Television / Timeless

Timeless Episode 2: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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Last week, Timeless made its premiere on NBC with the massive Hindenburg disaster, just not with the outcome we all remember from our history books. Let’s recap what has changed: Only TWO people died, rather than 36. Lucy’s mom isn’t sick. Lucy is engaged. Her sister no longer exists. These are all pretty small changes in the grand scheme of things, but they have a profound impact on Lucy.

We pick up right where we left off last week, with Lucy getting called back to Mason Corp. to take the Lifeboat out. Flynn has hopped back in time and she needs to go back with Wyatt and Rufus to 4/14/1865, the day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lucy isn’t exactly keen on going back in time again what with having just lost her sister and all, but there isn’t time to mourn. One interesting tidbit here is that the locket Lucy wore on the Lifeboat still has a picture of Amy in it, so it seems that the Lifeboat is somehow outside of time. Lucy goes to get dressed (I think my favorite part of this show so far is the wardrobe), and while she is doing so, Rufus asks Mason what the hell Rittenhouse wants with all these recordings of Lucy and Wyatt. Uh oh… Anyway, they all hop into the Lifeboat and back in time they go! One thing that makes me very curious here, though, is this: How do they know where they’re going to land? Is there a stable point? Have they just lucked out so far and not landed on people or in the middle of the street? These questions will keep you up at night.

As our trio lands in the woods and watches the end of the Civil War, Flynn meets up with John Wilkes Booth and offers to help him with his plan to kill Lincoln. The next day Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt head to Ford’s Theatre to catch up to Booth and to follow him in their effort to catch and stop Flynn. Rufus once again waits outside while Wyatt and Lucy go to find where Booth will pick up his mail, and while he’s out and about, he runs into some black soldiers. It’s a bittersweet moment for him, seeing them so hopeful and knowing the long road still ahead for them and the generations to follow. They ask him to write notices for them in the paper so they can find their families, and Rufus makes a smartass comment, and gets himself run off. Rufus isn’t great at making friends.

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Meanwhile, Lucy meets Robert Todd Lincoln while she’s waiting for Booth at the theater. Robert Lincoln is really cute and charming and nice, and Lucy is awkward and adorable. Not gonna lie, I kinda hopped onto this mini-ship and want Lucy to just stay then and there and marry him and make lots of little Lincoln babies. Alas, it’s not to be. Robert is there to give his and General Grant’s regrets for not being able to make it to the show. Booth pops in for his mail then, and it goes from “Wow cute boy” awkward to “Wow you’re going to kill cute boy’s dad and I can’t stop you” awkward pretty quickly and they all leave.

While our time travelers follow Booth from the theater, an interesting and not uncommon hypothetical argument begins. If you had the chance to save Lincoln, would you? Should you? The only difference here is that it’s not hypothetical. Wyatt and Rufus want to kill Booth now and save Lincoln, and Lucy argues that they can’t do it, it would change the entire world. It’s an interesting debate, and I can’t help but side a bit with Rufus on this one. Just because it’s what you know, doesn’t mean it’s right. Put me in Team Save Abe. The problem with having these in-depth talks is that you stop paying attention to your surroundings, which is what happens to these three. Flynn sees them at the same time they see him, shots are fired (with a lot of modern guns in the mix) and Wyatt takes one to the hip. Oops!

While Rufus digs out the bullet, Lucy has an epiphany, believing she has figured out why Flynn is here and why he brought seven hundred million guns. We know from history that the original conspiracy wasn’t to just kill Lincoln, but also Vice President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, and General Grant, essentially destroying order of Presidential succession and any hope of a unified America. Lucy thinks that is what Flynn wants to make sure happens, so she leaves Wyatt and Rufus and heads off to make sure Grant gets on the train and leaves town.

When she gets to the station, the train ain’t moving. Seems it’s broken, according to what Robert Lincoln tells her when they bump into each other. It’s cute. He asks her to see the play with him that night (Since he and Grant will be going, after all). Lucy is still awkward and I still ship them so hard. (Lubert? Rocy? Terrible ship names, but shhh. Let me have this.) Lucy accepts the invitation because he’s pretty hot and she has eyes. Or because she thinks this is her best chance to save Grant, even if she can’t save the President. As she is leaving the station to return to her hotel, Flynn finds her again. He tells her to stay out of his way, that he’s not trying to destroy America, he’s trying to save it; and one day Lucy is going to help him. Lucy tells him that no one has heard of this Rittenhouse person (as if they would just out and out tell you if they had??) and Flynn is as exasperated by her naivete as I am when he tells her it’s not a “him” but a “them.” I’m not really sure how much I’m enjoying this “Shady Organization” plot point, but I’ll let it play out before I decide whether I love, hate, or “meh” it. I feel like chasing someone through time is a pretty interesting concept as is; you don’t need to spice it up with convoluted storylines.

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But I digress. We’re back in the hotel room, where Lucy has come bearing gifts: Guns. The plan is that she will save Grant, Wyatt will save Seward, and Rufus will save Johnson. They rehash their argument about Lincoln, which brings up the debate (which i imagine will be a recurring one) over Fate vs Free Will and then we’re off to the theater!!

So while Wyatt and Rufus are saving Johnson and Seward, Lucy is very anxiously sitting in the box seats of Ford’s Theatre. I guess it’s understandable since she is waiting to watch her idol be murdered. Lucy spills water on Grant in the hopes that he’ll leave and not return until Booth has come and gone. Meanwhile, Flynn stops Booth and once again tries to convince him to take Flynn’s modern gun, which can fire 17 bullets, rather than the one bullet Booth’s gun can fire. Booth, being the dandy little asshole he is, again refuses because he likes the “showmanship” of his Derringer. This time Flynn isn’t taking any of his shit and punches Booth, knocking him out. You know what they say: “Want something done right” and all.

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Lucy’s plan backfires, however, and Grant returns to see a hale and hearty Abe watching the play. Moments later, Flynn bursts through the door, and is genuinely shocked to see Lucy there. Flynn shoots Lincoln, but Lucy is able to stop him from killing Grant as well, and Flynn makes his escape. While giving her testimony to the police, she makes sure to mention Booth’s name as a conspirator, and Rufus makes sure to tell the soldiers he met earlier to go North, not South. When they get back to the present, Rufus tells Mason he doesn’t want to record Lucy and Wyatt anymore, and Mason basically says tough shit. Also we meet Lucy’s fiance, who is not her boyfriend/boss from before, and if that feels like an afterthought to you, well… you’re not alone.

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SO WHAT’S CHANGED?

Well, Booth would be pissed. After the time travelers’ involvement, history now says that an “unknown gunman” shot Lincoln that night, and Booth is only mentioned as a co-conspirator. No “Sic Semper Tyrannis!!” moment for him. Damn. At least he still got caught and killed, so I guess that’s somethin’. Jiya, the technician Rufus had a crush on and who offered to help Lucy find out what happened to her sister, found out that the reason Amy doesn’t exist is that her parents never met. Lucy’s dad instead married a descendant of someone who was supposed to die on the Hindenburg but didn’t. It takes a moment, but Lucy figures out the obvious: She’s not her father’s daughter. If he and her mother never met, then who is Lucy’s real father?

So right now we have for Big Story Arcs: The journal Flynn carries around, Rittenhouse, and “Who is Lucy’s daddy”?

My biggest concern with this show is that it’s going to take itself too seriously or become overstuffed with big storylines. There is a lot of real talent here both behind scenes and in front of the camera, so it should hopefully be a fun ride! What did you think about The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Should they have tried to stop it? Is Rufus right that just because it’s history it shouldn’t be changed?

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