Thursday, February 23, 2017

Timeless 1x16 Review: “The Red Scare” (WHAT IS HAPPENING?!)


“The Red Scare”
Original Airdate: February 20, 2017

Okay, Timeless fans, let’s get this on the table first: WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?! This show began with a bang, so it was safe to assume that they would end on one. (Note, I hope that as I type that sentence, this ending is temporary until season two and not permanent.) While “The Red Scare” tied up a lot of loose ends in terms of the previous episode’s cliffhanger, it also dangled just enough threads to make the uncertainty of a second season pretty darn stressful. Team Timeless faces a lot this episode, but the focus here isn’t necessarily on the mission (to eliminate Rittenhouse) so much as it is on the actual relationships that are built and explored. And since relationships are at the core of the show — what would Timeless be without our golden trio of time-travelers anyway? — I thought I would break this review down into the relationships explored.

FLYNN/LUCY


It might seem odd to start off with these two, but I feel like it’s rather important. The finale is the first time in a long time that we’ve been asked to examine Garcia Flynn as a human being, not a monster. That’s a bit difficult to do, considering the fact that Flynn is the reason Rufus is shot and suffering a life-threatening wound. But not for Lucy. In spite of all of the darkness that she’s witnessed throughout history, and all of the carnage that Flynn has left in his wake, he’s still just a man who is grieving. He is still just a man who misses his family. That’s something that Lucy can relate to—she knows the pain of loss and she knows what it’s like to suffer through life knowing you used to have something good.

It always struck me that Timeless asked us to examine Flynn as the villain, but also empathize with him. People aren’t black and white, and Lucy — a woman who studied history and facts — I think was always used to seeing them that way. Flynn messed with time. He killed people. (HE KILLED LINCOLN.) Therefore, he’s a villain. But Lucy has done some bad things too. She’s killed people in cold blood and she’s been selfish about her crusade. While she’s the hero of the story, she’s also flawed and I think that reminding Flynn of his humanity was essential in this finale.

Because that’s exactly what she does.

When Wyatt and Lucy eventually confront Flynn (who, by the way, is planning on blowing up the Rittenhouse meeting in the 1950s), she makes an impassioned plea for him to recognize that there’s another way they can destroy Rittenhouse. It doesn’t have to be like this — villainy doesn’t have to be his story. And with Wyatt willing to put down his gun and end the violence, Flynn does so too and trusts Lucy. The plan works, leading them back to the present-day in which Flynn is given permission by Lucy to take the Mothership out one last time and save his wife and daughter.

Unfortunately, Agent Christopher didn’t make that same kind of deal or bond with Flynn. So she sends in teams to apprehend him and try him in a military court. Flynn leaves Lucy, believing that she betrayed him and it’s even more heartbreaking when you realize what Lucy does at the end of the episode. I have a distinct feeling that if Timeless is renewed, we’ll see Flynn and Lucy teaming up.

RUFUS/JIYA


Can we please talk about how adorable Rufus and Jiya are? Let’s begin with the positives: they love each other. Yay! After Rufus is nearly killed, Lucy’s bland fiancé (who is a doctor — did anyone actually remember that/him? No? Okay, moving on.) saves his life, but recommends Rufus go to a hospital. Since Rittenhouse is controlling everything, the team decides that they can’t risk it. Rufus will just have to recover in the 1950s when the team goes to stop Flynn from carrying out the Rittenhouse mass execution. But since he just had surgery, he’s unable to fly the Lifeboat. Which brings us to Jiya, who — it’s decided — will have to fly with them. Rufus balks at the idea, mostly because the ship was only meant for three people. They don’t know what adding a fourth person will actually do.

As it turns out, adding a fourth person will apparently do a LOT. Once the team lands, Wyatt and Lucy go off to track Flynn while Rufus and Jiya stay behind. First, her eye becomes bloodshot and then she begins to have seizures. During an episode in which Rufus thought her unconscious, he confesses to her that he loves her and promises to be braver in the future if they make it out of the 1950s alive.

