Well, if I wasn’t sure we needed a season three of Timeless before, I am now. As of this posting, the series that rose from the ashes last season has yet to be picked up for a third season, but damn, that finale leaves me with a lot of questions! Let’s dig right in with Part One: The General.
We start in South Carolina, as Emma pops back to the Civil War era, doing her moonlighting career as the best UberEats driver in the land by bringing a sleeper agent/Confederate General a burger and some helpful intel about the war. Namely a military history book about the entire Civil War. At first blush, this seems brilliant. Give him all the battles and the strategies used by the Union, BAM! War’s over, right? Except, I an’t help but think how all these battles would subsequently change once the men are lost and the Red outmaneuver them every time, but maybe the book changes with every change in history, much like we see in the present. It’s an interesting question we’ve yet to have answered. Time travel is tricky. On top of the burger and the book, Emma gives her comrade a tip about a coming Union raid and heads out. So this is gonna go well for America!
Back in 2018, Carol is feeling less and less secure in her position with Grandad Rittenhouse, and so decides to go super low by bringing Keynes to his daughter’s grave and remind him about how Rittenhouse is about blood and legacy and to tell him they don’t want peasants like Emma in the mix, what with her mud blood and lack of magic…shit. Wrong story. Carol plants the seeds of suspicion in Keynes about Emma’s loyalty and bringing him to see his dead kid’s grave is A+ manipulation.
Meanwhile in the bunker Christopher calls a meeting for the whole team, minus Flynn. I guess they still think he’s a bit of a loose cannon. It all makes sense, though, when Christopher tells the team that hey they found pictures of Jessica throughout her entire life on the Rittenhouse shit Wyatt got on the raid some weeks back. Everyone is understandably uneasy, but Wyatt defends Jessica, and shrugs it of when Mason pipes in with some good foreshadowing “You knew a Jessica, this isn’t the same one.” Wyatt also fails to mention Jessica’s not-dead brother when he’s asked if there is anything about her or her family to raise any red flags, and then when Christopher says it’s too dangerous for Jessica to stay in the bunker, he drops the baby bomb! Super considerate to just drop this on Lucy with no warning, too, considering they were starting something before his wife came back. Call me crazy, but I’d be pretty upset to learn this news in front of a bunch of people, but Lucy’s a better woman than I and keeps her cool.
Before anyone can get into anything, the alarm goes off, telling the team that they’re heading back to the Civil War. Rufus is super pumped to be going back, and Flynn is snarkily (kinda) supportive of Lucy’s historical chops when it’s revealed that Rufus knows a bit more about when they’re going than Lucy. Honestly, I love this touch, because though Lucy wrote a book on Lincoln, she doesn’t know about a crucial raid led by Harriet Tubman, and Rufus does. It’s an interesting bit of commentary on people only knowing the history deemed important to themselves, and how so much of the history we do know and are taught centers on white historical figures, sidelining Black people from their own liberation story. The team gets ready to go while Wyatt sulks to Jessica about people being mean to him. I mean, not really, but almost. He and Jessica talk about the baby and make some plans, and Jessica questions Wyatt’s weird new obsession with her brother.
They head to 1863, where Lucy tells Wyatt to quit whining about Christopher doing exactly what she (and we all, Wyatt included) should be doing: questioning the reasons behind Jessica’s return. I initially thought it was just lazy writing to have Jessica be back, but her return didn’t just cause a love triangle (or square, as it were). She has disrupted the entire team and poisoned the well. Everyone is keeping secrets, and Rittenhouse or not, that’s bad for the team. Once they get some clothes, Lucy, Rufus, Flynn, and Wyatt head out, but soon come upon a bunch of dead Union soldiers.
The exact regiment that was supposed to perform the raid that night. As they comfort a wounded man as he dies, someone from behind kills the soldier. That someone is Harriet Fucking Tubman, and if you don’t know who she is, I’m so sorry for you and please click the link. Harriet is taking no shit and, while she thinks they look familiar, will not hesitate to kill them all if need be. Rufus seeing a real life hero is so touching and lovely, as the team tells her they’re spies, and she explains that General Montgomery left with his men, but that won’t stop Harriet. The team offers their help and asks for some in return to find a Red Spy, and follow her to her safe house.
