This Timeless review contains spoilers.
Timeless Season 2 Episode 8
This season of Timeless has greatly benefited from broadening the scope of who can travel in the lifeboat and who can be affected by time travel, and centering an episode on Agent Christopher is long overdue in fleshing out an important character’s back story. Allowing Jiya to accompany Lucy brought a fun dynamic to the mission to correct Denise’s career trajectory, and their decision to share the time travel secret with the young cop speaks volumes about their own experience with knowledge of the future. The main flaw this week was the “shocking” but schlocky ending with Jessica, but fortunately, it was presented separately from the overall story.
That wasn’t the only flaw, of course. For hardcore time travel nitpickers, it might be a bit hard to swallow that Agent Christopher could suddenly gain knowledge of time travel in the changed timeline and somehow keep that from influencing her decisions up until now. However, Lucy apologizing for placing the burden of future knowledge on her went a long way towards forgiving that causality mishap as does Denise’s altered relationship with her mother, which in this new version of the present is much healthier than before. For that, we’ll hand-wave the rest aside.
The parallel between Denise’s knowledge of the future (the USB drive, hooray!) and Jiya’s prophetic visions was aptly characterized as a burden for both, and when combined with Connor Mason’s attitude towards fighting for lost causes last week, Jiya’s more positive attitude towards Rufus’ impending death makes all kinds of sense. On the flip side of that, Rufus’ experience with the sleeper agent who died in the past out of hopelessness for his situation could be said to have scared Rufus into actively trying to change his fate as well. He worries about being alone when he dies, but Jiya promises to fight at his side; the moment couldn’t have been more beautiful as Rufus professes his love yet again.
The same “carpe diem” attitude comes from Flynn as well in this episode as he offers Agent Christopher advice about what she can do when she feels powerless against the potentially devastating sweep of time that could erase life as she knows it. We’re reminded that Flynn has not been successful in undoing the deaths of his wife and daughter, and his urging Denise to go home to her family to make the most of her time in case time undoes everything was heart-wrenchingly poignant. Flynn shouldn’t be able to be so sympathetic, but he somehow manages it while still remaining consistent to his brutal nature.
Even his conversation with Lucy manages to carry a ton of weight, remarkable for a character that didn’t even go on the mission this time. Drawing another parallel between Denise’s knowledge of time travel, the whole experience reminds Lucy of her own experience with future knowledge in the form of her journal, which she rightly points out to Flynn and the audience could not have been delivered to Flynn under the current rules prohibiting travel within one’s own past years of existence. The details about the journal, delivered to Flynn in Sao Paolo changing the course of his life, are enticingly vague but present many possibilities for a heart-stopping twist at the end of the season or beyond.
In the meantime, Lucy and Jiya as Cagney and Lacey was just so much fun — what a great pairing for the mission! Jiya may have made all sorts of anachronistic mistakes such as mentioning man-buns and saying “hashtag me too,” but her choice of pseudonym coming from a detective show mere months from premiering capped off the humor of their team-up nicely, almost as if Jiya were playing the comic role usually filled by Rufus. Everything from their great outfits and hair to them pretending to be a couple to encourage Denise to come out to her mother just clicked.
That’s why it was so jarring to have Wyatt’s much less smooth moment with Jessica at the end of the episode. Although their conversation was a nice follow-up to Connor’s discovery last week, the intrigue only lasted as long as the initial suspicions as Wyatt wondered how her brother Kevin, who died of leukemia when he was a toddler in Wyatt’s original timeline, could possibly be alive in this new version of events. The implication that Rittenhouse may have helped pay for treatment making Jessica beholden to them is a thousand times more impactful than the soap opera trope, “I’m pregnant.” The eye-rolls in the audience were no doubt numerous.
Nevertheless, the trip to the 80s in this week’s Timeless was a fun ride, and even though the John Hinkley tidbits were beside the point, the Jodie Foster connection fit with the focus on lesser known historical facts. Although it feels like Denise’s life should have been more substantially changed by the Time Team’s interference, it’s nice to know her past is happier as a result. The character development gelled nicely with the storyline this week, and even though certain developing mysteries are more intriguing than others, the overall progress of the underlying mythology is satisfying, especially considering there are only two potentially very exciting episodes remaining in the season.