The long-awaited premiere of Timeless‘s second season is finally here, and it arrives with a literal bang. More than one bang, actually…
“The War to End All Wars” opens on September 14, 1918, during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in WWI France. Biplanes are shooting at each other in the sky, soldiers are dying on the ground below in the mud as guns fire, and one young soldier is desperate to find his Captain. When he does, the Captain sends him away to find a truck, assures the young man that he will be able to walk to it, waits for his charge to disappear… and checks to make sure his iPhone hasn’t been damaged in the fighting.
Cut to modern-day Mason Industries, where Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) are dressed for the 1970s and waiting for Lucy (Abigail Spencer) in the Lifeboat. She’s late for the mission to go save her sister, and she isn’t picking up her phone. Wyatt steps outside the Lifeboat to call her again, and we see that her phone is abandoned on the floor of her mother’s kitchen, where some kind of struggle has taken place in the immediate aftermath of her mom revealing that she’s Rittenhouse. Just as we see that, Wyatt notices an ominous blinking light on something underneath the control area where Jiya (Claudia Doumit) usually sits. IT’S A BOMB!
Mason Industries is gone in a fiery blast, and the show is all the way over.
Six weeks later, we catch up with Wyatt in the shower. He’s in a military bunker of some sort, and his back is riddled with shrapnel wounds from the blast. He’s brooding and troubled, and after his shower he punches the mirror over the sink in frustration… just as Jiya comes in to try to get some shower time of her own.
The survivors of the Mason Industries blast include Wyatt, Jiya, Rufus, Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph), Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) and the Lifeboat, and they’re all secreted away in an old military base until the team is able to repair the damage the time machine took in the blast.
Staying in hiding while Lucy is who-knows-where is driving Wyatt crazy. He hasn’t admitted his feelings for her to anyone– let alone himself– but they’re obvious. He wants to go after her, but Agent Christopher is firm: nobody leaves the compound unless it’s in the Lifeboat.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Lucy is alive and well and preparing to travel to WWI with her mom (Susanna Thompson), Carol, and pilot Emma (Annie Wersching) in the Mothership. She’s apparently spent the last six weeks under the impression that Wyatt and Rufus died with 22 other people in the Mason Industries explosion, and she’s been toeing the line with Rittenhouse mom. Carol, desperate to share time travel with her daughter, is hopeful that this first mission together will be a bonding experience that will usher in a new, Rittenhouse-friendly era for their family.
Their mission is to go to the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and save the life of a wounded soldier named Nicholas Keynes (Michael Rady). They set themselves up in an abandoned farmhouse and wait. After two days, Keynes arrives with assistance from a healthier friend, and Carol and Emma jump in to begin operating on him. They task Lucy with distracting his companion, but the man becomes suspicious of their modern medical equipment and Emma forces Lucy to kill him to prove herself loyal to Rittenhouse.
Keynes has shrapnel embedded so deeply in his body that Emma laments the lack of an x-ray machine. This snaps Lucy out of a moment of post-murder shock, and she and her mother use their knowledge of history to find Marie (Kim Bubbs) and Irene Curie (Melissa Farman) at a nearby field hospital with their “Petite Curie,” a portable x-ray vehicle Curie invented and used in WWI.
Marie and Irene insist on accompanying them to treat the soldier, as they believe that training these women to use their device will lead to them being able to save additional lives in the future. When they arrive at the farmhouse, though, some unknown interference keeps causing the x-rays to come out blurry. The time travelers have a suspicion about what that could be, and they send the women away with their thanks. The blurred x-rays are good enough to assist in their completing the surgery.
Back in 2018, Rufus and Jiya have finally repaired the Lifeboat to the point where it can identify where the Mothership is and follow it. Wyatt and Rufus jump aboard without pausing for period-appropriate clothes, ready to steal some when they arrive. They refuse to let Agent Christopher come along, because they’ll need that third seat for Lucy. (And can’t risk winding up with another four-people-in-the-lifeboat seizure/vision issue like Jiya’s.)
