Reviews

Timeless Movie Review: Timing is Everything

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

It couldn’t have been easy to write a series finale for a show that’s cheated death twice.

After all, the Timeless writers painted themselves into one hell of a corner with the season two finale.

Relationship drama, Rittenhouse problems, betrayals, Lucy and Wyatt arriving from the future…

Not to mention the unacceptable dangling thread of Rufus being dead.

How were the writers going to wrap everything up in a satisfying way with only two hours of airtime?

Mission impossible, right?

Maybe in the hands of lesser writers.

But the Timeless writers? The ones who’ve steered us on this journey?

They delivered a brilliant finale that grabbed us by the emotions and held on from the opening to the final shot.

Was it 100 percent perfect? No. There’s no such thing. There’s no pleasing everyone.

Entertainment—like all art—will always be in the eye of the beholder.

“The Miracle of Christmas Part I and II” offered us action, high stakes, emotional payoffs, long awaited answers, hope, defeat, and above all, love.

Not just between the characters, but from the writers and actors—and I imagine everyone else involved in the show—to the fans.

As a fandom, we might not agree on the outcome or every decision, but we can all acknowledge the love and effort that shaped this finale.

So let’s talk about it.

FUTURE LUCY AND WYATT

The hardened version of Lyatt offered three important gifts: Lucy’s journal, along with instructions for Lucy and Wyatt to put the pieces together, a warning that Jessica lied about the baby (duh), and an upgraded version of the Lifeboat (with autopilot—because Jiya is the best).

(Photo by: Patrick Wymore/NBC)

While everyone’s heads spun around the freshly dropped knowledge, Connor had questions. Mainly, how were they traveling back to their own timeline without consequences?

As Future Lucy showed small signs of distress, it seemed like a safe bet this particular issue would come up again before the end of the movie.

LUCY’S JOURNAL

One of the biggest mysteries of the show—and one mostly ignored in Season 2—the how’s and why’s of the journal were likely supposed to be a much more complicated story.

In fact, Flynn mentioned in his letter (we’ll get to it) parts of the journal he never quite understood. He assumed they might help Lucy get Amy back.

Due to the limited timeline, Lucy and Wyatt deduced 1) it hurt Lucy even more than she let on when he chose Jessica (again, duh), and 2) Lucy and Flynn dabbled in a relationship at some point in the timeline around the Titanic.

(I don’t know if that’s meant to be a reference to the potential romantic ships sinking or just a cool place they could have visited in Season 3, 4,  or 10—we deserved that many!—but either way, I squealed a little at the possibilities).

CALIFORNIA, 1848

The Mothership makes its jump and Agent Christopher insists they follow. Emma and Jessica seemed more interested in stealing gold than changing history at this point.

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

Meanwhile, our heroes tangled with Joaquin Murrieta, the real life Zorro. He wanted revenge for the brutal murder of his brother and the violation of his wife.

Flynn attempted to reach out, since he, too, understood the need for vengeance, and the misery it brings. He warned Murrieta it would only cause him pain.

Murrieta noted Flynn’s interest in Lucy, correctly assuming she was the reason he’d turned away from violence.

Speaking of…Lucy broached the awkward subject (or the good part, depending on your perspective) of her potential romance with Flynn. She admitted she was already beginning to see the good in him.

He cut her off before she went too far down that rabbit hole. Their affair ended badly because her heart always belonged to someone else (just in case you couldn’t tell from the way Lucy glanced at Wyatt every two seconds during this conversation).

As for Wyatt, he figured out what his future self and Lucy wanted him to see: Jessica needed to be removed from the timeline if they wanted to get Rufus back. And Wyatt being Wyatt wanted to handle it since he’d let everyone down.

Lucy did not want him risking his life (because she loves him too much). Then, she and Jiya both insisted on joining him (sweet, but probably not the best idea to risk the entire team….)

SAN DIEGO, 2012

We all saw the writing on the wall, right? As soon as Flynn pointed out the team couldn’t all travel to 2012 because someone needed to save the world…he may as well have painted the bullseye on his forehead.

Everything went as we knew it would: Wyatt and Jessica fought (she’d been cheating—honey, when you’re using the “we were on a break” defense, you’re already losing), she got out of the car, and a Rittenhouse agent waited to take her to safety.

Except Flynn killed that guy and planned to kill Jessica, too. However, Chekhov’s Gun came back to haunt him in the form of brain problems from traveling to his own timeline. The two threw down…and, thankfully, Flynn wound up with the gun.

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

Here’s the thing: it might not be the most feminist scene in the world, but I don’t care. Jessica Logan was a terrible person who did terrible things. I rooted for Flynn to kill her and I was happy when he added that extra bullet.

(Sorry not sorry!)

Maybe with more seasons the writers could have given her better motivations. Or maybe she was always meant to be a greedy witch. Either way, I won’t be shedding any tears at her demise.

Now, Flynn, on the other hand…I didn’t see this coming. Not the part where he died; that was clear as day, but the fact that he got his full hero on first, saw his family one last time, AND wrote Lucy a letter asking her to be happy.

