‘Timeless’ 2×08 Review: Popcorn, anyone?

By
The Day Reagan Was Shot

And here we thought after “The Salem Witch Trials” we were free and clear when it came to post-Timeless therapy.

How very young and naïve we were.

Don’t despair, though. I’ve got the words to set you straight as we head into the final two episodes of the season. I’ve got the words to bring back hope. For twenty four episodes, the Timeless team has delivered outstanding, smart, heartfelt television, and if they’ve earned something from us at this point and time it’s our trust.

If they break it, I promise I’ll bring the pitchforks. For now, though, hold my metaphorical hand again. We got this.

Before I go into that final shock, though, I want to take a little moment to highlight what a beautiful, poignant and supremely well-written episode this is. The message of inclusivity is at the core of who this show is, and yet, hours like this are always important, because we don’t live in a perfect world, and reminders are never a bad idea.

You should be who you are. You should love who you love. And you should never, ever, be afraid to be loud and proud about your truths, no matter what those are, just as you should strive to always follow your path forward in life, not the path set by others.

This show would be less without Denise Christopher. The Time Team would probably not be the Time Team without Agent Christopher. Because yes, one person can change the course of history. One person can change the world. At least our world.

Always remember that. You are important. You are valued. You matter. And when you’re having a bad day, when you doubt yourself, go back and re-watch this hour. Let it soothe your soul.

Now, let’s go into the message of inclusion, the sleeper agents, the team as a family and what the fuck that last line means.

THE WTF MOMENT

We’re going to start here, because where else could we start? Maybe you already watched and re-watched the scene. Maybe you already figured it out. But if you haven’t, I’m just going to start by saying this: in math we trust.

Oh, and in the writers. We trust them too.

Jessica’s first appearance was at the end of episode 3. I’m going to do a quick rundown of the time between episodes 3 to 8, just so we’re clear before we start losing our minds here.

The end of episode 3 and episode 4 take place the same day/or, if we want to be generous, with one day of difference.

The end of episode 4 and episode 5 take place with one day of difference/or, if we want to be generous 2 or 3 days, at most, though there’s no indication Lucy has been down for that long.

We have no idea of how much time passes between episode 5 and episode 6 – but since there’s no mention of it being too long (if there had been a month between trips someone would have said something), and considering the fact that Rufus doesn’t complain about how he’s been on the couch for too long, we’re gonna say a week at most, though likely only a few days.

Episode 7 starts the day after episode 6, as we see Lucy come out of Flynn’s room.

Episode 8 starts, presumably, around a week after 7, because Lucy and Wyatt comment on Rufus moping all week. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean seven days, as it’s a figure of speech, but let’s say it is. One week.

That means Jessica has been in the bunker, AT MOST, three weeks. Let’s add to that that she took a few days – till the end of 5, at least, to “give Wyatt another chance.” So that means it’s likely only been a couple of weeks that they’ve been “back together” in the “maybe/perhaps/possibly making babies way.”

Math, my friends. MATH.

Plus, yeah, Flynn kinda confirms it when he tells Agent Christopher that Carol Preston could have killed her three weeks ago, but I wanted to do the math anyway.

Because the only options available to us are:

  1. Jessica is two/three weeks pregnant; she somehow knows this without access to a test (because they’re in a freaking bunker).
  2. Jessica is almost three months pregnant, she knew before coming into the bunker and she only just told Wyatt now, but she’s innocent of all wrong-doing. (This seems odd considering she needed to be talked into giving him a chance and she had divorce papers ready).
  3. Jessica is a sleeper agent and the baby is not Wyatt’s.
  4. Jessica is EVIL and she’s just trying to play Wyatt.

You all know which one I believe. Or, a combination of which ones.

Other common sense clues in favor of this interpretation:

  1. Her face when she tells Wyatt the news, which is basically like fuck my life here it goes.
  2. His face when she tells him the news, which basically goes from Oh, to Wait, what? to That does not Compute.
  3. The fact that we know for sure Rittenhouse had something to do with her still alive, the surveillance video, and the brother that mysteriously didn’t die.
  4. The fact that there are two episodes left this season – and Jessica having other timeline Wyatt’s baby is not the type of storyline you wrap up in two episodes OR bring up at the end of the season unless there’s going to be payoff.

And, of course, there’s the fact that the Timeless writers have pulled this trick on us before, with Flynn/Lucy at the end of episode 6. To make matters worse, they all played it up during the week like it was an actual, real possibility, only for it to be resolved the common sense way in one of the first scenes of episode 7.

This is a trick, a cheap trick, to be honest, and something I really, really wish the show hadn’t done (you don’t need cheap tricks when you’re good, Timeless), but a trick nonetheless.

I didn’t fall for it in episode 6. Let’s not fall for it now.

EVIL OR …?