Fortunately for all of our heroes, they find each other almost immediately. While recruiting the Curies, Lucy claims she needs to find a glass of water, but she actually goes to steal grenades from the artillery tent. Who should intercept here there, but Wyatt? In the first of a series of almost-kiss-but-not-quite moments, their reunion is interrupted by Rufus walking in.
Lucy reveals that she’d been planning to use the grenades to blow up the Mothership and stop Rittenhouse, willing to be killed or stuck in 1918 because she thought they were dead. Now that she knows they’re alive, she gives them the Mothership’s location and sends them off to destroy it for her.
While Lucy is back at the farmhouse, Wyatt and Rufus get caught trying to steal a car– by the Captain with an iPhone! A Rittenhouse thug who traveled on the Mothership with Lucy’s crew (guess there are four seats on that one?) peeped Lucy leaving Wyatt in the ammunition tent and raised a quiet alarm. He and the Captain attempt to take Wyatt and Rufus out, but Wyatt kills them both and discovers the iPhone afterwards.
He and Rufus take a car and head for the Mothership, puzzling out the value of an iPhone in 1918 the whole way. Eventually, they stumble across a collection of images of someone’s handwritten notes about how time travel could facilitate world dominance for Rittenhouse. The notes go back to 1910, which raises the question, “How long had that Captain been living in the past?” (And for me, “How did he charge that phone for those eight years?”)
At the farmhouse, Emma’s surgery on Keynes has been successful enough that they’ll be able to move him… to 2018!
Knowing what is about to happen, Lucy tries to take an unsupervised opportunity to smother Keynes with a pillow, stopping whatever it is that Rittenhouse wants him for. Her mother walks in before she can act, regretting that Emma was right about where Lucy’s loyalties lie.
They take Keynes to the Mothership on a stretcher, and they discover the Curies there, examining the ship with fascination. Emma, faithful to the mission, draws her pistol and is ready to dispatch the Curies. Lucy begs her mother to intervene, and although Carol does so half-heartedly, Emma reveals a built-in override that allows her to act in defense of the mission if she deems it necessary. Lucy throws herself in-between Emma and the Curies, hoping her mother will act to save her, but Carol hesitates.
Fortunately, this is just when Wyatt and Rufus appear. Lucy tells the Curies to run as Emma grabs her in a chokehold with the pistol to her temple. Wyatt draws his gun on Keynes. He negotiates a trade, and as Lucy is released to him she begs her mother to come with her and be on the right side of history. Carol declines, saying that this is so much bigger than them, and boards the Mothership with Emma and Keynes.
Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus return home. They discover that in their absence, Connor has started regaining some of his rusty engineering skills. With his help, the team has been able to identify 10 places the Mothership traveled to before it went to WWI. This is news to Lucy. As they discuss what this might mean and introduce the documents they found on the iPhone, Lucy asks if any of it might relate to Nicholas Keynes.
Guys. It was he who wrote all the documents on the iPhone. He is the mastermind behind Rittenhouse’s time travel plans.
The good guys deduce that Rittenhouse has been using the Mothership to plant sleepers in the past, like the Captain they met in 1918, and that they’ve used Keynes’s documents to choose the events their sleepers will manipulate. Agent Christopher decides there’s only one man who can help them now– who might know more about Keynes and what’s going on. She marches to the bunker cell where Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) is being kept, and he says he won’t talk with anyone except Lucy.
Over at Rittenhouse, Keynes is waking up in a strange bedroom in a new time. He’s greeted by Lucy’s mom, who welcomes him to 2018 and enthuses that he was right about everything… before introducing herself as HIS GRANDDAUGHTER!
Final thought: Rittenhouse apparently planted 10 sleepers, including the Captain. They took him out in episode one. There are 10 episodes this season. I guess we know the weekly mission!