‘Timeless’ Season 2 Review: You guys want to get Rufus back, or what?

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

It feels like I’ve been in a holding pattern for ages, waiting for NBC to give us a decision on Timeless so I could then figure out what direction I wanted to take this post. But it’s just been too damn long. I can’t wait anymore. Whenever you do decide, and I hope that’s soon, NBC, I’ll just have to come up with new words.

Like that’s ever been hard for me when it comes to Timeless, wink wink.

Season 2 was both all we wanted and nothing we wanted at the same time. It gave us the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. And yet, in a very real way, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’d never go back and say, hey, I wish this show had ended in Season 1, and even though I’m a little concerned about where some things are going in Season 3, I desperately want Season 3.

Please don’t leave me hanging, NBC. Don’t leave us hanging.

For now, let’s go into the Season 2 analysis that should have been done with a clear look at what’s coming (shame on you NBC), as we talk about what worked, what didn’t and what we want for a possible Season 3.

Overall Impression

'Timeless' 2x09/2x10 Review: Save Rufus, Save the World

It’s hard to find the words to explain Season 2. When it worked, it worked brilliantly, and in many ways, the show improved upon Season 1, giving more depth to all characters, capitalizing on hanging plotlines that had been set up from the Pilot episode and furthering the Rittenhouse storyline in an organic, believable way.

But when the show didn’t work – *cough* Jessica *cough* the show really, didn’t work. Maybe it was the 10 episodes that made the conclusion of this arc seemed rushed, at best, nonsensical at worst. Maybe it was the real-or-maybe-not baby. Or perhaps, it was just that absolutely no one was surprised that she was evil, expect, of course, Wyatt.

And that’s another way the show didn’t really work this year – Wyatt’s characterization. There were ways to bring Jessica back and make Wyatt a conflicted man, but not a dumbass, and yet the show failed in that regard, just as they failed on giving us more of the one thing that drew us into the show in the first place: the Time Team.

That being said, the high moments of this season: The Suffragette Movement in 2×07, Hollywoodland, the Time Team Reunion in 2×01, Denise’s story in 2×08, they reached points that, at times, were so high, that it’s hard to call this season anything but excellent. Ah, if it hadn’t been for the Jessica issue.

What Worked

The Day Reagan Was Shot

Lucy’s character growth: Lucy’s character arc has been a delight, and not even just from 2×01 to 2×10, but from the Pilot to the end of Season 2, to Tomb Raider Lucy. She’s grown from someone who put history first, to someone who puts people first, and she’s also hardened into the type of woman that can, and will, take Rittenhouse down.

Bunker Parents: Denise was more sympathetic in Season 1, but Season 2 gave both her and Mason a chance to shine, not just separately, but together, as the bunker parents, of sorts, the glue that holds the team together, in a way. And this cemented one thing that Timeless does better than any show on TV: we now care about absolutely everyone.

Denise’s Christopher backstory/family life: 2×08 was the most emotional episode of the series to date, and much of it had to do with the masterful way the show dealt with Denise’s Christopher backstory and the way it not just dared to tell the tale of a LGBTQ+ WOC in a time when being just one of those things was complicated enough, but the work the show put into telling the story the right way.

Garcia Flynn: As fun as Flynn was an antagonistic figure, he was, at times, even more fun as everyone’s sassy older brother. From being a friend to Lucy, to ribbing Wyatt, and even having an adventure of sorts with Rufus and counseling Denise, Flynn finding his humanity again was a highlight of Season 2. Now if we could only get that apology!

Riya: One of the best things about Season 2 was that the show treated Riya as a real relationship and not just a background one – they allowed them to go through ups and downs, and they also found a way for the two of them to face the obstacles together (most of the time).

FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS: Lucy/Jiya and also Jiya/Denise and Lucy/Denise getting a chance to bond was everything I knew I needed and the show finally delivered on. TV sorely lacks positive relationships between women, and Timeless certainly delivered on this regard in Season 2.

What Didn’t Work

The “love triangle”: I hesitate to even call it one, because Jessica seemed to be more about RH than about actually getting in the middle of Lucy and Wyatt, Lucy wasn’t fighting and Wyatt always seemed to want Lucy more than his wife – which is WHY THE THING JUST NEVER WORKED. I get what the writers wanted to do here, they wanted to put these characters in an impossible situation, and congrats, they did that! They just ended up taking it to the most predictable place, and that’s not something I thought I would ever say about Timeless.

Jessica: Literally nothing about her worked. She was marginally interesting for one episode, when we thought that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t a RH plant. But then, when it became obvious that not only was she one, but she wasn’t going to flip on them or do anything marginally interesting, she just became a nuisance we wanted gone …pronto!

Jessica: I know I said it before, but it bears repeating. Every second they dedicated to this storyline was a second more of happy Lyatt that we missed, or the time team interactions, or more Lucy/Jiya, or more Flynn ribbing Wyatt, hell, anything would have been better than Jessica.

Jessica: Did I mention Jessica sucked?

The “baby” twist: I’m still not convinced she’s actually pregnant, unless her idea of taking care of the baby involves time travel, alcohol and corsets, but either way, the twist at the end of episode 8 just DID.NOT.WORK. If it was supposed to make Wyatt stick by Jessica after wavering, there should have been more wavering. If it was supposed to …wait, what other earthly reason could there have been for it?

Nicholas: Oh, Nicholas. You had so much potential, and in the end, they brought you back from WWI for absolutely nothing.

