I feel like a broken record. I probably sound like one. (No regrets. Pun intended) But it’s hard for me to watch an episode of TV this good, and then come out of my bubble to a world where Timeless is not a sure renewal. How is that possible? Is this really the world we live in?
Please, tell me it’s not, NBC. Please.
Because it really and truly feels to me like this episode had everything – and yeah, I know, I’m the woman who’s been raving about this show since season 1 and who has written very positive long-ass reviews about the first four episodes of Season 2. But hey, even a great show can sometimes step it up.
Timeless does that by making us connect emotionally with the chosen historical figure of the week – this time, a very young John F. Kennedy Jr – by making the Jessica/Wyatt/Lucy love triangle anything but typical, by shinning a spotlight on the female interactions and by putting their characters thought the ringer without having them act OOC just to fit the chosen plot.
And that’s why Timeless gives me hope. And I don’t mean just TV-wise, though they make me feel like it is possible to make diverse, fun, smart and entertaining shows that make audiences feel. They also, however, give me hope for the world, at large, one where, perhaps, the talent of Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett, Claudia Doumit and Patterson Joseph doesn’t have to play second fiddle.
One where women don’t sabotage each other just because they can. One where we try, every day, to do our best, even if it seems like we cannot avoid a curse. And one where we put family first, both our blood family and those people we choose to love.
So, let’s go into the messages, the characters, the moments and the Lyatt of “The Kennedy Curse”:
TIME TEAM MINUS ONE (PLUS FLYNN) = TROUBLE
This should be a hard and fast rule by now, and everyone should know it, understand it and live by it. EVERY. TIME. YOU. SEPARATE. THE. TIME. TEAM. SHIT. GOES. TO HELL.
And this holds especially true for sending Wyatt “Keep Him on A Leash” Logan and Rufus “You Had me Shot” Carlin on a mission with Flynn. The surprising part wasn’t that they left him behind; the surprising part was that they went back for him at all!
Now, of course, shows have to adapt and it’s impossible, especially with so many characters taking center stage (which I love) for every mission to be just the Time Team and the Time Team alone, but it’s still good to keep in mind that Timeless struck gold with these three. Their interactions, their chemistry, the way they related to each other – that’s what drew us in. And we always want more of that.
WIFE + WOMAN YOU LOVE = MORE TROUBLE
Wyatt Logan, I love you. I do. You’re one of my favorite male characters to ever grace TV. But, dear God, man, use your brain. I have never in my entire life seen a male character be so led by emotion as you are (yay Timeless team, kicking toxic masculinity in the behind!).
Like, I get you love Jessica, and I get you want what you had – or what you think you had – back, and I get that you have feelings for Lucy too and I even get that the way you interact with Lucy is so ingrained in you that you just don’t think (you don’t really do that often, anyway), you just react. But at some point, son, you gotta take a step back and realize you made a choice. And that choices means you stick to your wife and stop looking longingly at Lucy.
Yeah, easier said than done, I guess.
That being said, I did enjoy that both Lucy and Wyatt took steps towards trying to salvage their friendship. I can’t really blame him for the choice he made, it’s his wife, she came back from the dead, and as we learned this episode, she was his high school sweetheart, probably the one person who was his rock when life was hard, probably the first person he feels loved him. There’s a lot of story there, a lot of good story.
And, as Jessica made it clear, there’s a lot of bad story. The man Wyatt was with Jessica is not the man he is today, but he needs to go back to her to realize that the reason he changed was, as we discussed last week, the Time Team, and particularly, Lucy.
So hey, you can be annoyed at Wyatt. He’s not thinking straight – but then again, when is he? – and he’s got idiot tendencies, but that’s because he’s all heart. He’s a good man, a loyal man, and he’s trying to do what’s right. He’s not the villain of this story and he’s not really acting maliciously, even if he’s sometimes a bit callous. Feel for Lucy, yes, but don’t demonize him. He’s having a hard time too.
He’ll get there, though. He can’t really control how he reacts around Lucy, and sooner, rather than later, he’ll figure out what that means.
WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN
From the first scene with Jiya and Lucy, a scene I’ve been dying to see, to the two conversations between Lucy and Denise, and hey, even the interactions between Jessica and Lucy, this episode is a wonderful reminder of the type of TV we can get when writers rooms are diverse enough to actually know what real woman are like.
Because yes, women can be catty, and mean and all of those things. But that’s not the norm, as TV would have you think, it’s the exception. I’ve had countless female friends in my life, and I’ve never felt the need to sabotage them or lie to them or steal their boyfriend or judge them or whatever it is you men think women do. And that’s why we needed scenes like we got today, quiet supportive scenes between Lucy and Jiya, Denise going all Mama Bear on Lucy. Hell, even Carol’s explanation of her love for her daughter struck a chord.
And yes, I know we all want to dislike Jessica, but even the way the show handled her interactions with Lucy, how it wasn’t all about Wyatt, even though it was, how it was awkward and strange and at times supremely uncomfortable but they didn’t make Jessica the stereotypical character we’d find it easy to hate and dismiss, but a real woman who finds herself in a really strange situation and is not sure what way is up, that’s refreshing too.
(I still think there’s too much that doesn’t add up for her to just be that, but hey, this is still good writing, so let’s celebrate it.)
LOVE TRIANGLE DONE RIGHT
I abhor love triangles. They usually make no sense. How many times have you read a book/watched a TV show and seen an actual “love triangle” where you’re like omg I’m so torn who should she choose? Yeah, never. Who really wanted Katniss to end up with Gale? Not a lot of people. Because love triangles are, in general, very predictable. And usually, to even make them work, you need to have one of your characters acting very stupidly.
Not saying Wyatt’s the King of Wise Decisions, or anything like that, but Timeless has sorta done the impossible here, in that they’ve introduced a situation where the love triangle makes sense. There’s this woman he’s been through so much with, this woman he was starting to admit he could have feelings for, and then …there’s his wife, who he loved, and who came back from the dead. What’s the right choice? Is there even one? No matter what he does, he’s hurting someone.
So, Wyatt is, so far, doing what makes “sense.” He’s being loyal and going back to his wife, because he loved her and she’s back from the dead and yes, he’s idealized their relationship and all of that, but he doesn’t get that. Not yet. And, at the same time, he’s being as honest as he possible can with Lucy, he’s showing her that he still cares, that he doesn’t – wouldn’t – take back what happened, but being with Jessica, that’s what he needs to do now.
And Lucy, she’s taking a step back and doing what she feels is right, and that is allowing Wyatt this chance, because the man she fell in love with, that man wasn’t married. This one is. And Lucy doesn’t want to be a home wrecker, she doesn’t want to be the reason he isn’t happy, and she thinks keeping him from Jessica, or trying to make this complicated, would be doing just that.
Figuring that out, that’s not her journey. That’s his. But the fact that Lucy is acting the way she is, and the fact that, so far, she seems to genuinely like Jessica, and she seems to like her back, is a refreshing take on the most annoying trope ever.
All of this being said, the “ending” of this love triangle is, in a way, also very predictable. The choice is Lucy. The choice will always be Lucy. We know it. Now we just need the characters to figure it out.
Look, I’m still not Carol Preston’s biggest fan, but she’s gone the Moira Queen way, hasn’t she? You want to hate her, and she keeps doing questionable shit, but you sorta believe she still cares about her daughter, anyway? I don’t know, but I find her way more compelling than evil Nicholas and Emma, what can I say? Layers are a good thing.
Her idea of family, however, leaves much to be desired. Family is not just keeping the other person alive. Family is loving each other, and being proud of each other and raising each other up. Family is sticking around, through good times and bad times and complicated times.
Family is trying, and yes, sometimes getting it wrong, but never giving up. Family is being mindful and kind and honest. And no, family is not being perfect, but it is being there.