At the safe house, Lucy gives Flynn, and by extension us, some background about Tubman, when a boy comes with some information: He tells them there is a big meeting at the Willow Glen Plantation, and Tubman gets ready to free the slaves and go raiding. The team tries to slow her down because, without Montgomery’s men, all is lost, and when Harriet questions their motivations (and obsession over one spy), Lucy implores her to listen, and tells her the entire war will be lost if they don’t find this man. Tubman agrees to wait a bit and help with the spy. Flynn and Lucy head out to Port Royal to convince Montgomery to rejoin the fight, leaving a jealous Wyatt behind to get ready to infiltrate the Confederate shindig.
“Getting ready” seems to mean dressing up like Colonel Sanders and getting teased by Rufus. The two share a more serious moment, however, when Rufus tells Wyatt that he supports him, and hopes Wyatt is right about Jessica, but asks him to say something if anything about her and her family doesn’t add up. Wyatt gets defensive again, and says if she’s Rittenhouse, he’s done. He couldn’t handle losing her again, especially adding all the other implications of her using his love for her to gather intel and possibly sabotage the team. And just like that, I have some sympathy for Wyatt again. He’s still way in the doghouse, but finding his wife only to realize it might all be a façade has to be a tough truth to face. I’ve loved watching the friendship between these two develop, and I think it was such a smart move for Rufus to stay out of the love triangle/square but still support and love both his friends without taking sides. For all the drama, it’s refreshing to not have a giant dose of melodrama. They’re all adults and, frankly, have bigger shit to deal with.
After talking to Wyatt, Rufus has a moment with Tubman, and the kinship between the two is natural and lovely. He tells her he was born free, and she tells him about having visions of them. She tells him that God shows her the path, and unlike when he talked to Jiya about religion, Rufus seems to be listening. She tells him of her plans to raid, and when he asks if she’s scared, Tubman tells him that she has a right to two things in life: Liberty and Death and she means to have one, even if it means having the other, and fear isn’t about to stop her.
Meanwhile, Flynn and Lucy get to the Union camp and Lucy yells at Montgomery, who isn’t too thrilled about getting more of his men killed. He tries to put Lucy in her place, which is kinda hilarious since she’s this tiny thing, but Lucy tells him that the war is as good as lost if he doesn’t help Tubman. Do not fuck with Lucy.
Once at the plantation, Wyatt is adorably awkward and sticks out like a sore thumb as “Rhett Butler”, and Rufus goes undercover as a house slave while they search for the sleeper. It’s not hard, however, since he’s the one everyone is celebrating, what with his uncanny knowledge of all Union movements, and Wyatt finds Rufus to form a plan. Things change, however, when the alarm is raised as Tubman is caught running with the children. No biggie, though, since she just shoots the asshole and continues on. Meanwhile inside the house, we have some fun gunfighting, but 1863 hardware has got nothing on gun-obsessed modern America and its toys. Sleeper Agent takes a hostage, but that doesn’t seem to faze Rufus, who has the hella important book, which he throws in the fire. YAY Team! The agent runs off, only to be shot by Tubman, who has some backup in Montgomery, Flynn, and Lucy.
As the team gets ready to leave, Rufus laments that he can’t tell Tubman anything to make her impoverished life easier, and she gently informs him that he’s missing the point. The only thing she wants is to live free, and the rest won’t matter. Rufus asks again about her visions, and she tells him that they’re sometimes weird, for instance she saw the team as angels sent from Heaven, coming out of a metal ball. Rufus freaks a bit and the team heads home.
Now, while all of this is going down in 1863, back in 2018 Jiya demands that Mason take her to see Stephen Fischer, a former Mason Industries pilot and current mental ward patient. Mason tries to sidestep her, but Jiya is stubborn as fuck. Eventually Mason relents, and they head to the hospital. Fischer, after telling Mason he’s worse the Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan combined, asks Jiya if she’s seen the forbidden colors yet. Dude seems crazy as fuck, but some of the shit he says hits home with Jiya. He tells her that she needs to stop fighting the visions if she wants to see more, and that they don’t need a machine to time travel. Clearly he means being trapped in his own mind, but the other shit makes sense.
