‘Timeless’ 2×01 Review: You Haven’t Lost Me

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'Timeless' 2x01 Review: You Haven’t Lost Me

It’s hard to explain the joy I feel at being able to write the title for this review, not just because I let out a pterodactyl-like screech the first time I heard him say it (What? No one judge me on how many times I’ve re-watched this episode), but because, in a very real way, Wyatt was talking not just about himself, he was talking about us, the fans.

We haven’t lost him. We haven’t lost Lucy. We haven’t lost Rufus. We haven’t lost this wonderful, diverse, smart, emotional show that never fails to surprise us. And, considering that, for three whole days there last year, we thought we had, this feels like the kind of gift we should celebrate.

And yet, that’s not all we should do. When I first watched the screener for this episode, I was struck not just by how good it was, even better than what was already a solid and remarkable first season, but by how close we came to having to live without it – to not seeing what else this brilliant group of writers and actors had in store for us. Now that would have been a damn shame.

Which is why, in Season 2, I’m filled with a new sense of purpose. I’m not just here to rave about the show, though rave I inevitably will, cause the show is too good not to, I’m here to help get this show a Season 3, in any way I can. And that’s not a mission I can undertake alone.

The Time Team needs us, clockblockers. We can’t let them down.

Let’s live tweet. Let’s talk about this show on social media. Let’s watch live, and then re-watch on official platforms. Let’s show NBC the strength of this fandom. I’m here with all of you. We’ve got this.

For now, let me begin this Season 2 journey by talking about the scope of “The War to End All Wars,” what we loved about it, what the episode sets up and what makes this show one of the best shows on TV.

WE’RE BRINGING LUCY HOME

Gif by Em

From the moment I saw the words SIX WEEKS LATER, I knew what kind of Wyatt we were gonna get. We’ve seen it before, after all. He lost Jessica and he went without news for so long and he was helpless, he couldn’t do anything. Sitting around and waiting to find out what happened to people he cares about is not a thing Wyatt Logan does well.

And I’m not just talking Lucy here; I think he would have been as desperate to do something if Rufus had been the one taken. But of course, it was not Rufus, which adds another layer of pain to the whole thing for Wyatt, because it happened just a few moments after that beautiful conversation from the finale when he finally let himself say, out loud, what we all knew he was thinking.

It’s time to let Jessica go and move on.

Of course, you might tell that to friends, as a life-fact you share, but he wasn’t telling Lucy because she was his friend, no, he was telling her because when he thought about moving on, all he could see was her. She wasn’t the reason he decided to move on – Thank God – but she was the person he wanted to move on with, and that’s even bigger.

So then, six weeks pass. Six weeks of not knowing, six weeks of worrying, six weeks of feeling helpless. Six weeks that surely took Wyatt back to those first few days after Jessica disappeared. Could he have done more? Was he somehow to blame? Wasn’t it his responsibility to protect Lucy?

These are all absurd thoughts, in a way, Lucy is a grown woman and she doesn’t need Wyatt to save her, as she herself proves later in this episode, but love means you want to try anyway. And Wyatt Logan, the Wyatt Logan angsting all over the place, the one who bristled at the idea that, for Agent Christopher, Lucy was just an asset because for him Lucy is so much more, the one who didn’t care about being court-martialed if it meant he could go outside and look for Lucy, that Wyatt Logan is a man in love.

And Matt Lanter absolutely sells it.

Not just in the quiet desperation that Wyatt exudes, or in the anger he lets himself feel when he’s alone, but in the way his whole body kind of relaxes once he finds out Lucy is alive. I swear, I’ve watched this episode enough times to know what I’m talking about, just go look at his whole demeanor after the reunion – things are still going to shit, but it’s like he can finally breathe again. The woman he loves is safe.

Because, despite the strong front he presented before, he wasn’t sure. Yes, it made more sense than anything else, but Wyatt’s refusal to grieve didn’t just have to do with the fact that common sense indicated to him that Rittenhouse had taken Lucy, no, his refusal to grieve had to do with the fact that he could not even conceive of a world where Lucy was dead, where he’d lost the person he loved again, and this time, he hadn’t even had a chance to tell her how he felt.

