Timeless: Atomic City

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Okay, I’m going to need some Bigger Picture changes happening here, Timeless. So far the only things we see as any result of the timeline disruptions (and there were some BIG ones) affect Lucy and her life alone. This is where we open this week’s episode, “Atomic City”: Lucy is hanging out with Rando Fiance Man, learning about her life here and how he is a part of it (who would’ve predicted she’d ever be happy to have Mason calling her into work?). Lucy’s life changed drastically after the Hindenburg disaster didn’t occur, but that’s it. There were no big changes in the world (that we know of) and no immediate consequences for anyone else in our main ensemble.
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This is where this show’s premise irks me a little, and where I think Timeless is potentially missing some really interesting stories and moral questions. The original Hindenburg disaster killed 36 people in 1936. Thirty-five of those people survived in this timeline (the second death in the new timeline, remember, was Flynn’s henchman). The ripple effect of this many people, fated to die but still living, would be astronomical. The world would look very different. The show likes to poke at this idea without ever actually committing to it or exploring it any more deeply. It makes it very frustrating to watch, and I totally understand why Wyatt, Flynn, and Rufus don’t give a shit about messing with the past. There are no stakes for them. And if there are no stakes for them, how can there be for us?

So this week the trio heads to 1962 Las Vegas, also known as “Atomic City” because there was nuclear testing in the desert back then, and who needs fireworks when you have mushroom clouds? They’re heading back, though, because John F. Kennedy and the Rat Pack will be there, along with some pretty powerful mobsters. I won’t lie, I’d love to check out Vegas in that era. Flynn has gone back with Anthony (Matt Frewer). If you weren’t sure who Anthony was at first, you’re not alone. He was the man Flynn kidnapped in the pilot. Only, it’s possible he wasn’t kidnapped at all. That is what Mason thinks and what Rufus intends to find out after their Super Secret Rittenhouse Meeting.

So, off they go, and this is the first we learn that Rufus has some control over where they land (thank you!). They head to the casinos, and after some Back To The Future jokes and bickering between Wyatt and Lucy, Rufus gets them all wait staff uniforms bc “no one sees him here.” As a side note, I understand and appreciate the “no sugarcoating history” the show is trying to do, but this is the third episode and every single one has had Rufus talking about racism in the era to which they travel. By “telling” rather than “showing” (as in the pilot episode, with the “good old boy” cops) Timeless runs the risk of making Rufus nothing more than a running commentary, and he deserves more than that. Rufus is an interesting character beyond his current function as the racism pointer outer, and I’d hate to not see him develop beyond this.

After taking in the Rat Pack (I swear I’d abuse that machine so much, going all over history to see icons of the past), Wyatt decides the best course of action is to simply kill Flynn. Makes sense. When Flynn shows up in a waiter uniform, Wyatt heads for him while Rufus finds the kidnapped Anthony chillin’ by himself at the bar. It doesn’t seem that he’s been kidnapped at all, what with him not being supervised or anything, but Anthony cares about Rufus and wants him safe, so he warns him off and mumbles something about a “Christy Pitt”. Now, earlier in the episode we saw a woman in bed with none other than Jack Kennedy himself, and we saw Flynn take pictures of them together. So, we’re back to the chase between Wyatt and Flynn. Flynn grabs JFK’s mistress from the ballroom, Wyatt goes after them and the two of them fight. Flynn gets away and we find out that the mistress is Judith Campbell. Our team tries to convince her that they are cops and want to help her. Now, Judith is the go-between between between JFK and the mob. While our merry band of time travelers are chatting about this, Judith tries to escape out the bathroom window. She is caught and confesses to them that she’s being blackmailed. She isn’t sure what Flynn wants, but he has the pictures that could destroy both her and the president.