Wyatt’s characterization: Wyatt was the character who suffered the most thanks to the Jessica arc. The show could have written him as a man conflicted, even as a man who went back to his wife, but it should have allowed us to SEE his struggle much more clearly, and it should have given him the breathing room to make a decision that wasn’t really conditioned to Jessica’s actions. Of course, this leads me to …

The lack of choice: I understand, rationally, what the writers were going for. Wyatt couldn’t “make a choice” because there was really no choice to make, Lucy wouldn’t have taken him back even if he wanted to, and the “baby” just made that impossible for him to consider – but I think the storyline, and Wyatt’s character arc, for that matter, would have benefited from a setup that allowed for a choice.

Not Enough of the Time Team: There just wasn’t enough Rufus/Lucy/Wyatt bonding. In fact, there wasn’t enough Rufus/Lucy or Rufus/Wyatt, either. The time team spent a lot of time worried about their own individual problems, to the detriment of the, well, team, which is what made us fall in love with this show in the first place.

Time slot: Sundays at 10 is really no better than Mondays at 10, especially for a show that was shot and conceived for 8 PM. How do I know this? Because we didn’t get this pool scene in episode 3, that’s how I know it.

WE DESERVED THIS.

 Publicity: Sure, the show got marginally more publicity than in Season 1, which is not saying much. A couple of commercials during the Olympics does not mean NBC put any actual muscle into letting people know that this show was on. Hell, it wasn’t till the middle of the show’s S2 run that a lot of people even found out the show hadn’t been cancelled! If that’s the case, you know you’re doing something wrong.

What We Wanted to See More Of

The Time Team: Hanging out, having breakfast, having regular conversations, confiding in each other about their feelings, anything. These three are the pillars on which this show was built, and there was precious little screen time dedicated to the three of them this season, which, at times, made the season feel like it’d lost its way.

Happy Lyatt: Angst is fine and good, we know all OTPS have to go through angst, and we know writers will put their favorite characters and ships through the ringer, just to make them stronger and all of that, but come on …all we wanted was a little more than 2.9 episodes of joy!

Happy Riya: These two ALSO deserved more than the brief moments of joy they got, in between the visions and the Rufus being an asshole and the fear of dying and then the ACTUAL dying. Again, like I said before, I know the point is to make them stronger, but let us enjoy a lil bit of happiness, at least!

Team “as a family” moments: Considering how important Jiya, Denise and Mason became this season and how much this team is like a family, there were few little moments of general group bonding, or even moments of bonding that included more than two characters at a time. These people put their neck on the line every day, together, you’d think there’d be a little more acknowledgment that, at this point in time, they are what’s getting each other through.

Emma: Look, more Emma is always great in our book. The show wasted too much time on Nicholas when the real, interesting villain was always right there.

What We Wanted to See Less Of

Jessica: Jessica as Rittenhouse.

Jessica: Jessica as pretend wife and baby mama.

Jessica: There was just too much Jessica, all around. Like, yes, the storyline had to come up, and yes, it had to be put to rest, but did it have to drag out?

Favorite Episodes

“Hollywoodland” (Episode 2×03) – This is THE episode. There are no other episodes. Nothing else exists. In fact, I want to go re-watch it now, that’s how amazing and life-changing this was. Lucy and Wyatt finally coming together was the culmination of everything this show had been setting up since episode 1, and to see them and Rufus as a team, without anyone else, is still one of my favorite things.

“The Darlington 500” (Episode 2×07) – This season had very few fun episodes, and this episode was just that …so much fun. Malcolm got a chance to shine and that trunk scene was amazing and the time team together is just MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS SHOW. Did I mention that?

“The War to End All Wars” (Episode 2×01) – The show came back on a very high note, with Wyatt and Rufus desperate for Lucy and a setup that allowed Jiya, Denise and Mason to finally get the development we sorely needed.

“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” (Episode 2×07) – The historical aspects of this episode were on point, and the message was uplifting and emotional. Plus, it was fun to see Flynn and Rufus work together, and Lucy finally call Wyatt out on his BS.

Least Favorite Episodes

I loved every episode enough to not truly want to list anything here, but the Jessica parts of some episodes still gave me pause. The end of 2×08, for example. Most of the Jessica parts in 2×09. And that Godawful Rufus/Wyatt conversation with the joke that fell SO FLAT that it was almost not a joke – but I’m blaming that on Jessica too.

Season Finale Impression

I’m quite possibly never going to be over the last shot of season 2, and yet, the episode that took us there was a bit rushed at times, maybe because the show tried to stretch the Jessica reveal that ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE SAW COMING till the last possible moment. Despite that, though, the episode hit some very high emotional notes – I bawled at Rufus’s death, Lucy’s confrontation with Emma and Wyatt’s confession. I also cheered at Future Lucy and Wyatt. So, mixed bag. I think it could have been cleaner, and the Jessica thing could have been resolved earlier, but the emotional beats were on point.

Next Season Speculation

Well, Lyatt needs to rebuild – and that means Wyatt has a lot of atoning and apologizing to do. Considering Future Wyatt, though, I think he’s on the right path. Rufus needs to be saved, duh, and Jiya needs a chance or two to be the muscle in a mission, because she’s a badass queen. Connor and Mason can continue to be the bunker parents, though hopefully, Denise gets to go on at least a mission this time.

As for Flynn, I really see only two options, either he Emma makes him “an offer he can’t refuse” and he betrays the team to save his family, or they integrate him completely, have him apologize to the team for all his S1 wrongdoings, and theeeen have Emma make him “an offer he can’t refuse,” which he’ll then summarily refuse because THIS IS HIS FAMILY NOW and then he and the team can work together to get Lorena and Iris back.

I just gave myself feels, guys. What a journey that would be.

Either way, Hot Youth Pastor Wyatt and Tomb Raider Lucy are here to save us all – or at least, to save Rufus, and the thought makes me smile wide.

Bring it on.

Timeless aired Sundays at 10/9c on NBC. It has yet to be renewed for Season 3.

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