Explained: Amazing Stories Season 1 Episode 5: "The Rift" Ending


Amazing Stories' "The Rift" kicks off with young Elijah Whitaker, portrayed brilliantly by Duncan Joiner, embarking on a journey that takes unexpected turns through the corridors of time. Elijah and his stepmom, Mary Ann, while cruising from Ohio to California, meet a World War II fighter plane that crash into their lives, quite literally.

Lieutenant Theodore Cole, the time-traveling pilot from 1938, becomes the linchpin of this narrative. As Elijah teams up with Cole to rewrite history, the plot thickens with elements of suspense, nostalgia, and that unmistakable Spielberg magic.

"The Rift" shares some thematic DNA with episode 3, "Dynoman and the Volt," both featuring young protagonists navigating extraordinary circumstances. However, what sets "The Rift" apart is its unique blend of heartwarming family dynamics, cosmic destiny, and a dash of good ol' time travel.

The Plot: Elijah, Mary Ann, and Lieutenant Cole

Elijah and his stepmom, Mary Ann cruise through the heart of Dayton, Ohio. Just an ordinary day. Well, not for long. Cue the unexpected storm and a World War II fighter plane crashing into a nearby creek. Mary Ann, being the hero she is, rushes to the scene and saves the pilot, a certain Lieutenant Theodore Cole.

Cole believes it's still World War II - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

But Cole believes it's still World War II. And if that's not intriguing enough, a swirling portal in the sky opens up, setting the stage for a time-traveling escapade that will keep you hooked.

Now, here's where things get interesting. Elijah, our young protagonist with a knack for believing in the fantastic, discovers a photo at the local police station that validates Cole's claim of being a 1938 fighter pilot. But Mary Ann thinks Cole might be a bit delusional. But Elijah? He's all in.

Cole, Elijah and Mary in car - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

As authorities hot on Cole's tail, Elijah becomes the key player in helping the time-displaced pilot escape. Elijah has seen his father's death, and he's not about to let history repeat itself.

To give Cole a second chance at rewriting the pages of history, Elijah and Cole dodge the authorities, zigzag through town, and even make a pitstop at an Army Surplus Store for a little time-traveling shopping spree.

Amidst car alarms, government agents, and a repaired plane ready for takeoff, Elijah takes the helm, refusing to let Cole return to his time. It's a race against time, literally, and the fate of not just our characters but the very fabric of history hangs in the balance.

The NTSB's Role in the Story

The NTSB, or National Transportation Safety Board, is the unsung hero (or maybe not so hero) responsible for investigating transportation accidents. Their involvement in this plane crash is anything but ordinary.

NTSB or National Transportation Safety Board - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

A World War II fighter plane crashes in the middle of Ohio, and the NTSB is on the case. Sounds routine, right? Well, not so fast. The circumstances surrounding this crash are a tad unusual. We've got time travel, a confused pilot from the past, and a swirling portal in the sky. Suddenly, the NTSB's job just got a whole lot more interesting.

As our adventure unfolds, we learn that the NTSB isn't new to these bizarre rift situations. One agent spills the beans while driving Mary Ann around, admitting to encountering these rifts "more than most people feel comfortable knowing about." It turns out, these rifts have a track record of causing havoc, sometimes wiping out entire towns. And when that happens, the agency becomes the master of cover-ups, spinning tales of accidents to keep the truth under wraps.

We've got a government conspiracy, some supernatural twists, and the NTSB's not-so-straightforward role in "The Rift." It seems like they've dealt with more than just typical plane crashes.

Explaining the Ending: Lieutenant Cole's Decision

As we hurtle toward the ending, Lieutenant Theodore Cole, our time-traveling hero, experiences a profound revelation. With the help of Elijah, he comes to terms with the fact that he was brought through time for a reason. The love of his life, Pauline, whom he left behind without saying goodbye, has lived a full and fulfilling life. She's married, had kids, and aged gracefully.

In a poignant moment of self-realization, Cole grapples with the complexity of his emotions. Elijah, the wise-beyond-his-years companion, urges him to tie up the loose ends of the past. This isn't just a journey through time; it's a reckoning with the ghosts left behind.

