‘Timeless’ 1×01 Review: Rules and Consequences, oh my!

I admit I approached Timeless with …well, with a bit of apprehension. Another time-travel show. Another one. How many more can we take? And, do I really want to root for one that’s in the middle of a dispute about possibly having…eh, taken some ideas from another show? (This is me being nice). Could they make me forget? Could they make me care? Would I reach the point where what was on the screen mattered more than what was going on outside?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Why, you ask? Well, maybe because Timeless is not your typical time-travel show. And by that I mean they introduced two things that most shows of this kind seemed to have forgotten about, especially in the past few years:

Rules and consequences.

That’s it. We don’t ask for much more. We just want some rules as to HOW time-travel works (clear rules, Legends of Tomorrow. CLEAR ONES, not whatever it is you think you’re doing), and some consequences – real ones – from interfering with time. That’s all.

But, if we can also get a strong female lead, a few sparks between two of the main characters, a diverse cast, and a real and respectful look at the pitfalls of time-traveling if you’re anything but a straight, white male (only one of our main characters is), then that takes this from a show we might give a try to a show we should all be watching.

And there was Patty Spivot!

I mean, not Patty Spivot per se, but Shantel VanSanten, which is almost good enough. And fine, she’s only there for one episode, but when I was still unsure about Wyatt, iffy about Lucy and so-so about Rufus, she was there to pull me in. To make me care. And, to, like, wear the hell out of the 1930’s outfits.

But – I didn’t need her for long. I really didn’t. Lucy/Wyatt shined from their first scene together, and when you put the two of them with Rufus on the Lifeboat? Magic.

So, let’s take a moment to examine what the show did right, what they should improve on and what we want to see on episode 2 and beyond:

WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT

Rules and consequences. Did I mention that? But hey, it’s important. Vital, even. We can’t go into a time-period we already went to. Fine, that’s a rule. I don’t even care that they don’t really explain the why. I just care that it’s there. I don’t even care that, in the future, they’re surely going to find a way to break it. That’s fine, rules are made to be broken. But you have to establish them first, and the show did, right off the bat.

Also, mom is not doing so well at the beginning of the episode, and then gasp, surprise, Mom is perfectly fine and Moira Queen at the end. Oh, and did I mention they ERASED HER SISTER. Because they erased her sister.

And that sucks. It does. But it takes guts. So, kudos to you, Timeless. Please don’t bring back Wyatt’s wife while you’re playing this game of consequences.

*sighs* You’re so going to bring back Wyatt’s wife, aren’t you? Can you at least give me a season of happiness before you do?

TIMELESS -- "Pilot" -- Pictured: (l-r) Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan -- (Photo by: Joe Lederer/NBC)
TIMELESS — “Pilot” — Pictured: (l-r) Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan — (Photo by: Joe Lederer/NBC)

WHAT THEY GOT WRONG

If I’m being nitpicky, then I’ll say that the whole thing with recruiting randoms for your super-secret and important mission is a bit unbelievable. I’d expected the government to get someone who worked for them already. Or, like, I would at least have expected a thorough background check and a full psych profile. Though they probably had that on Wyatt/Rufus and if this Rittenhouse thing is the reason they picked Lucy, then this is a non-issue, but I had to write something here, didn’t I?

Also, if the evil guy turns out to be somehow related to Lucy then I’ll deduct 837437 points for lack of originality. Do we have a deal?

WHAT I’M HOPING FOR

For Rufus to be more than a sidekick. And for the show to continue pointing out how complicated the business of time traveling actually is for him and Lucy, and how different that is to Wyatt’s experience.

For more Lyatt sparks. (Yes, that’s the ship name. Alyssa and I have been using it since SDCC. It stays). Because these two are polar opposites of each other, at least for now, and you know what they say about opposites attracting?

For this to be more than a diverse cast in name only. I want someone other than Lucy and Wyatt to have story-lines! Make me fall in love with the people who stay back from the missions.

More Moira Queen. Or whatever her name is. Either way, I’m not using her name. Moira it is.

For the sister to come back. And then maybe disappear again? I want Lucy to be all like: WTF AM I GOING TO FIND WHEN I GO HOME THIS TIME? Or maybe I just want consequences to stick. Either works.

A three-dimensional villain. Flynn seems a bit shallow so far, but I want him to grow. We know the actor can pull it off, we’ve watched ER. But please, don’t make him fall in love with Lucy. This is ALL about his family. Make it about that.

For Wyatt’s wife to stay dead. Which, I realize is too much to ask, but hey, I thought I’d put it out there.

To see more interesting time periods and meet more cool people. Like Robin Hood. I mean James Bond. Wait, was it Ian Fleming? I’m getting confused here, who is Sean Maguire playing again?

For this show to give me way less opportunities for sarcasm than Legends of Tomorrow did.

Timeless airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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