‘Timeless’ Review: We’ve Been Doing This A While

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

There’s a fine line between “change is necessary for growth” and “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Timeless continues to straddle that delicate line in its second season by shaking up its episodic formula.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I love that we’re getting more Jiya, more Agent Christopher, more Mason and a new dynamic with Flynn (not that I trust him or think anyone else should).

The little glimpses into Rittenhouse are fine. Nicholas and Emma are nowhere near as interesting villain-wise as Flynn or the potential Carol could/might have (more on that later), but their exposition-heavy scenes fill in blanks.

And, believe it or not, it’s not Jessica’s presence troubling my fangirl heart (We’ll talk about her later, too).

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

What bothered me about “The Kennedy Curse” (and “The Salem Witch Hunt”) was the lack of seeing Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus travel through time together.

The Time Team chemistry (and comedic timing) between Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett is what makes Timeless such a fantastic show.

I want to see them out of their element. I want to watch them make up ridiculous stories and exchange horrified looks and run from gunfire and screw up history and do their best to fix it before it’s too late.

I want the heart-to-heart moments and the friendship and the deep need to protect one another above all else at all costs. I want to see the fangirl/boy moments as they travel to different places and meet their heroes.

That being said, Timeless remains my favorite show and they’re doing a fantastic job with what they’re giving us (mostly). But I worry the longer they keep the Time Team apart, the more likely it is that the show could lose what makes it magical.

(And maybe I’d worry less if we had more than 10 episodes this season or were guaranteed the 10 future seasons this show deserves).

(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Okay, time to step down from the soapbox so we can talk about what the show did give us this week: a different angle to the love triangle.

Due to her injury, Lucy was temporarily sidelined while Wyatt, Rufus, and Flynn traveled to the past to protect young JFK from Rittenhouse. That gave Lucy time for a brief heart to heart with Jiya (how much do you love that Rufus filled her in on the whole Lyatt truth?).

Lucy being Lucy shut down her feelings pretty quick and escaped to the kitchen for tea, only to find Jessica there. Good manners and curiosity stopped Lucy from running away, which led to the first of many awkward moments.

Now that she’s less angry, Jessica seems super nice and helpful, doesn’t she? I am way less sure than I originally was about Jessica being Rittenhouse. Sure, it’s suspicious that they brought her back, but maybe it was only because they believed she would drive a wedge between Lucy and Wyatt and endanger the balance of the Time Team.

(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

(Or maybe she’s a sleeper agent lulling me into a false sense of security. I’m assuming we’ll find out one way or the other before Season 2 reaches its conclusion).

While helping Lucy and Wyatt track JFK through 2018, Jessica picked up on the Lyatt dynamic because she has eyes and ears. And while it turns out she’s used to Wyatt sleeping with other women (yikes, but not surprising given his past), she definitely sees there’s more to Lucy and Wyatt than lust.

So much so that she decided to step aside. While Wyatt was working his way out of handcuffs thanks to a Lucy-provided paperclip, Jess told Lucy that she would leave. Lucy hesitated for a heartbeat, and then shared with Jessica just how much Wyatt went through to get her back over the course of their time travel.

Obviously the Lyatt fan in me was screaming, but Lucy wouldn’t be Lucy if she wasn’t selfless. Wyatt pulled her aside later to express his gratitude and to assure her that he had no regrets. Neither did Lucy (my heart, you guys).

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

It’s plain as day these two are still in love, yet I can’t be mad at either of them for not fighting for each other (well, I’m a little mad). But Wyatt is loyal to his wife and he believes he owes it to her to try and Lucy loves Wyatt enough to step aside. Timing sucks for them (just in case you didn’t catch that irony in a time travel show).

Flynn, who was retrieved from the past and grumbling about the Lifeboat needing a fourth seat because he doesn’t want to stay behind again, seized Lucy’s vulnerable moment to offer her a beer and some company.

If Rufus (or even Mason) had been the one to do this, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. But I don’t trust Flynn. He has an agenda and that agenda requires having Lucy on his side. Is it a romantic agenda? I don’t think so. Because unlike Wyatt, I don’t believe Flynn reached a place where he made peace with the death of his wife.

Could I be wrong? Sure. It wouldn’t be the first time shipper goggles trumped logic. But Flynn swooped in after eavesdropping. That’s not a right place/right time thing. That’s manipulation.

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

While we’re on the subject of manipulation, we need to talk about Carol kidnapping Agent Christopher. First, I hate that Rittenhouse was able to get the jump on her, but that’s not the point (especially since Denise used it to her advantage).

The point of the kidnapping was a mother-to-mother talk: Carol wanted Lucy benched to protect her. Apparently, she never wanted Lucy to be part of Rittenhouse and she’s worried Emma and Nicholas will kill her. Fair, I suppose, but also too convenient and maybe even a little out of character?

In last season’s finale—and this season’s premiere—Carol was all about Rittenhouse and claimed she wanted Lucy to be a part of it from the start. Now, she’s saying that was never the case. There’s two ways we can look at this: she’s a lying liar who lies or it’s sloppy, revisionist writing.

Let’s take the latter first. Carol looked like the ultimate villain in at the end of season one: she knew the whole time what her daughter was up to, never volunteered to help her or to protect her, and now she’s all about saving Lucy? Because it seems like she was onboard until Nicholas showed up and then decided it was all too crazy.

And if that’s the case, then how would she have tried to protect Lucy all her life to the point she considered giving her up for adoption? Plus, why would she go through so much trouble to make sure Amy was never born? And why wouldn’t she want Amy to be part of Rittenhouse, too? There’s too much that doesn’t add up.

However, if we dive into option one where Carol lies all the time to everyone, we can’t take anything she says at face value. Maybe she does love Lucy and maybe she pulled her into Rittenhouse to protect her because the alternative would have been Lucy getting blown up with the rest of Mason Industries.

Maybe the reason Carol doesn’t like Nicholas and his plans is because they don’t mesh with her plans. She was/is Rittenhouse royalty and she seems like the controlling type who doesn’t want other people telling her what to do. She probably had a lot more pull before Nicholas arrived. Maybe that’s why she’s hedging her bets now and playing both sides.

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

As I said earlier, Carol has the potential to be the ultimate villain. Not one-note like Emma and Nicholas, but complex and fascinating because she’s not all bad (like Flynn last season). She might want to manipulate the world to control it easier, but Lucy could be her Achilles heel. Just as Flynn’s wife and daughter are his.

Finally, we have to talk about JFK. Not so much his antics in this episode because, frankly, I could have done without this side story. Going back to what I said earlier about the formula, another part of the show’s fabric is watching our characters interact with historical figures. Watching a guest star interact with other guest stars is not what I signed up for.

But the big takeaway from the story: even though Rufus warned him not to go to Dallas, he still ended up dead in Texas (Austin this time). So we’re back to meant to be versus free will, which is fascinating in general and even more so on a time travel show.

Jiya saw Rufus killing that man in Salem so he did everything he could not to let it happen. He died anyway. And so did JFK despite Rufus’ efforts to manipulate history. Both men were meant to die. Or the lesson might be that there are consequences to messing with history, something the team continues to throw out the window this season.

Either way, this feels big, like something we should keep an eye on and worry about because who knows what Jiya’s next vision will be? Or why she’s having them, for that matter. We have to assume there’s a reason Jiya’s body reacted the way it did to being the fourth person on a three-person Lifeboat.

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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