This Timeless review contains spoilers.
Timeless Season 2 Episode 3
This week’s Timeless did a complete turnaround, making much better use of an embedded Rittenhouse agent in a more believable and nuanced manner than last week’s car bomb, renewing faith that the series’ new concept for the antagonist was the right choice for season two. Combined with some top notch emotional moments for Lucy and Wyatt, the accidental resurrection of Jessica felt more like the twist of a knife in the gut than a plot twist, but it was brilliantly executed as were other time travel manipulations, Jiya’s subplot, and the use of Hedy Lamarr and other Hollywood figures.
Even simply having Rittenhouse sympathizer Lucas Calhoun meet the father who dropped him off in 1941 fifteen years later with it only having been months for the elder agent was a nice nod to the complexities of time travel, which really got their due in this episode. The fact that he would receive his assignment after being embedded for years in an influential film industry was great way to get a glimpse of the larger picture of what they could accomplish, especially as it applied to the massive influence of William Randolph Hearst’s media empire. The moment in history was perfectly chosen and presented the most believable Rittenhouse mission to date.
Not to mention the story of Hedy Lamarr and her status as an inventor of frequency hopping guidance systems that were the precursor to modern day Bluetooth and wifi technologies was ripe for the picking, especially since her life did indeed intersect with that of Orson Welles, whose film Citizen Kane figures prominently in Rittenhouse’s plan to gain favors from Hearst. The scene in which she uses a piece of cellophane tape to help Rufus listen in on the deal between Calhoun and Hearst emphasized Lamarr’s inventiveness while bringing a bit of humor, too, as she dismisses his use of the brand name “Scotch tape.” Kudos to The Mist and Vikings alum Alyssa Sutherland for a wonderful portrayal of the quite tall Lamarr!
A similar lightheartedness was achieved by Rufus posing as Langston Hughes, bumbling through anachronistic references to Bogey and Bacall, Hamilton the musical, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The jovial atmosphere lent itself well to the building affection between Wyatt and Lucy, especially after Abigail Spencer showcased her great singing voice with “You Made Me Love You.” The tentative kiss that built to a moment of passion might have seemed indulgent until the realization arrives that Jessica, Wyatt’s formerly dead wife, was resurrected via time travel. Suddenly the “Wucy” union becomes steeped in tragic irony – beautifully played!
We have to assume that Rufus warning Hedy to keep her patents renewed somehow set off a chain reaction that brought Jessica back in the same way that the series premiere Hindenburg adventure erased Lucy’s sister. The fact that this incredible time travel twist was used in the same episode that brought us the masterful escape plan for Flynn put this episode over the top. Putting aside Flynn’s questionable Paramount logo drawing that set off the investigation, hiding a map and supplies in the past for him to discover in the present was a move Bill and Ted themselves would have applauded.
And somehow in the midst of all this, Timeless finds room for progress in the Jiya storyline, which takes an unexpected turn when Connor admits to Agent Christopher that earlier pilots experienced mental degradation similar to Jiya’s symptoms. Her subsequent clean bill of health actually causes more trepidation about her condition rather than less, but it’s possible that the disappearing heart murmur could be a sign that her new prescient powers could be a superpower of sorts suited particularly to her. We can hope!
As if all the compelling major plotlines weren’t enough, Timeless sprinkles in little touches that really glue this episode together into a cohesive whole. For example, the mention of Hearst’s trademark yellow journalism as its era’s version of fake news makes the story all the more topical; or the fact that Calhoun mentioning to his father that he likes his life in the past now marks the second time a Rittenhouse agent has been seduced by his double life. Even just the simple but awkward discussion about Lucy being nerdy and comparing George’s married crush on Hedy to Wyatt’s inability to initially approach her or Wyatt knowing that Rufus will keep their secret after walking in on them in bed felt natural and perfect in the moment.
Together, these elements create a nearly flawless episode of Timeless, and all we can hope for is that future episodes will bring more of the same. This show has always had strong characters to draw viewers in, but as long as it stays consistent with making the Rittenhouse agents believable in their missions, relating the historical context of the story to the larger Rittenhouse mission or the lives of the protagonists, and occasionally diving into more complex time travel machinations, season two will almost certainly outdo its predecessor. If this episode is any indication, Timeless is on the right track to do just that.