TV Review: Timeless S1 (Spoilers)

I first heard about this series last year, as one of the time traveling themed shows that would be debuting in the 2016-2017 television year, alongside “Time After Time” and “Making History”. At that point in time, I was quite busy with the regular fall shows, so I really didn’t have any time to pick it up, even though it was a genre that falls right into my wheelhouse, and even when a good friend of mine suggested that I watch it. Thankfully, Netflix recently added it to its collection, and so when I saw it was on, I wasted no time (pun not intended) in watching it, and I now love it just as much as I love “12 Monkeys” and “Legends of Tomorrow”, two other time travel based shows I’m currently following.

“Timeless” follows a trio, comprised of Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), a historian; Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), a solider; and Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), their pilot and a brilliant programmer, who are recruited by tech giant Mason Industries to travel through time in order to chase down Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnijic), who stole the final design of the time ship, and is bent on changing several key parts of history. Along the way, the trio go through their own individual character journeys as they go through time, and discover that all of this, and them, are connected to a top secret organization who seems to have been rooted in history as well.

For me, this series managed to have a good balance between the procedural elements (the time period of the week chasing down Flynn), and the overarching mystery of the story. Also, the procedural elements never became to repetitive for me, maybe because they had lesser episodes that a regular 22 to 24 episode television show, and because they managed to go to interesting points in history, and because the sets and the costumes they used were also great. Also, it forced me to brush up on history, and taught me some stuff that I didn’t know at all. (I honestly did not know that Ian Flemming was a real life MI6 spy during World War II.)

Aside from this, I love the characters on this show, and the story arcs that they went through throughout the season. From Lucy being a historian to a good team leader; to Wyatt who continually struggled to come to terms with the murder of his wife years ago; to Rufus, the all around good guy, who ends up coming out of this a stronger person than he was before. It was also nice to see how changing history, no matter how small, can affect someone’s life, and the moral dilemmas the team, and Flynn,  had to face along the way.

I also loved how they weren’t too heavy handed on particular topics, such as gender equality and racism, but it was very much there, although more subtle. It was the type that you didn’t really need to dwell too much on it and harp on it, but the message was still received. This mostly came up with Rufus, because, as he did point out in the beginning, an African-American travelling through time will have a harder time blending in, and also, to a certain degree, Lucy also felt the gender inequality that was present in particular eras, depending on the situation they were in at the moment. I think they did a good and realistic job with this, as compared to “Legends of Tomorrow”.

The acting in the show was great, from the main trio, to those around them, to Flynn, and to the historical figures that they met along the way.

The story and the writing, I believe was well done and was well paced, and even though there may be some plot holes in it and some historical inaccuracies at some points, the show was good enough for it to be forgivable, as all of the episodes, for me, were all hits than misses. And when the energy did drop, you could see that it served particular purposes, especially at the episode in which the trio were all at a particular emotional low point.

I’m surprised at how clean this show was, actually, with just maybe two scenes in which I term as “sexytimes”, but it wasn’t too gratuitous or explicit, it was really short, and it was in line with the historical figures or personages featured in that episode (Bonnie and Clyde’s romance and Judith Campbell, look them up if you don’t know who they are).

All in all, this was a very strong, smart and well written time travel show that absolutely took my breath away, and I really, really do hope that this gets renewed for at least a second season.

(Also, this is a PERFECT show to binge watch. I finished it in less than four days.)

Alright, now, it’s time to get into spoiler territory!

warning-spoilers-final

Aside from the science fiction and mystery aspect of the show, I absolutely loved the awesome set pieces, the costumes, and the historical personages every time they went to a particular era, and I loved not just their interactions with the “locals”, but with how the “locals” also reacted to them, and how they adjusted to it. This was one gripe that I had with “Legends of Tomorrow” at times, and I am glad that this show handled it realistically and well. I also love most of their casting for the historical personages, in particular, Ian Fleming, Josephine Baker and Ernest Hemingway.  The sets were also well done, and every time they entered into a different time period, I always had the same sense of wonder that the characters, and in particular, that Lucy had. I think that this is also one reason why this procedural element of traveling to different time eras never really seemed too repetitive.

As I said earlier, I really did love the entire cast of the show, as they played their parts down to a tee. And although there were some that might have been not as developed as others, I thought that it just alright, and you could see the motivations of where they are coming from.

I loved the character arcs that Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt each had as characters, and their actors portrayed them well.

