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Touch of Petulance - Recap

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In a house, a couple argues and a shot rings out. An older man stands over his dead wife, a gun in his hand. He runs out of the house and into the street, hearing police sirens in the distance. He runs off into the night.

At the Hughes home, Jonathan Hughes is preparing for the day. He has breakfast and his wife Alice kisses him as they drive together to work. She drops him off at the train station and assures him she'll be waiting for him that night at home. Jonathan gets on the train and goes to work. He comes back on the train and notices the older man reading a newspaper that looks different from his. Jonathan asks if it's a future change and the man notes that it is indeed. Squinting at the front page, Jonathan sees an article about the death of Alice Hughes at Jonathan's address. He yanks it out of the man's hands and asks if it's some kind of sick joke. The older man says that Jonathan can wash away the blood and there's still time, but Jonathan gets up and walks away. The man goes after him and finally corners him, and explains that he is Jonathan... from the future. He gives Jonathan his business card and goes back to his seat.



Jonathan decides to hear the man out and asks what he's up to. The man recites their life history, but Jonathan notes that anyone could know all of that. The man describes Jonathan's future: his business will deteriorate, he'll have a son and lose him, and his wife will soon come to hate him. Jonathan will hate her as well as a result. The man admits that it's hard to believe because Jonathan has only been married for a year, but it will happen. He wants to convince Jonathan to not kill Alice, so that neither one of them will become a murderer. The man doesn't know how he came back in time, but believes he has a second chance.



The train arrives at Jonathan's destination and he gets off. The man follows him and insists they have to solve this situation together before Jonathan becomes him. He relates an incident where they hid for two days, miserable and wanting to die. Convinced, Jonathan agrees to take the man along so he can teach him what went wrong so he can correct it. Alice arrives and Jonathan introduces the man as his high school teacher. She invites him to join them for dinner over Jonathan's objections and the man accepts. As they drive home, the man gives his name as Weldon, inadvertently using Alice's maiden name. She wonders if they're related and admits that it feels as if she knows him.



The three of them have dinner and Alice notices that both of them are staring at her intently. She asks what the matter is and the man admits that she reminds him of someone he once knew, a long time ago. He thanks her for the lovely dinner and she goes to get dessert. Once she's gone, Jonathan tells the man he has to go before Alice suspects. She returns and Jonathan says he loves her very much. She responds in kind and the man admits that he remembers. Alice is puzzled but Jonathan interrupts and declares a toast to his wonderful life and a grand future.

As Alice cleans up, the man admits he can't see anything that would indicate where their relationship falls apart. He condemns Jonathan for drinking too much and warns him to watch out for that. The man admits that Jonathan won't remember whatever he tells him, and tells Jonathan to tell Alice he loves her every day. Alice comes in and wonders if something is wrong, but Jonathan says they're arguing over who likes her more. Once she steps out, Jonathan says it's time for his older self to go. The man has an idea and considers killing Alice now. That way he'll take the blame and Jonathan can go on with his life. Jonathan insists that he won't let the man kill her, and the man knows he's telling the truth.



Jonathan gets a call and goes to answer it. The man goes to see Alice in the kitchen, startling her, and asks for a glass of water. As Alice gets it, he tells her that he has to go now. He tells her that he'll never forget this evening. Unnerved, she bids him good night and he starts to go... and then addresses her by her first name. As he leaves with Jonathan, he wonders if he's accomplished anything. Jonathan assures him that he'll tell Alice he loves her every day, and he'll make sure to change the future. The man figures that he'll go back "up the road," and Jonathan will catch up to him one day. Jonathan insists it can't happen and won't happen. As he leaves, the man gives Jonathan his future newspaper, saying he can't trust himself. He figures that he'll return to his own time somehow, to finish their life. He walks around the corner, down the street, and out of sight.

Jonathan goes back inside and discovers that the gun is wrapped inside the newspaper. As he contemplates it, Alice nags at him to close the door. He takes the gun and considers it thoughtfully.



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Warning: The Ray Bradbury Theater season 5 episode 6 guide may contain spoilers
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