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Understanding the Timeline in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Movie

I am assuming a lot of you were left scratching your heads after watching Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie. Must be trying to figure out how loops really worked in the movie? Direction is to be blamed a little for that. Since the colossal significance of showing loop entries and exits was next to absent. Also, the surprise quotient that the flick should have tacked all along, never really came to fruition.

Time theory is huge. To be stuck in a loop, to be able to relive a day all over again is a concept that demands ample amount of focus and time to process. I believe a 2 hr 7 minutes movie can’t really do a prodigious concept like that justice. Now since we can’t really wait for a TV show to watch things fall in place, let us make do in whatever little we have to work with. I have explained how timelines in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie worked. So without wasting more time let’s get to it.

Timeline of Miss Peregrine Movie Explained (Major Spoilers)

Here is the timeline that explains how everything  fits in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie:

  • Before dying his grandfather Abe tells Jake to go to Cairnholm island to “find a bird in the loop of September 3, 1940”. The bird yes you guessed right, was none other than Miss Peregrine. Abe tells him to tell her about what happened.
  • Jacob follows the children in his Grampa’s stories into some caves. That’s when he enters the same time loop his Grampa had talked about before dying. The day of September 3, 1940. The same wretched day when Miss Peregrine’s house was destroyed by a German bomber too. But since Peregrine was a Ymbryne she could control time. They lived their everyday without growing old. (So, that insinuates if you come out of the loop you begin to grow normally, I surmise)
  • In an unfortunate turn of events an ornithologist Rupert Everett follows Jake to the cave where the loop entrance stood. He is able to enter it since he is a peculiar. It is also revealed that he was none other than Mr. Barron, the main antagonist himself.

Close to 2016

  • He walks in Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children in her time loop of Sep 3, 1940 demanding her to come to his loop, which as a matter of fact Miss Avocet (Judi Dench) had created. It is also the time loop where his immortality experiments were being performed in the year 2016. But remember it is still a few months before the present.
  • Miss Peregrine is abducted in her Ymbryne form and taken away by Baron. Children encounter a Hollow that tagged along with Baron. Owing to the absence of the Ymbryne Miss Peregrine, the German bomb falls closing their 1940 time loop forever.
  • The clueless children then decide to help Miss Peregrine by visiting 2016 timeline where Barron had taken her. They make a theatrical entry into the year by taking a titanic ship to a port in 2016.
  • The final show down, the big event where skeletons of Enoch O’ Conner, fight the Hollows, then takes place in the year 2016,  in the same loop of Barron’s at a seaside carnival.
  • When everything calms down, and Baron is vanquished, Jake says goodbye to everyone, and returns home to find his Grandfather still alive. This is primarily because that event of Hollows killing Abe hadn’t occurred yet. It is also very unlikely to happen since Hollows and Barron have been killed before time.

The Ending Part

  • Miss Peregrine on the other hand is hurt, so she can’t come back to her normal form to create time loops. She makes it along with other children to the year 1940. The same year when the time loop was completely annihilated with that bomb drop.
  • In the end, Abe insinuates: Even though Miss Peregrine’s 1940 loop has closed, Jake at least knew were they were. Abe offers him some international currency and a map showing the exact location of all the loops to track them down.
  • In order to reach the same time however he has to travel many time loops (that explains his hair growth) taking shortcuts that would take him to the the precise moment where they were about to leave with the ship i.e. in the year 1940 still.
  • When he finally reaches there, he finds Emma still on the ship, brooding, lost in her thoughts. For her the time hasn’t really changed.

still from miss peregrine's home for peculiar children movie final scene ship

Another Important Fact from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Movie

Do you remember how smug and unsurprised Grampa Abe was when Jake found him in the end? Well, partly because he knew beforehand that Jake was a peculiar too. Also he probably knew that Jake was already helping the birds.

Now, one of the major reasons why Grandfather knew that his grandson was a peculiar too was because he had listened to that phone call that Jacob tended to in the year 1940, telling him how much he loved him, and missed him.

Mind = Blown!

Anything you find more intriguing about Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie ? Drop it in the comments section.

For a better glimpse into the movie I would suggest you read our complete thorough review here: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Review 2016

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14 Comments

  1. Hi,

    That was really clear thank you. However there is one thing that still bugs me. Why does jake need to go from loop to loop to find Emma at the end. He has a map with all the loops and their date, why can’t he go straight to the closest one to Emma’s year?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Cassandre,

      A very good question actually! You are correct when you are thinking it would have saved everyone a lot of time if he could have just directly gone to Emma’s nearest time loop. But I think the map he is given doesn’t have a direct access or approach to a given time loop.

      Okay, even if it has, let’s assume the nearest year to that of Emma’s as 1938 (since Sep 3 1940’s was obliterated) So he has two choices. Either wait 2 years for them to come, or since we see him constantly running as there is not a minute to waste, go to another loop that brings him closer to the precise moment in 1940. So for that let’s assume there is another time loop at a different place and day in 1938 that takes him directly to 1940, to the exact moment they come out on the port. He chooses to keep scouring for Emma’s timeline, and in the process grows up a little.