The Jessica conundrum gets even more complicated this week. Who is Jessica? Because the answer is clearly not just an innocent woman who found herself in the middle of an impossible situation. We’ve known for a while that, at best, she was a Rittenhouse pawn, at worst, a very committed sleeper agent.

Episode 4, after all had no sleeper agent. We always speculated that was because Jessica was the sleeper agent.

But is she that committed? There’s a parallel to the two brothers trying to take down Agent Christopher here, and clearly, whatever Rittenhouse did to save Jessica’s brother played a part in her becoming Rittenhouse – but is he the one committed and she the reluctant one? Or is it the other way around?

This all ties back to the “revelation” from the end of the episode. Because that’s either Jessica confessing that she’s a sleeper agent and hey, baby daddy is waiting somewhere, OR Jessica trying to pull one on Wyatt thinking he’s a dumb pine tree who’s going to do everything she wants if she’s his baby mama.

Either way, Jessica – and Rittenhouse, have clearly underestimated Wyatt and the Time Team. But isn’t that always what bad guys do?

BE YOU

The emotional center of this episode has to do with Agent Christopher, not in the present, and not with her relationships with the Time Team, which we’ll explore later, but her relationship with herself, with her family and most importantly, with the world at large.

Being who you are, unapologetically, can be a very hard thing. And yet, this is not just a story about accepting the quirkiness inside or about your family coming to terms with your secret Star Wars obsession, this is a story about a woman in the 1980’s coming to terms with her sexuality and choosing to accept herself, to love herself, for who she is.

In this day and age we mostly – at least us who belong to a younger generation –have bought into the narrative that coming out isn’t that hard. I don’t care, we think, then why should other people? But the reality is that our parents, who belong to another generation, are not always as understanding. The reality is that it’s still fucking hard and it takes a lot of bravery and the world is not the place we wish it were.

Some people are still jerks. Some people will continue to be jerks.

And that’s today – imagine thirty seven years ago. Imagine seeing your future in such a clear way, right there, for you to touch, and knowing that for you to get there, you’re going to have to make probably the hardest decision of your life.

We should all be in awe of Agent Christopher. Not just because she lived with that knowledge for thirty seven years, but because she became the woman that she is while knowing all she stood to lose if she made the wrong choice, while knowing that it was not going to be easy, that she was going to have to fight tooth and nail to get back to the place she was meant to be.

Yes, I’m getting teary eyed just writing this. And I’m also incredibly moved and proud and happy that Timeless chose to take us here. That they’re not just doing diversity as a token, but that they understand the responsibility to tell diverse stories in a real, respectful way – and a way that, hopefully, will help someone to understand that the world might still suck, yes, but every story, every truth is important.

And more importantly, the message that, when things might seem lonely and desperate, there are people out there who will love you, just the way you are.

TEAM = FAMILY

We’ve been here before, we’ve talked about this before, but it almost seems like in Season 2 Timeless upped the stakes and we went from a family of three to a family of six, with a somewhat annoying step sibling they’re all learning to love (aka Flynn).

This, of course, can be traced back to incredible writing, the kind that knows how to balance and give depth without putting plot over characterization. The kind that understands the world is populated with many different people, and they all deserve a chance to shine.

But it can also be traced back to a cast with incredible chemistry, and to an understanding that family is not just the people whose blood you share, but the people you choose.

And those people hiding in that bunker together, they’re a family.

That’s why Wyatt, Rufus, Lucy and Jiya fight so hard for Denise. That’s why Flynn so adamant in his advice. That’s why this is all so emotional and poignant and important. We know they’re family. We see it too. We feel like we’re part of that family as well.

It’s not all about protecting their own future, or making sure they meet, no. There’s no moment of hesitation from Lucy about how, if they don’t meet, well, she gets to keep her sister. There’s no conversation about whether Denise is worth saving. There’s just the four of them, getting shit done, because that’s what you do for family. Period.

What? I’m not crying again. I’m not. I just have something in my eye.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF THIS WAS YOUR LAST DAY?

If you’ve ever lost someone – anyone – you can relate to the message Flynn is trying to send this episode, which is basically: tell people you love that you love them, every day. Cherish every moment. You never know when it’s going to be your last.

And really, Flynn is the one person who should have delivered this message. When he was talking about how all he wished for was one more minute with his daughter, I will admit I teared up, because I’d give up my left leg for one more minute with my father.

The fact that Denise takes this to heart, the fact that she listens, even though Flynn is the one saying it, underscores how important this message is. It’s not about Flynn and it’s not even about Denise. It’s about you and me and how we choose to live our lives.

We should be celebrating the good. We should be rejoicing at the people we love, the people who love us back. We should be expressing that love, loudly, unequivocally. We should be reading the good books and watching the good TV. We should be happy.

