This Timeless review contains spoilers.
Timeless Season 1, Episode 13
It probably comes as no surprise that the first season of Timeless was originally only supposed to be thirteen episodes long instead of the sixteen that were eventually ordered, and “Karma Chameleon” certainly would have been an excellent finale. Instead of coming full circle on Lucy’s missing sister, however, the story centered around trying to bring back Wyatt’s murdered wife, and the change in focus worked quite well. In bringing personal stakes to this week’s mission while also setting up some potentially explosive information about Rittenhouse in the present, this would have made one hell of a cliffhanger ending.
But with three more episodes to go, there’s great potential for another go at some of the enduring mystery surrounding the secretive group. With Emma Whitmore having apparently given Flynn and Anthony more details about Rittenhouse’s plans for the mothership, things must be even worse than whatever theories fans have come up with, or Anthony wouldn’t have decided to betray Flynn. It’s easy to see how Flynn might have become too focused on saving his family given the parallels to Wyatt’s situation.
And honestly, it’s refreshing to see Wyatt taking a stand for himself whatever the consequences may be. It might have come across as pure selfishness on his part if not for the similarity to Flynn’s motivation and to Lucy and the sister who was never born. Agent Christopher did promise Lucy they’d try to bring Amy back, but, as Lucy points out, there’s been no evidence she has even tried. Surely Wyatt picked up on that as well. The question is whether or not Flynn knew Wes Gilliam wasn’t the real killer and if so why he would set Wyatt up for failure given his own family’s fate and the sympathy that should garner.
It seemed like a good plan once Wyatt mentioned that Gilliam was conceived via a one night stand. Just keep them apart; no bodily harm involved. Rufus could even feel justified in rendering assistance. As he says, “So it’s a reverse Back to the Future, got it.” Meanwhile, he could enjoy a banana daiquiri, some Galaga, a little Manimal and The A-Team, and even some flirtation with a bombshell Olivia Newton-John lookalike. A fun adventure with a Haley Joel Osment quip thrown in for good measure!
Alas, nothing’s that easy. The tornado and the stewardesses catching Wyatt in a lie did indeed seem like fate intervening, and the audience could be forgiven for thinking the hook-up between Claire and Joel, the parents of Jessica’s killer, was unavoidable. That’s what made the accidental death of the bartender (nice Drew Roy guest spot) that much more shocking. But even then, most viewers probably reacted with, “Oh well, at least he saved Jessica.” Except, of course, he didn’t. Nicely played, Timeless.
Does this mean Wyatt’s off the team and defeated in his mission to boot? It almost seems like so much changed and yet nothing did. Anthony worked out a plan to destroy the time machines with Lucy, but Flynn murdered him instead. Connor’s back on the bad list, and he and Homeland Security are no closer to stopping Flynn. And Lucy reminded Agent Christopher about her promise regarding Amy, but no plans were made. The one big step forward was Christopher sharing with Lucy the photos of Connor meeting with Rittenhouse… in the form of Lucy’s recently discovered father.
Anybody else out there forget about that connection? Fortunately, whatever reluctance Lucy, Connor, or anyone else felt about her meeting with Anthony, no such trepidation existed with her returning to her father’s house to confront him about Rittenhouse. But who could have anticipated the welcoming Lucy would receive as her father tells her that Rittenhouse is her legacy and “nothing to be ashamed of.” What are we to believe?
In the end, it’s like Jiya says to Lucy: “If you love someone, you tell them something like this.” Yes, she was talking about the fact that Rufus didn’t tell her he was going to steal the lifeboat with Wyatt, but it could also apply to the confession of Lucy’s father. And let’s not forget the fact that Wyatt did tell Lucy about what he was going to do ahead of time. Very suggestive, that! As a result, the emotional moments, big reveals, real consequences, and a killer cliffhanger make “Karma Chameleon” one of the best Timeless episodes of the season.