The character of life is intrinsically governed by chances and coincidences, which control key choices and decisions of living beings at every turn, thereby shaping their destinies. What if we were given a chance to alter that course by tweaking those key moments to make up for the often regretful decisions we take during a lifetime? But does that help much when human nature plays a wild card to turn the table always in favor of the unseen nemesis? This is the question CBC’s latest sci-fi series, “Plan B,” asks its viewers. They recently concluded the first season of the series starring “Suits” fame Patrick J. Adams, as the lead (who once again plays the role of an aspiring lawyer), uses time travel as a plot device to evaluate the human condition by highlighting the inescapable tragic inevitability of our doomed existence.
Hope And The Absence Of It
As the series begins, it wastes no time in introducing the key characters to the audience. We meet two friends and partners, Philip Grimmer and Patrick Landry, the founders of the law firm “Grimmer and Landry,” and Patrick’s sister Evelyn, whom he introduces to Philip. It’s love at first sight as both Philip and Evelyn fall for each other from the moment they meet and start having a relationship soon after, which goes on for the next six years. After the time jump, we find the couple going through a rough patch in their relationship, as Philip has become extremely busy handling what might be the law firm’s biggest case, and Evelyn feels constantly neglected by her boyfriend. Philip struggles with the basic little things that shape any relationship, like keeping his word, remembering or respecting Evelyn’s wishes, or making gestures that matter. Evelyn tries her best to keep up, but even her honest efforts aren’t enough to break the dry spell of their relationship. Phil also has a tough situation defending his alcoholic elder half-brother Andy, who is gradually becoming a burden of sorts after getting fired from his job and being shunned by his wife and kid.
The understaffed firm of Phil and Pat is struggling to stay afloat, and Evelyn has to sacrifice her passion for being a star cellist in order to assist them as a secretary/paralegal. The only hope for them is nabbing the lucrative contract from the corporate giant Keas, and if the firm manages to do its bidding by displacing the residents of an ecologically thriving neighborhood, it might become their golden goose. After a solid presentation by Phil, they manage to do just that, and Phil returns home to celebrate the success with Eve, only to discover that she is leaving him. Phil tries his best to mend their relationship, first by requesting, then arguing, and later apologizing, as well as stating that all he did was for Evelyn’s happiness, but he fails to realize that his actions matter more than his words.
In such a desperate situation, Phil is taken by Pat to a bar, and on the wall of the bar washroom, he locates a shady-looking advertisement for a company named “Plan B,” which claims to offer second chances. Phil curiously picks it up and carries it with him to his house. After any sort of effort to communicate with Evelyn fails, a drunk Phil decides to call the number provided in the leaflet. From the other side of the call, an automated voice guides him to follow the key commands and demands the number of his credit card. The voice confirms Phil’s identity and address, and afterward, it asks him to input the particular event that he would like to change, along with a particular date for his desired ‘trip.’ Phil sets the date a day before the current one, and the automated voice states that their ‘agents’ will arrive the previous day between 9 am and 9 pm. The next day, Phil sees a substantial amount to be deducted from his account and an acknowledgment message from the company, “Plan B.” Moments later, a couple of unnamed identical twin women clad in suits with mohawk-styled hair appear in front of Phil’s house and abduct him, throwing him inside their van before leaving.
Phil wakes up two days earlier and gets shocked to see Eve still at his side, with the exact same events happening in front of him in a similar sequence, only now he has an idea about everything that is going to take place. He takes a moment to settle into this shocking discovery and realizes that the mysterious claims of the company have actually worked. From that point, Phil, who is now aware of the causality of the events for the next two days, does exactly the ‘right’ things, makes the proper decisions to save the relationship, and partially succeeds in doing so. However, things are still not smooth out for Andy, and his distraction in mending their relationship has led to negligence in the firm’s Kea contract. Due to insufficient funds, Phil is no longer able to redo the decisions this time.
A Murky Past
Phil tries to show Evelyn his sincerity by arranging the means to let her restart her pursuit of becoming a star cellist. However, this results in both his and Eve’s lack of attention to the firm’s procedures. In this revised timeline, Phil also discovers that Evelyn might be pregnant, and he rekindles his wish of having kids and starting a family of their own. On the other hand, to ensure the Kea contract doesn’t slip from their grasp, Pat starts having an affair with one of the executives of the corporate giant. Phil arranges a construction job for his brother Andy and tries to help him stand up for himself while staying sober. Things take an abrupt stop when Pat decides to satisfy the request of the Keas by assigning a new solicitor for the firm who will exclusively work on the company’s settlement cases and who happens to be Miranda Delano. Months ago, during the toughest case of his career, Phil handed Miranda her first loss, and the two almost slept together until Evelyn discovered it. Evelyn has ever since suffered from a lack of self-worth and a sense of insecurity, not just because of Phil’s cheating but also after discovering how Phil held Miranda in such high regard, which she was never afforded.
To Phil’s dismay, Pat recruits Miranda into their firm, which inevitably draws the ire of Evelyn. The duo of Phil and Pat go to the inhabitant families of the mining areas to convince them to accept the settlement deals and succeed in doing so, except for one family. Pat goes behind Phil’s back to recruit the daughter of that particular family as their firm’s receptionist to ease their case, which initially works too. Phil has a heated argument with Evelyn regarding Miranda and her negligence in the firm’s affairs and later decides to patch things up with her by retracting the firm’s offer to Miranda. After discovering Andy hasn’t managed to stay sober, Phil humiliates him in front of his co-workers, which later results in Andy’s disappearance. Years ago, during a romantic vacation with Eve, unbeknownst to her, Phil had tried to propose marriage but couldn’t muster the courage. This time, to strengthen their relationship, Phil and Eve set out for the same destination, and Phil finally proposes to her. Evelyn decides to confess at the moment that she cheated with a lawyer of a rival firm after knowing about his affair with Miranda, which results in an infuriated Phil sabotaging the proposal.
An enraged Phil keeps his distance from Eve but soon realizes that it was his negligence that resulted in a situation like that. Caught in a conflict between loathing Evelyn and acknowledging his mistakes, Phil also faces pressure in his career at the firm, and Keas gets direct heat from the public, particularly due to Pat’s plan backfiring. Phil decides to go back six months, before the Miranda situation when he and Evelyn started thinking of settling by buying a new house. Phil once again makes all the right decisions by helping Andy get into rehab before the situation goes south, thereby saving his marriage, never letting Eve discover about his affair with Miranda and taking care of her, and stopping Pat from taking the Keas contract. All these decisions contribute to a seemingly better situation in this timeline. However, the instance of Evelyn’s cheating in the former timeline has been etched in his mind forever, and his insecurity has taken root in his mind.
Saving His Family
In this new timeline, Phil and Eve get married, and Eve gets pregnant. Eve has gotten the chance to become the lead cellist in an opera, but Phil’s insecurity about the conductor has clouded his rationality. Months later, the firm is fighting for the public, this time against the Keas illegal mining operations, and Pat finds out that the Ministry of Agriculture helped Keas falsify the toxicology report and gain approval for mining in the zone by getting close to the certification official. Pat makes a foolish, desperate attempt to bluff the Keas with this information without having any substantial evidence, which results in the Keas threatening Pat and his family. A five-month pregnant Evelyn goes on tour with her opera team, but neglecting her medical checkup and ignoring minor health conditions results in her contracting UTS and delivering their daughter prematurely, which leaves the baby at extreme risk. Phil gets to know about the exact information that can save their daughter’s life and also learns about Pat’s predicament, having been cornered by the Keas. Phil goes back in time days prior to the incident and somehow manages to stop Evelyn from going to the tour and taking the health checkup, which saves their daughter’s life. Phil also stops Pat from bluffing the Keas and instead takes it upon himself to negotiate with them. After the Keas threaten Phil in a similar manner, he announces the entire fiasco to the public, which results in the Keas eventually backing off of their mining operations.
Before going on the current trip, Phil also managed to note down lucky lottery numbers, and using those, he became a millionaire. Phil gives complete ownership of the firm to Pat, gets a new, lavish house for him, Eve, and their daughter Charlotte to stay in, and starts a pediatric healthcare foundation. All the while, Eve has distanced herself from Phil due to his increasingly eccentric know-it-all behavior, which has become more and more apparent to Phil gradually. Phil finally decides to come clean with the entire situation and confesses everything to Eve, and unsurprisingly, after knowing the truth, Evelyn moves away and takes Charlotte with her. Before leaving, Evelyn lets Phil know that it was never her choice to have a child with Phil in the first place and that she wishes her life would be different than what it became after knowing Phil.
Initially, Phil decides to proceed legally and gain full custody of their daughter but later comes to his senses after having a conversation with Pat. Even though Phil and Eve make considerable progress as Charlotte’s parents, Eve has no intention of moving back with Phil. She lets him know during a time when Phil is driving them back home, which results in Phil getting distracted and running through a red light. A vicious accident ensues, which, even though not explicitly stated, claims Charlotte’s life. This time, a devastated Phil decides to give Evelyn the life she wanted—which was never with him—and sends her seven years back before she even meets Phil.
However, Evelyn realizes what has happened as the memory of the person taking the trip remains intact anyway. She berates and almost hits a clueless Phil from the past during their first meeting but gradually settles into her life. Seven years later, we see Evelyn has become a star cellist and is married to a person she loves, and during one of her performances, she meets Phil, who is now married to Miranda Delano, and they are expecting a child. Later, Evelyn informs Phil that she loathed him for whatever he did to her earlier, but now she has made peace with her reality and is happy with it. It seemed initially that, due to the different timeline, Phil has no idea about what Eve is saying, just like he didn’t seven years earlier, either. But the misconception is broken when Phil accurately mentions the name of their daughter Charlotte from the timeline where he and Eve were married, thereby leaving the audience and Eve in utter shock.
What Can Be Expected In ‘Plan B’ Season 2?
The first season of “Plan B” ends on a cliffhanger, and the chief question it raises, which surely will be addressed if further seasons are made, is how did Phil manage to remember the events from a supposedly erased timeline? The rules of the kind of time travel the series shows are also not super specified, as people might state a particular reason for taking a trip into the past but can alter as many events as they wish according to their likings. That will be another issue we feel needs addressing, along with what happens if two people whose future and past are intertwined take the trips separately. Does it break reality completely as they know it, or do they live different versions according to their liking? Here’s hoping season two gets made to answer all these questions.