      From his looks we take, he has traveled a lot. So in order to reach the precise ship moment, he must have gone through a series of loops. Unfortunately he was trying to fill in Emma with the details but is shut up with a kiss.

      So I am guessing the only logic we are left with is that there is no direct approach available.

      Hope that helps. 🙂

  2. Hi Scottshak,
    Thank you so much for this explanation.

    If I summarize the functioning of the loops :
    – If you stay in the loop and if the loop is renewed, you live the same day again and again. Only the peculiar keep memory of it, and only the peculiar who are at the right place (otherwise, all the peculiar living in September 3, 1940 would have lived the same day again and again).
    – if you get out of the loop through the passageway, you get back at “the time when you entered it plus the time you spent in the loop”. That’s how Jake come back to his father everyday.
    – if the loop get closed, every one in the loop keep living in the same time, which stops to rewind.

    The thing I don’t get is the effect on your own life. You wrote “It is also very unlikely to happen since Hollows and Barron have been killed before time.” Does it mean, for example, that if Jake had died in 1940 (before he is even born), would he never have existed ? It seems unlikely that the Hollows doesn’t kill Abe, because if so Jake would never have heard of Miss Peregrine, and would never have saved her, and so on.

    The other hypothesis is that all the actions done in 1940 have already occurred in 2016 : Jake has phoned Abe, and so on. It means that all your life keep the same, wherever she ends.
    Difficulties :
    – it means that the Hollows will kill Abe no matter what
    – it means that, for example Jake, could meet himself in 2016 when he go and meet Abe before his death 😉
    – which call does Abe have lived : the calls with Miss Peregrine and the one with Jake ? 😉

    Movies with time travel are always tricky 😉 (sorry for my english, I’m French)

  3. Hi Thomas,

    Brilliant question! It made me ponder on it for a while.

    First of all, we should establish that time always moves forward. So even if one goes back and creates a ripple in a timeline, it will change according to one’s actions.

    When Jake received that phone call of Abe, it happened on the same day it always rang i.e. 3rd Sep 1940. But this time, however the difference is that after speaking to him, the loop gets destroyed completely. So, any other actions that might have happened in the past, like Miss Peregrine picking up the phone every time it rang, no longer exist in this newly created timeline. After the obliteration of that timeline anything that moved forward keeps creating new things. So even if Jake would have died at some point fighting the Hollows, Barron would have moved forward with the experiment. But then a new timeline would have been created and may be Abe would have died again in 2016 in the present, with Jake appearing there as well, (because it was his grown up version that would have died) and trying to stop it once again, only to die in 1940’s loop.

    But yes, if someone would have killed Jake in 1996 when he was a baby, then it would have changed everything. The new timeline would see Abe dying every time without Jake coming to understand anything about Miss Peregrine. But then again it is up to the author’s convenience, and his liking that nothing of that sorts happen.

    Yes, I can’t agree more to that. Time travel is utterly confusing.

    🙂

  4. To simplify, if only for myself, access to certain timeloop may not be available depending on the current time period. Say, there’s a gate that puts you in 2/26/1939 but it is destroyed in 3/14/1939, you’d have to path your way through available gates to a time period that has access to the gate to 2/26/1939.

  5. I think a destroyed time loop can’t be accessed again. That explains why in the end everybody seemed to move on, and not rush towards a time loop that would put them at a preceding gate. But then again, it wasn’t shown properly, and we are left to brood.

  6. Hi! Great work on the effort and explanation! But I cannot help wondering, at the time when Jake went to visit Grandpa Abe in the near 2016 loop, what happens or what is going on with the Jake at THAT time, in the same loop? Does this mean there will be two Jakes in the same time zone?

    If not, what about his parents at that time? if he was already lost or gone by that time it would’ve been a massive mess?

    Hope we can work together this thought has been bugging me endlessly!

  7. Hi Anne,

    A very interesting thought. You are correct in thinking that there would have been two Jakes in the Final Showdown timeloop. But the reason they didn’t run into each other could be primarily because –

    Remember how Jake thought Abe was crazy and he had stopped visiting him? So in that estranged period of time, he had never really come to see him. It was probably the same span during which the future Jake pays him a visit to tell him how happy he is to find him alive.

    So to answer your second question, his parents still had Jake with them then that’s why nobody freaked out on him going away.

    We would have loved it if the director had at least showed us a glimpse of the then Jake confirming this. Like I said before, it wasn’t shown properly rather raced down to the finish line.

    Hope that answers your question.

    However, there is another crazy theory I have been thinking about all this time. But there are not enough proofs to support that. And the more I think about it, the more it perplexes me. Hear me out:

    What if Abe = Jake?

    What if Abe and Jake are the same person? Like something we saw in Predestination. Mind = Blown!

