Timeless Review – Season 2, Episode 1: “The War To End All Wars”

by Rachel Bellwoar

Lucy, look! Oh, it’s incredible. We’re here together like I’d always hoped.

In all likelihood, Lucy’s mom means time traveling with her daughter, and not especially a WWI battlefield strewn with dead and dying soldiers, but her ability to ignore their plight while she takes in the view is unnerving nonetheless.

Then again, as we learned at the end of Season One, Lucy’s mom, Carol (Susanna Thompson), is a high-ranking member of Rittenhouse. It’s about time we got reacquainted. “The War to End All Wars,” marks Timeless’ triumphant return since being un-cancelled last year and it’s with borderline giddiness that I report the show hasn’t lost its spark.

Kim Bubbs, Susanna Thompson, and Abigail Spencer (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

As for how our favorite Time Team is doing, Lucy (Abigail Spencer) isn’t answering Wyatt’s calls when an explosion goes off at Mason Industries. Six weeks later, Lucy thinks Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) are dead, while Wyatt’s adamant Lucy’s alive and being held hostage by Rittenhouse (Season Two’s going full speed ahead with Spencer and Lanter’s chemistry, and while I could try to act cool about it, there’s a goofy smile on my face that refuses to play along). Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) won’t let Wyatt look for Lucy, because they’re laying low in a bunker, while Rufus and Jiya (Claudia Doumit) work to fix the Lifeboat. All things considered, it’s fared up remarkably well.

I’ve chosen not to be a stickler about how everyone survived. I’d rather spend my time mourning the time jump that would’ve seen Wyatt and Rufus wearing groovy, 70’s duds, but while you could maybe see the press blowing the explosion out of proportion, to help Agent Christopher take them off the grid, one mistake this episode makes is to include an exterior shot of the building blowing up. It’s too convincing for what the show’s looking to achieve.

Less convincing is Lucy, who needs her mother and Emma (Annie Wersching) to believe she’s loyal to Rittenhouse so she can set off a grenade inside the Mothership. Sometimes working for the bad guy doesn’t reveal itself to be all that different, but Timeless draws a strict line between the two teams by asking Lucy to kill an innocent man to prove herself.

Rittenhouse has always been that elusive bad guy you could blame for everything, but here they don’t even try to avoid violence. Killing is so against Lucy’s nature that you understand how much these trips are taking out of her. Rittenhouse hasn’t broken her – when she meets Marie Curie (Kim Bubbs), her reaction is to curtsy – but hearing Lucy say, “Let’s go change history,” when that’s everything she’s worked against, is a sad reflection of where she’s ended up. Her readiness to sacrifice her life is not unlike Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic), and how desperate he became after his family was killed. Since he’s doing a Hannibal Lector, and refusing to speak to anyone but her, they should have plenty to discuss when they see each other again.

In the end Rittenhouse gets what they want – Nicholas Keynes (Michael Rady) the writer of their 1910 manifesto – but why do they need him in 2018? The document’s already written so is this a showing of respect or do they have actual plans for him? And what about those sleeper agents (Timeless’ riff on FX’s The Americans) Rittenhouse has planted in different decades?

Paterson Joseph, Claudia Doumit, Matt Lanter, and Sakina Jaffery (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Other thoughts on “The War to End All Wars:”

  • Since the Time Team are out a historian this week, setting the episode during WWI allows Wyatt to pull from his military background, so they’re at less of a disadvantage in the field.
  • With the focus being on getting Lucy back, this isn’t a big Rufus episode and he basically gets to say as much, when he reminds Wyatt that his family are currently under the impression he’s dead and no one’s been able to figure out what’s going on with Jiya. That prevailing mystery is the series’ biggest wildcard (and perhaps its biggest gamble), but unless she’s a barometer for spotting the small changes in history caused by Rittenhouse, I’m not sure where they’re going to take her storyline.
  • To go back to how the Lifeboat survived a bombing, it makes Lucy’s plan to grenade the Mothership seem a lot less foolproof. She would’ve killed Emma, her mom, and herself, and prevented citizens in 1918 from making repairs, but who knows what Marie Curie could’ve done with the leftover parts?
  • It’s never been a good time to look for Lucy’s sister, but with Emma announcing she’s made their job 10x harder, does that put an indefinite pause on the search or will it all depend on how much Lucy’s mom gets in their way (since her health might be directly linked with Amy’s)?
  • Timeless draws a parallel between mothers and daughters with its historical guests this week. Unlike Lucy’s mom, Marie Curie offers her life for her daughter’s (Melissa Farman), when they stumble upon the Mothership’s parking spot.

Timeless airs Sundays at 10 PM EST on NBC.

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