This Timeless review contains spoilers.
Timeless Season 1, Episode 10
At last, Flynn has laid all of his cards on the table and the Rittenhouse secret starts to unravel in the latest Timeless episode! Although it makes sense for the show to have held onto its secrets until now, it felt like a long time to wait. The pages of Lucy’s journal may still be a mystery, but now that viewers are starting to get details about the grand conspiracy, their appetites have been sated. For now.
Fortunately, this series always plays on its main strength: its characters. Presenting Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt with the moral dilemma of working with Flynn was a great way to go into the winter hiatus. With the seductive pull of Lucy regaining her family, Rufus getting out from under Rittenhouse’s thumb, and Wyatt finding out the identity of his wife’s killer, who could blame the team for putting their differences aside whatever the consequences?
In fact, that’s what made the episode opening so enjoyable. It must really bother Agent Christopher and the others left behind to realize that history keeps changing in minor ways without them even knowing it. Thus the flash drive with the family memories on it being kept in the lifeboat as a contingency in case her loved ones are erased makes perfect sense. This moment brought necessary depth to Agent Christopher, a character who desperately needed development.
And this week’s historical context had some nice touches even though it was merely a backdrop for the establishment of Rittenhouse. Whether it was Benedict Arnold’s limp, the assassination of Lord Cornwallis (yikes, he ended the Revolutionary War!), or Flynn’s cover as famed Prussian spy Austin Roe with his Culper Ring associates, the attention to detail was appreciated. Even the mention of the use of a “thunder mug” provided a welcome chuckle.
But the crux of this episode’s success was in forcing both the characters and the audience to question the difference in methods used by Flynn. Lucy even asks her team, “It’s all history; it’s what we’re supposed to protect, the good and the bad. Aren’t we?” Should they kill one man, perhaps drastically changing history, if it’s for the betterment of mankind? Rufus and Wyatt think so, the latter even asserting that he doesn’t think history is “an excuse to sit back and watch people suffer.”
Yet Flynn admits to Lucy that he’s done terrible things in service to his quest to rid the world of Rittenhouse. So much so that he wouldn’t even remain with his family if he were able to resurrect them by changing history. Watching Flynn kill David Rittenhouse was as satisfying as watching him struggle with sparing young John Rittenhouse, frustrating though that may have been. Lucy insisting that “We can all decide to be something different,” may be true… or they may have just set the young lad on a dark path.
And what a path Rittenhouse has laid out! Comparing “the peasants” to hands on a clock, unable to determine their own course without help from the clockmaker, shows true disdain for humanity. But the implied tyranny might not have overcome the perceived altruism if it weren’t for the fact that David Rittenhouse is a genuinely evil bastard. The way he looked at Lucy like livestock and ordered her to be taken to his bedchamber was truly chilling. If the team had harbored any doubts about killing him in cold blood, they were likely erased in that moment.
None of that, of course, explains why Flynn took Lucy with him to god-knows-where in the Mother Ship. The set up for the second half of Timeless’ first season was really well done, and anticipation should be high for fans of the show. With the original 13 episode order being extended to 16, it will be interesting to see how the show proceeds from this very finale-like installment.