and b) she’s just filed for divorce.
Emma has been dissatisfied with her marriage and her life for some time now. “The years go by, we all grew up and I became a woman, but I’m not even half the woman I was”, she tells her best friend Deme (Eduardo Lloveras), who is dating Isa (Jael Pascual), who works with Nando and is also one of Emma’s closest friends. She and Deme have never dated, but there’s definitely something between them that is more than just friendship.
She thinks back to August 23, 2008, when Nando asked her to marry him. They took a break and he dated someone else for a few months, but after the break he felt like he was ready to commit. Ten years later, they have 9-year-old twins who seem to prefer him to her, he’s got a little bump and all the love is gone.
That night, a rare “blood moon” lunar eclipse occurs, and Emma finds Nando and all of his friends at the same restaurant where he proposed to her. However, at some point, when looking at the moon and making her blood moon wish, something changes. She’s back in her old car, wearing the outfit she wore that night in 2008. She’s back in 2008, only with the foresight of a decade with Nando.
At the restaurant, she decides to ignore Nando, mentioning things like her kids and their life together, which naturally makes Nando look at her like she’s hit her head or something equally strange. It’s great that he’s somehow regained his old life and short-circuited his miserable marriage, but this time travel has other implications.
What programs will this remind you of? If Only (Original Title: If I Had Known) has a badge 13 Going On 30 sorry, although in this case it would probably be more like 40 and 30 (or 30 and 20 if the program description is correct).
Our outlet: We’re not sure if she alone, created by Irma Correa and Ece Yörenç, is capable of handling the complexity of her time travel concept, but then again, we only see Emma 2018 navigating 2008 for the last ten minutes of the game. episode. Montaner does a good job of showing just how miserable Emma is, though we don’t see enough evidence from Nando or her kids as to why things got so miserable. We know that Emma recently lost her father, which is why she also wonders about the rest of her life. But does her misery come simply from forgetting who she was and that she and Nando broke up? Or is there something else going on?
What we do know is that this is not a sliding door scenario, where if one little thing didn’t happen, Emma’s life would be completely different. The change is huge, she turns down Nando’s proposal, and the changes are going to be obvious, including Emma dating a man named Ruben (Michel Noher). We see Ruben in the first episode; he’s the guy Emma nearly ran over with her car on her way to the restaurant in 2018 and 2008. How the two will connect is still up in the air, but Emma’s estrangement from Nando will put her on the path to meeting him, which should be interesting.
But he also has to deal with the fact that his kids aren’t there and now won’t exist because he rejected Nando and the house they lived in as a family hasn’t been built yet. Will all of these implications be explored or will it just be a straight forward romance story? How will Emma 2018 navigate the world in Emma 2008’s body? These answers will determine how attractive If Only becomes.
Sex and skin: Nothing but that first scene Emma and Nando see on TV.
Farewell shot: Emma calls her mother and is surprised to find her father in the background. That’s when he realizes he’s not in a dream.
sleeping star: Jael Pascual plays Isa, and it seems her relationship with Nando and Emma is messy at best; it seems that in the alternate 2008 version, he will play a very different role in Emma’s life.
Most of the Pilot-y line: When Emma and Nando’s twins find out their parents are getting divorced, the boy is elated. “I’ll finally have my own room!” How do you know that?
Our call: TRANSMIT. If he’s plotting, but a little unsure of himself in his first episode. How he handles the topic of time travel and its implications will determine whether the series is worthwhile for viewers.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a couch potato. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, vanityfair.comFast Company, and elsewhere.