Time travel in any story opens the endless possibilities of convoluted timelines and complicated family trees. Netflix presented the audience with an impeccable tale in the genre in the form of ‘Dark,’ which created such a complex web of familial connections that a person could spend hours pondering over it. Luckily, things are much simpler in ‘Bodies,’ where time travel is limited to a few people who are more concerned with solving a murder and saving the world as opposed to finding love in the timelines to which they don’t belong. At least, most of them are. The only complication created in this matter is from Elias Mannix. Who are his parents, and what are his true origins? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
Elias Creates Self-Contained Loop in His Family Tree
Much like the dilemma of the chicken and the egg, Elias Mannix’s origins are hard to pin down. One cannot be sure whether it was the past that begot the future or the other way around. What’s confirmed is that it all begins and ends with Elias. To simplify matters, we are breaking down the family tree according to Elias’ life cycle and not chronologically.
In 2008, Elias Mannix is born to Sarah Mannix and Daniel Barber. Things don’t work out between the couple, and Sarah ends up having the baby alone. Unable to take care of her son, she is forced to give up Elias to social services, and he ends up getting adopted by Andrew and Elaine Morley. In 2023, he detonates a bomb and destroys the world as we know it.
By 2053, Elias has become the leader of the new world, but he knows that there is much more to his story. He has to finish his journey to ensure that things happen exactly as they are supposed to, leading him to the present without a hitch. With the help of Iris Maplewood, he finds a time machine and, through it, travels to 1889.
Elias, aka Julian, Has a Son, Hayden
In 1890, Elias adopts the identity of Julian Harker and becomes one of the most influential people in the city. He already knows who he is supposed to marry and raise a family with. He sets his eyes on Polly Hillinghead, the daughter of Inspector Alfred Hillinghead, who finds a mysterious dead body in Longharvest Lane, which changes the course of his life.
While dealing with Alfred, Julian woos and is, in turn, wooed by Polly. By the time he marries her, Alfred is already dead. Their union makes Alfred Julian’s father-in-law, as well as his great-great-great-grandfather.
Julian doesn’t tell Polly about his role in her father’s death and keeps his true identity a secret as well. He doesn’t want to scare her off before the birth of their son, Hayden. Once the child is born, Julian tells Polly that he has come from the future and makes her a part of his cult, Know You Are Loved.
Being from the future, Julian, aka Elias, already knows all that’s supposed to happen. He knows that his son is supposed to become a police officer, which eventually leads to the death of Charles Whiteman, who finds a mysterious dead body (the same Hillinghead found in 1890) in 1941. Hayden gets married and has children of his own. The show doesn’t delve into his contribution to the family tree, but it’s enough to know that his son fathers a boy named Daniel, who doesn’t go by the name Harker but uses his mother’s surname, Barber.
Julian’s Great-Grandson, Daniel, Has a Son, Elias
Keeping in line with the family tradition, Julian’s great-grandson, Daniel Barber, becomes a police officer. In 2023, when Shahara Hasan finds a mysterious dead body (much like Hillinghead and Whiteman), Daniel becomes the head of the investigation. He knowingly puts her in the thick of it because he knows what role she is supposed to play in Elias’ journey. He, meanwhile, has already played his role in the matter.
Because everything was already foretold by Julian Harker, Daniel Barber knew he was supposed to meet Sarah Mannix and impregnate her with a son. She is completely unaware of what the Harkers are up to and is dejected when Daniel and his family claim that she is trying to extort money out of them. She doesn’t know that they have already planned out her son Elias’s entire life. He is born in 2008, detonates a bomb in 2023, changes the world, and then goes back in time to 1889 to start his family with Polly Hillinghead.
Elias Being His Own Great-Great-Grandfather Solves Bodies’s Grandfather Paradox
One of the challenges that time travel stories have to constantly deal with is the Grandfather Paradox. Simply put, it states that you cannot go back in time and kill your grandfather because if he dies, you’ll be erased from existence, nullifying your actions, preventing his death, and starting the cycle all over again. The only way this paradox can be escaped is by creating a self-contained family tree.
‘Bodies’ keep it simple by making Elias his own “grandfather” in the paradox. He is the knot that ties together the thread of the Harker-Mannix family. Without him, all the complicated stuff vanishes, leaving no trace in its wake. The family begins with Elias, aka Julian Harker, when he marries Polly. They give birth to a son, who then has his own family and grandsons, one of whom fathers a great-grandson, Elias. If Julian is removed from the equation, Polly marries someone else. They never have Hayden, and the woman who was supposed to give birth to his children does something else with her life. Down the line, there is no sign of Daniel Barber, which means that Sarah Mannix’s life takes a different turn because she never gives birth to Elias.
In a single stroke, the entire course of events is changed, but it’s not so significant that it affects other characters and their births and timelines in the story. For detectives Hillinghead, Whiteman, Hasan, and Maplewood, things happen pretty normally, saving most of them from a terrible fate. By keeping Elias as the cornerstone of his own family tree, ‘Bodies’ prevents itself from falling into the endless pit of the grandfather paradox and delivers a time travel story without any loopholes.