And that’s why, during those six weeks, something fundamentally changed, not just in Wyatt, but in Lucy. It’s not that their relationship is going too fast considering how the Season 1 finale left off, it’s that they both had to face the very real possibility that they would never get to be together. So what do you do when you dream about something and you think that something is gone, that you can never have it, only for that thing to return?

You grab it with both hands and you never, ever let go. That’s what you do.

YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH LUCY, YOU IDIOT

Gif by Em

One of my favorite parts of the episode was how Timeless avoids the usual trope of not just the people pretending not to have feelings for each other being oblivious, but their friends around them just never pointing out how stupid the whole thing is. That stuff never flies in real life. If people can get so emotionally involved in Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s relationship, then you bet your ass if it’s a friend of yours, you’ll be all over that shit.

Just like Rufus is.

He’s not an idiot. He’s been picking up the signs for a while. Besides, he’s spent the past six weeks with crazed-Wyatt on a mission to save Lucy. He gets it. And he’s not pretending he doesn’t.

But the surprising part isn’t the sly comments he’s throwing, like when Wyatt tries to pretend he’s happy Lucy’s alive because they need their historian, no, the surprising part is that in the first episode of the second season, just as Wyatt goes crazy because Lucy is missing, Timeless throws not just the useless friends trope out the window, but the whole notion that men can’t and don’t discuss feelings.

TOXIC MASCULINITY, Timeless has no time for you, pun very much intended.

 “You spent the last 6 weeks worried about the woman you love,” Rufus says, because he’s nothing if not direct, and though Wyatt refuses to admit it, because that’s who Wyatt is, we gotta point out the fact that Wyatt doesn’t deny it, either. And that’s not just because it’s true (SO IN LOVE. SO. IN. LOVE), it’s because Wyatt Logan is not the type of man who’s embarrassed about having feelings.

There are many things to love about Timeless, many. I’ve made lists before. But one of my favorite ones is the way the male characters on this show are anything but stereotypes of pernicious behavior, not at all the men we’d expect to see come up in sexual harassment allegations or the like. They’re men who respect women, who treat them as equals, and men who are not afraid to feel and to love.

And for that, they’re better, more compelling characters.

 

FAMILIES

Gif by Em

Timeless has never been more clear with the message about found families than in this episode, where Lucy breaks off completely from the only blood relative she still had left, in a way, her mother. (We’re not counting absentee and also not-so-secretly-evil father here, for obvious reasons.)

And saying no, this is where I stand, this is who I am and I can’t, in good conscience, do what you want me to do, despite how much I love you, is probably the hardest thing Lucy has ever had to do, but she does it anyway because that’s who Lucy is – maybe not because of her mother, but in spite of her.

They have a complicated relationship, Lucy and her mother, but I think, deep down, Lucy always thought that her mother would put her first – just like Marie Curie, whose relationship with her daughter Irene is paralleled to Lucy and Carol – does at the end. Curie is and should be proud of her accomplishments, but nothing is more important than her daughter. Carol Preston, on the other hand, chooses the mission above her daughter, even though she clearly cares for Lucy.

And that’s the final straw for Lucy, in a way. She’d made her choice, yes, but naively; a part of her somehow believed she could choose the other side and still not lose her mother. And yes, a part of her desperately clings to Carol because, when she makes the choice to kill that man to prove her loyalty, for example, she thinks she has nothing left, and she absolutely does not want to live like that.

Shippy feels aside, she’s not just talking about Wyatt when she uses the phrase, “I thought you were dead,” to explain why she’d be willing to sacrifice herself to end Rittenhouse, she’s talking about Rufus too; she’s talking about the family she found in Mason Industries. For Lucy, that explosion didn’t just take out a place, or the Lifeboat, it took out her family.

If you add to that the fact that, as a historian, Lucy knows firsthand the havoc Rittenhouse can wreck, it’s hard to blame the woman who, in a short period of time has lost her sister, the man she was starting to have feelings for, her best friend and her mother, for thinking that big sacrifices were warranted.

Because Emma is right, Lucy will never be Rittenhouse. The whole idea that this organization can manipulate the past to get the future they want flies in the face of the decision Lucy makes in this episode, a decision we’ve all had to make in our lives: the decision of who we want to be.

