At the Busy Bee Diner, Nina Harrison and her son Dorian eat and discuss his application to university and filmmaking classes. He reminds Nina that they have to be at the university in time for his freshman orientation, and they talk about when Nina went to college. She talks about how she went alone, and a waitress spills sugar that she's filling up a dispenser with. Nina takes out a camcorder, as State Trooper Lasky parks outside and comes in. A waitress, Mabel, greets Lasky and he asks for chicken-fried steak.
Nina records Dorian and asks him how it feels to be going off into the world and leaving her alone. He says that Uncle Neil said that her father was proud of her, and Nina tells her son that Neil doesn't know shit. Nina explains that her father didn't care about what she wanted, but she cares about Dorian. As Dorian puts ketchup on his files, he gets some on his shirt and Lasky hears him swear and goes back to his coffee. Dorian asks her to rewind and record over what he did, and when she does time rewinds but only Nina realizes what happened. Before Dorian can squirt the ketchup on his shirt, Nina stops him and asks if he just did it. He puts the bottle down and Nina insists that she's not tripping.
After they're done eating, Nina and Dorian drive across the countryside and she tunes the radio to a news station. She tells him to slow down driving and the GPS gives directions to Neil's house. Nina insists that they're not going to stop at Neil's house and tells him to keep his head on the future. Dorian picks up the camcorder and Nina snaps at him to put it down, saying that it's not safe for him to be doing it while he's driving. Her son continues recording her and Lasky pulls them over. Dorian pulls over and Lasky parks and comes over. Nina tells Dorian to be respectful, and then tells Lasky that she's taking Dorian to college. Lasky asks if there are any weapons in the vehicle, and Nina says that there isn't. The officer then tells Dorian that he was operating a handheld device while driving, and orders Dorian to turn off the camcorder. Nina grabs it and hits the rewind button.
After they're done eating, Nina and Dorian drive across the countryside and she tunes the radio to a news station. Dorian asks Nina if she's okay, and doesn't remember Lasky pulling them over. She takes the camera and tells Dorian to pull over, and he does so. She gets out, looking at the cameras, and Lasky pulls over behind them. Dorian goes over to Nina and she wonders if they went backward in time again. He tells Lasky that Nina needs to get to the hospital, and Lasky points out that they parked partway extended onto the highway and tells them to move it immediately. Dorian objects and Lasky says that he'll deal with their situation once they reposition their vehicle. Lasky draws his taser on Dorian, and Nina rewinds time again.
When Nina does, time rewinds to when they were at the diner. Lasky is eating his meal and glances over as Nina stares at him. She tells Dorian that they have to go immediately and they go to their car. They drive down the highway with Nina at the wheel, and she turns the car around and says that she's taking a back way that is hopefully safer. Nina then apologizes for seeming crazy, and Dorian talks about how he wants to do something good in the world like she's done for him. He turns on the radio to music and sings along, cheering up his mother. Nina suggests that they find a motel and put an end to the day, saying that she needs a good night's sleep and they should just hang out. Dorian agrees and at the motel where they stop, mother and son watch TV. Nina tapes the lottery drawing playing on the TV and Dorian talks about how things happen the way that they should. Dorian chats on his phone and Nina rewinds the camera. She tells Dorian that if she guesses the numbers that he has to promise to visit her whenever he can. Dorian agrees and Nina calls off the numbers before they're drawn. They laugh and hug, and Nina tells Dorian to get them some snacks.
As Dorian opens the door, he says that someone is out there. Nina picks up the camera and goes to the door, and Lasky is there. He asks for Nina by name and confirms who Dorian is, and asks what their relationship is. Lasky asks for identification and says that they got a 911 call about a noise complaint. The officer tells Nina to put the camera down and when Dorian objects, Lasky shoves him into a painting on the wall, breaking the glass.
Nina hits the rewind button as Lasky draws his taser, and they're back at the diner. Nina glances over at Lasky and wonders how she makes him go away, and goes over and greets Lasky by name. She introduces herself and Dorian, and Lasky says that he can't shake hands while he has a holstered weapon. Nina offers to buy him a piece of apple pie for his service and Lasky agrees. They sit down and Nina talks about his carrying a gun every day is a burden. Lasky wonders if they've met before since she used his name, and she explains that she's just passing through dropping Dorian off at college. Nina says that Dorian is all that she has and she grew up nearby, and he matters a lot to her. Lasky glances over at Dorian, and Nina asks him about his family. She points out that he's wearing a wedding ring, and Lasky says that life goes in unexpected ways. Nina apologizes and Lasky thanks her for the sentiment and the pie.
