Timeless Review – Season 2, Episode 2: “The Darlington 500”

by Rachel Bellwoar

Yes, wardrobe and props are of necessity a little bare bones at the moment due to financial constraints but, hey, luckily for you, Rebel Without A Cause made jeans and t-shirts perpetually cool. You’ll blend right in. – Connor Mason

If “The Darlington 500″ isn’t quite as exciting as “The War to End All Wars,” there’s still a car chase where Wyatt’s at the wheel with a ticking bomb, so the show’s not exactly losing steam. Rittenhouse wants to infiltrate the car industry and has a suicide bomber in place for the race. The Time Team travel to 1950’s South Carolina to try and stop them.

Malcolm Barrett and Joseph Lee Anderson (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

This isn’t the first time Timeless has informed us that a famous person from history was a member of Rittenhouse (Benedict Arnold) but now that we know there are sleeper agents, every guest star is open to scrutiny and it’s neat to see the show operate under that extra surveillance. I’ll admit to not being the kind of fan who’s overly driven to beat the show writers to their answers, but they definitely manage to keep Ryan Millerson from being the obvious person working for Rittenhouse.

Just in trying to look up the name of the actor who played Millerson (Matt Long), you realize how much the promotional photos and official summary are imbalanced to focus on Joseph Lee Anderson, who guest stars as Wendell Scott, one of the first African American NASCAR drivers. This gives fans less of a chance to look up Millerson, and for good reason. If they did, they’d realize he wasn’t a real person.

Wyatt being a NASCAR fanboy, then, isn’t purely the show fleshing out his character, but setting up Timeless fans who aren’t followers of the sport to take Wyatt at his word on Millerson being famous. It’s not a deliberate lie but the show cleverly demonstrating how Rittenhouse is changing history. NASCAR fans might be onto them, and it’ll be a hard deception to repeat, but the subterfuge works well this time.

Malcolm Barrett, Abigail Spencer, and Matt Lanter (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Other thoughts on “The Darlington 500:”

  • While I admire the show trying to give its series regulars more to do, the scenes with Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph) this week left me unconvinced we should be diverting time away from Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy to spend with him. He does get the episode’s best line [see the beginning of this review] but it almost feels like a villain origin story might be in order, a la Reign on Supergirl. He’s colluded with Rittenhouse before and is not happy with how Agent Christopher’s running things. Can he stay on the side of good or will he let his ego get the best of him?
  • On the other hand, we get the smallest development with Jiya, when she pictures Rufus burning his arm and that actually comes to pass. Since Jiya’s not confiding in anyone this is all we have to go on, but I’d rather hear what she has to say than watch Connor get blocked from making a public appearance.
  • Initially unsure what Rittenhouse sees in Darlington, South Carolina, Lucy talks to Garcia Flynn but it’s a disappointing conversation. Firstly, Agent Christopher supervises so they can’t be completely candid. Then when Flynn rips Lucy for being the obedient daughter of a member of Rittenhouse she doesn’t interrupt. Knowing what Lucy was prepared to do in Weapons, this feels unfair but sets-up a very good conversation between Lucy and Wyatt (in a car trunk of all places) about abusive parents.
  • “Darlington 500” goes a lot more into Wyatt’s personal life than we’re used to, and I love that a second season is allowing Timeless to do this.
  • Good to know: while Rittenhouse seems pretty impressed with Nicholas by the end of the episode, not everyone (at least not Emma) saw a need to retrieve Lucy’s great-grandfather from early 20th century France. It sounds like that was done more at Carol’s pushing.

Timeless airs Sundays at 10 PM EST on NBC.