Timeless 1×15 Review: 'Public Enemy No. 1'

There are not enough words in the English language to do justice to the masterpiece that is Timeless. Every week this show transports us through time, puts us through emotional hell, and leaves us feeling motivated to fight for what we believe in.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beauty of Timeless.
Every week feels like a roller coaster ride of emotion. Every week a new history lesson to be learned. Every week a new challenge. Every week hope that perhaps this is a battle that Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus can win.
Timeless’ penultimate episode, “Public Enemy No. 1” held nothing back as it went full-on Chicago Mob with Garcia Flynn teaming up with the infamous Al Capone – and leaving destruction and change in their wake. As far as penultimate episodes go, this one did everything it needed to do. It set up next week’s finale. It left the audience gasping for breath. It left us – for perhaps the first time – wondering if our Time Team can actually come out on top. Things are supposed to feel hopeless right now. But it’s the finale that’ll solidify what we’ve known all along: With Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus on your side, anything is possible.
As we wind down Timeless’s impressive freshman season, we may or may not be getting closer to stopping Rittenhouse. Or perhaps we’re getting closer to seeing what Flynn has predicted to play out on screen. Regardless, we know that there’s no damn way we’re going to be satisfied with just these 16 episodes. There is so much more story to be told, so much more pain to be experienced, and so much more left to explore with these beautiful and complex characters that have stolen our hearts.
Let’s break this down:

Is Anything Really Meant to Be?

I always feel very compelled to discuss this topic. Obviously this isn’t the first time this question has been asked, and it certainly won’t be the last. But after everything that we’ve seen play out – namely in this episode – it’s important to pay attention to that question almost as much as it’s important to pay attention to the fact that Flynn is the one asking it.
As Flynn is sitting in that church and wondering if fate is this attainable thing or something that is determined merely be a simple decision. “If you can make someone go left instead of right, as Flynn says. If you can change the course of history. Is anything really meant to be? Does that mean God is not there?

One of the things that I’ve loved about Timeless – and there are a lot – is how it’s addressed the time travel aspect of the show. Sure, it’s able to have fun with it. But there’s also a serious nature to it when it comes to addressing “fate.” While Flynn might be carelessly skipping through time, we get to see the consequences of not approaching time travel in a responsible way. This episode was no mistake. History has been changed nearly every week due to Flynn’s decisions or Lucy, Wyatt, or Rufus’ decisions.
Every week is a new opportunity to ponder this question. As we watch history change, as we watch some things stay the same. We want to believe that we control our own destiny. I like to believe that. We make our own decisions (unless we’re being mind-controlled, which I find highly unlikely.) We might not get to choose the hand we are dealt, but we are responsible for the direction we choose to take.
So as for if anything is really meant to be, I guess some things aren’t. We are the masters of our own destiny. But that doesn’t mean some things aren’t fated to be. Try as he might, Wyatt wasn’t able to save his wife. And perhaps the most important thing that was meant to be: Our Time Team. There’s no doubt in my mind that if there’s one thing that’s meant to be on this show it’s Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus. That I believe in.

Al Capone & Garcia Flynn

You’re not a time travel show if you don’t go back in time to 1930s Chicago where Al Capone reigned supreme. But one of the ways Timeless has managed to set itself apart from other time travel shows is how our antagonist Flynn crafts a relationship and partnership with the people he comes into contact with – and ultimately uses to his benefit.
Capone and Flynn ended up being a deadly duo – and they changed history in the process. Flynn prevented Capone from going away for tax evasion while also managing to off Elliot Ness, altering history as we know it. But Flynn isn’t concerned with history, he’s concerned with erasing Rittenhouse from existence.
I really enjoyed this history lesson this week as we got to see Flynn use Capone to get what he wanted. Getting to discover that Al had a brother – and getting to see Timeless twist history and have his brother be the one to kill him was beyond cool. I never get tired of these history lessons and how they can be altered.

Jiya Fights Mason and Co.

