TTC: Commentary 07

“Time & Tied” PARTS 13 & 14

DAE_MathTans1. Original Date Of Completion: MAR 20, 2001
2. What I Was Doing: Looking For Work
3. Hard Date Change: Kept Nov 12, 1955.
4. Other changes of note:
-The phone number Carrie quotes used to be their date of departure. Partially kept, partially morphed into a Doctor Who reference.
-Added the smoking in hotel reference: air wasn’t always cleaner back then.
-Carrie has some additional self-awareness of her mannerisms. See below.


“Back to the Future” (BTTF) is possibly my favourite movie of all time. It’s the details that make the difference for me – some can watch it multiple times and STILL not pick up on little things like “Lone Pine Mall” or the re-election of Goldie Wilson. In fact, BTTF was also the topic for my first ever tweet. (I do get tired of seeing those faked time circuits.)

Interestingly, despite my long time interest in time travel, I never knew of the movie’s existence until I saw a newspaper ad for Part II. And Part III is the only part of the trilogy that I saw in theatres. But I saw it twice. Which is big, as I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve seen twice in theatres. By the way, the book “We Don’t Need Roads” came out last month, read about it on io9 here.

Meanwhile, “Quantum Leap” (QL) is possibly my favourite TV show of all time. (“The Girl From Tomorrow” also ranks highly, but as it’s out of Australia, you may not have heard of it.) In a sense, Quantum Leap makes for the perfect serial – you’ve got a core cast of two, with different situations every week… Sam and Al being a bit like Holmes and Watson. You even got a cliffhanger every episode going forwards.

In fact, the way Sam could “leap” to any number of stand alone episodes also meant that when the show went on hiatus, he could “leap” back into an earlier part of the season – something the show cleverly took advantage of. A casual viewer may not have even been aware the next episode would be a rerun. Heck, I remember splicing together a videotape of one long leaping loop back in the early 1990s, just to realign the series.

All this to say that Episode 7 (Parts 13 & 14) was my tribute episode, mainly to those two temporal universes. SPOILERS NOW FOLLOW for the individual references, so before reading, maybe look back at the episodes? And if you’re looking – how many references will you catch?


1. Ms. Peabody: “Old man Peabody” once owned the area where BTTF’s time travel test took place. Their name itself was a takeoff from “Peabody and Sherman”, the time traveling duo (from “Rocky & Bullwinkle”) who eventually got their own movie in 2014.

2. “Oh boy”: Sam’s trademark phrase from QL became Carrie’s opening line.

3. The Clayton Hotel: In BTTF III, the Clayton Ravine is featured.

4. Carrie’s whole McFly story, and for that matter the date, should be obvious references.


I did this kind of thing in my personified math serial too.

5. “Trust him, he’s a doctor”: Send up phrase from Doctor Who, followed by suggesting 911 (used to call emergency services in North America – but not in ’55, which Al once pointed out to Sam in QL).

6. “What the hell’s that?”: In BTTF, that’s how Marty tried to distract Biff when he wanted to make a getaway.

7. “It’s a quantum leap forward in technology”: Too subtle? (The word “flux” was also snuck in earlier.)

8. “You’re my… who are you?!”: In BTTF III, this was Marty’s reaction to his ancestor when he regained consciousness in the old west.

9. Beth Parker: “Beth” is the first name of Al’s first wife in QL. “Parker” is the last name of Jennifer (Marty’s girlfriend) in BTTF… and “Parker” is also the last name of the main character from the TV show “7 Days”.

10. “If only she had more time”: This was Marty’s lament in the DeLorean in BTTF, shortly before the “bolt of lightning” event.

11. “There are now two of me here and there are two of you here”: This was Doc’s explanation to Marty in BTTF II when they returned to 1955.

12. “Back from the future.”: Verging on the closing line from BTTF II.

13. “Damn. Damn Damn.”: From BTTF, echoes of Doc Brown’s cursing over where Marty was, also shortly before 10pm.

14. “Officer Strickland”: The name of Marty’s school principal (who appears in all BTTF movies as a ‘law man’).

15. “Lyon Estates”: Where Marty lived in BTTF.

16. “Great Scott”: Someone had to say it. (Heavy would be pushing it.)

17. “You’re an angel”: Cribbed some lines here from the QL episode “It’s a Wonderful Leap”, surrounding Angelita, Sam’s guardian angel.

18. “Tiff Bannon”: Too many BTTF names were played straight, time for a malapropism.

19. Future Carrie’s wrap-up at the end was meant to be in the same vein as Al’s commentary at the end of QL episodes, giving the audience the future information before moving on.

20. “putting something right that might have otherwise gone wrong”: Also a send-up to QL.

How many did you spot? Did you spot OTHERS? (My subconscious is often cluttered.) Let me know!


XoversCNo Spoilers (except for parts 12-14) follow.

Plot-wise: There isn’t much to say about this part. It was a “stand alone” ep, a way for Carrie to lose her hairband in the past, that’s all. To be interesting, I tried to put in the fake-out, where she lost it, yet recovered it. I also did something that I think was clever, because it’s something that could only work in text: the narrative reveal of Beth dressed as Carrie. But do you think that was more clever, or annoying? I wonder.

Character-wise, it’s back to Carrie and Frank, the former causing problems for the latter… and as Billy Higgins said in my only review over at “Web Fiction Guide”, that (and her physical abuse) doesn’t really make Carrie a likeable protagonist. Very good point. I’ve tried to soften her edges a bit in the present – but she does need to be her own worst enemy, in a way. Think about the time travel aspect, and you may understand why. But yeah, in retrospect I don’t think I’ve balanced that very well.

If you want to read how this episode appeared after the hard date changes, but before the additional Carrie edits to post it here, you can find it on my other blog site one year ago. They aren’t that significant in my mind, but then I’m the author. The images are actually reused from there.

Episode 7 was originally called “Doubletakes”. Since it’s a tribute, I simply made the second part into “Part II”. (Interestingly, there is a real Part 1/2 episode that I wrote, but you won’t see it until Book 2.) Up next, filling out the cast: More on Luci, plus meet Lee and Chartreuse.

Coming This Friday: With Kaleidoscope Eyes
(I’m actually out of the country, so that chapter is likely not yet up on Wattpad. But I haven’t been getting any traffic there any way.)


  1. Not sure if I agree that the main character needs to be likable. Interesting is more importing than likable. No one would accuse Sherlock Holmes of being warm and fuzzy. Carrie is on the verge of a massive character shift, where she develops into someone worth liking.

    I didn’t get all the BTTF refs, and saw some Sliders refs in their place. The QL ones I did see, mostly. It was on when I was working awkward hours again.


    1. I suppose that’s a fair point – though we also don’t get Sherlock’s point of view, it’s filtered through Watson. One could also argue that Carrie is not interesting, being a “typical” self-absorbed teenager (rather than being quirky), and if you don’t buy in early enough, you don’t get to see the character shift. Then again, one could argue that I don’t have a lot of varied feedback here either.
      BTTF is one of those movies I can quote from without effort, hence why so many direct quotes snuck in. Sliders was another series I watched, even fanfic-ed. Good premise. Well done with the references.


      1. The story starts with Carrie being self-absorbed, but she gets thrust into an interesting situation right away, finding a time machine and all. After that, the little tidbits that have come out make her far more than just a “typical” teenager. She has a subscription of issues to work through beyond figuring out temporal mechanics.

        With Holmes, we get to see why he’s interesting through Watson. Frank is a good foil for Carrie right now, even if he does take her abuse.


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