The bad thoughts, the bad things, the bad people – they don’t matter. Focus on the good. Cherish it. Enjoy it. You never know when it could be your last day.

WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT

Finally, let’s talk about my babies Rufus and Jiya, and the conclusion of a hard stretch of character development for Rufus, as well as the commitment to figuring this out – whatever this is, together.

I love it. I’m happy. It’s about time. I appreciate that they’ve been put through this journey together, and I appreciate that it hasn’t broken them, but God, am I worried about what comes next.

BECAUSE YOU DON’T SOLVE THIS IN EPISODE 8 IF YOU’RE NOT GONNA BURN IT TO THE GROUND IN EPISODE 9.

And I just ….they cannot kill Rufus. They cannot. Except maybe they can, and that’s the catalyst for our team going back into a time they already exist because fuck rules and fuck consequences if Rufus is dead. Right?

Just thinking about it gives me a headache.

Either way, we have to take a moment to celebrate Riya, because POC don’t get enough representation in general, and then there’s these two geniuses (a WOC IN STEM) and if they do, it’s generally just a token thing, not a deep, meaningful relationships where they both grow and face obstacles and come out on the other side together.

So thank you, Timeless, once again. For this episode. For this couple. For everything you do to remind us that we are all part of the world and we all deserve our stories told.

Thank you.

Things I think I think:

  • Why would we need to be reminded of the Jessica/RH connection on the “Previously On” if this episode is, presumably, not about Jessica doing anything evil?
  • *cough* You know why.
  • I’m so over men blaming women for the shit that they do.
  • WORDS WITH FRIENDS!
  • That was
  • A glimpse at family life is never a good thing, just saying. Get the chocolate out.
  • But this is so normal and beautiful and just ….TV should be like this. All the time.
  • I’m digging Jiya’s look so much.
  • “My dad did the same thing, when he thought he was going to die. He thought it would make it easier. It doesn’t, you know, it just makes you look like a douchebag.”
  • WHY DO YOU INSIST ON LOOKING LIKE A DOUCHEBAG, RUFUS?
  • Wyatt’s the kind to put just a lil butter on his toast. This is information we all needed.
  • Also, no matter what’s going on between them, Lucy and Wyatt can still communicate without words. I DON’T HAVE FEELS ABOUT THIS, NO.
  • Obvious much, Rufus?
  • Did you just want your friends to ask what was wrong? Because you could have just told them.
  • Do the real housewives actually brood?
  • “Many people watch truly awful for them and yet delicious television.”
  • Don’t you love that they’re still a team, DESPITE everything? That’s so engrained in them that they just can’t conceive of it being any other way.
  • I really appreciate that in one shot we see Wyatt about to bite the toast and in the next shot the toast looks like someone bit it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
  • Wyatt’s all like, timeout, visions? WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS?
  • “You know what, it doesn’t matter, because we’re not gonna let that happen.”
  • This feels like the awful kind of foreshadowing.
  • Wyatt and Lucy have an obsession with the Alamo. I maintain it’s because that was the place where they both realized that their feelings ran deeper than just friendship – it just took a while for either of them to admit it.
  • What’s that sweater turtleneck thing Flynn is rocking?
  • I know time is off the essence, but it feels like going without talking to Agent Christopher is a BAD IDEA.
  • Wyatt, baby, you the one asking Flynn if he’s coming? Oh, how the tables have turned. Mom isn’t even here to scold you!
  • “Much as I enjoy our trips together…” are you flirting with Wyatt, Flynn? *laughing emoji*
  • “Yes, alright, those of us with life experience will probably have to sit this one out.”
  • LIFE EXPERIENCE.
  • I love Connor being worried about Jiya.
  • Jiya, Lucy AND Wyatt all react the same way to Rufus’ “you guys are gonna need another pilot when I’m gone.”
  • No one’s gonna accept it, Rufus. No one.
  • Jiya’s hair! The shirt buttoned all the way up! Lucy’s glasses!
  • “I never met a security tag I couldn’t deactivate.” Oh, Jiya’s got a criminal past!
  • Wyatt/Jiya interactions is something I didn’t know I needed more of. There’s an older brother type vibe there. I dig it.
  • “I do have a home and a family I like to see on occasion.”
  • AND NOW YOU MIGHT LOSE THEM.
  • I just want to say, for one second: PRINCESS JASMINE, IT’S YOU.
  • There, I got it out. I can continue on.
  • Don’t you just love that Wyatt just instinctively reacts to save a stranger, protecting history be dammed?
  • RUFUS AND JIYA HOLDING HANDS AS THEY CROUCH BY THE STAIRS.
  • Denise, girl, don’t you find it strange that this weird and insanely attractive man knows your name?
  • WYATT, WHY YOU TELL HER YOUR REAL NAME ARE YOU AN IDIOT OR WHAT?
  • YOUR. BRAIN.
  • “Without Agent Christopher ….we never would have met.”
  • CUE INTENSE WYATT/LUCY STARE.
  • Totally cool, guys. Not obvious at all.
  • “On the plus side, I wouldn’t have been arrested. I mean, plus for me anyway.”
  • Your sass is so not appreciated right now, Flynn.
  • “Popcorn anyone?”
  • I hope someone smacks you.
  • “I trust the team. We should do the same.”
  • *wailing emoji*
  • Wyatt “Whatever is going on I would trust Lucy with the mission and my life” is my aesthetic.
  • “I’ll stay with you.”/”You sure?”
  • I mean, it’s not like you’ve saved his life countless times, Wyatt.
  • Also, those soft eyes as you look at Rufus, can you STOP. I KNOW YOU LOVE HIM AND YOU’RE WORRIED HE’S GONNA DIE, BUT I DON’T NEED THESE FEELINGS.
  • Rufus, stop avoiding Jiya 2k18.
  • “I’m Cagney, this is Lacey.” HAHAHAHAHAHA.
  • “Who needs a phone when every Indian in DC knows each other” – this is also true for latinx, I can attest to that.
  • We’ve come so far from the days where Rufus would just hide from a fight.
  • Fancy moves you got there Wyatt.
  • “Cagney and Lacey premieres later this year, by the way.”/”I like to live on the edge.”
  • See, like Lucy, I have a hard time not saying Agent Christopher every time I’m talking about Denise.
  • “In our culture, marriage comes first. We find love along the way.”
  • Or you don’t.
  • But I’m not emotional or anything.
  • I LIVE FOR LUCY AND JIYA PRETENDING TO BE A COUPLE.
  • The look of understanding Lucy and Jiya give each other as they’re talking about it not being something that goes away.
  • They play this off as them being uncomfortable at first, yes, but not because they’re woman, but because they’re making it up as they go along. It’s beautiful how they just relax into it.
  • “I just wish I had started making those choices sooner.” I feel Jiya in my soul and it’s killing me. KILLING ME.
  • Look, Wyatt rolled up his sleeves, so why isn’t he doing something?
  • Wyatt, my love, if you’re asking the sleeper agent why RH brought your wife back, then let’s just admit out loud that you think it’s all way too good to be true.
  • Use your words.
  • If you didn’t cry at the story of why Denise Christopher became a cop AND took the name Denise Christopher, then you’re probably a robot.
  • “Because I also promised my mother she would never loose me the way she lost him.”
  • BUT THEN SHE DID LOSE HER DAUGHTER.
  • Not the same way, but she did. Because of secrets.
  • SOMEONE HOLD ME.
  • “Do you know what I would give if I had those three more minutes with her?”
  • I do. Everything.
  • “We don’t just kill people. We are different from Rittenhouse.”
  • A tale of two brothers. INTERESTING.
  • “Our friend”
  • I’M DEAD FROM THE FEELS.
  • “Time travel doesn’t exist except in movies.” HAHAHAHA.
  • Lucy failing to explain Homeland Security is the realest thing ever.
  • Denise walking into her house and her family and how close it all came to disappearing, I just can’t take it.
  • “This gift that I have, what is it for? So I can start grieving in advance?”
  • THIS LUCY AND JIYA CONVERSATION IS ALL I WANTED IN LIFE.
  • “I used to think history was set in stone. Unchangeable. And then my sister disappeared, and I just …I just see how fragile it all is. If we can change the past there has to be a way we can change the future.”
  • THERE IT IS. SEASON 3. THERE. IT. IS.
  • Wyatt just hit the sleeper like that and Denise didn’t even look at the street? That shit must have been LOUD.
  • “In a way, I guess he was a victim too.”
  • IS THIS FORESHADOWING?
  • Jiya is piloting!
  • “I’ve waited 37 years to say thank you to you.”
  • THIS IS NEVER GONNA BE FINE.
  • I’m crying.
  • This is why he’s on the team. I hate time loops.
  • HER MOTHER DIDN’T LOSE HER.
  • This Riya scene is payoff for so much stupid shit.
  • I have a bad feeling about what’s coming.
  • LOTR Extended Edition marathon sounds awesome, not bad, Rufus.
  • But literally, the visions haven’t all come true. Rufus didn’t kill the pilgrim dude. He died anyway, yes, but the vision didn’t come true exactly. Things CAN be changed.
  • So cute that you have to specify that Sao Paulo is in Brazil. We been knew.
  • Five years older by a man’s estimation might be 10 years.
  • Another time loop, so help me God.
  • The baby brother thing is weird AF.
  • Her face as she says she’s pregnant is weird AF.
  • You know what’s not? Wyatt’s expression. He knows how to count, my baby.

Timeless airs Sundays at 10/9c on NBC.

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