Image Source: NBC
Sweet clockblockers, our time together has wrapped up in a sad little bow but that’s okay. The best things in life don’t always last a lifetime, sometimes, the best things can be found in two seasons plus a movie. And Timeless was special from the very first jump to the last — it never once failed in evoking all sorts of emotions, and I suppose, in reality that’s the best kind of final episode. Do I wish certain things went differently? Yes, and I won’t go quietly about it, but in the end, I found myself filled with hope above all things engulfed with gratitude because this show gave me one of my favorite characters in existence (Lucy Preston), and one of the most exemplary showcases of friendships that series in this genre are often lacking in. “The Miracle of Christmas” wasn’t perfect, understandably so, but it was a beautiful finale meant to showcase the power of goodness above all things.
Timeless’ final episode reminded us of what the show’s often done a gorgeous job of representing — free will and the significance of our choices. The ongoing debates of fate vs. free will has easily been the reason I’d decided to write about this show in the first place, and in “The Miracle of Christmas” especially, it tackled those themes in a way that felt suitable for the holiday spirit remarkably. And I suppose, it’s only when I avidly choose to look at this way that I can understand why my least favorite part of the finale had to happen. Garcia Flynn has had one of the strongest character developments I’ve seen in a long time, and I was rooting for his happiness from the very beginning. I was rooting for him to find himself in the aftermath of defeating Rittenhouse and I was rooting for him to find a purpose in the world again despite the encompassing grief that had fueled his actions. There’s always a clear distinction between heroes and villains, and while the world of fiction benefits from multifaceted characters who are neither, in this case, Garcia Flynn’s place in the hero column and the acknowledgement matters.
There’s nothing I appreciate more every year than performances that make me want to ramble and scream about over rooftops. Performances that are so well done, words suddenly become nonexistent. And this year especially, the top performers were so fascinating, I couldn’t even choose as easily as I often do. I almost added more than I could write for because there were a far more than 10 of them I wanted to talk about.
For more end of the year reviews, check out our Top 10 Characters, 10 Relationships and 10 Episodes.
- Matthew Rhys
The Emmy winning performance of the year. (It gives me unbelievable pride and joy to say that, as if I know Rhys myself and he is some distant uncle of mine.) But truly. There’s been nothing quite like this year’s most intensely gripping performance that I’ve yet to find the words for. Phillip caught a bit of a break from the spy life this season, but that meant a lot more work for Rhys in order to show us sides of him that we’d not known in the last five years. And while Phillip was seemingly calmer, Rhys was actually showing us a more frantic angle, especially when it came down no longer understanding his wife or being able to converse with her. It was during the simplest, most quiet moments that Rhys was reminding us of just how much is at stake and just how fleeting this new life of his would be. But then the final few moments of the series happened and just when you think Rhys has probably outdone himself, the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for takes place, and the greatest mic drop in TV history occurs. The Americans excels in a number of ways, but its strongest suit has been the carefully nuanced performances, and although this was the scene we’ve long waited for, I don’t think any of us could’ve imagined the vulnerability it would’ve been filled with. Vulnerability we should’ve probably been prepared for, but at the end of the day, we could never — or rather, at least I couldn’t have. The sheer pain and utter shame Rhys projected while they “confessed” everything to Stan was nothing short of brilliant. The faint break as he states “I finally got caught” or the most sincere reveal throughout the confrontation, “You were my only friend in my, in my whole shitty life” shattered me. Finales in the espionage genre often have their actors go out with a bang, but with The Americans, the bang surprisingly doesn’t involve a gunshot, instead, “Start” concluded with a man and a woman on a bridge, in a country they can no longer call theirs, trying to remain hopeful. And hope is an emotion The Americans has had a special way of revealing. Rhys’ tensed jawline, the palpable dejection in his eyes, and the damaged, hollowed spirit that stood before us was the very paradigm of greatness. Matthew Rhys (And Keri Russell) have always spoken far more in silence than they have with words, and such robust silence can only be described with so few words, it demands to be felt. And it was.
Who lives. Who dies. Who tells your story?
Episode Summary | Time in History: Where didn’t we go is the question? What didn’t we do? Who didn’t we meet? Timeless’ explosive, remarkably bold two-hour finale did a number on our hearts and there are no words. (Seriously though, there are no words. I’ve been staring at this article for an hour now.) Both “The General” and “Chinatown” carried the weight of sincerity in an encompassing finale that explored raw human emotions beautifully. Timeless and its characters are a representation of its viewers, they’re terrorized, broken, privileged, hurting, loving, fearful, strong, and so much more. And if this two-part finale reminded us of anything, it’s that the world we live in is not only far more vast than we can imagine, but it was an acute ode to the fact that every human being’s story matters. We are made up of our beliefs, our fights, our journeys, our heartaches, and sometimes, our quiet solitude. It’s been one heck of a season with none of our characters in the same place as they begun and if that’s not superb character development through intricate storytelling, then I don’t know what is.
