It never fails. Every single time I watch an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, I get lost in deep thoughts about the plot over the next few days.
Recently, I re-visited a memorable episode from my childhood, “The Tale of Locker 22”. In this adventure, a new student at a crummy high school gets stuck with a locker in what is essentially a storage closet. Already mis-representing herself as a troublemaker, no one believes her when she explains the necklace she finds in her locker makes her see ghosts and time travel. Yeah, okay, I guess I wouldn’t believe that one, either.
So, spoiler alert, the previous tenant of the locker turns out to be a student who was killed in a chemistry lab explosion back in the groovy 60s (or, as one student puts it in the form of a clue, the year the Beatles white album was released). It is the destiny of the new girl to time travel with the necklace and prevent the lab explosion from ever happening. She ultimately accomplishes the mission with the help of a friend, thought I can’t help but feel they didn’t do anyone any favors by stopping the explosion.
The final scene reveals that the explosion was prevented, the teacher involved in the incident was presumably fired, and that the 60s girl survived to become the assistant principal of the school. Instead of haunting the halls as her younger-self, the 60s girl is now wandering the school demanding hall passes and stopping food fights. No longer can she drift as a freeloading spirit, she has to earn a living for the rest of her life in exactly the same place she was trapped before. On top of all that, who knows what really happened to the careless chemistry teacher.
Perhaps, I am over analyzing the situation. Maybe everything did work out for the better, but altering any single incident in the past would certainly have a ripple effect on everything else in the universe. The trade-off for “rescuing” the 60s girl from being stuck in a crummy school for eternity may have come at a price of preventing generations of Chemistry Teacher Juniors from being born. As history was originally written, it just looked like a failing student didn’t pay attention to safety rules in class and blew herself up. As history now stands, a teacher was accused of letting a student use faulty equipment.
Conclusion: What happens in a 60s chemistry lab, should stay in a 60s chemistry lab.