Cole gives Elijah a chocolate candy bar - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

But here's the twist – earlier in the episode, Cole gave Elijah a chocolate candy bar, a token from the past. According to the authorities dealing with rifts, leaving anything behind can lead to catastrophic consequences. The rift could explode, wiping out the entire town. It's a classic race-against-time scenario, with the fate of everyone hanging in the balance.

Despite the stakes, the theory arises that maybe the purpose of the rift was for Cole to bid farewell to Pauline. As he climbs into his plane and flies into the rift, the town holds its breath. A flash of lightning, the rift closes, and the question lingers – did leaving the candy bar behind alter destiny or seal their fate?

Cole bids farewell to Pauline - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

The emotional crescendo hits as Lieutenant Cole, before making his daring leap through time, pays one last visit to Pauline. In a heartfelt reunion, he apologizes for the abrupt goodbye all those years ago. The love and longing come pouring out as they share a dance, a bittersweet nod to the past.

With the plane now fixed, Cole imparts some wisdom to both Elijah and Mary Ann. As he disappears into the rift, the emotional weight of the moment hangs in the air. The rift closes, leaving us with a lingering sense of closure and the poignant realization that some goodbyes are worth the wait.

Cole disappears into the rift - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

The ending of "The Rift" is a tapestry woven with love, sacrifice, and the delicate dance of time. Lieutenant Cole's decision showcases the human spirit's ability to rewrite its own narrative, even when faced with the cosmic unknown.

The Real Meaning Behind "The Rift"

"The Rift" takes us on a journey that goes beyond the ordinary. At first glance, the rift appears as a random cosmic hiccup, but as the story unfolds, we begin to question if there's a grander purpose at play. Lieutenant Cole, our time-displaced hero, grapples with the notion that he might be here for a reason, a destiny woven into the fabric of time itself.

Lieutenant Theodore Cole - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

As the characters navigate through the twists and turns of the plot, we're left pondering the cosmic forces that might be at work. Is it fate, or is there something greater orchestrating these rifts, allowing individuals to mend the tapestry of their past?

The beauty of "The Rift" lies in the questions it raises. Why do these rifts appear, tearing through the fabric of space and time? Is it merely a chaotic anomaly, or do these openings serve a purpose, a chance for individuals like Lieutenant Cole to right the wrongs of their pasts?

The impact on our characters is profound. Lieutenant Cole, torn between the past and present, grapples with the consequences of his actions. Elijah, our young hero, becomes the catalyst for change, challenging destiny itself. The ripple effect of their choices forces us to confront the age-old question: Can we really alter our fate?

Cole, Elijah and Mary - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

Beyond the cosmic mysteries, "The Rift" weaves a touching narrative around family relationships. Elijah and his stepmother, Mary Ann, set the stage for a heartfelt exploration of what it means to be family. Initially faced with the challenges of a blended family, their journey becomes a testament to the transformative power of connection.

The emotional crescendo of the episode hinges on the bond between characters, culminating in a heartwarming conclusion. "The Rift" reminds us that amidst the time-traveling chaos, the most profound changes often happen within the walls of the heart.

The Cast's Impact on "The Rift"

When it comes to reviving a classic series, the cast becomes the backbone, and "The Rift" doesn't disappoint. The performances in this episode elevate it from a mere sci-fi adventure to a heartfelt journey through time. Each actor brings their A-game, delivering emotions that resonate with every twist in the plot.

From the stoic Lieutenant Theodore Cole to the skeptical yet caring Mary Ann, the ensemble cast forms a tight-knit unit that keeps you invested in every moment. The chemistry between characters is palpable, adding layers of authenticity to a story that already dances on the edge of the extraordinary.

Duncan Joiner as Elijah Whitaker - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

Duncan Joiner as Elijah Whitaker, is like a pint-sized powerhouse delivering a performance that goes beyond his years. Elijah's wide-eyed wonder, unwavering belief in the fantastic, and determination to rewrite history are all brought to life by Joiner's impeccable acting.

As Elijah becomes the linchpin in this time-traveling escapade, Joiner's portrayal injects the episode with heart and soul. It's not every day we encounter a child actor who can carry the weight of such a pivotal role, but Joiner does it with finesse, making us laugh, cry, and root for Elijah every step of the way.

