‘Timeless’ 2×02 Review: Nothing Ahead But The Open Road

Timeless can be many things: incredibly emotional, amazingly educational, a feminist tour de force, a strong voice in the fight against sexism and racism. It can do all of those things and many more at once, and sometimes, as we get rightfully caught up in them, we forget another thing Timeless can do, just about as well as any other show on TV.

It can be a hell of a lot of fun.

“The Darlington 500” is just that – a lot of fun. It’s also romantic, poignant, engaging and emotional. We learn more about Wyatt’s background, we explore Lucy’s complicated feelings about her mother and we get a little more information about what’s happening to Jiya, all while our Time Team is dressed in pretty clothes and meeting cool people.

What else can you ask for?

Oh, yes. Some Lyatt. But it’s alright, because as Episode 1 of this season proved, this show is all in with our OTP. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a smooth road – we all know Jessica is bound to pop up sooner rather than later – but after eighteen episodes of Timeless, if we’ve learned something, is that we can trust these writers to deliver, and to make even tropey as hell moments (the trunk, really?) memorable.

So let’s go into “The Darlington 500” and explore the themes, the relationships and speculate over Rittenhouse’s big plan.

VISIONS OF THE FUTURE

Jiya is an excellent and, to this point, underutilized character that I was hoping we’d get to see more of in Season 2, and boy, does this storyline have a lot of legs. There are so many places it can go, so many ways they can make what’s happening to her – what she’s seeing, which is, essentially, the future, Rufus’s future, in particular so far, fit into the bigger plot, that I can’t wait to see what this writers have in store for us.

In a way, I understood why we didn’t get to see more of Jiya in Season 1, though I always wanted more. She was separate from the Time Team by necessity, and this show works because Lucy/Wyatt/Rufus work, so they needed to set up the OT3 first and foremost. Now, with that out of the way, with us completely invested, it’s time to open up the scope and give other characters their turn to shine.

What is she seeing? Can she find a way to control these visions, to focus on what she wants? Could this ‘ability’ be used against Rittenhouse? Or is this tied to her emotions and that’s why she’s only seen Rufus so far? These are all interesting questions that we hope the show goes into, just as we hope we get to see more of her relationship with Rufus, and hopefully, a budding friendship with Lucy.

Timeless has done a lot right – and I’ve gushed my fair share. That, however, doesn’t mean we can’t ask for more, and more Jiya is definitely at the top of my list of things I want in season 2.

So, bring it. Show us the future with Jiya, and by doing that, show us her past, who she is and how she became that person. Make us invest even more in someone outside the Time Team. Make it so the thought of losing even one of them is unbearable. It’s already pretty hard to think about, but with a little more focus on the ‘background’ characters, you can really, really make us suffer at the end of the season.

I hope you manage it, Timeless. Not because I like the pain, but because I like the journey. I can live with the pain if I have to.

(I think)

HE DIDN’T DO IT OUT OF LOVE

This show has done a great job at giving us little snippets of information about our favorite characters in a real, believable way, no exposition, and they continue with this trend as they finally introduce more of Wyatt’s background in “The Darlington 500.” And can I say, after what we learned about Wyatt, I both want to give him a big hug and understand so much more about him.

We’d heard about his grandfather before, the good stuff, and we’d heard that his dad just wasn’t a good guy. This episode we get some background on how much that was an oversimplification, as Wyatt talks to Wendell Scott about his dad driving through the woods with the lights off to scare him, of doing that till something broke in the car and Wyatt had to fix it or he couldn’t come home, while his father sat there with a beer and a cigarettes, laughing at him.

A child. He did that to a child. Because let’s remember that we also got a timeline in this episode, Wyatt left when he was 15 and he was running stuff across the Texas border, presumably to support himself.

Doesn’t this just explain so much about who Wyatt is, and especially about the man he was before he met Lucy and Rufus? Not everything good about him is because of Lucy and Rufus, of course, he was always a kind and caring man, one with a deep sense of respect for others, and someone who, in a way, understood what it meant to be hated and scorned, but until he met Lucy and Rufus he never understood what it was to be really loved – not despite of what you are, but because of what you are.

Because he says he let it go, he let go of his father, in a conversation with Lucy so fraught with foreshadowing that if Jessica shows up next and is NOT an evil Rittenhouse agent I’m gonna ask for my money back, the truth is, letting go of something like that is not as easy as it sounds. Or at least, letting go of what it does to you isn’t.

That’s why Wyatt looks so embarrassed when Lucy and Rufus show up while he’s telling Wendell the story. This is not a side of him he wanted them to see, not because he doesn’t trust them, but because he’s used to having to be this perfect example of a man. He’s used to needing perfection to be loved. And that’s not necessarily a knock on Jessica, or whatever other relationship he had before he met Lucy and Rufus, is a reflection of what he thinks of himself: that no one can love the real him, because the real him is damaged and broken.