    I mean there are plenty of occasions that tries to insinuate that.

    1. Like when Emma finds Jake she calls him Abe because Jake looked just like his grandfather.
    2. Both Jake and Abe could see Hollows.
    3. If it was in the genes or something we would have expected Jake’s Dad to be a peculiar too. But he turned out to be normal and a disappointment for Abe.

    So, if we are thinking Jake is Abe, he might have had a fallout with Emma at some point after let’s say 1950. He might have come out of the loop business for a while, got hitched and produced his Dad. ( I know that sounds so wrong!) His Dad might have then married his Mom at some point, meanwhile Abe getting on with the peculiar business, which might have costed him his marriage, and Jake’s Dad hating Abe because of his disappearance acts.

    At some point then Jake would have been born, and realizing the phone call Abe would have understood that it was supposed to be his Grandson with his powers. To bring him up to speed he would then start with the easier things – stories about hollows and peculiars.

    And the story continues from there.

    This brings us to the primal question how was Abe conceived then? Well, to answer that through Jake’s Mom and Dad in the future. So basically with that insane theory, the movie boils down to nothing but Jake’s attempt to save himself from dying by the hands of a Hollow.

    I know what you are thinking though. This is crazy! This can’t be right! Trust me even I thought the same way. But then it kept boiling me up, and I just had to put this down on paper for people to notice.

    This theory is too much Predestination-ish. And I am pretty sure the writers might not have even thought in that direction. But it does let you think beyond what’s written, and that makes us think even more. Doesn’t it?

    I’d rather be thinking on such mind-boggling time theories than just put down the pen and call it quits after watching a time travel movie.

    🙂

  8. Hi. I would like to ask, in the end of the movie where in Emma was in the boat, whose loop are they in? Knowing the real falcon peregrine, now I’m confused.

    • Hi Chan,

      It wasn’t a loop she was in. They were simply returning from the time where their loop had been destroyed by the bomb. It was more of a gateway entry and exit point that took them to the Mr. Baron showdown in and out.

      So the time they were in was more of a point where their actual loop had been destroyed, meaning no loop existed at that precise moment. It was some time after the events of Sep 3 1940. Most likely Sep 4 and they were out in the open.

      However, remember in the end we see Miss Peregrine come back to her original form, insinuating she could create a new loop yet again and then maybe take the children under her aegis once again. So that was something that was likely to happen.

      Hope that helps.

  9. Ilan hashimshony

    November 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Hey Scottshak,

    loved your explanations, and the original post sound logical to me except of one Fact that I at least find cannot be disputed.

    I believe that Abe is dead, and only going back to the date of his murder and kill the hollow before will actually save him.

    Let me explain….

    Throughout the whole film Jake encounter “present” Baron.. the same Baron that was his doctor, and then killed his grandpa and then followed him to the 1940 loop.

    So when Baron was killed in the 2016 “a bit earlier than Jakes present” loop this does not change what have already append (since it is the future of the loop but Barons PAST)

    Try to remember how Baron complained in front of his friends towards the end how the hollow killed Abe before he had the time to interrogate him.

    Think about it, I think it makes scene,

    Cheers,

    Ilan

  10. Hi Ilan,

    This actually depends on how Ransom Riggs was thinking when he decided to mess with the time theory. As per Multi-verse theory every time you do something odd, it creates a new dimension and an alternate story of sorts wherein multiple versions of you can co-exist.

    The other theory deals with automatic adjustment of your past actions. That if you mess with someone’s past you can see it’s effect in the same timeline. It is also more popularly known as the Grandfather paradox.

    Since we are believing, that phone call had Abe believe that it was Jake who was going to be a Peculiar, and that their versions could co-exist in the same timeline, we take the latter theory up in order to understand this confusing concept. Meaning that everything in the same timeline auto-adjusts as per relativity.

    What happened with Abe’s well being can be justified with the Grandfather paradox, as the Hollow that was trying to kill Abe in the future had been killed at ‘some point in the past’ meaning that the future that was about to be written from that point onwards cannot have the existence of Hollow at all. So Abe doesn’t go mad, and doesn’t get killed by that Hollow at all. Those events have been erased, and time has auto adjusted itself in a Barron and Hollow free world.

    Look at it this way:

    You going back in time to kill Hitler before he was born. When you come back to your time, you will have a Hitler free world. As simple as that.

    Hope that helps. 🙂

    Scottshak

  11. Jusy wanna ask..
    1943 loop are destroyed..means that they will continue to live in 1943..how they manage to go in 2016..

  12. Hi Azam,

    Even though the 1940 loop was destroyed, there was an entrance portal for a 2016 loop at some place, which the children took (where the Barron had taken Miss Peregrine). When they come back they are yet again in 1940 but without the loop since it was destroyed. We get to see Miss Peregrine recuperating quickly, coming to her original form meaning that she could create yet another loop for them so the children could continue to live there.

    Hope that helps 🙂

    Scottshak

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