This Timeless review contains spoilers.
Timeless Season 2 Episode 6
At one point in this week’s Timeless, Rufus tells Connor, “That’s not how these missions work; they’re not your life counseling sessions.” But in a narrative sense, they kind of are! That’s why episodes like this work so well. Rittenhouse’s attempt to take out Robert Johnson, who bridged the blues and rock ’n’ roll to set off a chain reaction leading to the counterculture of the 60s, only creates an obstacle to overcome in a larger conflict. Meanwhile, many of the characters shift their course in this episode in interesting yet sometimes puzzling ways, and there’s finally progress towards taking the battle to Rittenhouse.
It’s been fun this season to see other characters travel in the lifeboat, and fortunately, Rufus’ hard work has yielded the ability to add a fourth person to the Time Team as needed. Connor’s despondence having been introduced in an earlier episode presented the perfect opportunity to bring him out of his funk while using his knowledge of the blues era to bring him on a mission. From his initial humorous bout of time sickness to his Lando Calrissian British intelligence pseudonym to his inspirational speech telling Robert Johnson, “Stop, stand your ground, and fight! To hell with oblivion!” Paterson Joseph turned in a wonderful performance as a character overcoming his own fall from grace.
The parallels between Connor’s “deal with the devil” in season one and Johnson’s legendary meeting at the crossroads was tailor-made for turning despair into hope for both characters. The twist of having it not be enough to simply save Johnson from assassination but also to convince him to record his pivotal sessions added a nice bit of layered puzzle-solving as well while allowing for a glimpse of the likes of Muddy Waters and Bessie Smith. Although it was Lucy who referred to Johnson’s bookkeeping job and proving his father wrong to persuade Johnson, it was Connor’s rousing speech that convinced the guitar player to continue, not to mention Connor’s bullet that took out the female Rittenhouse assassin, saving Johnson yet again. A grand moment for Connor Mason!
The sleeper agent posing as Don Law’s girlfriend, though, was another example of an embedded Rittenhouse operative that really didn’t make much sense, similar to the Millerson character in “The Darlington 500.” As a result, the double assassination attempt lost some of its teeth. Luckily, the fight in the present with Wyatt going after the core of Rittenhouse’s operations provided much more believable organization with Nicholas Keynes prepared to burn the whole thing down to protect his group’s work. Wyatt’s assault was a necessary advancement in the fight so that he and his colleagues aren’t always fighting a war of attrition.
That being said, Christopher was reckless in pushing Wyatt to infiltrate the headquarters. Following up the thin lead provided by the warehouse in which Carol kept Christopher captive was a clever foot in the door for them to find the security key fob and trace it to Rittenhouse HQ, but, as Jiya also wonders, why send Wyatt in alone? Perhaps we’re supposed to remember the fact that Christopher’s family has been threatened, but for her to chastise Wyatt for not taking out Carol when he had the chance is ungracious in the extreme. So while the fact that they made the attempt helped the overarching battle avoid stagnation, Christopher playing with Wyatt’s life is somewhat bothersome.
On the other hand, the separation of Wyatt combined with the inclusion of Flynn brought a nice bit of tension to an already fraught situation. It’s easy to dismiss the fact that Flynn has a connection to Lucy’s past, present, and future because of her journal, and although most viewers would agree that seeing them together romantically would be unwelcome on certain levels, the Timeless writers have done a good job of making their bonding believable. The conversation in the car, the discussion of Wyatt’s noisy evenings with Jessica, and Lucy joining Flynn for a drink flowed smoothly whether we want the two of them together or not.
Then there’s Jiya and Rufus, who have a healthy enough relationship for Rufus to realize that Jiya’s most recent premonition is something she simply must share. Her ability and its pros and cons have been in the background all season, being doled out in bits and pieces like a hidden piece of mythology separate from the battle with Rittenhouse. It’s likely that many viewers predicted that her initial reticence meant that her vision contained the impending death of Rufus, but it was no less impactful for being able to see it coming. Plus Jiya calling out Agent Christopher’s recklessness and her answering Connor’s concern that hippies and Led Zeppelin still exist with, “Duh,” just makes her all that much more endearing.
Timeless has really been on its game this season despite some occasional flaws in its Rittenhouse sleeper agent scenario (still better than Flynn being the lone bad guy last year). When Connor says, “Fanboys don’t save the world, Rufus,” it’s hard not to disagree, recall the dramatic un-cancellation of this series, and smile, knowing that its deserved sophomore season has proven its worth. Now that Rittenhouse has been routed from its headquarters, the second half of the season is showing its readiness to continue the fight, both in its storyline and as a series.