Timeless 1×16 “The Red Scare” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

What the Rittenhouse?

Episode Summary | Time in History: DC, 1954 — the big Rittenhouse summit. When the Time Team follows Flynn back in time, Jiya must accompany them to help Rufus, but since it isn’t built for more than three people, something messes with her psyche. Lucy and Wyatt find her Grandpa then convince him to work as a double agent within Rittenhouse. Mason chooses a side. Wyatt almost says goodbye. And Lucy’s mom drops the biggest bombshell of all.

We’re never going to stop telling you that Timeless is the most exciting show on TV right now. And though it is only in its freshman season, it’s safe to assume the series is headed towards greater places because of what it has already done. Its portrayal of the horrors in America have been done with such poignant accuracy, it’s astounding how the series doesn’t shy away from topics that are either glossed over or treated as taboo. In its first season’s final episode, “The Red Scare”, Timeless gave its viewers the opportunity to see the true horrors of the 50s while showcasing the growth that’s already taken place today.

(As mentioned last week for the penultimate episode, we’ll be ditching our usual format a for full episode review as it’s what a finale generally deserves.)

Sometimes, when a series has an ensemble cast, balancing becomes incredibly difficult — especially when the show is driven by its plot. But because Timeless creators have decided to allow the characters to drive the show, that balance is achieved seamlessly in every episode. And I loved what “The Red Scare” did with its characters for it illuminated the clear changes from the ones we met in the Pilot. At the top of that list is Garcia Flynn. (If we were sticking to the original format of these reviews, Goran Višnjić would be our most noteworthy performer of the week.) Višnjić gave Flynn a colossal amount of heart in “The Red Scare” and his portrayal of a father had me in tears. Flynn’s flashback with his family was absolutely gorgeous, and his daughter talking about the monsters was heart wrenching. In no way, shape, or form are Flynn’s actions okay, but it’s somewhat easy to understand him when you realize how terrible Rittenhouse is. (And here I was thinking they may actually be the good guys in a twist. Lol.) A father’s greatest responsibility is to protect his children, and it’s evident that Flynn will be ceaselessly tortured by the idea that he’s failed as the man of the house. He holds on to the belief that failed as a father and a husband, thereby, forcing him into a state of perpetual rage. The anguish and longing cobbled with the fury has governed his actions for so long, it’s almost second nature today, but in “The Red Scare” serenity momentarily came to him.

And that serenity followed Lucy’s kindness — the desire to help him because in order for an end to come, Flynn’s murderous rampage needed to be stopped. If they had more time, if Rittenhouse wasn’t at large and in control, something tells me that Flynn would’ve done what Wyatt tried to do. With Lucy’s help, they could have stopped a meeting to prevent the births instead of killing each member who took his family, but time required the latter. While it’s not something I would do and it’s not something I personally agree with, for Flynn, it works. And if they were stopped, who knows who else could have been spared because of the terrors that met those in Rittenhouse’s way. Višnjić’s desperate and sincere comment about praying to God was without a doubt one of the most gorgeous parts of this episode. And the amount of sheer pain he wore in his eyes all throughout the episode floored me. Lucy’s kindness has been a gift in everyone’s lives, and her choice to remain loving in spite of all that she’s seen exhibits noble character, and for Flynn, it served as great inspiration.

But apparently we can’t always have what we went because series must keep us on our toes and ruin the happy moments that make our hearts rejoice. When Agent Christopher came to capture Flynn, my heart shattered at the fact that Flynn would now feel betrayed. A duty is a duty, and while Denise’s choice to arrest him reveals her honor, it was still heart shattering — both Spencer and Višnjić wore despair gorgeously, but Višnjić’s fury was unquestionably what would leave a sting in all hearts. He trusted her and she, too is a woman of her word thereby, having it all backfire in their faces, forces them back to square one disenchanting the lovely goodbye that took place just moments ago. And perhaps, what makes all this so heartbreaking is the fact that throughout the episode, it’s safe to assume that there were no doubts about whether or not Flynn would hurt Lucy. He wouldn’t, Višnjić makes sure you can see the authenticity in his eyes when the possibility of teamwork arises. Flynn would bring no harm to her, and her choice to help him was something that genuinely brought him happiness for the first time in a very, very long time. The Garcia Flynn that gives Lucy her journal back is a completely different man than the one we met in the Pilot, and it’s a shame we were robbed of getting to know him for a little bit longer. But the reality is, I’m all here for Lucy gaining his trust back, a redemption arc, some apologies, and a bigger time machine to fit all four of them in the future.

(You can’t give us a team with such exceptional chemistry and not expect us to want them together all the time. I don’t doubt that it’s going to take some time to reach that point, but eventually, I’d love to see it because Flynn’s a wonderfully written, incredibly flawed character whose motives are always intriguing. Plus you can’t show us his enormous capacity to love and gentleness without giving it back to us in the future. I also need a hearty apology delivered to Rufus. This one needs to be number one.)

