In “The Kennedy Curse,” Timeless answers the question, “What if instead of us going back in time, someone from the past came to now?” (Hint: it’s JFK.)
Lucy (Abigail Spencer) is laid up with an infection from her 17th century stab wound incurred back at the Salem Witch Revolt. As a result, Flynn (Goran Visnjic) pinch hits for her on a mission to 1934 to stop Rittenhouse from getting a head start on assassinating John F. Kennedy while he’s still a teenager at boarding school. The only way the guys can think of to save him is to leave Flynn in the past to kill the three sleeper agents there, and to bring JFK to the bunker.
Of course JFK escapes almost as soon as he arrives, and the bulk of the episode follows Lucy, Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and not-dead Jessica (Tonya Glanz) as they work through the awkwardness of their new dynamic as love-triangle-bunker-mates while trying to find the missing future/former President. He’s hitched a ride with some 2018 teens on their way to a house party, and Rittenhouse Emma (Annie Wersching) is racing the Time Team to get to him.
There’s a near miss at a hospital where JFK stops for treatment for his ulcer, flaring up because of the stress of being kidnapped and transported into the future. He manages to get away before anyone gets there, though, and does make it to Palo Alto for the party.
The girl who has adopted him, Kayla (Reina Hardesty), lives in the house the party is being held in (by her brother). She wants JFK to stay the night so she can introduce him to her shrink mom in the morning and hopefully help him with his delusions. Before that happens, though, she looks him up online and inadvertently introduces him to iPads, Wikipedia and the “Kennedy Curse” in one fell swoop. He now knows how each of his siblings will die, and that he’ll be an assassinated President.
He’s drinking away his sorrow over this new knowledge when everyone catches up to him. Wyatt, Lucy and Jessica manage to bring him back to the bunker after a brief shootout with Emma that ends the party. It also convinces Kayla that everything JFK has told her about time-travel kidnapping is real, so I guess she’s a new liability? Or a new loose end?
In the end, they do get him back to 1934 successfully. Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) tells him not to go to Dallas, but that only moves his assassination to Austin. Otherwise, it seems their effects on the space-time continuum are mild this time. They get Flynn back in one piece, and all is well.
Well, everything except Lucy having talked Jessica into giving Wyatt a second chance at the expense of her own heart and Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) getting briefly kidnapped by Carol (Susanna Thompson) in an attempt enlist Agent Christopher in helping save Lucy from Rittenhouse by benching her permanently. (When Agent Christopher refuses, Carol makes it clear that they both have families to lose, but everyone makes it out of their showdown alive– this time.)
Also in this episode: Jiya (Claudia Doumit) does computer work and talks about visions (but doesn’t have any), Connor (Paterson Joseph) does admin work in the bunker and Rittenhouse time travel visionary Nicholas Keynes (Michael Rady) delivers some threatening orders in an office.
We’ve reached the halfway point of the improbable second season of Timeless, and I want to close this recap with a request to the show’s creative powers that if they get a season three they lean into Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus going on time adventures and let go of or demote the entire supporting cast. Either that or figure out how to make them more than complications that distract from a time travel adventure. Am I the only one who feels this way?