The Comic Book Connection

The spark of inspiration for "The Rift" was ignited by the pages of a comic book. In a sea of original stories and homages in the Amazing Stories reboot, this episode stands out as the one directly influenced by a graphic novel. According to the co-showrunners, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, "The Rift" draws its essence from the source material, giving us a glimpse into the vivid world of comics.

While the new series didn't pay much heed to the comic books that birthed its source material, this particular episode chose a different path. Drawing from a graphic novel rather than the monthly comic book series, "The Rift" maintains a connection with its illustrated origins.

Poster - Amazing Stories S01 E05 The Rift - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

However, as with any adaptation, there are nuances to consider. Changes were made in the transition from page to screen. Characters evolved, plotlines were streamlined, and the essence of the story underwent a transformation. It's a dance between honoring the source material and sculpting a narrative fit for the televised spectacle.

In the adaptation process, "The Rift" became a more streamlined version of its comic book counterpart. While the original graphic novel delves into a more intricate narrative with a bitter spouse and a larger government team, the televised episode opted for a more straightforward approach. Cole's wife takes a different emotional trajectory, the government team shrinks in size, and the focus sharpens on the core characters and their temporal odyssey.

Sure, some plot details may have taken a detour, but the heart and essence of "The Rift" remain intact.

Critique and Comparison

Like any time-traveling adventure, "The Rift" may have a few moments where you tilt your head and go, "Wait, what?" The delicate dance between altering the past and preserving the future can lead to some head-scratching moments. But here's the thing – suspend a bit of disbelief, and you'll find that the emotional beats and character arcs carry you through the bumps in the narrative road.

If you're a Spielberg aficionado, you might detect some familiar notes in "The Rift." The episode taps into that classic Spielberg feel, blending wonder, emotion, and a touch of the extraordinary. While it may not reinvent the wheel of Spielbergian storytelling, it pays homage to the master in a way that feels both nostalgic and fresh. If you're a fan of E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you might find echoes of that magic here.

The beating heart of any story is the emotions. "The Rift" delivers some poignant moments that tug at your heartstrings. The reunion between Lieutenant Cole and Pauline is a standout to love transcending time. Elijah's determination to rewrite history adds layers of emotion, and the closing dance is a cherry on top.

However, every rose has its thorn, and "The Rift" is not immune to its shortcomings. Some might argue that the plot feels somewhat familiar, echoing themes seen in other time-travel adventures. It's a delicate balance between homage and originality, and the episode may lean a bit more towards the former.

Wrap Up

Season one of Amazing Stories wraps up with "The Rift," leaving us with a mix of nostalgia, wonder, and a touch of speculative magic. Each episode, like a unique thread, has woven a tapestry of storytelling, paying homage to the classic Spielberg feel. As we look back on the season's conclusion, "The Rift" stands out as a poignant finale, wrapping up the series with emotional resonance.

With the rift closed and Lieutenant Cole's journey through time reaching its conclusion, fans are left wondering if a second season is in the cards. The potential is there, with ample room for the series to explore new dimensions, fresh characters, and untold tales. The beauty of Amazing Stories lies in its ability to be, well, amazing.

As the curtain falls on season one, my final thoughts are a blend of appreciation and curiosity. Amazing Stories, in its rebooted form, has taken us on a rollercoaster of emotions, from heartwarming reunions to time-traveling escapades. It may not have reinvented the wheel, but it certainly polished it with Spielbergian flair.

The impact of the series lies not just in its individual episodes but in the collective experience. It's a celebration of storytelling, a nod to the past, and a bridge to the future. Amazing Stories, in all its quirks and wonders, has proven that the magic of a good tale transcends time and space.

Watch "Amazing Stories" on Apple TV+.

Explained Amazing Stories Season 1 Episode 5 The Rift Ending

Author: Jaimy Green

Author/Writer - Jaimy Green

Introducing Jaimy Green, the nature-loving dynamo! She's a master of the great outdoors, from hiking to hilltop conquests, and her Movies & TV shows obsession is second to none. Jaimy's life is a whirlwind of passions, and she spends every moment doing what she loves. By day, a responsible citizen, but by night, she's an Entertainment superhero!

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