If I Hadn't Met You (Catalan: Si no t'hagués conegut) is a 2018 Catalan-language sci-fi TV series starring Pablo Derqui, Andrea Ros and Javier Beltran. It was originally released on the Catalan public broadcaster TV 3, and internationally on Netflix.
The show revolves around a man named Eduard Marina, who loses his wife Elisa and their kids in a tragic car accident. Shortly after that, he encounters a mysterious woman named Dr. Everest, who gives him a chance to travel to alternate universes, and try to find a world where his family can be saved.
This show provides examples of:
- Alternate Self: Eduard runs into several of his parallel universe counterparts. None of these encounters end well.
- In episode 5 a younger alternate Elisa from 1991 inadvertently uses the machine to travel to another universe and meet a version of herself as a child. In the same episode, she also meets Dr. Everest, who as we learn in the finale is her much older Alternate Self from yet another universe.
- Alternate Universe: Every reality Eduard visits using Dr. Everest's machine is this.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Played with. Eduard and Elisa briefly met as children during a wedding, danced together and even shared a kiss. But they lost contact for close to a decade, though neither of them forgets that kiss. They reunite after a chance encounter at university, and when they remember their childhood meeting, its one of the factors that sparks off their relationship.
- The Constant: Eduard encounters alternate versions of his friends and family in every Alternate Universe he visits - himself, Elisa, his children, his parents Maria and Manel, his father-in-law Joan, and his friends Oscar and Clara.
- Eduard's apartment, and the bridge over the train crossing in the woods, are also locations that recur across worlds and time periods.
- Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Eduard tends to treat alternate versions of his friends and family much the same way he would on his own world. Many of them treat him the same way they would their respective versions of Eduard, though this is usually before they find out who he really is.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Discussed several times. Every time Eduard visits another universe and meets a version of Elisa, the possibility exists that he might fall in love with her and want to remain there to be with her. In one universe, he does share a kiss with a much younger Elisa, and in another universe, he even sleeps with a slightly younger version of her who falls in love with him. However, deep down, Eduard knows that these alternate Elisas aren't his wife, and perhaps that is what leads him to avoid any of these possible relationships.
- Given the reveal at the end that Dr. Everest is an older alternate Elisa, it raises the possibility that she views the version of Eduard we're following as this on some level.
- Driven to Suicide: After the death of his family in a car crash, Eduard is on the verge of committing suicide when Dr. Everest stops him. In the first Alternate Universe he visits, his counterpart did succeed.
- Foreshadowing: There are several clues throughout the series which foreshadow the final reveal that Dr. Everest is an older version of Elisa. In early episodes both of them are told by a version of Eduard that they are "brimming with passion" beneath a cool exterior. Everest's first name is Lisbeth, which like Elisa, is a shortened form of Elizabeth. In episode 6, Dr. Everest looks a little upset when Eduard tells her he couldn't imagine staying with a younger alternate Elisa because there's "too much of an age gap". The fact that there are no official records of her identity also points towards her being from another universe.
- Family Versus Career: Elisa was a talented singer and musician herself who opted for a more conventional career as a music critic and academic after starting a family. In one of the universes Eduard visits, where Elisa didn't marry him or have kids, she became a highly successful singer and pop-star.
- Fate Drives Us Together: Eduard and Elisa both believe this applies to them since they just happened to meet in college and take a liking to each other, after having previously met a decade ago as children at a wedding, and even shared a kiss.
- For Want of a Nail: Essentially the premise of the show. Eduard visits parallel universes where events unfolded very differently due to him making a different decision at a critical point. Sometimes, he arrives in the Alternate Universe long after it has already diverged from his own, while at other times, his arrival is the cause of the divergence.
- Insistent Terminology: Dr. Everest makes it very clear to Eduard that what he's experiencing is not Time Travel, even if it enables him to interact with younger versions of himself and his loved ones. He is simply traveling to parallel universes and nothing he does there will change the history he's experienced in his own reality, including the deaths of his family.
- In Spite of a Nail: No matter what universe Eduard visits inevitably, tragedy befalls either him, Elisa or their family, in the form of an accident involving a car. He's unable to prevent the accident that killed Elisa and the kids in one of the earliest universes he visits. In another universe, his intervention leads to his younger Alternate Self being run over by a car. There is a universe in which his parents died in a car crash and in which Elisa herself is ultimately run over. And in the finale, we learn that Dr. Everest is Elisa from a universe where Eduard and the kids died in a car crash.
- Love Triangle: Between Elisa, Eduard and Carla. Carla has always had feelings for Eduard, and it is later revealed that Eduard once almost cheated on Elisa with her. In one alternate universe, Eduard was having an affair with Carla at the time of Elisa's death, while in another universe, he married her after he broke up with Elisa.
- Between Eduard, Elisa, and Elisa's music teacher Lluis Antic. Lluis always had feelings for Elisa and continued to pine after her all his life. At one point, Eduard was convinced that Elisa cheated with him on Lluis and that the latter is the real father of their child. In one alternate universe, Elisa and Lluis got engaged after Elisa broke up with Eduard.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: In episode 7 we learn that Eduard once suspected Elisa of having an affair with Lluis, which led him to believe that the child she was pregnant with (Carla) was actually Lluis'. He decides to let the matter drop however, and resolves to raise the child as his own. Given that in the finale, we learn that Carla would be born in a universe where the affair never happened, it seems that she was always Eduard's child after all.
- No Ending: The series ends with Eduard learning that Dr. Everest is an older Elisa from another universe, and about her life's story. But there is no real resolution provided to Eduard's quest to find a world where he and Elisa can live their lives without tragedy, or to whether he'll ever be able to move on with his life. We are also Left Hanging with regards to the possibility of Eduard's mother Maria and father-in-law Joan getting together (something which happened in Dr. Everest's universe), or of Eduard and Clara getting together.
- The Reveal: In episode 9 we learn that Dr. Everest is in fact a much older Elisa from an Alternate Universe, who lost her own version of Eduard and their kids in a car crash.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Eduard's goal is to find a universe where his and his family's lives do not end in tragedy one that usually comes in the form of a vehicular accident of some sort. His goal is to achieve a kind of catharsis more than anything else, since his actions will not alter the history of his own reality.
- In the finale we learn that Dr. Everest's (herself an alternate Elisa) initial motivation to become a scientist stemmed from a desire to someday invent Time Travel and possibly prevent her mother's death.
- Title Drop: The phrase if I hadn't met you recurs throughout the series, usually in the context of Eduard having not met Elisa.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside / Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time passes at different rates in different universes, resulting in Eduard experiencing this. Sometimes he may spend only a few minutes in another universe to find that days, if not weeks, have passed in his own universe. At other times, he spends days in another universe, and only minutes pass in his own. This becomes a source of tension between him and his friends and family, when he mysteriously disappears for prolonged periods of time, and when it seems like he's unable to recover from the shock of his family's deaths even after nearly a year, which for him has only been a few weeks at most.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Eduard is unable to prevent his and/or Elisa's story from ending in tragedy in even one universe.