Even if you find a way to travel to the future, can you leave your past behind? Created by David Weil, ‘Solos’ is a science fiction anthology series with stories that build on characters. Featuring performances from the likes of Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, and Helen Mirren and directed with precision, the series unearths wondrous tales from a world of scientific intrigue. The first episode of the season, titled ‘Leah,’ follows the titular character in her attempt to solve the paradox of time travel.
When Leah finally gets her breakthrough and meets her future and past selves, she is confronted with a choice. Filmed entirely in a single room, filled with pop culture references, and atmospherically driven, the episode slowly prepares the audience for the catharsis, and the final moments relieve the audience of the bottled-up claustrophobia. If you cannot wrap your head around the finality of the episode, let us travel to the end of this, shall we? SPOILERS AHEAD.
Solos Episode 1 Recap
Leah Salovaara (Anne Hathaway), a scientist in her 30s, lives in her mother’s basement. A Fulbright scholar, her thesis has been rejected by one Professor Marchek, and she has resorted to resume experimentation from her basement. She is working on a time travel project that is funded by trillionaire investors, and although she is working days and nights on end, she still awaits breakthrough success. She speaks to a high-tech globe about her project, but nobody seems to answer from the other side.
She’s on her 1227th day of working on the project, and another of her trials has failed. She decides to call it a day and crashes on the sofa. Shortly after, she gets a call from her sister, Rachel. From their conversation, we get to know about Leah’s mother’s rare ailment. Leah’s mother is delusional and in a lot of pain, and according to Leah, that is because of the Cauchy Horizon. Or rather, as Leah corrects herself, it is because of the heating of her mother’s room due to the greenhouse effect.
Distracted by the idea of the Cauchy Horizon, Leah hangs up the phone. Following momentary enlightenment, she gets occupied with experiments once more, and we get the hunch that maybe she has finally found a way to decode the mystery of time travel. The hunch becomes substantiated when Leah hears a voice on the other side of the globe. To her bewilderment, the woman on the other side is Leah from the future! Leah 2 and Leah bond over their peculiar dispositions. Leah rants about how the time travel canon in popular cinema lacks women scientists, but Leah 2 does not agree.
Leah 2 dupes Leah into thinking that she is from the past, and Leah re-runs the experiment, only to meet a younger version of Leah. Thus, Leah becomes certain that Leah 2 is indeed from the future. Leah wants to travel 5 years into the future, but Leah 2 wants to know the reason. Leah initially says that she wants to find a cure for her mother’s disease, but upon further pressure from Leah 2, she admits that she just wants to escape the present and head to a future without her mother. Leah 2, an accomplished scientist, chooses not to let her past self travel into the future. But Leah gives the dimensional VIN to the past Leah, and the present and the future selves of Leah obliterate with their respective realities.
Solos Episode 1 Ending: Why Do the Present and the Future Leah Get Wiped Out?
In the final moments of the episode, the present and the future versions of Leah get completely erased as the past Leah makes her journey to the future. As the future Leah points out, the erasure of the present and future realities are a result of the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect conceals in its kernel the idea that the death of a butterfly may initiate a ripple effect, which, in turn, may alter the course of the subsequent future to a great extent.
The idea was first professed in literature by American author Ray Bradbury in his short story ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ When the past Leah travels in time to find a cure for the mother, the course of her future also changes. In the hypothetical past, Leah’s mother probably gets cured, and Leah reaches her fulfilled future organically, devoid of the regrets of the future Leah and the misery of the present Leah. Therefore, the future and the present realities lose their relevance in time and get completely blanked out.
Why Does the Present Leah Give Her VIN to the Past Leah?
Leah’s mother suffers from a rare neurological condition called ALS, of which there is no known cure in the present timeline. Leah thinks of escaping to a future without her mother in it. To reiterate the finality of events, the future Leah does not disclose her interdimensional VIN needed to facilitate time travel. She thinks that the present Leah should suffer the ordeal of taking care of her mother so that she does not regret her actions in the future.
It seems that the future Leah escaped her mother, and she is tormented by her deed, even after her towering accomplishments, with the highlight being a Nobel Prize. However, in the present, Leah thinks that her mother deserves a cure. According to her, neither escaping nor suffering would make things better for her mother. Therefore, she gives her VIN to the past Leah and tells her to travel the end of time until she finds a cure.
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