But Wyatt is wrong, and without any words from Rufus, and just a few from Lucy, his friends make that clear. They don’t love him because he’s perfect, or because he’s the soldier that gets them out of trouble, or because he gets all nerdy about cars, they love him because of all of those things, and because of the things he doesn’t tell them, as well. They love him, all of him.

That’s what family is like, after all.

EXCUSE ME, BOY

Animated GIF

“Ah, 1955 in the South” is the way Lucy frames the first of the many instances of social commentary this show does in regards to racism. Now, this is not something new, Timeless has done this time and time again, by placing Rufus in basically any and every situation in history and just letting him say the things a black man in that particular place and time would not have said.

Awareness is a very powerful thing sometimes, especially when it comes with the necessary contrast of how life is for Wyatt and for Lucy, two different experiences in and of itself. The show goes way farther than just pointing out stuff, though, it puts the Time Team in positions that allow them to explore race relations in a real and meaningful way, and they do this without ever having Wyatt or Lucy speak over Rufus.

Let me repeat that, because it’s important: The show explores race relations through Rufus’ perspective, and that’s why, more often than now, throwaway moments feel so important, touch the audience so deep.

Meeting Wendell Scott, the real life Han Solo, might mean a great deal to Wyatt, for example, but it means a great deal to Rufus too, in a very different way. As Wendell himself says, “what’s too tough for everyone else is just right for us,” and that’s a sentiment only Rufus can relate to, something the show understands.

Even the funny moment of Rufus explaining the nod to Wyatt and Lucy, or the show making a white character the butt of the “we don’t all look alike” joke, are treated with the kind of respect that could only come from a diverse writers room. And that’s one very important thing to consider when we praise this show. It’s good, yes, but it’s not good by chance.

It’s good because it’s taken the time and effort to do it right, to give minorities a voice, and to allow those minorities to inform how other minorities are shown on-screen. It’s good because they care. And that’s another reason why we should be supporting them – because diverse voices tell diverse stories, stories we can more easily connect with. And we all benefit from them having a say.

SHAPING THE PRESENT

The revelation from the end of the episode is hardly a revelation, we already knew Rittenhouse wanted to shape the present by affecting the past – the only real revelation is the scope of what they’re planning, because boy, is that a big canvas with a hell of a lot of information.

And, I guess the other revelation is that Nicolas Keynes is about as crazy, if not more, than his granddaughter. So yay for Lucy’s psycho family!

But the real Rittenhouse related question we have at this point is: how can they ever be stopped? Take out Keens, and Lucy’s mother, and you still have a lot of agents in the past. Go back to the past, like they did before, and you’d still have to kill a lot of people to make sure Rittenhouse never spreads. So what’s the endgame here? How do we get rid of a big bad that’s so encompassing?

I have no idea, and that’s probably a good thing. I wouldn’t really mind if it takes them a season or three to figure it out. Now we just need to help them get those seasons.

You ready for this fight, clockblockers?

HANG ONTO ME

You want to know what intimacy is, real intimacy? Just replay that scene of Lucy and Wyatt stuck in the trunk over and over again. Because that’s what real intimacy looks like, and it’s so rare that TV manages to portray that in a real, believable way.

Part of the reason why the manage it is because Matt and Abigail, who have amazing chemistry at all times, do such a great job of playing the awkwardness of this level of intimacy, especially for two people who have yet to verbalize their feelings. This is a tried and true trope on TV, trapping two characters who are struggling to admit their feelings for each other in a situation like this, except Timeless flips the script in the best way possible, and they do it through good writing, writing that realistically portrays the growth of both these characters.

Because Wyatt and Lucy both know what they feel, and it doesn’t even seem to me that they’re doing a great job at hiding what it is they feel from each other. They just haven’t taken that final step yet.

Yet being that operative word here. They both know where it’s going; they just have all the time in the world to get there.

Their “relationship” to this point has been a wonderful thing to see evolve, it’s been about trust and a solid foundation of friendship, and it’s been about taking a chance on something new – for Wyatt loving again, for Lucy letting herself love. This episode continues to build on those solid foundations with the conversation that, again, better be foreshadowing to evil Jessica, but it also does a good job of moving them forward by adding a sense of urgency that they’ve never felt before.

Because, for the two of them, it’s been so important to get to a point where they let themselves want something, that just staying there in that moment of wanting feels like a good thing. It’s all wide open, after all. And yet, have you ever wanted something, felt like what you wanted was so close you could touch it and still you couldn’t get it?

That just makes you want it more.

And then, if the showrunners are kind enough to throw you in a trunk together, things just happen. Or well, you try, at least, until Rufus pulls a C3PO, just like Jiya did, because why not?

But we gotta remember they are there – they can move towards the place we all see them moving, because they’re already so used to, literally and metaphorically, hanging onto each other. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. And yes, I wrote that shit on purpose.