There’s a fight in all of us. There’s a fight in all of them. And to find that fight is to find ourselves, only we must be cautious that through every little change, we choose each other over and over again. The human race is dependent on kindness. It’s dependent on adoration. And it’s dependent on stories. As much as this is a homage to season two, a review of these episodes that aired, it’s also a plea for a renewal — it’s the choice to dissect why these stories matter. And no matter what this show’s future holds, this two-part finale left us with an extraordinary message — find your fight and run towards it. Don’t stop until you have it.
Choices. They matter. And I suppose, beer does, too.
Episode Summary | Time in History: A long time ago in a … just kidding, we didn’t actually time travel this week, well we did, but not in the traditional sense. We actually just brought young John F. Kennedy to the present with us — all the way from 1934! Yikes. But it’s still an adventure when Kennedy escapes from the bunkers, finds himself partying, and the Time Team needs to make sure they find him before Rittenhouse does. Flynn’s left behind to take care of the sleeper agent in 1934, and Jessica accompanies Wyatt and Lucy on their mission. Agent Christopher deals with her own little adventure in the hands of Carol Preston, and Rufus and Jiya coordinate things from the bunker.
“The Kennedy Curse” was yet another solid episode authenticating the fact that where there’s good company, hardships are bearable. It’s not only vital to confide in people, but it’s absolutely necessary to speak up about the things that are within us because there’s nothing more therapeutic than conversation. There’s nothing that strengthens people the way that honesty and vulnerability does — they’re traits of great importance that ultimately make for exceptional television, and thankfully, Timeless has got it covered. I know that perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at how great this season is so far, but I’m a big believer in TV’s terrible two — so kudos to Timeless writers for somehow making this season as great as the first, a genuine rarity in this verse. “The Kennedy Curse” took each of our characters on emotionally moving journeys allowing for their circumstances to be changed based off the choices they made in order to make things better and worthwhile. And all while trying to preserve history, because if Kennedy never became President, who knows what could’ve happened to America.
“Hollywoodland” | Timeless
And now that The Americans is officially back — Spring TV is blossoming exceptionally. (We’re just waiting patiently for the new season of New Girl!) We kicked off with a hugely impactful episode of Madam Secretary, a sweet showcase of marriage on When Calls the Heart, an incredible episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, an exceptional episode of Black-ish, a frustrating, but simultaneously intriguing episode of Riverdale, and a hilarious half hour of Superstore. A Series of Unfortunate Events made its second season debut and we’re definitely intrigued because the first four episodes will be covering my favorite books. But much like everyone and their mothers, we’re still buzzing about NBC’s Timeless.
Guess who’s back!? Back again …
Episode Summary | Time in History: It’s the 1940’s in Hollywood and Citizen Kane (Secret Code Name: RKO 281) is in development, except Rittenhouse sleeper agent, Calhoun (Teddy Sears), is missioned to take and deliver it to William Randolph Hearst in order to ensure that once a month, Rittenhouse is granted access to publish anything they want, no questions asked. Agent Christopher learns the truth about what’s going on with Jiya and insists that she a doctor. Wyatt and Lucy take their relationship to the next level, but it’s short lived because guess who’s back! Famous movie star Hedy Lamarr (Alyssa Sutherland) befriends our Time Team and Rufus inspires her to rightfully explore her expertise in technology.
When we go on and on about Timeless being the best thing on television right now, we aren’t exaggerating – not even a little bit, and “Hollywoodland” is tangible proof of that fact, a remarkably written episode by Matt Whitney. This is a show driven by its characters, and this week, its character drove one another towards a type of growth that’s beautifully present amongst two people who’ve effortlessly changed one another for the better. It happens in presence of love, whether platonic or romantic, the unification of people who are each other’s halves is often the very definition of a poetic masterpiece. And sometimes, poetry is tragic, it’s unexpected profoundly life altering tragedy. It aches and tears away at parts of the being that words cannot even begin to touch and the places where hope used to dwell, despair and darkness follows. But in the bleak process of said darkness, tremendous, unparalleled growth also happens, and the deepest, most potently heartfelt choices are then made.