Once they do make it back to the present-day, the two are reunited where Jiya gets to confess her feelings too (awwww!). It’s all sunshine and rainbows until Jiya begins another seizure episode and... well, it’s hard to know exactly what happens to her. She begins to see two different versions of reality: a very grim looking one, and the real one. Did something happen where Jiya can now see two potential time streams? We have no idea but whatever the case, it’s freaky.


WYATT/LUCY


Let’s just continue the love-fest here and discuss my new favorite ship: Wyatt/Lucy. These two have come so far from the disdain and distrust they had in the beginning. They trust one another implicitly now, and protect each other at every turn. Case in point: “The Red Scare.” When a plan involves Lucy staying with Flynn, Wyatt is insistent that she do anything BUT that. He literally tells her that he’s lost her once, and he can’t do it again.

I mean, swoon. Please be more romantic, Wyatt. I dare you. (He takes me up on that dare later on.)

Lucy trusts Flynn and asks Wyatt to trust her. He begrudgingly leaves Lucy in the past, and returns to the present-day. Lucy does return eventually, and the two have a heart-to-heart as they contemplate their futures. For Lucy, she’s been given permission by Agent Christopher to take the Lifeboat out one last time and save her sister. Lucy is ecstatic, but that fades when she realizes that Wyatt will be taking a new assignment elsewhere. That was the plan, of course: to do one assignment and then move on.

But there’s something stopping Wyatt from being able to leave Lucy and it’s the fact that he’s now looking forward instead of backwards. We’ve spent so much of the season watching Wyatt grieve. He wanted to save Jessica, and when he was unable to, he fell apart. But he’s come to realize that in trying to recreate the past, he’s missing what’s right in front of him: Lucy. He tells her that he’s opening himself up to possibilities (a callback to when Lucy told him to do just this).

   

And when she asks him to clarify what he means (come on, Lucy, YOU HAVE TO KNOW HE IS TALKING ABOUT YOU!), he essentially tells her that he’s starting to think of the present instead of the past. He’s ready to move on and forward and there’s a moment between these two when I swore they were going to kiss.

They don’t, sadly, but they do leave with this: Wyatt is staying. He can’t let Lucy go on a final mission on her own, now could he? It seems pretty evident to me that as Wyatt looks toward his future, he sees Lucy in it. He’s realized that he doesn’t want to have a future without her presence (whether or not that means they get together, romantically, aside) in it. And Lucy? Lucy needs Wyatt. She trusts him and relies on him and he’s her partner in every way. Though Team Timeless works best when it’s Wyatt, Lucy, and Rufus together, it’s impossible to deny the connection and chemistry these two have (Flynn even refers to Wyatt, to Lucy, as “your Wyatt”).

If Timeless isn’t renewed, the lack of romantic closure (just give us another kiss, please) on the Wyatt/Lucy end will drive me crazy. So let’s cross our fingers and hope that we get the chance to see these two grow as a team more in season two.

    

ETHAN/LUCY


And that brings us to the core of our story this week — Ethan Cahill. Lucy’s grandfather was a member of Rittenhouse in the 1950s, and one of the men that Flynn’s plot would kill. With Ethan dead, there would be no Lucy Preston. Instead of killing all of Rittenhouse at their meeting, Lucy persuades Flynn to play the long game. They’ll track down Ethan and get him to stay inside of Rittenhouse and get enough information throughout his lifetime in order to bring all of the members to justice. It’s justice, the long way ‘round.