As Nina goes back to her table, Lasky asks how she got her car. Nina says that she worked hard for it and to get Dorian into college, and Lasky tells her to drive safely and goes. As Nina and Dorian go out to the car, Lasky asks to see her proof of ownership of the car. She says that she doesn't have her pink slip in her car, and Lasky tells her that she's not driving out of the parking lot. Nina angrily asks why it wouldn't be her car, and Lasky tells her to put the camera down. Dorian gets his phone with the picture of the pink slip on it, while Nina loses her temper and yells at Lasky. When Dorian gets out and holds the phone up, Lasky draws his gun and shoots him in the chest. Nina drops the camera in shock.
Nina dreams of watching as Jordan plays with his children--her grandchildren—in a field. Crying, she comes back to reality and the medical examiner asks her to identify Dorian's body. Nina says that she needs the camera. Once he gives it to Nina, he takes her into the morgue and leaves her with Dorian's body. Nina begs for the camera to work and hits the rewind button, and she finds herself back at the diner. Dorian is alive and Nina takes her hands and sobs in relief. She tells him that they have to get back on the road and notices that Lasky hasn't come in yet. As they go to the door, Lasky comes in and Nina stares at him in shock. He smiles and holds the door for her. They go past him and out to their car, and Lasky pauses for a moment and looks after them.
Nina and Dorian drive across the countryside and Nina sobs. Dorian assumes that she's crying about how he'll be gone, and Nina tells him that she needs his help. She pulls over by an old barn and tells Dorian what has been happening. Nina asks him to help figure out how she can end it, and Dorian enters the route on the GPS to Neil's house.
Mother and son drive to Nina's hometown of Earlysville, avoiding the route to the university. They pull up to Neil's house and Nina explains that she never came back because her older brothers lost their lives there so she walked away rather than end up dead. Neil comes out and greets them, and then sends Dorian to look at a comic book in the garage. Once Dorian leaves, Neil says that Nina could have come back for their father's funeral. He goes inside and Nina follows him.
Inside the house, Neil says that his daughters are in DC with their mother. He wonders if Nina wanted him to see Dorian, and she asks Neil for help. Nina shows him the camera and says that it's magic, and explains that it rewinds time. She tells Neil about Lasky and how he pulls them over no matter what she does. Neil believes her and Nina hugs him.
When Dorian come back in, Neil says that "they" always come. Nina apologizes for not being there, and Neil explains that their father always knew where she was and had a connection. He says that their ancestors believed in magic, and they should take Dorian together to school. Neil explains that he's been documenting the neighborhood and talking to the blacks who lived in the neighborhood, and leads Nina and Dorian through the back streets.
Lasky pulls up to Neil's house.
Neil takes his sister and nephew to a tunnel that leads to the university and was closed up in the 50s. Their father worked in the summers and took Neil down sometime. They follow the tunnel to the university and go over to where the other parents and freshmen are gathered. Lasky arrives and orders the trio to stop, and asks why they were in the tunnels. The trio continue walking and Lasky draws his gun. Neil tells Lasky no, and Lasky starts to "explain". Nina tells him that Dorian has done nothing. Local police arrive and the officers get out, drawing their guns.
Nina holds up the camera and Dorian tells her to rewind it so they can try again. She refuses and starts recording, and the parents and students record the encounter on their phones. Nina says that they're all witnesses, and Lasky says that they can't intimidate him. She says that he's crossed the line harassing them and abusing his authority, profiling and following them. Nina tells him that Dorian will cross the gate and go to college, and tells Lasky to back off. Lasky aims his gun at her, and the other officers tell him that they're leaving and he should go with them. Nina tells Lasky that he's the one who is afraid, and Lasky lowers his gun. She then tells Dorian to walk through the gate, and he does so. Lasky gets in his car and drives away, and Neil and Nina go after Dorian.
Ten years later, Nina records Dorian and his daughter Trinity together. Dorian asks if she should put the camera down now, and she finally does so. He says that it's been enough, and Trinity picks up the camera, drops it, and it shatters on the floor. Nina gasps and goes to the pieces, trying to put them back together, and Dorian tells her to let it go. She nods in agreement and says that she loves him, and he says that he loves her. Dorian goes to get some ice cream for Trinity, and blows kisses to Nina and Trinity before leaving. Once he goes, police lights flash through the front door windows.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 12, 2019