Friday, February 10, 2017

Timeless 1x14 Review: "The Lost Generation" (Change Your Fate) [Contributor: Jenn]

"The Lost Generation"
Original Airdate: February 6, 2017

If you've been around a Christian church for any length of time or know anything remotely about Christianity, you'll know there are two camps that people generally fall into — predestination or free will. Predestination is the idea that we each have some purpose or fate that we were born into and no matter what we try to do to change that, it's immovable. Free will is exactly the way it sounds: the idea that we might have been born into a circumstance or encounter obstacles in life but that not everything is a fixed point. We have the free will to change our destinies. 

And no genre of television tackles these similar subjects quite like time travel shows do. It's because these are shows in which retrospect is crucial: in which we recognize the fact that little mishaps and mistakes make or break who we turn out to be. But as Wyatt learned last week, sometimes when you try and change the past, fate still happens — time still wants to take certain people, and does. In "The Lost Generation," we explore the idea of whether or not you can escape your legacy. Lucy, in particular, struggles with the fact that her fate is seemingly being written and sealed for her. And her attempts to change Charles Lindbergh's legacy go awry, too, which doesn't add to the discomfort she feels about literally being a part of Rittenhouse by blood. Eesh.


(I couldn't resist that pun, so apologies.)

As we know from last week's episode, Lucy's dad is a part of Rittenhouse. And that means that Lucy has literally been born into a psychotic organization bent on controlling and manipulating other people. She tries to wrap her head around this while resisting it. But her father, Benjamin Cahill, tries to convince Lucy that Rittenhouse isn't made up of entirely terrible people. It's not as bad as Lucy insists it is, but our young heroine won't have it — and she certainly doesn't want any relationship with her evil, scary dad. She has more pressing matters at hand: like the fact that Flynn keeps time-hopping and the team is now down to her and Rufus.

That's right: after Wyatt's stunt last week in stealing the Lifeboat, he's been locked up and hauled off to a blacksite (impressively he figures out exactly where he is) where he's being questioned by Agent Christopher. But back at home base, Rufus and Lucy are trying to figure out exactly how to proceed with the knowledge that a) they're Wyatt-less, and b) Lucy's dad is the creepy dude who has been threatening the lives of Rufus' friends and family. Team Timeless doesn't have much time to dwell on their issues  not yet, at least — because they're tasked with jumping to 1927, since Flynn has just arrived.

The team deduces that Flynn wants something to do with renowned pilot, Charles Lindbergh, and Team Timeless soon realizes that Lindbergh was actually a part of Rittenhouse. And, much like Lucy, he was born into the creepy, power-hungry regime ("pureblood," is how the pilot addresses Lucy which was creepy and reminded me of Harry Potter). There's a sharp contrast between Lucy and Lindbergh in this episode that really struck me. Both are essentially in similar places in their lives. When the pilot is held hostage by Flynn, Lucy makes a deal with our series villain: Lindbergh gets to live if she can manage to convince him to walk away from his family's power, prestige, and fame and abandon Rittenhouse.

Flynn agrees and Lucy and Lindbergh have a heart-to-heart. She does manage to convince him to walk away from Rittenhouse and his family, and seemingly prevents him from turning into the Nazi sympathizer that he would eventually become. (After all, Lindbergh cites his father as wanting him to fly around the world and say terrible things about people.) It's win in Lucy's book! She's managed to change fate and if she can get Lindbergh out of Rittenhouse, then she can get herself out of its clutches too. Lucy's trying to avoid predestination by reminding herself that she as free will and doesn't have to be sucked into the madness that Flynn presents to her in her future journal.

... But Lucy's victory is short-lived, because when she returns to the present, she learns that while Lindbergh left Rittenhouse, he still became the awful Nazi sympathizer that history remembered him for previously. It's Lucy's version of the moment Wyatt had last week — realizing that, perhaps, fate has plans that even time travel shenanigans can't stop. And then, near the end of this week's episode, Lucy's mother gives her a present in order to help Lucy process all that she's feeling and experiencing.

A journal.

Lucy is horrified but tries to hide it. Because yes, friends, you guessed it. That's the journal that Flynn has been referencing all season. For as much as Lucy has tried to fix her future and reject Flynn's notion that she'll become what he says she'll be, Lucy keeps finding her own unwanted future catching up to her at every turn. But there's one thing that Lucy has in her back pocket that no one else does: a team to support her. And that might very well make all the difference.