We’ve seen trust, respect, and even love, but till this episode we hadn’t seen this level of longing. We hadn’t seen them come together for a reason other than comfort, we hadn’t seen them move towards each other because they both wanted to, because they could not stand the thought of not being together anymore.

Now we have. And that’s where we stand, as we go into episode 3. Wyatt and Lucy want to take that next step. Were this any other show, I’d say Timeless was just going to forget this development, but of course, this is not any other show.

Are you ready for episode 3? I’m not sure I am. And yet, at the same time, I’ve never wanted anything more.

Thank you, Timeless, for getting me this excited about TV again. Thank you for making me invest not just in an OTP, but in a show. Please, never ever leave us.

Things I think I think:

  • Annie Wersching does evil well, but right now Emma is a bit too one-dimensional of a villain, a big change from Flynn.
  • “What’d they do to you in there?”/”Nothing to talk about”
  • I’m so glad Timeless made a mention of this, and especially glad it was Wyatt who brought it up, because as someone who’s been through war and PTSD, he’d be the most equipped to understand.
  • “Your roommate Jiya sold you out.” I’d kill for this conversation. Did she bring it up? Did Wyatt ask her to keep an eye on Lucy, specifically?
  • I also really, really appreciate the fact that Wyatt gives her space, even if he knows she’s lying. We don’t always need someone to push. Sometimes we just need to know there’s someone there, should we want to talk.
  • When Lucy first says that there is someone who could help them, Wyatt gets who she’s talking about RIGHT AWAY.
  • Almost like they’re connected.
  • To be fair, Agent Christopher gets it quickly, too. It’s only Rufus who needs them to explain.
  • Rufus agreeing with his boy Wyatt is one of my new favorite things.
  • “Well, we did set him up. More you than us, but …who’s counting?” Agent Christopher is now close enough to the team to be the butt of the joke. I kinda love it.
  • Everyone looks at Wyatt when Lucy asks if they have a better idea.
  • Is that hat supposed to be a disguise?
  • Far be it for me to tell anyone what to ship, but I really don’t see any ounce of romantic anything between Flynn and Lucy. I’ve seen Goran’s in love face; he wore it a lot in ER. It doesn’t look like this.
  • Thank you for the continuity of explaining where the wardrobe came from. This is one of the many reasons why I love you, Timeless.
  • Wyatt the NASCAR fanboy is my jam.
  • “You guys really are coastal elites.”
  • No, seriously, everyone plays this scene brilliantly. Subtle comedy is one of those things Timeless does as well as any show on TV.
  • “I didn’t realize you were such a stone cold nerd” is a fun thing to hear Rufus say about Wyatt.
  • “No, no, not toward the fighting” (insert laughing emoji)
  • No, really, Wyatt the NASCAR fanboy is one of those things I didn’t know I needed in my life but now I cannot live without.
  • Wyatt was just gonna drink the moonshine and then Lucy had to be the mom and take it away. IT’S HILARIOUS.
  • “I know sports history too.” Wyatt looks like he could legit kiss her right then and there.
  • Less than 12 parsecs! Every Star Wars reference is like a light shined upon my fangirl soul.
  • Emma DOES have an evil stare.
  • “The Prodigal Princess and her boy toys” sounds like the name of an erotica novel.
  • “Okay, this is simultaneously giving me a headache and a panic attack” is basically how we all feel about the Rittenhouse situation, Lucy.
  • Mason’s still not my fave, but he feels more human this season.
  • I’m still on Agent Christopher’s side.
  • How exactly is hanging onto you gonna help her, Wyatt?
  • “Now you know. You know for sure you can move on. Nothing ahead but the open road.” IF THIS IS NOT JESSICA FORESHADOWING I’LL EAT MY OWN HAND.
  • Lucy and Wyatt are so close in that trunk that it’s easier to kiss than not kiss.
  • Wyatt looks very uncomfortable at the closeness, at least until Lucy initiates the kiss that is then interrupted, AGAIN.
  • Three time’s the charm, I guess.
  • Oh, Rufus. OH, RUFUS. Your face says it all.
  • “I think it’s motor talk. Either that or they’re both having a stroke.”
  • This show is SO good at showcasing different sides to every character, and giving them each a chance to save the day.
  • Wyatt kicking that guy’s ass, even without a gun, is very, very hot, not gonna lie.
  • He had to KILL HIS IDOL. My heart.
  • Wyatt and Rufus are like brothers. They love each other, they disagree about how to do things, they snipe at each other, but they’d have each other’s back, no matter what.
  • Those laughs, at the end there, when they’re finally in the garage, those are Abigail and Matt, not Lucy and Wyatt. You’re never gonna convince me otherwise.
  • Jiya and Lucy need to talk. About Rufs, about Wyatt, about nuclear physics, I don’t care at this point, just give me some scenes of the two of them bonding.

Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC.

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.