ARE NOT ALWAYS JUST BLOOD
And you know who Lucy’s family is? The Time Team. Even Wyatt, after choosing Jessica, shows more regard for Lucy than her mother does. And she also has Rufus, who yes, sometimes is not good at emotions, but has her back, and Jiya, who is much better at emotions and who’s there for her, a shoulder to cry on, and Agent Christopher, who’d adopt Lucy in a heartbeat, and heck, even Mason, who respects her and trusts her.
Family. That’s what those people in the bunker are. And that’s why, whatever’s coming their way, I have to believe they’ll survive it, and not just that, they’ll thrive. They have each other.
This is the thing Carol Preston doesn’t understand, the thing Rittenhouse doesn’t understand. Family isn’t always blood, and sometimes, as much as you try to manipulate people, if the constant remains that those people love each other, you might manage to create problems, but you’ll never completely break them.
Which leads us to the most interesting dichotomy Timeless has introduced in Season 2, and something which has no real answer, no matter how much we go in circles about it, and that is:
FATE OR CHOICE?
As someone who grew up on sci-fi, I can unequivocally say that fact that a time travel show is playing with this idea isn’t really new or groundbreaking, but I feel like the way the show is just not taking a stand as to which is true, and letting their characters discuss the moral conundrums or one versus the other, is kinda …well, cool?
Jiya’s whole conversation with Rufus about a higher power, the fact that JFK still died, even if it wasn’t in Dallas, it all leads back to the same thing – you can change the past, but can you really change the fabric of reality that much? And if that’s so, does this come to affect Jessica in some way? Is the fabric of the universe actively trying to heal itself? Am I just going too deep? Am I not going deep enough? Is there a higher power at play here?
I don’t know, but I do know this – Timeless is not the kind of show to introduce this question if they don’t intend to give us some sort of answer.
Things I think I think:
- “After Jessica died, I stopped caring. Not anymore” is the quote that opens the “Previously On,” with Wyatt staring at Lucy. So, come on Lyatt fans. We know this is painful now, but the writers have got this.
- They’re not even subtle.
- JIYA AND LUCY! TOGETHER! MY HEART GREW THREE SIZES.
- First thing she did was ask for Wyatt. So then my heart, the one that had previously grown three sizes, broke.
- Reaching for the processed sugar and it’s been like two minutes.
- “He went without me”? Yeah, I’m with you on this one Lucy.
- So, so glad they didn’t just have her recover right away after being stabbed with, as Jiya puts it, a knife full of 17th century germs.
- “Flynn’s pinch hitting. I’m sure he and Wyatt have everything under control.”
- Whose brilliant idea was to send Wyatt and Rufus with Flynn?
- Agent Christopher, I thought you were smarter.
- “Sure, what could go wrong?” Lucy is all of us.
- “What about what you want?” JIYA, I COULD KISS YOU.
- Also, Lucy, you’re not convincing anyone that you’re fine with this.
- Jessica is literally impossible to hate. That probably means she’s evil – as we discussed last review – but for now, I’m really, really enjoying this.
- Because I’m so OVER the dramatic OMG LOVE TRIANGLE of every CW show in existence, it seems like. You want to write one? This is how you do it.
- “Wyatt said he wouldn’t have survived the missions without you.” It’s fine. I didn’t need my heart.
- THEY MET IN HIGH SCHOOL. Called it.
- “He’s not much of a talker.” Strangely enough, with Lucy, he kinda is.
- “I was engaged once. Kind of. For like a moment. It’s complicated.” Continuity is such a beautiful thing.
- “This time travel stuff really messes with your head.” HA. HAAAAAAAA.
- THEY LEFT FLYNN.
- THEY LEFT FLYNN.
- DIDN’T I SAY THOSE THREE TOGETHER ON THE LIFEBOAT WAS A BAD IDEA?
- I know they brought JFK back, which dumb idea, but I just cannot get over the fact that they left Flynn and neither of them look really concerned.
- Though, really, Flynn did leave them stranded in 1754 that one time, so ….
- I LIVE FOR LUCY CALLING WYATT OUT.
