Sunday, March 25, 2018

Timeless 2x03 Review: "Hollywoodland" (So Is This Happening? Is It Happening?) [Contributor: Jenn]

Original Airdate: March 25, 2018

Romance. Drama. Action.

I could be talking about Hollywood, circa the 1940s. Or I could be talking about this week’s episode of Timeless, aptly titled “Hollywoodland.” Television shows often fall into traps — they try to do too much or surprise us with twists and turns that make no sense, narratively. But the best shows know what works — what’s always worked — and find ways to remind us of why we’re drawn to those stories in the first place. They present archetypal characters and flip them on their heads. They give us romance, but add in the angst we know will come (because we’ve watched television before, of course) and still manage to capture our hearts. Great television doesn’t need to constantly reinvent the wheel; it just needs to know how to tell a story well and engage us in the process.

On the Wyatt/Lucy side of things in “Hollywoodland” (which we’ll talk a lot about, don’t worry), there’s a familiarity and predictability in the way their story plays out — like a choreographed dance that we know all the steps to, but still mesmerizes us. Meanwhile, Rittenhouse continues their evil plan, we actually focus a little more on Flynn, and a shocking ending brings one character back into our lives. Let’s dive in!


Rittenhouse sent a young agent back to the mid-1920s and — of all people — his dad dropped him off there. Flash-forward to our present and the Time Team gets word that the Mothership has landed in 1941. Turns out that the dear old dad from the beginning of the episode has returned to pay his Rittenhouse son/agent a visit and update him on Nicholas’ grand vision. So with stolen clothes, our heroes travel back to the 1940s and discover that Rittenhouse is working at Paramount Pictures where they’ve stolen a copy — the only copy at that point, since the movie is still being worked on — of Citizen Kane.

Meanwhile an interesting subplot is that Rittenhouse Son tries to convince Rittenhouse Dad to stay in the past. I told y’all last week that I’d love to see more glimpses of this: of Rittenhouse agents struggling to leave the lives they built in the pasts and this episode touched briefly on Lucas’ desire to stay in an era in which he has things pretty good for himself — a nice mansion, beautiful women, and a career. Still, I hope we see more of these agents and their stories in the future too.

William Randolph Hearst is who the Time Team suspects is behind the theft, and they presume he is either working with Rittenhouse or is one of the members. They discover that Lucas Calhoon is the actual sleeper agent and what’s he doing, you ask? Well, he’s using Hearst’s paper and desire to see Citizen Kane destroyed as leverage — Lucas will turn over the film to Hearst and in return, Hearst will allow Rittenhouse to publish one column in his newspaper each week: no questions asked. It’s a stealthy way for Rittenhouse to control the media and information, which is even more important given the era they’re in. With Rittenhouse in control of information and propaganda, there is no telling what they could do.

The team manages to stop this from happening of course (Wyatt kills Lucas, and the team gets some much-needed help from the brilliant Hedy Lamarr), and the day is saved! Furthermore, history is safe. Like we had any doubt it would be.


When Timeless chooses to have Lucy stand on a stage and sing “You Made Me Love You” to Wyatt, you know the episode can only go one way — and that way is straight to ripping our hearts in two.

Before we get to the angst, let’s talk about how the Wyatt/Lucy story has progressed throughout the first season and first few episodes of this one. Wyatt and Lucy have always had a really interesting relationship — she’s the heart of the group and has, in many ways, worn her emotions on her sleeve. But there’s still this fear that Lucy has that holds her back from making decisions fully and letting others in. We see this in “Hollywoodland” when she steps onto stage after having not sung in years. She has kept walls up for a long time, worried that if she let herself feel vulnerable again, something unexpected would shake her resolve.

Something unexpected did shake her resolve — Wyatt. And the best part? She shook his resolve too. But they found safe places with each other, even though they didn’t believe it was possible to feel safe again in the unknown. Wyatt admits to Lucy in the episode that he took the time travel assignment because it was dangerous. After Jessica’s death, he was reckless. He didn’t care what happened to him and much like people turn to substances or people to numb their pain, Wyatt turned to adventure. If he was galavanting around space and time, fighting and on autopilot, he wouldn’t have to think about the reality of Jessica’s death. He wouldn’t have to feel anything. He could be reckless without consequence.

But then Wyatt and Lucy found each other, and it was at places in their lives where they most needed each other. Wyatt needed someone to live for (sorry, I had to steal that great bit of dialogue from Arrow) and Lucy needed someone to remind her that the unknown is worth fighting for, just as much as the known is. Lucy is cautious and hesitant — and I think no scenes best exemplify that than the ones in “Hollywoodland.” But when Lucy takes risks, she’s fully alive. Wyatt tells her, at the end of the episode, that he loved seeing her on stage because he loved seeing her happy for once. The fear of failure or the potential for failure or personal disappointment usually prevents Lucy from leaping. But Wyatt pushes her into the uncomfortable because he knows amazing things await her there.

And then there’s the fact that Wyatt looks at Lucy like she’s his whole world. Revel in the scene with her singing a very on-point “You Made Me Love You.” At first, she’s timid and misses notes and awkwardly glances around the room. But then she looks at Wyatt. And he steadies her. She has FUN on stage, reveling in the performance of it all. But at the end of the performance, she begins to get slightly emotional as she looks at Wyatt and sings her feelings, essentially. Wyatt’s face is a mixture of emotions — realization dawning on him that this is the woman he wants and she’s the woman who’s saved him. How funny that Lucy saved Wyatt and Wyatt saved Lucy, right? (And by “funny,” I mean “perfect.”)

When Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus end up at Hedy Lamarr’s house, the hostess calls Wyatt and Lucy “lovebirds” — accurate — and leaves them alone for the remainder of the evening. It’s around Hedy’s pool that Wyatt talks about Lucy’s beauty and brains, the two discuss what they were like in high school (Lucy, a nerd and Wyatt, a rebel), and then both admit that they’ve felt lost before. Not anymore though.

After weeks of almost-kisses and confined spaces, Wyatt and Lucy finally take that plunge — and more. But let’s back up a moment and discuss the kiss. Lucy spends the episode a little hesitant. After last week’s near-kiss in the car, we’d be safe to assume that she’s eager to confront her feelings for Wyatt. But even in the midst of him pursuing her, she’s still timid. Why? Because Lucy has been through so much pain and heartache in her life that she wants one sure thing to rely on, and it scares her that it’s Wyatt. She wants to be what Wyatt wants — the way she asks twice if their night together was okay solidifies the fact that she’s struggling with confidence in that area a little. Let’s be clear: Lucy isn’t hesitating because she’s not sure if she wants Wyatt; of that, there is no doubt. She just doesn’t know if she’s what he wants. (A fact, since she expresses just a scene earlier that she doesn’t see herself as beautiful, even though Wyatt does.)

And yet right in the midst of that timidity, Wyatt answers Lucy’s own unspoken questions. He gently squeezes her arm and spins her around so that she’s facing him. Every bit of doubt melts away the closer Wyatt gets to her. It’s the gentle, loving, intentional way that Wyatt pursues Lucy — even in this moment — that proves why these two are so right for each other. And it also proves why Lucy’s response to Wyatt’s initial kiss is eager reciprocation. She feels safe. She knows she’s wanted. And she can sense every ounce of love that Wyatt has for her in that moment. And it’s really beautiful.

Because I do believe Wyatt is in love with Lucy. Desperately and deeply, and that he’s never really connected with someone else the way he connects with her. I also believe Lucy is in love with Wyatt. She is herself with him, and she is cared for. She can be a nerd and he doesn’t balk, and she can express her fears and doubts about life and he rushes to her side with an arm around her shoulder. He’s her steady place, and she’s his lifeline. No wonder the kiss ends up as something more than that. The two are so happy that it does though.

The next morning, hilariously, Rufus walks in on the two and I’m pretty sure Malcolm Barrett deserves an MVP award for her performance in this episode — especially that scene. The Time Team heads back to the present-day, where Flynn is waiting in the bunker because they broke him out of prison, and Lucy has a mini-DTR with Wyatt. The two agree that their night together was pretty amazing, and they’re already living together so there’s nowhere to go but down in the relationship department.

But “Hollywoodland” ends with a bit of a shocker (okay, but we all really did see that coming... right?) and blow to the recent Wyatt/Lucy happiness: Wyatt gets a text and abruptly escapes the bunker. He walks into a bar, scanning the crowd of people, before he sees a woman who he addresses as Jessica. That’s right — somehow, Jessica is alive again. We know it was Rittenhouse, right?

And just like that, a wrench is thrown in all of our beautiful, happy little Time Team and our beautiful, happy little Wyatt/Lucy romance.

Timey-wimey bits:
  • “... Do you have ANY ability to do this on your own?” I cackled at that line because... well, do they? Can’t you just Google what was happening around January 2, 1941 and see what pops up before going to visit Flynn? No? Okay.
  • “Maybe Rittenhouse gave up their plans for world domination to pursue show business.”
  • Honestly as much as I enjoyed the whole Wyatt/Lucy of it all, Rufus playing Langston Hughes is probably the episode’s highlight. Especially when he just starts quoting the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • “Hamilton? As a musical?” AND THEN I DIED LAUGHING. Hamilton jokes never get old, no matter what people might say.
  • Dang, the actress they cast to play Hedy Lamarr looks stunningly like her. Also can Hedy just make a return appearance at some point? I loved learning about her and I loved how intelligent she was and I loved that Rufus righted some wrongs that had originally been in her story.
  • Rufus and Lucy’s shock about Wyatt never seeing Citizen Kane is perfect.
  • I think it’s hilarious that Lucy says “spoiler alert,” and Hedy asks what a spoiler is. It’s easy to forget that so much of our slang has come into use in the last few years.
  • I didn’t know Abigail Spencer sang, but she did a lovely job! Also, the little smiles Wyatt gives Lucy during the performance are absolutely adorable and sweet.
  • “Some men find a beautiful woman with brains intimidating.”
  • “You saved my life, you know?” “Which time?”
  • I could re-watch that kiss scene a few times. Hot dang.
  • Oh hey, guess what? The team broke Flynn out of prison. This definitely won’t backfire on them anytime in the near future. Meanwhile, Jiya’s still having “visions,” but apparently time travel has cured her of a heart murmur and there’s no evidence that she’s got anything wrong with her brain. So that’ll be an ongoing mystery, I guess.
What did you all think of “Hollywoodland”? What’s going to happen to Wyatt and Lucy now? And do you really think Jiya is okay? Will Flynn remain loyal to the Time Team? Sound off in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I love your reviews!! I subscribed to your blog as an Olicity fan, and you inspired me to watch Buffy, Angel, Virtue & Moir (that counts, right?) and now, Timeless. I watched episode 1 this past Saturday and caught up as quickly as I could so that i could read your “Hollywoodland” review as soon as possible. Thank you for being my map to finding these treasured ships!