Goran Visnjic broke my heart as he stood at the window watching his family and again as he programed the Lifeboat to go back to 1848 all while his words of encouragement played in the voiceover while Lucy read the letter.

I’m not a Flynn/Lucy shipper. I spent most of Season 2 wondering if he was the sleeper agent in the bunker. I expected betrayal. And yet there was zero doubt in my mind he would do the right thing as soon as he warned the team the world needed them.

That’s character growth. Lucy was right when she declared him a hero (although the biggest one of them all is a stretch for me). I hate that he died alone on the beach as a John Doe. He deserved more than that.

RUFUS LIVES

There are not enough words to describe the joy it brought to my heart to see Rufus walk through those doors to save his friends. He’s always been the heart of the team and he gave them—and the rest of us—our hope.

He also brought back a little bit of awkward. His timeline changed, but the rest of the team remembered what happened before and after he died—like Jiya stranded in Chinatown for three years.

Again, this had to be one of those plot lines meant to last multiple seasons along with Jiya’s visions (which were only mentioned in passing).

(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

We may never know what Jiya went through—who gave her that scar? Like Future Lyatt, the Jiya who returned is harder because of her experiences. And she wants to keep them to herself.

Unfortunately, that became an issue with Rufus. He wanted to help her—he wanted to bask in being with her—but something held her back.

Things were equally awkward down the hall where Lucy and Wyatt were now sharing a room since in this timeline, they’d been together since Hollywoodland (I would like to live in this timeline forever, please).

Lucy wasn’t quite ready to forgive and forget. And Wyatt didn’t blame her for that. He was also dealing with his issues now that he’s lost a version of Jessica for the second time.

Abigail Spencer and Matt Lanter are so damn good at this. They both can say so much with a few well-placed, meaningful looks exchanged. My heart broke right along with Lucy and Wyatt’s as they discussed their future unhappy selves.

Wyatt realized Flynn lied to when he told him who’d killed Jessica. Because he’d known all along it would have to be him.

(This one hurts my brain a bit if I think about it too hard because I’m not sure that makes sense. However, I appreciate the writers addressing this because it’s something that’s bugged me forever).

NORTH KOREA, 1950

Emma was none too happy to return to present day and learn the Time Team changed history and erased Jessica (Bonus points for the excellent Jan reference, writers). As usual, Emma had a Plan B.

The Time Team once again followed the Mothership to “hell” only to discover The Miracle of Christmas had already happened. So why were they in North Korea? They, along with Agent Christopher and Connor in 2018, came to the same conclusion: Emma brought them there to die.

In what was likely a budget-issue mashup of a scene, we went from the sleeper agent offering the time a ride in a helicopter (heliclocker!), to Lucy waking Wyatt up on the ground after he saved them, but still crashed.

(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Jarring transition, but we’ll take what we can get. Especially because the next few scenes were jam packed with much needed conversations and realizations (in between nods to history and Wyatt delivering a baby!).

First up, Rufus wanted Lucy to know he’s still Team Lyatt. She appreciated that, but confided she didn’t want to be Wyatt’s second choice. Ouch, but can anyone blame her for feeling that way?

Yes, Wyatt chose Jessica. But he did so because Lucy encouraged him to. And of course Lucy encouraged him to because she’s the least selfish person ever, and she never expects anyone to choose her first.

Again, there’s zero doubt this storyline was meant to play out in a longer format. I still think it would have played out exactly the same way because Lucy and Wyatt belong together.

Rufus shared with Lucy how Wyatt behaved when everyone else thought she was dead at the beginning of the season. He also pointed out (correctly) that he’s pretty sure he’d still be dead if Wyatt had been forced to give her up instead of Jessica.

Lucy returned the advice favor when she encouraged Jiya to believe in the love she and Rufus share. Lucy didn’t doubt for a second that Rufus would ever stop loving Jiya, no matter how much she changed after Chinatown.

As Rufus continued to be enthusiastic over being alive (understandable), Wyatt tackled another elephant his friend forgot: the fact that he blamed Wyatt for Jessica kidnapping Jiya (to be honest, I forgot about this—I only watched the season two finale once because it hurt too much).

Wyatt did the right thing. He laid everything out for Rufus; not to assuage his guilt, but because he wanted to make sure there were no lies between them. Deep down he knew Jessica was the worst (maybe I’m paraphrasing a little), but he ignored his gut and Jiya and Rufus were hurt.

Rufus forgave him. He hesitated for like two seconds, but it was to start the car. He had a second chance and he wasn’t letting the past bring him down (this is why he’s the heart of the team).

Now, back to that pregnant woman I mentioned earlier. She befriended Lucy and Jiya in the church and Lucy insisted they help her to where she needed to go—even if it was in the opposite direction of the Lifeboat.

It was the right thing to do—what’s the point of saving history if you don’t save the people—but it put the Time Team in peril as darkness fell and they were in the path of an incoming army. So they retreated to the church once more.

RITTENHOUSE FALLS

Mama Denise wasn’t about to let her babies die in North Korea. She hatched a plan that included springing Benjamin Cahill (remember Lucy’s dad?) from jail so he could help her find Emma.

She needed a ride to 1950.

