In London 1893, Betsy is walking down the street when a man, John Stevenson, calls to her from an alleyway. He offers her a coin and Betsy eagerly accepts. As they kiss, Betsy realizes that John is a doctor and asks if he likes it. He says that it has its moments, and asks if she likes her job. When Betsy says that she does, John guts her with a knife, checks the time on his pocket watch, and walks off.
At the home of H.G. Wells, Herbert is lecturing his guests about utopia. They suggest that he think about dating, warning that he can't stay divorced forever. Herbert talks about the suffocating effects of marriage, and insists that love make someone complete. His colleagues laugh off his comment, and Herbert's housekeeper Mrs. Nelson goes to the door to let John in. Herbert comes to greet his friend, and John apologizes for running late because of doctor's hours.
Once they are all together, Herbert says that he has constructed a time machine to travel through time. He takes them to his workshop and shows it to them, and John asks how it works. Herbert explains that the destination is set using the dials on the board, and the solar cells allow it to journey from one time period to another. The time machine returns automatically due to the safety lock, and unless the user applies a key to override the lock.
Herbert admits that he is doing some final tests, and the others go back to the study. John asks if Herbert plans to go to the past or future, and Herbert says that he will journey to the future to see the utopia that he has predicted. He insists that science and technology will force society to perfect itself, but John warns that humans are animals and won't change. When Herbert insists that he's warn, John suggests that they travel to the future right away. Herbert warns that he hasn't tested it fully, and John says that he's afraid and his fear is only released by his writing. He suggests that Herbert could be a great writer if his life was full of adventures, and he might finally get a novel published.
Mrs. Nelson calls Herbert up to tell him that police officers are there. They say that a woman was found in an alley near there and they're conducting a house-by-house search. John hears them from the basement workshop. Meanwhile, an officer finds John's bag and opens it, and finds a bloody knife inside. There's no one in the basement, and the officers go to search the area. Herbert goes downstairs and discovers that his time machine is gone. It returns to the present, knocking him back, and Herbert realizes that the safety lock returned the machine to the present. He gets some coins and his jacket, gets into the machine, and sets course for the same destination--2016--that John had laid in. Herbert inserts the key and activates the machine, and braces himself to activate the machine. After a moment, the device starts up and the machine departs.
Everything stops and Herbert removes the key and opens the door. He finds himself in a museum, and a tour guide explains that the time machine was unearthed in Herbert's basement fifteen years ago. It's on loan from Anders Enterprises, and a security guard tackles Herbert as he leaves. As the guards drag Herbert away, he stares at a picture of himself as an older man.
The guards take Herbert to an office and he realizes that he's in America. The assistant curator, Jane Walker, comes in with her assistant Leon. Jane asks who Herbert is, and he asks to speak to someone in charge. She assures him that the curator is a she as well, and Herbert apologies for making social assumptions. Jane figures that Herbert is dressed in 1893 garb as a publicity stunt for a play, and Herbert insists that he's not an actor. She says that he's not being arrested and likes him better than the other guy in the same period garb. Herbert says that he has to find John, but Jane warns him that if she catches him near the museum again then she'll have him prosecuted. The guard, Willy, takes Herbert out, and Jane tells Leon that Herbert is cute. She looks at the pictures of the older Herbert and admits that her Herbert looks like him.
As he escorts Herbert out, Willy says that John appeared an hour ago and he sent him to the Renaissance Hotel in Times Square. Willy gives Herbert the same directions, and Herbert leaves the museum. He's astonished at the 21st century metropolis, and manages to cross the street without being run over.
John walks through New York City and realizes that his coinage is for the wrong period. He goes to a jewelry store to cash his pocket watch, and takes the $1,500 the clerk offers him. John then goes to a hotel and claims that he's an actor who lost his luggage and ID.
Herbert manages to find the Renaissance and talks to the clerk. She figures that Herbert lost his luggage as well, and says that she sent John to 5th Avenue to do some shopping. The clerk suggests that Herbert wait at the bar and she'll sent John over when he arrives.
Jane notices the melted ice around the time machine. Doug Lawson, head of security for Anders Enterprises, comes in and asks about the breach in the Wells exhibit. Vanessa Anders is with him and asks what happened. She says that there were two men caught in the time machine, and Doug asks to see the police report. Jane dismisses it as a minor incident, but Vanessa asks where she can find them. She tells Jane to find the men or Anders Enterprises will press charges against Jane and the men.
At the bar, Herbert watches news reports of the crises across the world. John comes over wearing modern clothing and orders a drink. He congratulates Herbert on his making a machine, and realized that he didn't have the key to prevent the machine's return. Herbert says that they must return to 1893 to face the consequences of his acts. John wonders if he's going to take him back by force, and Herbert warns that they can't belong there. The killer points to the screens and says that he's found the perfect era for himself. He refuses to go with Herbert and tells him to run back to his timid life... once Herbert hands over the key. Herbert claims that he doesn't have it with him, but John realizes that he's bluffing and threatens him with a knife. He points out that no one cares and tells Herbert to hand over the key. Herbert hits him with a glass and runs, and John goes after him. A taxi hits Herbert and as people gather, John tries to come over but a police officer moves him away.