Carol, of course, doesn’t understand this, because Carol Preston thinks she’s on the right side of history, and there’s nothing more dangerous than someone who doesn’t fancy herself a monster, but who’s, like Lucy pointed out, willing to collaborate with monsters to get what she wants.

And yet, I titled this part of the review families, because I want to make it clear that the message here is that Lucy hasn’t lost everything, Lucy is not alone, no, because sometimes family isn’t blood and your destiny isn’t to follow your parents footsteps. Sometimes – a lot of times – family is a choice you make. And the Time Team is family in a way Carol will never be, not again.

YOU HAVEN’T LOST ME

Gif by Em

From the moment he responds to Emma’s, “You can’t protect her anymore” with “I can,” Wyatt’s place as Lucy’s rock in times of storms starts taking shape, a place that is only cemented when, as she breaks down at the thought of having lost everyone, he puts his arms around her and says, “You haven’t lost me.”

Did your heart stop at those words? I’m pretty sure my heart stopped. And I let out a little noise. Or maybe something akin to a full pterodactyls screech, I’m not sure. Either way I had to re-watch that conversation 57 times before I could find words.

He could have made that general, he could have said us, and he would have been right. Lucy still has a family, and though Rufus and Wyatt are the closest ones, she still has Jiya and in a way, even Agent Christopher and Mason on her side. She’s not alone, not really.

But Wyatt isn’t trying to tell Lucy that, even if she could stand to hear it. No, Wyatt is trying to tell Lucy that he is there for her, that he will never leave her, that she can lean on him. The moment is not romantic, not necessarily; though with these two, it turns romantic on a dime, but it honestly starts out as just a truthful moment between two people who care about each other and who trust each other enough to express their feelings.

Because I thought you were dead. Because I thought the lifeboat was gone. And because I thought I was the only one standing,” Lucy says, and what she’s trying to say is: because I thought I was alone, I was willing to do something crazy. I didn’t have anything to live for. You guys are my reason. You guys are my family.

Wyatt gets it. Rufus would get it too, but Wyatt is also alone, so he knows what it’s like to be in Lucy’s skin. That’s why, later, when they cling to each other, they cling for all that’s worth. That’s why Wyatt was so desperate to get Lucy back, that’s why Lucy couldn’t go through with her plans of just sacrificing herself once she realized Wyatt was alive.

When she wonders if she could have stopped Rittenhouse if he hadn’t come, she doesn’t mean she didn’t want him to be alive or that she was mad he came, it means that when she saw him, she realized just how important he was to her, because that was the moment she knew she had to keep on living, no matter what. That was the moment she understood that, with Wyatt, she had something – a life, a future, a possibility, and she just couldn’t give that up.

That’s the moment Lucy chose life. That’s the moment she chose the alternate path towards defeating Rittenhouse, whatever that is. And before you naysayers come at me with, oh, but she did it for a romance, let me point out that there’s absolutely nothing romantic going on with them when she makes that decision. She does it because he’s family, because Rufus is family and because having someone by your side, in whatever capacity, as you go through life is infinitely better than being alone.

In that regards, “I’ve lost everything,” is, however, the perfect setup to take this relationship into the next level in a manner that feels earned and real and in a way that has as much to do with the conversation they had before Lucy was taken and with the realizations of the six weeks they spent apart, as it has to do with all the time they actually spent together.

When Wyatt cradles Lucy in his arms, as I said before, that’s a declaration of intent. But Lucy makes the clearest declaration of intent when she places her hand on his neck and sorta leans in for a kiss. And by sorta I mean she basically initiates the kiss that never happens because Jiya has the timing of C3PO.

I take that back, at least Han and Leia got to kiss before C3PO interrupted.

But back to Lucy, she initiates the contact, and she does it slowly, almost like testing the waters, not just because this is a very charged moment for both of them, but because she wants him to know that this is what she wants. She’s not reacting; she’s not letting herself get carried away by emotion, no.

She’s making a choice.

Are you emotional? I’m emotional. What a journey it has been, in just one episode. And yet, that’s the way it happens, sometimes, in real life. The six weeks Wyatt and Lucy spent apart taught them both a really important lesson: Life is short, and with Rittenhouse out there, in possession of a time machine, the future is not guaranteed. All they have is the present.