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

Remember what I said before about understanding the writers’ plight and how it was impossible to please everyone, etc.?

This was my least favorite part of the movie.

Not the part where Agent Christopher gets to be a badass and save the day, but the fact that it was so easy. With Jessica out of the way, all she had to do was make one deal and that’s the end of Rittenhouse?

I’m sure someone could—and will—argue that Emma was never really Rittenhouse and it was a family thing and she was just playing the part, and blah, blah, blah.

That’s true. There’s no doubt in my mind there was supposed to be a lot more to this story. I understand the time constraints and I’m happy we had so much character time over plot. Always.

But I am disappointed we won’t ever know the real truth behind Rittenhouse.

(Unless of course there’s another miracle revival).

BACK TO 1950

In the church, as they waited like sitting ducks, Rufus and Jiya took a moment to bask in the realization that “We’re still us.”

They’ve come too far to let conflicting timelines come between them. And after escaping death in the past, they both held onto the belief they would do it again.

As for Lucy and Wyatt, she’d been shaken when she’d thought he’d died in an explosion. She told him that her whole life flashed before her eyes without him—and her world ended.

She didn’t want to waste any more time on a past that only they remembered. Again, it’s a valid point, especially when they weren’t sure if they had much time left to live.

Lucy told him she’d fallen in love with him at The Alamo and that was never going to change (my heart could not handle it).

Maybe it was all the time travel—or all the waiting we did as fans to find out if we’d even getting an ending—but that kiss Lucy and Wyatt shared in the church felt like the kind of kiss earned after centuries of angst and heartbreak.

Perfection.

(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

And that’s when Agent Christopher arrived to save the day.

Naturally, Emma tried to escape. When that didn’t work, she offered to get Amy back. Lucy refused. She didn’t trust her and she wanted everything to be over.

Emma insisted they would have made a good team. Not the first time she’s hinted at that—another potential plot line scrapped?

Maybe in Season 4 or 7 we would have a world in which Lucy was on the Rittenhouse side for real. The Time Team would scramble to fix it…so many possibilities.

(Why didn’t more people watch this fantastic show????)

Emma was shot by the invading army (too easy) and the Time Team boarded the Mothership. Lyatt returned to the Lifeboat and the writers gifted fans with two things we’d desperately missed in Season 2: Wyatt helping Lucy with her seatbelt and calling her “ma’am.”

SWOONING.

They also had a serious conversation about bringing Amy back. As much as Lucy wanted to, she couldn’t risk losing someone else.

“Everybody loses someone they love. And they find a way to go on. That’s everyone’s history.”

There were a lot of powerful lines across the two hours, but that one hit home.

CHRISTMAS 2018

Finally, FINALLY it was time to celebrate the wins: they saved Rufus, the couples were stronger than ever, and they’d defeated Rittenhouse.

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

I thought the Christmas theme—which NBC insisted on—would be cheesy, but it ended up bringing another layer of hope and love to the movie. Agent Christopher’s silly sweater, the ugly scarves, the mistletoe—t he team and the audience—deserved these light moments.

Rufus and Jiya planned to move in together, Wyatt would be working for Agent Christopher, Connor destroyed the Mothership (again, too bad the budget didn’t allow for us to see how), and then Agent Christopher decided they were keeping the Lifeboat.

It seems like Connor had the fewest scenes in the movie, and didn’t have much to do, but I’m glad Agent Christopher took his advice on this one. JUST IN CASE…

CHRISTMAS 2023

Our Lucy and Wyatt faired far better than their past future selves. Happily married with twin girls (Amy and Flynn!), the two still couldn’t keep their hands off each other.

Lucy received her tenure (and taught a history class focused on women!).

(Photo by: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC)

Rufus and Jiya created a company called Riya where he did the behind the scenes work and she was the front person—the one who kids asked for autographs, thanks to all the great work they did for the community.

The Time Team reunited in the bunker one last time. In order to preserve their happy endings, the team needed to make sure the journal landed in Flynn’s hands.

BRAZIL 2014

While Wyatt and Rufus waited at a table near the door, Lucy approached a grief-stricken Flynn at the bar. She told him she knew who he was, what Rittenhouse had done to him, and that they would be friends one day.

Traveling to her own timeline began to take its effect on Lucy so she had to rush. She gave it to Flynn straight: he wouldn’t get his family back, but he would save history and be a hero.

She left him with the journal and a kiss on the cheek.

TIME AFTER TIME

The ending montage reflected all the big moments for the past two seasons. If you made it through without crying, you are a stronger person than I.

The Time Team landed back in the bunker where a happy Jiya, Agent Christopher and Connor waited.

Then, the final scene: a girl in her room, who appears to have figured out how to build her own time machine.

It’s been one hell of a ride, Clockblockers. And if this is truly the end, it’s a pretty damn good one.

Timeless deserved a longer run and far more acclaim and attention than it received. It’s too bad we can’t hop in the Lifeboat and make people see that.

However, I’m grateful for everything it gave us from the history lessons to the cast chemistry to Malcom Barrett’s incredible comedic timing.

Merry Christmas, you filthy animals.

About the author

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. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

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