- Also, yes, keep apologizing, Wyatt. You’re gonna need to do it like 7947346724 times more.
- Wyatt’s got a tell! Wyatt’s got a tell.
- A man of your training shouldn’t be such a bad liar, Wyatt.
- I just love Agent Christopher a whole lot. A WHOLE LOT.
- Secret bunkers shouldn’t have hidden ways out. YOU FAIL, GOVERNMENT. YOU FAIL.
- Wyatt, look, my love, I know you love Lucy and you don’t seem to be processing that Jessica is there, but the little touches and all of that? Not really what regular friends do.
- Lucy’s face when Jessica says she’s *just* a teacher.
- Matt and Abigail are SO. IN. SYNC. Their expressions when Jessica says she wants to come.
- The look Jiya and Rufus exchange when Lucy says she’ll come too.
- The look on Wyatt’s face, for that matter.
- “We can be friends, can’t we?” Jury’s still out.
- So, are we to assume Jessica’s on an antipsychotics?
- “You all go to the same school? Together?” It’s easy to forget how rare that would be for someone like JFK.
- I know you all think, hey, Wyatt questioned Lucy and just agreed with Jessica, that’s a bad sign for Lyatt! It’s not – Wyatt feels like he can be himself with Lucy, that’s why he questions her. That’s a good sign. A sign of trust.
- I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Protect Jiya 2k18.
- So Carol has layers. Hello again, Moira Queen.
- This Denise/Carol scene is superb. I’d pick Denise every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
- Also, this Rittenhouse wants to kill Lucy thing is the ONLY actual clue we have about what’s coming next. ONLY ONE. They could do anything.
- I love it.
- Do not have conversations about Hawaii in front of Lucy, please.
- Wyatt’s not pulling any punches with Emma. I dig it.
- MAYBE HER LIFE DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR WIFE BACK
- Emma going for the jugular.
- Also, JESSICA’S FACE.
- WYATT’S FACE.
- LUCY’S FACE.
- Lucy, my baby, I’m gonna need you to stop being so self-sacrificing, please. You gotta fight for you.
- LUCY AND WYATT HAVING A LEGITIMATE MOMENT IN FRONT OF JESSICA.
- I’m fine, I’m okay, not having heart palpitations at all.
- But I have moved from processed sugar to alcohol.
- “It’s not like he was faithful to me before.” DANG. This relationship was messed up.
- “I don’t think I’m the one he should be getting that chance with.” We agree, Jessica. We really do.
- Lucy, you’re such a good person. SUCH. A. GOOD. AND. NOBLE. PERSON.
- No one’s lying here. All Wyatt has wanted was a chance with Jessica. And right now, there are three people who think he wants that. But, oh, boy, the moment he figures out that that’s not what he wants the most in the world. The moment.
- Jessica’s just too good, it’s gotta be a red herring.
- Ansel Engort SHADE.
- My heart breaks at JFK figuring out the future is not kind to his family. SO GLAD HE DIDN’T GOOGLE HIS SON.
- The glimpse at Agent Christopher’s family and the implications, I’M DYING.
- SOMEONE’S MOM IS HERE AND THEN LUCY BEING LIKE YES, HER, NOT ME.
- I die.
- Wyatt, why you leave your two women alone together? Why?
- The excitement at cell phones is totally real, Lucy.
- Emma, you’re a little useless this episode. Since when do you care about collateral damage?
- “You may not be able to save everyone, but you are going to make the world a much better place. There are worse fates.”
- “If you were my daughter, I’d be so proud.”
- OMG MY FEELS.
- “Next time it won’t be me who’s left behind.” Feels like a threat, doesn’t it Wyatt?
- “I have no regrets”/”Me neither”
- Me right now:
- This is so precious and pure and important and I just have no words.
- AND THE NICKNAMES.
- I will go down with this freaking ship, okay? I’ll sink like the Titanic if I have to. I’m never gonna not ship them.
- Longing looks from Wyatt, check.
- I kinda dig Flynn and Lucy as homies.
Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC.