‘Timeless’ 2×04 Review: You Don’t Get How Rare This Is

By

Okay, here we go. Hold my hand. Yes, I know you’re not really here next to me, but hold my metaphorical hand. This is going to be a therapy session, for all of us.

I know this is a bad, complicated time, especially if you’re a Lyatt fan. You’re feeling confused. You’re feeling scared. You’re feeling hopeless. But I am here for you, and I have words that, I hope, will make it easier for you understand where this is going, why it had to happen, and how we’ll get through it.

Because we will. I promise. We will. I got your back. And, most importantly, the writers have your back. They’ve always had it. This, as much as it hurts, is them having your back. It’s them taking the story the only place they could take it considering this show is about time-travel.

This is them being straight with us, as they’ve always been.

And yes, adding a bit of drama, but this is TV, that was to be expected.

I just want you to remember that there’s drama and then there’s drama for the sake of drama. This is the first kind. The one that’s warranted, the one that doesn’t make the characters look stupid, the one that doesn’t require anyone to act out  of character to be sustainable, and the one that ends with growth, with choices and with a deeper understanding of who these characters are.

No, it’s not gonna be easy. But it’s gonna be worth it. And we’re gonna get through it, together. So, let’s talk about what happened, why it had to happen and why everyone behaves the way they do in “The Salem Witch Trials,” starting with:

*JESSICA

Yes, I’m starting with the proverbial elephant in the room, just because I want to get it over with, and because I know we all have a lot of emotions about this woman and about what role she’s going to play the rest of the season.

Which is why the first thing I want to make clear is this: She’s not here to be Wyatt’s endgame. She’s here to be a roadblock on the path to Lyatt, which is clearly the writers’ endgame. Don’t for a moment think this doesn’t lead to our faves getting back together. That’s the only reason she’s here: so Wyatt can get actual, real closure, so he can actively choose Lucy.

That being said, the Jessica we saw in this episode wasn’t actually that bad. She wanted nothing to do with Wyatt, and who could blame her. He didn’t sound like he’d been husband of the year and for her — he’s been gone for months, with no word.

So, this Jessica sees things as they are. Even sadder, she sees things as they always have been, and it paints an entirely different picture than Wyatt’s romantic notions of what their marriage was. Because, from Jessica’s point of view, they’re two people who loved each other at one point, yes, but they’re also two people who, despite that, could never find a way to be what the other needed.

And she doesn’t want that. He shouldn’t want that. Neither of them should be settling for less than the kind of love that moves mountains, the kind that transforms you. Except Wyatt can’t see this clearly, not yet. He’s too clouded by guilt to see that the woman in front of him not only doesn’t really love him, but he doesn’t love her — not anymore — and maybe he never actually loved her as much as he needed her.

He’s still stuck on what he should have done, all those years ago, while she’s clearly seeing what he did not do, what he could not do.

We don’t know the details of when they met, and we’ve only gotten glimpses of what their relationship was, but I think we can infer from what we know so far that theirs was an all-consuming, kind of possessive relationship and not exactly a healthy one. Wyatt had a very bad childhood, and meeting Jessica must have felt like coming up on fresh water after hours of walking through a desert.

But that doesn’t mean they were good together, doesn’t mean they were ever partners, and it certainly doesn’t mean they were ever capable of making the relationship last.

Now, I don’t want to demonize Jessica here. There’s a tendency in fandoms to put one woman down to prop another one up. Timeless is not that type of show, and we should do our best to not be those type of fans. Jessica can be a compelling, interesting woman without being right for Wyatt; and, as far as we know, right now, she’s as innocent as Lucy and Wyatt.

Lyatt works not because Jessica is evil or because she’s any of the awful words we tend to throw at fictional characters who get in the way of our ship. Lyatt works because of who they are together.

That being said, all these considerations lead back to the cliffhanger at the end of the episode and Wyatt’s desperate plea. Everything in the episode leads to the Jessica saying no conclusion. Why would she say yes? For her, it’s over. For her, it’s been over for a while.

I have one reason why she’s most likely going to say yes. It’s a name. You might have heard it a lot: Rittenhouse. If Jessica is Rittenhouse or — at the very least — a pawn in their game, then she’ll say yes to Wyatt. That’s the only way.

Nothing else adds up. Season 1 was, after all, very clear in establishing Lucy and Rufus’ ties to Rittenhouse. We know why they ended up where they did, why they’re part of the Time Team. Not so much Wyatt.

Are we just supposed to believe they picked any random soldier for a mission like this? Doesn’t it make more sense that they picked one they could manipulate? One who was, perhaps, married to someone inside Rittenhouse? Someone that might not have been dead, or if she was, someone they could have brought back if they needed to control him?

Either way, as it stands, if Jessica says yes — and I have a feeling she will — it’s because she’s up to no good — be that knowingly or not. I’m 100% sure of it. Just as I’m sure that, even if she does say yes, the relationship “drama” is only going to last two or three episodes, at most. We still need to deal with the other drama, after all.

Timeless is not a soap opera, and it’s not the type of show that has the time — or inclination — to play with our feelings just for the sake of stringing us along. Have faith. And if you forget, I’m here to remind you. As many times as you need.

JIYA

Another show would have dealt with Jiya’s storyline in a single emotionally-charged episode and then promptly forgotten all about it, except for the occasional mention when it was needed for the plot; but Timeless is, as we’ve discussed before, not like those shows. This is why Jiya gets a chance to shine, once again, and why, after learning some background on her, we now get to explore what her visions mean — not just for Jiya, but her relationship with Rufus.

Some people might say: You’re messing with Lyatt already, leave Riya alone! And yet, that’s not the way it should be, not the way life is. Situations don’t wait until it’s convenient to arise, and there are no secondary characters in life. We’re all the protagonists of our own story.

Which is why I think we should all appreciate that Timeless is going there, that they’re throwing some curve balls Riya’s way and not just making them a token happy relationship that’s just there to give their friends advice. They deserve more, and we, as viewers, deserve more.

And this is not just about the relationship, either; it’s about advancing Jiya as a character, separate from Rufus. She makes a choice this episode, a choice to confide in her boyfriend about what she’s seeing and how that might affect him. Is that the wrong choice? Rufus certainly seems to think so, but the show is very clear in presenting both sides and letting us, the viewers, make our own decisions.

Me? I’m with Jiya. This is not the kind of secret you keep, and I have a feeling that if something happens to Rufus when she had information that could have helped him, she’ll never forgive herself. Which means she’s now between a rock and a hard place. Something’s gotta give.

You don’t like angst? Because it’s coming at you from all fronts now. Time to hold on tight.

FLYNN

Flynn’s role in this episode is extremely interesting and something worthy of dissecting. For so long, he’s operated separately from the Time Team, either reacting to them or the other way around; and this is the first time he’s had the chance to establish a real dynamic with them, or at least with Rufus and Lucy.

Who is Flynn? Is he a bad guy? I think the answer to that question has clearly been “no” for a while. He’s a guy who’d do anything to achieve his goals, though, and it’s hard to trust a man like that to be your ally.

He’s got very little interest in Rufus, for example, as something other than the pilot who’ll get them from one place to the other. He feels a certain kinship with Wyatt, we already know from Season 1’s Watergate episode, a kinship that means he sometimes looks at Wyatt and it feels like looking into a mirror; and he’s got a certain fondness for Lucy, at least the Lucy he got to know through the pages of her diary — the Lucy that was his ally.

How does that translate to Flynn working with the Time Team? Probably better than anyone had any right to expect, though still differently than having Wyatt around. There was no romantic vibe to him and Lucy posing as husband and wife, and there was no edge of desperation or unvoiced feelings to all he did to save her and Rufus. It was just Flynn, the soldier, doing what he needed to do to finish out the mission.

Of course, he didn’t want Lucy and Rufus to die, not just because it wasn’t in his best interest, but because he isn’t a monster. The question, though, is what he’ll do when he’s faced with the choice between his past and his present. Just as it came for Wyatt, it’s coming for Flynn at some point. And this man, the one we saw in this episode, despite the banter, despite saving Lucy and Rufus, will always, always, choose his family.

I don’t blame him. Neither should you. We just gotta understand what this motivations are so his actions don’t catch us by surprise.

Before we end with Flynn, though, I want to mention the moments in the Lifeboat and more importantly, the moment after he gets out of it and sorta leads Lucy away. You can, of course, interpret that as you want; but for me, it has as much to do with Wyatt as it has to do with Lucy. Yes, he’s fond of her and yes, anyone with a heart would have probably reacted the same way, but there’s also a hidden layer in this: that he thinks he understands how Wyatt feels.

What would Flynn do if he got his family back? He wouldn’t care about anything else. He understands Wyatt bailing, even if he doesn’t have all the information, because he would have done the same. So, there’s a level of shielding Lucy in his gesture but also a level of shielding Wyatt too. The man has, after all, just gotten everything Flynn wanted.

There’s also the added complication of the diary and the fact that Flynn has information about the future we’re not privy to. He’s presumably met older Lucy, after all. What was going on with that Lucy and Wyatt? Did he read the diary like fanfic? Is he a shipper? Will we ever find out?

So, what is Flynn thinking? Why is he doing what he does? We can only speculate, but one thing seems certain: Whatever his reasons are, they’re not as simple as having a thing for Lucy. And that’s good, not just for the show, but also for the character. We already have one love triangle; we really, really don’t need two.

RUFUS

Rufus is a supremely interesting character for many reasons, but one of the most important ones is that he isn’t perfect. He proves it this episode by being so wrapped up in his own philosophical questions that he fails to be there for Lucy in the way she needs him to.

Of course, it’s not as clear cut as that. Lucy’s sorta pretending she’s okay, and the conversation they probably need to have is going to be hard, but who else does Lucy have who really and truly understands? No one. At some point Rufus will have to step up and be there for his friend.

Just as he will need to get out of his own head enough to be Jiya’s partner.

Rufus has grown a lot in the nineteen episodes of this show: He’s become more confident, more self-aware, and he’s stepped up for the people he loves, time and time again. But sometimes it’s easier to put your life on the line than your heart, easier to protect someone physically than to put it all on the line emotionally. And that’s where we stand with Rufus.

Life sucks for Lucy. It sucks for Jiya. It even, in a way, sucks for Wyatt. Right now, Rufus has the least problems; and although, of course, all the turmoil affects him, he’s winning the “whose life sucks the least” sweepstakes right about now. (And yes, I know his mother and brother think he’s dead. At least they’re safe. He’s still winning.) So, he’s gotta find a way to be the person his loved ones need right now.

That’s part of his growth. Part of this beautiful journey Timeless has crafted for him, the kind of journey people of color don’t get to actually experience on TV as often as we’d like. And I have no doubt Rufus is going to get there; I have no doubt the writers know what they’re doing. But it’s a journey, not just for Wyatt and Lucy, not just for Lyatt, but for Rufus too. Let’s remember that.

LUCY

Oh, Lucy. Let’s just stop for a moment, all of us, and think about what she’s gone through — and the brave face she’s putting up this episode — and just marvel at both Abigail’s acting and how she brings everything, the uncertainty, the pain, the vulnerability and also the determination into this character, and how well written Lucy is that we not just identify with her, or feel bad for her, but instead understand her on a deeper level. Her pain is our pain, and oh God, it hurts.

And I’m not even talking just about the Wyatt thing, though yes, that is the most important part, I’m also talking about the Lucy who wanted to preserve history above everything and who’s grown into a woman that understands people are more important than some predetermined destiny. She knows that, sometimes, the life she knew, the history she’s always fought the protect, is the wrong history; and her job now, especially considering Rittenhouse, is not just to make sure nothing changes, but to make sure things don’t change the way Rittenhouse wants them to.

There’s a distinction.

“I’d rather be hanged,” she tells her mother when Carol offers to save her and just her, as long as she joins Rittenhouse. That’s who Lucy Preston is now, and don’t for a second think it’s all because she’s feeling sad about Wyatt. She’s not being self-sacrificing, and though she’s heartbroken about what happened with Jessica, those words don’t mean that she’s giving up.

Instead, she’s drawing a line in the sand. She’s standing up to her mother and basically saying: “You made your choice; now, I’m making mine, once again. I will never be what you want me to be, even if you kill me.” And isn’t that what heroes do?

But that Lucy, as much as she’s changed and grown, is still the Lucy who we all kinda expected would basically set Wyatt free and push him towards Jessica. In a way, I can’t even blame her. I’d probably do the same if I found myself in her circumstances. It’s a combination of self-protection and her absolute and unshakable belief that Jessica is what he wants, not her.

The second part of her thinking is tricky: Wyatt himself might agree, at least now, that Jessica is what he wants; but Lucy is acting as much out of a desire to see Wyatt happy as out of fear of not being chosen, once again. It’s easier if she tells herself this was her choice, you see? It’s part of rationalizing your pain away.

Lucy has, after all, always been someone who needed to be in control. This is her way of doing that, of taking control of a situation that is absolutely not developing the way she wants it to.

But in a way, that also translates to giving up. We don’t know which “choice” Wyatt would have made if Lucy hadn’t made it so easy. Perhaps he would’ve made the same one, but as things stand right now, he has no way of knowing there’s even a choice. There’s Jessica, the woman he loved for so long and lost and then there’s…someone who he cares about but that seems pretty okay with him going back to his wife?

I know what you’re gonna say, you’re gonna say: “He’s not dumb. He knows Lucy cares.” And of course he does. But does he know Lucy loves him? Does he know the depth of what she feels? Maybe he does, but also…maybe he doesn’t. And maybe he needed to go back to Jessica anyway to see things clearly, but perhaps he also needed Lucy to say something along the lines of, “figure out how you feel and then we’ll talk,” or whatever. Something that left the door open.

And that’s Lucy’s journey now, as Wyatt embarks on his own journey towards understanding his own feelings. She’s gotta fight for him, for what they have together. She’s gotta realize she can, and she should. And that doesn’t mean sabotaging him or being a stereotypical jealous woman or whatever it is you might be thinking because TV does story-lines like this so badly that we all have PTSD, no.

It doesn’t even mean sitting around and waiting for him. It just means being clear about what she feels, even if that tears her apart. And if (when) he makes his choice, it doesn’t mean forgiving him right away and picking up right where they left off. It just means understanding that we can’t always expect others to know what we want and what we feel if we don’t say it out loud.

Sometimes, in love, and in life, you must cede control and lean into your feelings. Sometimes, the way things are “supposed” to be is not necessarily right. Lucy understands this about time travel now, but she still doesn’t get how it applies to her romantic life.

But she will. I’ve got no doubt of that. Hers is, in a way, an easier journey than Wyatt’s, though a heartbreaking one as well. But she’s not alone, not really. She just thinks she is. Now is where she figures out what she really and truly has, for good.

What’s that saying? “If you love something, set it free. If it does not return, it was never yours in the first place.”

Wyatt will find his way back. Lucy just needs to get to a place where she understands that she deserves the love he has to offer, and that it’s okay to ask for what you want. It’s more than okay — it’s necessary.

WYATT

You should all be glad I don’t usually write my reviews after just one viewing of the episode because the first time I watched I was so caught up in everything that I came out of it with a not-so-favorable impression of Wyatt. Nothing that would have ruined the character for me, but I was still struck with a deep desire to shake some sense into him.

I’m more zen now. I rewatched. I took some time. A couple of deep breaths. I can see things from his perspective. I can see where the road leads. I know the journey that’s coming is going to be hard, but I’m ready for it.

The thing about Wyatt is that, as we talked about in the Jessica part, he idealized his marriage to Jessica to such a degree that what he thinks he’s getting back in her is just something that doesn’t exist. But even if that were not so, he’s still getting back a woman he loved and lost. How could we, rationally, expect him to just be like, “oh, cool you’re alive, but I’ve got someone else now?”

Nah, that’s not Wyatt Logan, and I’m pretty sure that’s not anyone with a beating heart.

And that’s why Wyatt Logan has to say what he said at the end of this episode. That’s why he’s gotta try. Because he loved Jessica, and he needs to be able to be in that relationship again to realize that what he thought he had was just a mirage. That maybe he and Jessica were never good together, or if they were, it was before, when they were different people.

He also has to be in that relationship to be able to face his guilt, not just at how the relationship ended, but at the man he was during it. He isn’t seeing that clearly, just as he isn’t seeing Jessica clearly. Because, to him, if she was perfect, then their marriage was perfect, and it’s not as simple as that. You can meet a good person, a kind person, and you can love that person very much; but that still doesn’t always mean you can or should be with that person.

It doesn’t mean you fit.

And that’s Wyatt’s journey now — not a journey back to Lucy because his marriage with Jessica is doomed, no, but a journey of realizing that what he thought he had was never how he saw it, and what he found with Lucy was, in so many ways, the thing he thought he had before but had probably never known.

Lucy is his partner. Lucy is the woman he loves. She’s his other half, and she makes him a better man, just as he makes her a better woman.

He’ll get there, and hopefully, by the time he does, Lucy will be ready to fight for him — or at least to let him know that, whatever he’s feeling, he’s not the only one. Because the Wyatt Logan of that phone conversation with Lucy was heartbroken, unsure and legitimately sorry. He might have also been looking for a reassurance he didn’t get. Maybe he always needed to try with Jessica — that’s who he is — but perhaps he also needed to hear that Lucy felt the same way he did.

Either way, I’m pretty sure we’ll be privy to Wyatt discovering that one can’t turn off feelings and that the brain doesn’t really dictate how you react in high stress situations, the heart does. Just as he ran towards the Lifeboat at the end of this episode, because Lucy was hurt and Lucy was there and he’s used to being the person she leans on, he’ll run towards her if she’s in danger, if she’s in pain, if she’s happy…That’s just how they operate.

That’s who he is now. A man who is in love with Lucy Preston.

And, in a way, that means he’s already made the choice, even if he doesn’t know it yet. The past is the past. The future is right here, waiting for him. He’s a smart man, Wyatt, even if he’s also too noble for his own good and too emotional to see what’s right in front of him.

But, as I said before, he’ll get there. Rittenhouse won’t stop. Jessica is probably stuck in the bunker with the Time Team, and Rittenhouse is still gunning for Lucy, so I foresee a lot of hard decisions in Wyatt’s future. We know how he’ll react. We all know where his heart truly is. Now, we just need him to figure it out.

Plus, we need him to say those three words. We need it like we need air. And hey, if we’re feeling like that, just imagine how Lucy’s feeling.

Things I think I think:

  •  I had to pause after the “Previously On.” That’s how emotionally compromised I was.
  •  Every time an episode of Timeless has started, in the history of Timeless episodes, I’ve been like, “hurry it up, get to my people.” This time I was like, “thank the Lord, the Salem Witch Trials. We can avoid reality for a little longer.”
  • “Unless you’ve been with someone else these past eight weeks.” WELL, YOU’RE NOT WRONG.
  • I don’t know that I really like Nicolas Keynes and Emma cozying up.
  • Not that I love Carol Preston, but she’s got layers.
  • Never start a conversation with anyone, much less Rufus, asking them not to panic.
  • All you’ll manage is to MAKE THEM PANIC.
  • Rufus, you and Wyatt need to have a serious conversation about these inappropriate jokes. LEARN TO READ THE MOMENT.
  • “Even for a time traveling black guy, this is a little hard to swallow.”
  • HA
  • I appreciate that Wyatt picks up as soon as he gets his head in order, I do.
  • I also appreciate that he doesn’t, for one second, think about lying.
  • But boy, does this HURT.
  • Stop talking about her hair and her eyes, Wyatt.
  • I knew Lucy was going to push him away. I knew she was going to pretend like what they had was nothing.
  • THAT DOESN’T MAKE ME WANT TO STRANGLE HER ANY LESS.
  • OR HIM. BOTH.
  • Once again, I appreciate that he apologizes and he’s not trying to brush off how much this freaking sucks, but this is just TOO PAINFUL.
  • “She’s your wife, and you love her.”
  • He looks like he’s literally hanging onto your every word, Lucy. He looks like he’ll jump off a bridge if you ask him to. AND YOU’RE TELLING HIM TO GO BACK TO JESSICA.
  • Stupid noble people. I can’t even.
  • I need a drink. You people need to appreciate that, for the sake of this review, I had to watch this episode more than once.
  • DON’T LIE TO HIM ABOUT THE MOTHERSHIP.
  • I swear, I can’t with noble idiots.
  • Don’t you for a second believe her, Wyatt Logan.
  • His face when he hangs up is all about lost possibilities – not just because of Jessica, but because Lucy basically acted like she was fine with him going back to Jessica.
  •  Lucy telling Rufus, and ONLY Rufus, that Jessica’s alive, because HE’S THE ONLY ONE WHO GETS IT.
  • AND HIS REACTION.
  • Fuck, I need a drink. Another one.
  • The Mothership jumped to San Diego 1980. Fuck you, Carol. Fuck you, Emma. Fuck you Nicolas. FUCK ALL OF YOU.
  • This is the plan. This is what they came up with, to hurt Lucy. Boy, that’s…cruel.
  • Please tell me someone’s gonna tell Wyatt that Rittenhouse is responsible for bringing his wife back. You can’t keep this from him, too.
  • Look, I’m not saying I like the idea of taking Flynn, but I like the idea of Rufus and Lucy alone even less.
  • So would Wyatt.
  • “So he’s seen The Crucible. He’s still the guy that tried to get me shot.”
  • I love how Lucy is not listening to Rufus, not even a little bit.
  • And by love I mean I hate it — reckless Lucy is not the best Lucy.
  • But, I don’t think Flynn’s stupid enough to betray them without a good reason.
  • FIGURE OUT CLOTHES THERE? You’re wearing JEANS!
  • “I have a thing against getting shot in the back.” I have a thing against you getting shot, Rufus. Period.
  • “You do realize witches aren’t real, right?”
  • Lucy, fear is healthy, my love. FEAR IS HEALTHY.
  • Don’t go back to Episode 1 Lucy, please.
  • At least Rufus has watched scary movies.
  • Maybe he watched them with Wyatt. His friend. Who should be here. Because we ALL KNOW THAT WHEN THE THREE OF THEM AREN’T TOGETHER SHIT GOES TO HELL.
  • Yeah, Flynn and Lucy do -2 to sell the husband/wife cover.
  • “We have to face it, we’re not the couple we wanted to be.” By we she means you, Wyatt.
  • “You have some fantasy of what this marriage is.” Jessica with the truth bombs!
  • Also, where the fuck did you get the ring, Wyatt? Were you carrying it around in your pocket? I call BS.
  • It’s hard to blame Wyatt for his impassioned pleas. How would you react if someone you loved came back from the dead?
  • Well, yeah, letting Benjamin’s Franklin’s mother die would be a bad idea.
  • Flynn’s face as Rufus talks about Jiya’s vision. I didn’t even think this episode could make me laugh, but here I am.
  • “You don’t get how rare this is,” Wyatt says, and what he means is: how rare it is to have a second chance.
  • How is this episode so perfectly crafted that there’s no bad guys, there’s just an impossible situation?
  • Even Rufus doesn’t think Flynn’s actually going to hurt Lucy, or he wouldn’t leave them alone.
  • Rufus, my love, a little more sensitivity towards Lucy’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day wouldn’t go amiss.
  • I know you’re all caught up in the possible dead man, but this is not the time for philosophical conversations.
  • FUCK YOUUUUUUUUUU, CAROL.
  •  Okay, Wyatt, use your brain. If Rittenhouse went back in time and brought Jessica back, it wasn’t because they really like you and they want to do you a favor.
  • This is breaking my heart. These women died because they were different and because they were women. And still, to this day, we continue to judge women for the same reason.
  • “I’d rather be hanged.”
  • Carol Preston is Moira Queen to a “T.” I want to hate her, but, like Flynn, she’s not totally evil. She cares about Lucy.
  • Again, Goran is absolutely not wearing an “in love with Lucy” face.
  • I don’t think Lucy’s being reckless at all, Rufus. I think she’s picking a side. She’s with all these women, not with history.
  • “I didn’t shoot you. You’re not supposed to die.” Interesting. So, one way or another, the vision came true.
  • I’m fine. There were no tears in my eyes at Lucy’s refusal to let Flynn help with the seat-belt.
  • You’re STARTING to miss Wyatt, Rufus? Starting?
  •  I could write a 10K fanfic from the looks exchanged between Lucy/Wyatt/Jessica/Flynn/Wyatt/Lucy in that scene after the Lifeboat gets back to the bunker.
  • “I’m not going to apologize for telling you the truth.” Nor should you, Jiya.
  • So, tough times ahead for Riya, too?
  • Someone’s gonna try to kill Lucy, and Wyatt’s gonna blow a gasket. That’s the future. I’m seeing visions, just like Jiya.
  • If Jessica says yes, she’s evil. Mark my words: she has no reason to say yes. If she says yes, she’s evil.
  • She’s gonna say yes.

Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC

We also recommend