 

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Meanwhile, Flynn is pissed and wants to kill Rufus (How fucking DARE he want to kill my muffin?). I mean, it makes sense to try to take him out because he’s the pilot, but no, Flynn. Kindly back the fuck off. Thankfully, Anthony won’t let him. We finally have some idea of Flynn’s objective, too. He wants to wipe Rittenhouse from history and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Judith opens the door to the “Wyatt/Lucy” ship, which, of course. Lucy is fascinated by Judith and they have a nice moment together. “You ever wake up on day and not recognize your own life?” Judith’s question is a little too on the nose for me, but hey, what can you do? I’d also like to take a moment here and give kudos to Lucy and the show for not slut shaming Judith. She was completely expecting it, and I was glad to see it not even occur to Lucy to denigrate her.

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Credit: http://wellwhataboutme.tumblr.com/

Now that Wyatt knows Anthony isn’t a hostage, he gets added to the “List of People Wyatt Wants Dead”, right next to Flynn. The Time Travel Trio decides to use Judith as bait, and off they go, over Lucy’s objections. Again we have a fight between Wyatt and Lucy over changing history, but this time he wins. He takes Judith back to her hotel and waits out Flynn. Flynn takes the bait and goes after her, while Rufus and Lucy try to figure out just who the hell Christy Pitt is.

Judith knocks out Wyatt and willingly goes with Flynn, we’re not sure where yet, but it can’t be anywhere good. Scratch one off for blackmail and your kidnapper being a dick. Judith takes Flynn to a military base, where she knows a General (of course) and rifles through his desk while he’s off to get some booze, snagging a keyring. She trades the keys with Flynn for the pictures and the negatives. Flynn has one more errand to run before he takes Judith home.

At the hotel, Wyatt tries to pull a Back To The Future 2 and sends his wife a telegram for 2012. Lucy catches him, but doesn’t stop it. She understands that he wants his wife back, and they make up (for now). Good timing, too, because Rufus is freaking the fuck out. Christy Pitt isn’t a person, it’s rare slang used for the plutonium core of an atomic bomb, named after physicist Robert Christy. So… shit. This could be a problem. They steal a car and head after Flynn. Nothing like playing chicken with uranium to spice up the night, amiright?

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Wyatt shoots at Flynn, but misses the mark, while Rufus tries to convince Anthony that it’s not too late to do the right thing. Anthony hands Rufus the case containing the plutonium core he stole and leaves with Flynn. Wyatt tries to shoot Anthony but Rufus convinces him not to, even standing between Wyatt and the retreating Anthony. Now our time travelers head home, but not before they realize that Anthony double crossed them and they don’t actually have the nuke: Flynn does. That bodes well.

So they get back and YAY! The timeline was preserved! There is that pesky little bit where Team Flynn has gone nuclear, but as Rufus put it “At least we’re finally starting to gel as a team.” Rufus is a treasure. Best line of the night.

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It’s decided that now that Anthony isn’t a victim, he can be eliminated, much to Rufus’ dismay. He needs to know why this is happening, and why Anthony did this. And he seems to be the only person asking that question. Chalk up one more point for Rufus being my fave. “Are you at all curious about why this is happening…without the ‘why’ how can we be sure we’re on the right side of things?” Fuck yeah, my precious cupcake! Seriously, Rufus is my hero.

Mason wants Jiya to find the mothership in the present. After some digging, Jiya finds where they are, which is right where they were, pretty much. Flynn and Anthony are in the middle of the desert, digging up the nuke they buried back in 1962. Glad Flynn isn’t keen on seeing what happens when you pull plutonium through time.

 

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Then, after a long ass day, Lucy decides that she’s going to leave the faux fiance and hang with her mom. Probably a good choice.  Dude is unrealistically understanding, which makes him seem shadier to me. We’ll see how that goes.

What are you thinking about Atomic City? Do you like the smaller storyline, history wise? Or do you want to see more common events? Do you think there should be more Big Picture changes, or are you liking the fact that we only see them as they affect Lucy?

Clocks:

 

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