Spencer was great as Lucy, and I loved how she went from being just a historian, to becoming a stronger person and team leader with a better moral compass, which she will undoubtedly need know more than ever, especially after discovering that both her parents are both Rittenhouse members. (I just knew that Susanna Thompson, Lucy’s mom, would be a little bit bad or more than she seemed, especially after seeing her as Moira Queen on “Arrow”. I should have known better.) As of the moment, the historian who loves facts now has just had her world turned literally upside down, but I’m hoping that this gives her that momentum and drive to figure out a way to use that to her advantage to take down Rittenhouse once and for all.

I’ve only known Lanter from his voice actor work as Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, so it was good to see him act as a real person here. He did an amazing job, and how his story arc went from just the good soldier who doesn’t believe in fate or a higher power, to someone who does, especially after trying to take fate into his own hands by trying to get his dead wife back and failing. In the end, Wyatt becomes a stronger person in that sense, and because his own moral code gets tweaked a little, but for the better, especially as he became more jaded because of his experiences as part of Delta Force. I also like that the romance between Lucy and Wyatt isn’t too rushed, and is progressing naturally and organically.

Barrett’s Rufus is someone whom most would immediately cheer for. Rufus, among all of them, had the biggest and most visible character arcs, as he went from someone who would rather sit behind his desk, to someone who will, if need be, stand up and fight, not just for the people he cares about, but won’t hesitate as well to call out and stop his friends if he thinks that they are not doing the right thing anymore, or at least, he tries his best to.

All three did well in their emotional scenes, and there were also some instances in which there were just small nuances that they had in their performances that really made my day or the episode.

I’m also so glad that Flynn wasn’t just a one note villain, and is very much tied into the the core mythology of the show, especially with his Rittenhouse connection. I also like how the show also humanized him a little and made you try to understand where he is coming from.

The story, as mentioned earlier, I believe was well paced, and was strong all throughout, and I didn’t see as much plot holes as most shows out there today.

I also like how the first season ended, with a cliffhanger that teased and foreshadowed things to come in the second season, from Emma Whitmore being a Rittenhouse mole, to the revelation that Lucy is Rittenhouse “royalty”, and to Jiya’s visions.

All in all, this is a good and solid show that definitely should get renewed for a second season so that the viewers can have more adventures with Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt; and because we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the show’s core mythology, which is pretty rich in itself.

Favorite Moment/s: 

  • The very first time that the Lifeboat left.
  • Anytime “Star Wars” was mentioned, bonus points if Wyatt references it.
  • Every time they enter into a new era in costume.
  • THAT WARDROBE DOCK.
  • Ernest Hemingway tagging along with Rufus and Lucy, puking and giving Rufus the pep talk that he needed. EVERYTHING about Hemingway and Josephine Baker.
  • That scene in Episode 16 when Wyatt uses a baton to knock out the guards and Senator Joe McCarthy.
  • IAN FLEMING. IAN FLEMING. IAN FLEMING.
  • Jiya building her own computer out of spare parts to hack into Mason Industries.
  • Rufus hammering out foil made out of a tin can when they were stranded during the French-Indian War.
  • All the lunar landing footage that they used in Episode 8.
  • Discovering the real life lone ranger- Bass Reeves.

Favorite Episode/s:

  • Episode 4, 8, 10, 12,13,14,15,16

“Timeless” Season 2 Predictions, Theories & Speculations:

  • Since we know that Wes Guillam did NOT kill Jessica Logan, I believe that she was killed by Rittenhouse.
  • Jiya’s visions make her a person who is somewhat anchored in the past. Not sure if she can see the past or different points in the past, or just a particular time period and then she’ll end up having to stay there so she won’t die.
  • Given that Flynn said that Lucy was the one who gave him the diary, I believe that Future Lucy wrote everything down then gave it to him. I believe that Future Lucy is either actively working against Rittenhouse, or maybe being a double agent like her grandfather.
  • Flynn will still be around, he’ll be imprisoned somewhere and Lucy will visit him from time to time for information.
  • Given the way season 1 ended, I don’t think we’ll be able to get Amy back just yet. Lucy will have to figure out to get out of her house, inform the team about what happened, and season 2 will focus on them going after Emma and figuring out Rittenhouse’s plans and endgame.
  • I think if they manage to do this well, it could wrap everything up nicely by the end of season 2, if ever.
  • Wyatt and Lucy will end up together in the end, and will probably get together by the last half of season 2.
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