People lose people all the time, but where Rittenhouse is concerned, these characters deserve their loved ones back. Bottom line is, my heart ached for Flynn in “The Red Scare”, and I’m going to choose to stop talking about him now so this doesn’t turn into a novel.

On another note where gentleness is concerned, was anyone else resorted to tears because of Lucy’s relationship with her grandfather? Johnathan Tchaikovsky and Bruce Gray portraying young and old Ethan both had some incredibly fantastic scenes with Lucy — carrying the sweetness of a grandfather’s love from the moment they learned her identity. But the innate kindness as family members wasn’t the only thing that stood out in “The Red Scare”, but rather Ethan’s secret love affair as a closeted gay man in a time where they were constantly told they aren’t normal.

Lucy’s grandfather then tearfully explains to the team that though he loves wife and son dearly, he can’t let go of how he really feels prompting a sincere and heartfelt “there’s nothing wrong with you” from Lucy on their car ride. And the mention of shock therapy after the beatings he got as a kid was so heartbreaking — to be reminded of how much darker it was in the past is something that’s sometimes forgotten with the progress that has been made today. While adultery is wrong, Lucy’s comment showcased all the acceptance Ethan needed. One voice can make a difference. One person’s choice to love and accept can make a difference. And for Ethan, and the Time Team, it’d make all the difference in the world because it’d make it easier for Ethan to feel comfortable with them. Rittenhouse wouldn’t accept him, but the Time Team has, which would make his already difficult, oppressed life a little bit more easier. In a dark, cruel world, he’d remember that somewhere out there, he’s welcomed as he is. And upon learning that they’re from the future, his reaction regarding Lucy’s resemblance to his mother was absolutely gorgeous. Tchaikovsky illuminated so much love and light in a poignantly profound moment of shared happiness, and especially after what we learned in the end, Lucy’s grandfather is one of the only noble ones left.

After their kindness undoubtedly instills love in him, Ethan chooses to remain in Rittenhouse as a double agent in order to help protect the future his granddaughter would live in. So when Lucy visits him as an old man, that same gorgeous sincerity is a presence in a reunion that feels long overdue but simultaneously, not too long. And Ethan’s promise helped them put a number of Rittenhouse leaders behind bars taking back Mason Industries and allowing the team to go on one last mission to bring back Amy.

But bringing back Amy will be anything but easy after Lucy’s mother reveals that she’s Rittenhouse. Shocking, but expected, and not be that person, but good lord that woman was hard to trust. However, an actress like Susanna Thompson is great at playing characters with ulterior motives, and maybe having seen Arrow made it so that we’d be suspicious of her. But for me, the suspicion came after the understanding that she wasn’t supportive of Lucy’s dreams continuously manipulating her to follow in the footsteps she had planned for her instead. And that reveal wasn’t just jaw dropping, but
“grab some holy water” chill inducing and creepy. To reveal such a dark secret while embracing your daughter? Wow, what an amazing heart and a kind beautiful soul that Carol Preston has. But it also leaves us with a multitude of questions including things like: did Rittenhouse try to convince her to convert her husband but she failed? Does she remember Amy? Did she know that she’d be giving Lucy the journal that Flynn would later have? But to end the episode on this note was perfect, all while revealing that Emma has always been Rittenhouse’s mole, and she’s now in possession of the “Mother Ship”. Yikes.

“The Red Scare” was indication of the fact that dark times are ahead, starting from a bloodshot eye and ending in a vision to the past, putting a new twist onto Jiya’s character. Whatever happens, as long as Jiya’s safe, that’s all that matters. And I can’t wait to see what’s going on with her visions along with how exactly she was affected after being the fourth passenger in the lifeboat. But although it was difficult to see Jiya in the motionless then seizing state, watching Rufus in the bargaining state was a beautiful display of his adoration, and a fantastic display of Malcolm Barrett’s abilities as an actor. Barrett broke me in his vulnerable display of adoration showcasing all his fears in a single expression. When he tells her that she’s his every thought, you felt that sincerity, and you felt the adoration. That’s why when he starts screaming for her as she shook uncontrollably, you felt Rufus’ pain to a degree where all the declarations he made were then palpable.

On a show like Timeless, it is not always easy to trust people, but right now, it’s easy to be certain of the fact that Jiya and Rufus love each other. And when they were finally given the chance to profess that love, Barrett and Doumit were sweeter than ever in their exchange. Where darkness and terrible people surround them, they have each other to hold onto. And if there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that Rufus will not stop trying to protect her all while figuring out what the lifeboat did. There’s a lot to adore about Jiya and Rufus, but it’s so easy to see the childlike wonder in their relationship — the innocence and gorgeously moving moments that showcase just how deep their feelings run. Before anything else, they’re best friends, and that friendship shines through in every scene they share together.

When it comes to protecting each other, Wyatt and Lucy are on top of the game. A long, long time ago, in 1934, Lucy states that perhaps they should be open to the possibilities of what life will bring them. But just as they’re about to say goodbye, Wyatt quickly changes his mind about leaving. (Lucy must be a great hugger.) The two have been through a lot with one another, learning to trust and lean on someone in situations neither of them ever expected to be in. And the undeniable truth is that they’re a part of each other now.

Wyatt lost a lot of light in his life when Jessica died, but his friend with Lucy brought so much of it back into the picture. In the same way, Wyatt’s been Lucy’s best friend — the one person who’d remind her of her importance and capabilities just like Amy did. While neither of them can replace the ones they lost, they have essentially found one another in a time they’d need them most. And my favorite blossoming love stories generally tend to be the ones that instill changes effortlessly. Love is about growth, and the best growth takes place when two people accept one another for who they are while giving them the platform to continuously better themselves. In love, people evolve in shared happiness and darkness. And with everything that they’ve been through together, they’ve seen parts of each other that have very rarely stood out in their lives. In their quest towards saving history, they have been discovering that saving one another became an even greater priority, and in doing so, spiritually, physically, and mentally they’ve protected each other from harms way allowing them to find someone they could be vulnerable with.

And they have never been more vulnerable than they were before Connor Mason interrupted them. (You couldn’t wait like five more minutes to tell them they have three hours left?) Wyatt’s inability to say goodbye yet was all that was needed to illuminate the fact that there’s something more igniting between the two. Something deeper than the friendship they’ve fortified. There are a number of indications that someone means more than imagined, but there’s nothing quite as telling as longing. The small, incremental moments that have showcased just how drawn they are to one another. The moments where two people linger in each other’s arms or explore the possibilities of healing and growth as their eyes lock in an unyielding search for the treasures within. A profound, ephemeral moment, which Matt Lanter and Abigail Spencer brought to life gorgeously. And if there’s one thing that makes couples swoon worthy while keeping them riveting for seasons to come, it’s scene partners are able to project a thousand words in silence. Poetry at its finest, reading between the lines and searching for the stories within always makes for a breathtaking masterpiece. And this love story is only beginning.

Timeless has had one of the most solid first seasons I can remember. It’s taken an intriguing plot and filled it with profoundly moving characters with layers and layers of stories to tell. Stories, where in each one, they are the heroes. Stories that have kept us up into the late night hours thinking and analyzing. Timeless has shown us the darkest sides of history effortlessly reminding us of how fiercely we need to keep spreading love today. It has never shied away from reminding viewers of how terrifying and immoral life was for black people. It has never shied away from reminding viewers how unfairly women were treated. And because of the choice to keep the series as accurate as our reality is, it has made Timeless one of the more unique series in the science fiction category.

I’m more hopeful in a season two than I am of a cancellation because bubble shows generally tend to be given at least one more season to prove themselves. And if word gets out that we are indeed getting a second season, we must rally up all the troops for more viewers this time around. There’s still so much the series needs to explore in regards to time travel, fate vs. free will, Rittenhouse, and the gorgeous relationships that are thriving. Mason Industries may not be in control of the “Mother Ship”, but they’ve still got access to all the gadgets they need to stop what’s happening. And with everything that we’ve learned about Connor Mason, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had another ship hidden somewhere in anticipation to such events. Whatever it may be, with the brilliant story telling that took place this season, I don’t doubt for a second that season two will be even more thrilling.

Further Thoughts:

  • I still believe Jessica had some sort of ties to Rittenhouse and that we’re going to see her again. I can’t let go of this theory, friends. It’s just. Trust no one.
  • If Flynn had Lucy’s journal from the future, it’s interesting that there’s nothing about her mother in it. Could that version of Lucy had not known? Did she choose to keep it away from the journal? Did Flynn keep it from her? Do the journals contents change now that they’ve experienced all this? My only hope is that Lucy never joins Rittenhouse, but with the way her grandfather was so against it, something tells me she’ll follow in his footsteps. (Please, God. Please.)
  • I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the guest stars on this show are just as incredible as the main cast. And they’re each so intriguing, no part of this show ever feels like it’s lacking something.
  • Lucy’s hair and outfit was especially adorable this week. And I loved Jiya’s comment about them needing to change to match the time period. The button-fly jeans from the gap gotta go, Logan.
  • Bossy Know-It-All. Reckless Hothead. Just kiss already.
  • I couldn’t help but tear up when Lucy was describing how much she loved Amy and how the two of them were best friends. Sisters are so special, and I’m sure all of us, Lucy especially, need Amy to come back. You can feel her absent so much, and not for a single moment does Spencer let go of the heartbreak in Lucy’s eyes that originated from losing Amy.
  • Oh and Lucy’s ex-boo? Who think he’s Rittenhouse, too. I do.

What are your thoughts on this finale?

@GissaneSophia // @MGcircles

 

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