Race cars and Darlington South Carolina discoveries.
Episode Summary | Time in History: The Time Team travels to 1955 Darlington, South Carolina following the mothership on a quest to stop the plans of their sleeper agent. We meet now renowned NASCAR driver Wendell Scott (Joseph Lee Anderson). It seems that Jiya sees glimpses into the future. Flynn could be extremely useful to the team if he’d just stop the sass for a moment, but at the same time, carry it on. Agent Christopher is 100% for the protection of her team. Wyatt’s past is as dark as some of us imagined. And Emma’s still as frustrating as ever, but not as wacky as Nicholas Keynes.
Timeless is a show driven heavily by its characters and it’s a show that spends each moment it has telling intriguing stories through them. And in “The Darlington 500”, we not only get to learn more about NASCAR racing legend Wendell Scott, but we’re given the chance to learn a little bit more about one of his biggest fans, our very own Wyatt Logan. “The Darlington 500” epitomized compassion gorgeously, it took our characters, and the guest stars through profound growth in moments of quiet, effortless intimacy reminding one another of the fact that they’re not alone. That’s perhaps the sweetest part of this episode, the showcase of just ardently they all care for one another, the great lengths they’re willing to go for one another, and the shared joy that’s a ceaseless presence when the entire time is together.
Episode Summary | Time in History: Oh, World War I, the war to end all wars … or begin them. We’re accompanied by mother/daughter duo Maria and Irène Curie who serve as a healthy example of what the bond should be like as opposed to what our heroine, Lucy’s dealing with. After the explosion, Mason Industries has been destroyed, the Time Team are on a desperate quest to get their girl back, and Rittenhouse is even more terrifying than ever. They later became roommates in a safe house that’s in desperate need of finer decor, and Lucy’s great-grandfather is brought to the present. On an incredibly vital note, Garcia Flynn was sorely missed.
Timeless is back and we’re complete again. We aren’t joking when we say that this is the best show on network television, and the only one we’re certain of won’t fall into the season two curse. A premiere episode as promising as this one is already a rarity amongst television and being able to write about it again is a treat of its own. “The War to End All Wars” was yet another deeply riveting episode, which dealt with the importance of free will and the choices people make allowing us to see the significant growth that our Time Team has been on, and the horrific ramifications that are bound to follow the actions of this episodes. This ride is going to be anything but easy, it’ll be anything but beautiful; however, we can be certain of one thing, and it’s that it’ll all be worth it in the end shaping them in ways nothing in their lives could have done before.
A character is only as good as the actor/actress who breathes life into them. The actor or actress who puts their blood, sweat, and tears into ensuring that we’re able to understand the deeper nuances, which make the character special. And these 10 performers weren’t difficult to single out this year as they made each of their characters unbelievably relatable, complex, and beautifully evocative.
(A special PSA, you will not see any performers, specifically Elizabeth Moss from The Handmaid’s Tale on this list because while I thought she was unbelievable, and definitely one of the strongest of the year, I couldn’t finish the show to properly write for it. And it’s because of the groundbreaking performances on that show that makes The Handmaid’s Tale too difficult for me personally to stomach. It makes it too real.) But do not fret, Heather over at TV Examined had a lot of amazing things to say.
Also, be sure to check out our Series of the Year | Stranger Things article, as the number one performances, characters, relationships, and moments are all featured there. Essentially, they deserved their own special tribute.
The roaring 20’s — the smell of adventure?
Episode Summary | Time in History: Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Charles Lindergh. Timeless knows what it’s doing with these guest stars — Brandan Barash, Tiffany Daniels, and Jesse Luken were outstanding. That said, in “The Lost Generation”, our heroes took a trip to the May 21, 1927: Paris, France once again following Flynn on his quest to destroy Rittenhouse. Only Wyatt was still in detention and replaced by Bam Bam — he tragically doesn’t make it back from the past though. (This is why we break the rules, buddy!) Agent Christopher is replaced and the team, now officially reunited with Wyatt, go rogue in order to fight Rittenhouse? Can we call them Rogue Four? No? Okay, that’s cool.
Timeless’ play on fate vs. free will has become the most enthralling part of the series layering the characters beautifully in ways only such a theme could. If Lucy comes from a long line of ancestors who were a part of Rittenhouse, does that mean she needs to join it? Is it truly her fate or could she make the choice to rewrite her supposed future? And in exploring this concept, the series ties each of the characters together in ways that feel incredibly organic. In Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms he states that, “the world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” And right now, our Time Team is at that broken place — stronger than they’ve ever been, but concurrently destroyed.