With Agent Christopher now kicked out from running the time-travel missions, she finds another way to participate — by covertly joining Team Timeless and helping Wyatt escape his blacksite interrogation. I love the fact that Agent Christopher is working directly with the team now, intent on helping them out. Because the truth is that it just doesn't work if it's not Wyatt, Lucy, and Rufus together and our favorite agent is an integral part of KEEPING them all together.

But "The Lost Generation" also introduced us to a new character named David. He took Wyatt's place on Team Timeless for approximately five minutes in the episode... and then he got shot and killed in 1927. Yup. That's it. That's all he was good for. Alas, poor David. We knew him barely.


What I really loved about this episode was that we got to see Ernest Hemingway! (Someone tweeted me during the episode and asked who that was, and after I picked my jaw up off the floor I realized that unless you were an English major, you might not have read very much Hemingway. I had to read a few different books by him in my college studies — A Farewell to Arms and The Sun Also Rises, in addition to his excellent short story, "Hills Like White Elephants"). But one thing you should know about Hemingway (and that Timeless definitely did justice) was that he was a drunk. He was brilliant when he wrote, but most of his stories involve people being drunk. Or him being drunk while writing them.

Rufus got the chance to spend some quality time with our drunk writer in this episode, and actually became a better and bolder person for it. Hemingway's motto was essentially the equivalent of the modern #YOLO — do all you can because others, who are dead, cannot. After Lucy gets kidnapped because Hemingway is too busy puking to pay attention to her, Rufus and Hemingway then have a conversation about life, death, and purpose. For all of his faults, and they are numerous, Ernest Hemingway seems to have really struck a chord in Rufus. He gets him to be braver and bolder and louder, and occasionally Rufus needs someone like that to push him out of the shadows. (Plus, the monologue that Rufus delivers whilst yelling at Hemingway is great).

But it gets even better than that! This episode also features an appearance by Josephine Baker, whose heart-to-heart with Lucy (about guilt and confusion over whether or not she can actually change who she's supposed to be) was beautiful, as was her explanation of what Hemingway meant by using the phrase, "the lost generation." Best of all, Josephine Baker was a strong woman who used her resources and contacts in order to rise up and resist injustice around her. To quote a now-famous rallying cry of feminists everywhere: "Nevertheless, she persisted."

This week's Timeless ends with Team Timeless (plus the newly-integrated Agent Christopher!) together again. Regardless of all the crazy stuff that has happened with them recently — and it's been crazy — Wyatt is certain of one thing. He tells the team that he knows that fate or God or whomever brought them together so he could protect them. THAT is his mission in all of this and he promises them that he'll fulfill it. And in spite of the fact that Lucy and Wyatt now have to pretend they're okay with their missions being controlled by Rittenhouse (yeah, they take over everything at the end of the episode), they're ready to fight. They know now what they believe in. In spite of how crazy time travel is and what her future holds, Lucy is ready to fight Rittenhouse. She'll go down swinging if she has to, but she and the team know that what they're doing is wrong. They must stop Flynn.

"The Lost Generation" was a fun and poignant episode, and it'll be really interesting to see all of the obstacles this team faces in the coming episodes and how they'll wrap the season up!

Timey-wimey bits:
  • "Ma'am?" "Lucy's fine." I really love that Lucy wouldn't let David say "ma'am," because that was her and Wyatt's thing.
  • "Not even teacup-at-Disneyland-type queasy?"
  • Fun fact was that The Sun Also Rises, apparently, was Hemingway's only written book at this point. Thank you, Timeless writers' Twitter account for that little tidbit!
  • "This is the part where Wyatt would say something annoying but he'd be right."
  • "You are a world-class jerk, Hemingway."
  • Agent Christopher gave Wyatt a PAPER CLIP to escape. That was so great.
  • We got an adorable Wyatt/Lucy hug in this episode again. I'm a fan.
  • "You realize you sound like a crazy person, right?" "I sound like you." "Exactly."
What did you all think of this week's episode? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. Loved gets better every week and I'm scared it won't be renewed which would be a travesty. I think the writing in this episode - lucy with Josephine in the club, Lindbergh who was a great guy for "America First" may have things in common with President 45

  2. Loved gets better every week and I'm scared it won't be renewed which would be a travesty. I think the writing in this episode - lucy with Josephine in the club, Lindbergh who was a great guy for "America First" may have things in common with President 45

  3. Great episode. Dynamics of the cast are so wonderful. I just can't believe they would cancel this wonderful program.

  4. Timeless is on my weekly DVR "must have" list. I absolutely adored the "Lost Generation" in literature (was waiting on Gertrude Stein to appear but at least she had an honorable mention) and was seriously fangirling with Rufus over Josephine Baker. I will definitely mourn this show if it's cancelled before its time.