Are we all feeling a bit tentative before Timeless launches its unexpected second season this weekend? Like: “Augh! I hope people tune in to justify the post-cancellation renewal and secure a third season so this show can find its footing!”? That’s how I feel.
Before we get back in the Lifeboat and wreak more havoc on the space-time continuum, let’s review what’s happened so far.
Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) was minding her own business as a history professor when she was pulled into a top-secret project. One day, some government types came to Lucy and recruited her to a team of time travelers tasked with retrieving a time machine called the Mothership, which was stolen by a criminal named Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic). This seems crazy, but it turns out to be true.
Before that day, Lucy’s life revolved around her ailing mother, Carol (Susanna Thompson), and her beloved sister, Amy (Bailey Noble). After traveling back to the early 20th Century as the “history expert” on a three-person crew that also includes time machine pilot Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett) and muscle man Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), her whole world is turned upside-down.
First, she goes from studying and talking about history to literally being part of the Hindenburg disaster– and part of changing how it went down. Second, when she returns from her first time travel experience she finds her mother hale and hearty, a fiancé she’s never seen before and discovers that her sister has never been born. (No wonder Doc Brown was always making such a big deal about messing with space-time, amirite?)
As the season progresses, Lucy also learns that her father wasn’t really her father. Instead, her biological father, Benjamin Cahill (John Getz), is involved with Rittenhouse, the sketchy secret society that murdered Garcia Flynn’s family and has dark intentions for time travel. And that her mother is, too. Ay!
Lucy is driven to continue with time travel by a determination to un-ripple the effects of the first mission and get her sister back, as well as an honest fascination with the people and events they meet along the way. Flynn is motivated by revenge and, as he reveals in the pilot, a notebook full of details that future Lucy apparently writes and gives to him.
As we get to know Wyatt and Rufus, we discover that Wyatt’s wife was killed in an accident that changed the course of his life (and was orchestrated by Rittenhouse?) and that Rufus is being manipulated by Rittenhouse to record everything that happens on the time travel missions– or face dire consequences.
In each episode, the time team is hot on the heels of Flynn, who is sometimes accompanied by the creator of the time machines, Anthony Bruhl (Matt Frewer a.k.a. Max Headroom). Flynn is attempting to dismantle Rittenhouse through his actions in the past, which means he’s always changing something. The team pursuing him inevitably changes different things. As a result, the “present” they return to is different from the one they left, and each return home is full of surprises. Beginning with the end of episode one, Wyatt, Rufus and Lucy are the only ones who remember the original timeline.
This drives me bonkers, mostly because it doesn’t bother anyone on the show enough. The other thing that drives me bonkers: THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON. The show is part Quantum Leap (which is good), part every-character-has-a-score-to-settle and part conspiracy theory espionage. It’s exhausting. Fortunately for it, Abigail Spencer is strong enough to carry the whole thing long enough for you to care about the other characters. Let’s hope she has the strength to pull us into season two!
Anyway! At the end of season one, the team appeared to have succeeded in dismantling Rittenhouse with the help of Lucy’s grandfather, Ethan Cahill’s (Johnathan Tchaikovsky and Bruce Gray) decades of evidence gathering, Flynn has been arrested and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Also, Jiya (Claudia Doumit), who is both Rufus’s love interest and alternate pilot for the Lifeboat, is having post-piloting seizure-visions of an alternate San Francisco (I thought post-apocalypse, but some internet places say 1930s), because THERE ISN’T ENOUGH GOING ON.
OK- I think that’s enough recapping to prep us for the new season, but let’s do a quick review of where each of the significant characters ended up:
Agent Denise Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey): Just arrested Flynn over Lucy’s protests, mucking everything up despite a bonding moment where she entrusted Lucy with making sure her family didn’t forget her if time travel ripples made her disappear like Amy.
Lucy: Has permission from Agent Christopher to take the Lifeboat out one last time to get her sister back; having chemistry with Wyatt; is Rittenhouse royalty.
Wyatt: On his way to a new post in Camp Pendleton– after helping Lucy get her sister back; having chemistry with Lucy; says he has let go of getting his dead wife back.
Rufus: Ready to pilot the last mission to get Amy back; loves Jiya; came clean to his teammates about Rittenhouse manipulating him.
Jiya: In a hospital, having creepy visions.
Garcia Flynn: Arrested; angry at Lucy.
Benjamin Cahill: Arrested.
Anthony Bruhl: Dead
Emma Whitmore (Annie Wersching): Has stolen the Mothership again for Rittenhouse.
Carol Preston: In Rittenhouse! Knows all about the Lifeboat!
Amy Preston: Doesn’t exist.
Partial Timeless Fashion Retrospective:
- WANDAVISION Finale Recap: (S01E09) The Series Finale - March 5, 2021
- WANDAVISION Recap: (S01E08) Previously On - February 28, 2021
- WANDAVISION Recap: (S01E07) Breaking the Fourth Wall - February 19, 2021