As noted previously, problems with hosting of the original award-winning Temporal Anomalies in Popular Time Travel Movies site led to the decision to reformat those original articles and republish them through The Examiner. Editing is being kept minimal, sufficient for the serialized format encouraged by this site with a few touches to the writing but none to the content but for the addition of links to more recent explanatory articles. The original site went live (as a GeoCities site) in 1997, when the Multiverser game system originally presenting the theoretical base for Replacement Theory was published. The first articles to appear analyzed the first two of the Terminator films, but they were immediately followed by these three movies, and since we have since done a fresh explanation of the Terminator series through Terminator Salvation (and anticipate the release of Terminator Genisys) it seemed better to begin with this franchise.
The old site put each film in a single article (except the first two Terminator films, which were combined in one long analysis), sometimes running thousands of words. The Examiner prefers shorter articles, so these articles are being given in installments, released weekly. The first film was published as Back to the Future I part 1: Beginnings, Back to the Future I part 2: Altered, and third Back to the Future I part 3: Resolution. This article concludes the series on the second film; the previous titles are Back to the Future II part 1: Sideways, Back to the Future II part 2: First, Back to the Future II part 3: Second, and Back to the Future II part 4: Third-Fourth. Hopefully you will find these entertaining and enlightening, whether or not you have previously seen them on the other site.
If there were a way for Doc and Marty to have gotten to this alternate 1985, there would be nothing to prevent them from going back to 1955. They embark on a fool’s errand: they seek to change the present by changing the past and, as we discussed with Terminator, there are only three possible outcomes of this: first, you can fail to make the necessary change, so that the past is intact and you still desire to change it, causing an N-jump; second, you can make the change, eliminating your reason for doing so, and so undoing the change, creating an infinity loop; third–the almost impossible result–you can make the change and create a different reason for yourself to know to come back in time to make the change, creating a sawtooth snap which will hopefully terminate in an N-jump (but might still result in an infinity loop). Marty and Doc return to 1955 with the intent to alter history; furthermore, they are basing their efforts once again on information which they are about attempt to erase. A disaster stands before us.
Note that the history they intend to create is not the original, but another divergence which is closer to the original than the current history. They are in the C-D segment of the anomaly created by Biff (itself an offshoot of the N-jump created in the first film), and are attempting to make a portion of that into the A-B segment of a new anomaly whose C-D segment will lead to a future essentially similar to the A-B segment of the other anomaly.
The adventures which follow are exciting and fun (my video store has these films in the comedy section), and of little concern to us in detail. Doc’s concern about encountering their selves is overblown, although it is true that if they recognize themselves they will know more about the future than they otherwise did (such as that they survived and returned to the past for some reason). Also, if Marty’s presence here in this sequence disrupts the events of his prior visit such that the other he can’t return to the future, he creates an infinity loop (since he cannot then prevent himself from doing so), so it is necessary for him to prevent Biff’s thugs from attacking his temporal duplicate. After much finagling, he manages to destroy the book, creating the new C-D timeline, in which history is restored to that which he prefers, that of the more affluent family headed by the successful author. Unfortunately, this restoration undoes the reason for Marty’s return to 1955 (the second return), and another infinity loop results–once again, time comes to an end.
In the end, the time machine is struck by lightning, and vanishes into the past with its inventor. Doc Brown is sharp, and has a letter delivered to Marty while the lad is still standing in the rain, introducing the beginning of Part 3.
This concludes the series on Back to the Future II; previous titles were Back to the Future II part 1: Sideways, Back to the Future II part 2: First, Back to the Future II part 3: Second, and Back to the Future II part 4: Third-Fourth. Next week we plan to launch the series on the third of the classic trilogy.