The EMTs take Herbert to Manhattan General and the nurse tells him that he suffered a slight concussion. She says that Herbert's friend is on the way, and she called the number on the business card in Herbert's pocket. Jane arrives and Herbert confirms that the key is still in his jacket pocket. She helps him with his shoes and says that she's in a lot of trouble and doesn't want to lose her job. Jane asks who he is, and Herbert claims that he's an actor and playing H.G. Wells in a production about his life. Jane isn't convinced but tells him that she hopes he feels better.
Outside, Jane calls Leon and tells him to tell Doug that it was about nothing. As she hails a taxi, Herbert limps out. Jane goes over to him and asks if he's okay, and Herbert says that he must find John. She asks if he has anywhere to go, and helps him to the taxi.
At his hotel room, John calls hospitals and tries to locate Herbert.
Jane takes Herbert to her apartment and she tells him that he can stay until she rests up. She talks about majoring in art history and insists that she won't be a curator forever. Herbert explains that he's divorced and wonders if men and women still fancy marriage. Jane says that she's still in her first career and prefers being single, and talks about online dating. She admits that her life is unspecial at the moment, and Herbert stares at her, smiling.
John goes to a club, Utopia, and picks up a girl.
Jane provides Herbert with some clothes from her ex and takes him to the bathroom to freshen up. She leaves him to it and Herbert works out the shower. Meanwhile, Jane goes through his clothing and finds the key. When Herbert accidentally turns on the razor, he yells in shock and Jane runs in. Herbert is naked and quickly covers himself with a towel. She helps him shave and explains that she's lousy at picking guys because she doesn't trust anyone. When she compensates for that and trusts, she always ends up trusting the wrong one. Herbert says that he finds her fascinating, and Jane quickly leaves. She sets up the couch and tells Herbert that he can stay that night, and he needs to rest. Herbert thanks her for her kindness, and Jane goes to her room, takes out her gun, tells Herbert that it's a gift from her father, and tells him to sleep tight.
The next morning, Herbert wakes up turns on the various remotes. Jane comes out and turns off the devices, leaving the TV on. As she makes coffee, Jane says that she has the day off. Herbert asks how he reaches the Renaissance Hotel and Jane makes the call for him. They say that John has checked out, while the news runs a report about a girl being murdered near the Utopia Club. A set of keys were stuffed in her mouth. Herbert realizes that John killed her and tells Jane that he killed women in London and now he's in NYC. Jane suggests that he call the police, and Herbert angrily says that John is Jack the Ripper from 1893. He figures that the killing is a message to him and shows Jane the key that John wants. Herbert admits that he lied to her and explains that he lives in London in 1893. He asks Jane for her help, and offers to prove to her that he's telling the truth and then they can go to the police together. Herbert asks her to grant him access to the time machine.
Herbert and Jane go to the museum and the two of them get into the time machine. He jumps the machine three days into the future and they emerge. Jane confirms that an exhibit that wasn't going to open for three days has opened, and she realizes that Herbert is telling the truth about everything. Jane asks him what it's like to be in the 2017, and Herbert says that he's disappointed but there is beauty in it. He assures Jane that he finds her particularly special.
As they go to the lobby, Herbert admits that he hasn't written The Time Machine yet. Jane tells him that he writes that and a lot more, and finds a newspaper… with a headline that she's been murdered. They return to their present and Jane's apartment, and Herbert points out that the newspaper mentioned that Jane was the third victim. They check the newspaper that they brought with them and discover that the second victim was Kerry Ann Riley, and she was murdered that night on the roof of the Palace Club. Jane brings up Kerry's photo on the Internet and gives Herbert her gun.
Jane and Herbert go to the club and spot John with Kerry. He grabs Kerry and puts a knife to her, and John remembers Jane from the museum. John warns that changing the future is impossible and demands the key, and Herbert takes out the gun and tells John to let Kerry go. His friend is happy that Herbert has risen to the occasion, and releases Kerry. Kerry runs downstairs, and John talks about how violence has infected everyone. He asks if Herbert will kill him and violate what he stands for. Herbert says that John doesn't belong in any time, and John yells at him to do it. When Herbert hesitates, John lunges forward and tackles Herbert. They fight while Jane yells for help. As the guards come running, John cuts Herbert in the side and tells him that he wants the key and runs off.
Back at Jane's apartment, Jane bandages Herbert's wound. He insists that she's still in danger, but Jane tells him that he can take care of himself.
John breaks into the apartment.
Jane goes to the bathroom and John sneaks past Herbert and on to the room past the bathroom. Herbert hears her scream and goes to investigate, and discovers that she's gone. John has written "The Key" on the bathroom window, and Herbert discovers that he has fled. When he runs into the street, Vanessa and Doug pull up in a SUV and Vanessa says that they have a lot to talk about. She knows all about John as the Ripper and says that Herbert told her, and she's his great great granddaughter. Vanessa asks if John wants the key, and says that she'll help Herbert find them. Herbert tries to run and the security guards grab him and put him in the SUV.
John takes the unconscious Jane to his hotel room and puts her on the couch.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 6, 2017