But Flynn and the team agree to this. Ethan does too, after he realizes what destruction his son, Benjamin, will cause thanks to Rittenhouse. Here’s the only catch: in the present-day narrative, Ethan left Rittenhouse and never looked back. He got out. And one of the primary reasons Ethan was so apprehensive to remain in Rittenhouse in the first place was because he was gay. If Rittenhouse caught him (or if, you know, anyone in the 1950s real world), they would kill him. And at this point, Ethan has a family — a wife and a young son. He agonizes over his choices in the car with Wyatt and Lucy. As they watch the man, guilt-ridden about being gay, they tell him that there’s nothing wrong with him. Both Wyatt and Lucy prove to Ethan that they’re not going to turn him in or use him to get what they want. They genuinely care about him.

In order for Ethan to fully be on board with the plan that Lucy devises, he needs to believe that time-travel is real and that Lucy is trustworthy. So Wyatt and Rufus return to the present-day while Ethan signs on for the plan to bring down Rittenhouse. What does that plan entail, you ask? It entails Ethan staying in Rittenhouse — permanently. It involves him living the rest of his life as a double agent: one man at home and within Rittenhouse, and another inside. It’s a huge sacrifice that they’re asking him to make, but Ethan does make it. And because of the fact that he stayed in Rittenhouse, he was able to gather enough evidence to convict its members. When Lucy and Wyatt visit Ethan in the new present-day, they thank him for the sacrifice he made and discuss how hard it must have been for him.

It’s all worth it though: Agent Christopher sifts through the decades of evidence that Ethan Cahill compiled and finds enough evidence to start convicting Rittenhouse agents left and right. The sacrifice was worth it! Or... was it?


A PLOT TWIST!


When Lucy returns home, her mother Carol is there to greet her, worried because Lucy has disappeared for a few days (a fact that her bland, but attractive fiancé Noah also tells her). It’s then that Lucy decides to stop the lies. She’s going to be upfront with her about where she ventures off to. So Lucy tells her mother that she’s taking the time machine out one last time to go rescue a sister that Carol doesn’t remember existed. But if you’ll recall, there was a trade-off: Carol was really sick in the present timeline. If Lucy finds her sister, she doesn’t know what’ll happen to her mother. Maybe she’ll be sicker than before.

It’s right here that Susanna Thompson gives the Moira Queen-esque performance I’ve been waiting all season for. Carol says that it’ll be okay. Rittenhouse will never let her get sick. Abigail Spencer absolutely kills the next few scenes, as her mother unveils Lucy’s true parentage — Carol comes from a strong Rittenhouse family too. That makes Lucy practically royal in the realm of Rittenhouse. Furthermore, apparently Rittenhouse has been operating behind the scenes the entire time. Because Emma — the pilot who was supposedly stranded and then rescued by Flynn — is actually a Rittenhouse operative and, as the episode ends, steals the Mothership.

Now Rittenhouse controls the past, present, and future.

Which cannot be good.

Overall, Timeless was an incredible show in its first season. It hit a few snags along the way, but nothing it couldn’t recover from. It remained an interesting show — both from a time-traveling and historical perspective and from a character-driven one. I honestly cannot think of another show on television right now (apart from FOX’s Pitch, perhaps) that is more deserving of a second season than this show. I sincerely hope we get another season of Team Timeless doing their thing. But if, for some reason, we do not — thank you to everyone involved in this show for bringing it into my life. It was one heck of a ride.

Timey-wimey bits:

  • I love that Connor Mason actually became a double-agent for the team, getting access to the NSA under the guise of doing it for Rittenhouse. He’s still smarmy, as Agent Christopher says, but there’s a heart somewhere in there.
  • “Well, everyone’s the hero of their own story.” Unless you’re the villain.
  • “Why are you telling me all of this?” “Because you’re dull.”
  • “You promise to hold on, and I promise to stop holding back.” BUT THAT LINE THOUGH.
  • “Wyatt, do you trust me?”
  • I seriously want to know what happened to Jiya.

What did you all think of the Timeless finale? Sound off in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I love Timeless. Granted I was skeptical at first, but it won me over fast. If anything, Timeless has proven that history is rich in untold stories and that diversity is a strength. Hoping for renewal!

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