Friday, November 25, 2016

Timeless 1x07 Review: "Stranded" (Home Again, Home Again)

Original Airdate: November 21, 2016

If you learn one thing about me, you'll learn that I hate confrontation. It makes me uncomfortable when people around me argue. And as a byproduct of my anxiety (aren't you just enjoying learning so many things about me?), it also makes me really on edge whenever I'm the subject of confrontation. That's why I internalize my feelings — which is also not always healthy — rather than hash them out with the people around me. When we pick up "Stranded," our time-traveling heroes are still fresh off the revelations from last week. You remember? The revelations involving the fact that they all, for the most part, were keeping secrets from one another? Where this episode excels is in further developing the relationships between Wyatt, Rufus, and Lucy and using the premise of a literal battle in order to explore conflict resolution and trust. Elsewhere in the episode, Agent Christopher is beginning to suspect that Connor Mason is hiding things.


This episode was really one in which Rufus had the chance to shine. And since he's had the weakest character development so far out of the trio, it makes sense that "Stranded" would focus on the lengths Rufus is willing to go to in order to save the team. Because for once, living or dying isn't dependent on Wyatt or Lucy, but on Rufus — on him fixing the ship and him getting the gang out of captivity without getting killed. And of course, out of all of the places for the ship to land and get stranded, it had to be the French and Indian War. I personally didn't remember much from my history classes about this war, apart from the obvious, but I do know that it wasn't pleasant. When the group lands, Lucy wants to talk about their issues, while Wyatt wants to bury them behind subtext and icy glares. He's focusing on channeling his anger into the mission, and that's probably for the best considering the group is in the roughest terrain they've found themselves in recently.

Worst of all (and this is in addition to the awful time period and war thing), Flynn's men decide that their next best course of action is to blow up Team Timeless' (that's my nickname for them) ship. Luckily, Wyatt and Rufus manage to intervene before maximum damage is done, but damage is incurred no less. So there they are — stuck in the 1700s in the midst of a war. And to top it all off, no one wants to speak to anyone else in the team. If we've learned anything from watching Timeless though, we've learned that no one can affect change alone. People are stronger together.

And nothing tends to bond people closer than a shared goal.

In search of a way to gather materials, repair the ship, and return home, Team Timeless gets captured by Nonhelema (a Native American chief and fierce warrior), who decides to spare Rufus, believing him to be a slave, but orders the executions of Wyatt and Lucy. Before all of this happens, however, the trio talk about their fears and misgivings together. It's a deeply moving scene — one which all of the actors play so well — of confessions, both silly and substantial. Nothing bonds people together, or re-bonds them in this case, like mortal peril. Lucy and Wyatt finally make up, while the pair forgives Rufus for spying on them. They all realize that they have something in common: regrets. Each of them would do something differently, if they were only given a little more time to do so.

For instance, Rufus would be braver with Jiya, his colleague who he has a crush on and has been on exactly one date with, if he only had more time in which to do so. But when Nonhelema approaches the captives and frees Rufus, he's willing to give everything up in order to save the people he cares about — even if it means they all die together. Rufus gives a really wonderful, emotional speech about why Wyatt and Lucy deserve to live, and how he'll die with them before he lets them just be killed. Nonhelema, slightly impressed, says this to the trio: "If someone like him [Rufus] is willing to die for someone like you [Wyatt and Lucy], then you're certainly not from around here. Are you?" As an act of leadership, she grants them all their freedom and the trio heads out to a fort in order to gather the materials necessary for Rufus to repair the ship.

At the fort, they barely manage to escape the French soldiers who are looking for them, but do make it back to the ship in time to patch it up and hope for the best. We'll return to a discussion of the trio's final scene together momentarily, but let's talk about Jiya, Agent Christopher, and Connor Mason for now.


Jiya is incredibly smart. We don't really know much about her apart from this — and the fact that she is the object of Rufus' affection. The two clearly care about one another, but Jiya tells Connor that Rufus is so skittish and shy around her that he would rather instant message her from his desk than have a real conversation, face-to-face. In spite of his awkwardness, Rufus and Jiya get one another. So when the trio doesn't come back from their time-jump in their typical amount of time, worry begins to set in. And it sets in even further once more time passes.

In the past, Rufus has an idea to get help from Jiya and the team: send them a message in a capsule, buried in 1754 in hopes that they will open it in 2016. It's a long shot, but it's the best idea they have. And it works! Sorta. Jiya and the team receive the message in the present-day, but even after running test after test, they can only make out a few words that don't seem to have any correlation. With the message seemingly useless, Jiya and Connor reminisce about how they met Rufus and what he was like. (Jiya, making the astute observation that they sound like they're eulogizing him already.)

But that's when it clicks for Jiya: Rufus is a nerd! And the message he sent was a Star Wars reference. The team can be saved, only if Jiya and the crew in the present work to bring the little drop ship back home. It works, albeit with a shaky landing, and the two teams reunite happily. Jiya and Rufus have an adorable, slightly awkward little interaction in which Rufus almost asks her out, but chickens out again. So Jiya kisses him.

It's super sweet and I really hope we get to see more of this relationship!

Elsewhere in the episode, Connor Mason makes a call to Rittenhouse, which Agent Christopher slightly overhears. She doesn't know the specifics, but she knows when someone is acting shady (which means she's better than like, 90% of FBI or government agents on television). So she decides, at the end of the episode, to start her own covert investigation. Let's hope that if she stumbles across Rittenhouse's plans, she is able to escape their clutches. Because they seem pretty dangerous.


I love when shows explore the thematic conflict between destiny and free will, especially when these shows involve time travel. We haven't yet explored those two ideas really in Timeless yet, so this week's episode was a refreshing way to discuss them organically. At the end of the episode, the trio decides to go out for drinks and talk together. They've repaired their relationships with one another, have forgiven each other (hey, Wyatt and Lucy held hands on the drop ship ride home so I think they'll be okay), and are ready to move forward and fight Rittenhouse and Garcia Flynn together. But even though Team Timeless is back in a solid place, Lucy is still unsettled.

She vocalizes the fact that Flynn's journal, which he claims she wrote, isn't just eerily similar to her handwriting and voice — it looks identical to it. And this terrifies Lucy. Because it means that she's destined to become the person who writes the things that are in that book — the kind who hurts people and seemingly aids Flynn. While it's hard, Lucy is beginning to believe that the diary has to be real and that it has to be hers. That terrifies her.

In order to explore the dichotomy between destiny and free will, Wyatt explains it to Lucy by asking her to take a sip of her drink. When she does, he asks whether or not she was destined to take a sip or whether it was a conscious choice that she made. Wyatt's argument is that if Lucy doesn't like the person that the journal portrays her to be, she can change it. She can write her OWN destiny and not be scared that she's going to become Flynn's version of it. It's really great conversation and one that Lucy clearly needed to have with someone who can talk her off a ledge. 

This week's Timeless proved that conflict is necessary, but conflict resolution is even more necessary. Sometimes it takes going through battles in order to realize how strong you really are, or can be.

Timey-wimey bits:
  • "I'm Dr. Quinn... I'm a medicine woman."
  • I kind of enjoyed the fact that Flynn was absent from this episode and we got to see the team fight against an enemy that wasn't him. (I mean, they did fight a few of his cronies but still.) I like that Timeless shakes up the focus of the villain each week, because otherwise an entire focus on Flynn week after week would get exhausting.
  • "I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: 1754 sucks."
  • "And that's what history is, right? The choices."
What did you all think of this week's Timeless? Sound off in the comments below!


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