While we’d like to believe that the Time Team can do everything together – so long as Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are together – sometimes they need a little extra help. This week it was Jiya who stepped into danger and fought her ass off to protect them.
I don’t know whether it’s because Jiya is dating Rufus, if she trusts these three with her life, or a combination of both, but Jiya’s faith and fight helped preserve the Time Team’s location for a good chunk of time.
Rittenhouse planned on having Lucy and Rufus travel back in time to when Flynn’s mother was 17 and before she conceived Flynn and end her life. A little drastic even for someone like Flynn. His mother, after all, was innocent. She wasn’t the threat. He was. So when Lucy and Rufus refused, they were blackmailed into doing so. That was when they decided to steal the time ship, pick Wyatt up on the way, and handle matters on their own terms. And Jiya was left behind to cover their asses.
Just when I think I couldn’t hate Mason more, he goes and simply breathes. Seriously, every time I see him my hatred for him grows. And obviously there was not an episode I’ve despised him as I have in “Public Enemy No. 1.” He’s as awful a human being as you’d think. Whether it’s shaming Jiya for her relationship with Rufus or just being the poster boy for stuck-up asshole, Mason continues to set the bar lower for himself in terms of moral demeanor. Wait, what morality? Mason has never known that.
But the thing with assholes like Mason is that when they think they have someone beat they take it in full confidence. Basically, they assume once they back someone into a corner – especially someone like Jiya – that there’s no way in hell she’ll find a way out. So it’s beyond satisfying when a strong, intelligent, and brave woman like Jiya uses her smarts and determination to overpower an evil organization that underestimated her. Because just when Mason thought he had pinpointed their location and could find them when they return, Jiya was able to shut it down. And the lock of annoyance and of failure on Mason’s face – and the look of triumph and modest brilliance on Jiya’s face – made my night.
But because Mason is a cockroach that won’t die, it sounds like he has a trick up his sleeve that involves locating anyone during anytime, which could be a threat for Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus heading into the finale and beyond.

What’s Next for the Time Team?

The word cliffhanger is used often when referencing the endings of television shows, particularly in the season premiere, midseason finale, or season finale episodes. It’s a phrase which here means, “To leave the show and its characters at a moment in time that’s emotionally compromising and is sure to leave the audience feeling short of breath.”
The cliffhanger that Timeless ended its penultimate episode with – where Rufus was shot, bleeding out, and passed out in the time ship – made me physically scream at my television. While I’ve done that on several occasions with this how, this was different. We’re at a certain point in the season – one episode to go – where things need to be taken more seriously. If someone’s in trouble, they’re in trouble.
While I don’t know for certain, I feel confident in my belief that Rufus will survive this. He needs to survive. Not only because he’s the only one who can operate the time ship of these three, but because he’s part of the heart of this show. It does not exist without him much like it wouldn’t exist without Lucy or Wyatt. These three have defined this show in more ways than one. They’ve breathed life into it. They’ve made it more than just a time travel show.
So while it’s natural to worry about Rufus’ fate in the season finale, how quick we are to forget that our Time Team has a mission: To end Rittenhouse once and for all. They’ll follow Garcia Flynn to Washington D.C. in the 1950s for a huge conference with many leaders of Rittenhouse. One has to wonder how it’s possible to stop Rittenhouse. If killing its leader back in the day didn’t work (we can thank the son for that), then what does our Time Team – and Flynn, for that matter – have to do to ensure the demise of Rittenhouse?
Well, that’s it. There’s just one more episode remaining in what has been a beyond impressive, compelling, and reinventive series that has entertained us as much as it’s taught us. Whatever awaits us at the finish line – which hopefully is just the beginning of a new race – will surely be one for the ages.

Five Things…

  1. Ending the episode LIKE THAT is not acceptable. Obviously, we know Rufus is okay because he’s in next week’s episode, but for the love of God do not do that to me! Full on panic attack-inducing right there.
  2. There was not nearly enough Misha Collins in this episode. Like come on. I understand that it was for one episode, but we couldn’t have gotten a little more of Elliot Ness in this episode?
  3. Wyatt saying that their first order of business is to save Lucy’s sister. The way Lucy was looking at him, the way he was looking at her. I swear to God, my heart skipped a beat. The way she attack hugged him is still on a loop in my head. But the fact that Wyatt was determined to do that – for her – made me seriously emotional.
  4. Jiya comparing Mason to Oz was the greatest. Unmasking the coward and watching the coward squirm. I felt personal satisfaction watching Jiya destroy him like that.
  5. “Don’t ma’am me.” Lucy seriously doesn’t like being called ma’am by someone other than Wyatt. And likewise, there’s no one Wyatt enjoys calling ma’am more than Lucy. These two are so stinking adorable I cannot even.

Timeless airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.

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