What else can they do but hold onto what they want, what they love? What would you do?

Things I think I think:

  • The song playing during the Previously On is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. It feels kinda fitting.
  • Wyatt, my love, you looked at that bomb for way too long. WAY TOO LONG.
  • Like, your face is pretty and I know they needed a shot of it looking at the bomb, but you’re a trained operative. You need to react faster.
  • I have tons of questions about the bunker they’re in. TONS OF QUESTIONS.
  • Look, I’m never saying no to Matt Lanter in a towel, but let’s be honest, the thing that absolutely works for him is the angsty, desperate look.
  • “I have trust issues with you, Wyatt. Obviously with good reason.” Can’t really fault her there, Wyatt. You did steal a time machine to save one woman you loved, what’s stopping you from doing the same thing again? Oh, yes, the fact that the time machine isn’t working. Only that.
  • More Agent Christopher can only be a good thing, I say.
  • You do not calculate the derivative of an equation, Rufus. You do it for a function.
  • “You’re sweet, and a tiny bit condescending…” I LIVE FOR JIYA CALLING OUT RUFUS. Give me more of this.
  • I need someone to write the full six weeks that Lucy was with her mother, cause the phrase, “You’ve come so far in the past few weeks,” means going from A to B was anything BUT easy.
  • This is how you know a show is good, I need fanfiction. Not want it, no, need.
  • As cool as I think Marie and Irene Curie are, there’s so much to unpack in this episode that all they get is a mention. I apologize, history geeks.
  • The mention of Carol deleting Lucy’s work, however, should put to rest any ideas that “original” Carol was a saint.
  • Lucy trying to hit whoever grabbed her arm before she realizes it’s Wyatt gave me feels because I bet he’s the one who taught her those moves.
  • The beat they take when they just drink each other in before they actually hug is perfect.
  • Mason seems to have a storyline I actually care about this season. GOOD.
  • Please tell me we’re getting at least one Jiya-centric episode this season.
  • I get you’re not thrilled to still be chasing these jackasses through time, Rufus, but we’re all infinitely glad you are. We’d like approximately 35 more seasons, please.
  • Not sure what was more awesome, seeing Wyatt in action or the fact they didn’t make Rufus useless in a fight.
  • Also, kudos for remembering basic continuity aka Rufus has a mother and a brother. It’s surprising how many shows just forget about things like this.
  • “You want to ask Siri for the nearest gas station?”
  • I like Emma way more now as unapologetically Rittenhouse, what can I say? She does evil well.
  • “I just do what your mom tells me to do,” speaks to the fact that Carol is really interested in NOT having Amy. But why? This seems like it goes deeper than not just wanting Rittenhouse plans ruined, doesn’t it?
  • That’s not Wyatt’s cot next to Lucy’s right? BECAUSE IF IT IS, DEAR GOD, and also, wouldn’t it be tidier if it were?
  • It would make more sense for him and Rufus to be sharing, but then again, Rufus has a girlfriend, so he’s probably sharing with her, and it’s not like Lucy’s gonna share with Mason so MAYBE LUCY AND WYATT ARE SHARING.
  • This is too much for me.
  • Especially cause I know those things only happen in fanfic and Jiya is obviously sharing with Lucy and Rufus with Wyatt.
  • Don’t think about the way Lucy’s hands go to Wyatt’s neck as she makes up her mind to kiss him.
  • Don’t think about how he keeps caressing her back EVEN AFTER being interrupted by Jiya.
  • I told you not to think about it.
  • What IS between The Hunger Games and Handmaid’s Tale?
  • Sleeper cells and planting agents through time sounds WAY more menacing than the vague idea of Rittenhouse we had in Season 1. I LOVE IT.
  • Where are Wyatt and Lucy as Mason, Jiya, Rufus, and Agent Christopher discuss Rittenhouse’s plans at the end? WHERE?
  • FLYNN! I’ve missed you, you smooth bastard.

Agree? Disagree? Have any more thoughts about “The War to End All Wars”? Share with us in the comments below!

Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC.

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