Once the team gets home, we learn the new history real quick and Flynn grates on Wyatt some more by congratulating him on his impending fatherhood. Awww, the friendship is blooming! Wyatt stomps off and grumps at Lucy for telling Flynn about his super secret preggo wife? I don’t know and frankly, don’t care. I’m pretty much done with Lyatt, to be honest. Lucy hugs him and Wyatt heads to his room, laughing and smiling with his wife. It almost seems normal until Jessica mentions that Christopher suggested leaving the bunker for the health of the baby. Wyatt kinda agrees, saying he’d “come help” when he could which, honestly I don’t even blame Jessica for being pissed about.
The discussion is tabled, and we see Rufus and Jiya talking a bit about faith. Rufus tells Jiya of Tubman’s visions, and Jiya finagles a blessing from Rufus to lean into her visions, which she does immediately after he leaves. The next morning Wyatt wakes up alone, and after searching the bunker, finds Jessica in the middle of kidnapping Jiya AND stealing the Lifeboat because *gasp* Jessica is Rittenhouse.
Wow, so there was a series discussed at some point talking about “what if the South won the war?” and while (as a history nerd who loves alternate histories a la Man in the High Castle), I find the premise appealing, as a human being, I simply cannot abide by it. This episode reminds me why. I have no interest in watching people in bondage in general, but more so on the basis of skin color, and seeing Rufus once again faced with what the Black people before him went through and what they were willing to do to achieve freedom simply reinforces that. In my article about why Timeless deserves a renewal, one of the reasons why was because it holds a mirror up to ourselves, and I think that was masterfully done when Lucy at first couldn’t think of anything significant about the date they were going to, but Rufus and Mason both knew more about the battle (and Tubman) than she was able to immediately think up. She knew the bullet points, but they knew the details. As far as the team goes: Wyatt has his head squarely up his own ass, and frankly, Christopher has been way too lenient on him throughout this. Jessica must have had the most basic vetting in history and no one questioned her reappearance enough to…. I don’t know… protect information?
Okay, with part one of the finale down. Ready to head to Chinatown??
Whew! Okay, here we go! Last time on Timeless: The Team saved the Union, but another one was broken when Wyatt’s obviously Rittenhouse wife kidnapped Jiya and stole the Lifeboat!
Once everyone in the bunker realizes what happened, all Hell rains down upon Wyatt (rightfully). Lucy defends him at first, until she learns that he had suspicions about Jessica’s motives due to her brother’s miraculous leukemia recovery and didn’t tell anyone. Rufus is pissed because Wyatt lied and now Jiya is missing, everyone else is pissed because you’d think a soldier would understand team before self, and Flynn is pissed that no one told him that Rittenhouse has a shitload of pictures of Jessica. Wyatt tries to defend himself, saying he wanted to figure it out himself, and wouldn’t everyone else do the same thing?? After everyone avoids eye contact with him, Flynn is told that they didn’t tell him about Jessica because they thought he’d kill her which….well he wouldn’t be wrong. Wyatt doesn’t appreciate Flynn pointing this out, however, and the two start to fight. Lucy tries to break them up, and Wyatt gives her an elbow to the mouth for her trouble. Awesome.
Speaking of Awesome, Jiya is at Rittenhouse HQ, where Carol offers her a pill, and gets grumpy when Jiay refuses. Because when you’re kidnapped, taking drugs should be the first thing you want to do. Jiya tries to find an ally in Jessica, but she is firmly on Team Rittenhouse. Carol forces the pill down Jiya’s throat and heads out. Keynes is super excited to have the Lifeboat now, and he, Carol, and Jessica are chatting about world domination (and Lucy’s shitty taste in men, lol) when Emma pops in. She’s not sure why Jiya is still alive, but Carol reassures her that it’s only “in case” something happens to Emma, so they have another pilot. Cat fights are the fucking best fights. It’s clear Emma is being phased out because she’s not “blood” like Carol, Keynes, and his kid. Family absolutely ends in blood at Rittenhouse. While all this shit is going down, Jiya’s guard hears a thump and goes to check on her. He’s bitching about having to pick her up off the floor when Jiya wakes up and chokes the fucker with her sheet! Jiya, still drugged as fuck, finds her way to the Lifeboat, and jumps, with Emma shooting at her the whole time. Jiya is a fucking badass.
Things are more low-key at the bunker, as Wyatt tries to make amends. He apologizes to Rufus, who tells it like it is. Rufus doesn’t want an apology. He wants Wyatt to fix it. He wants Wyatt to get his head out of his own ass long enough to realize that there are other people in this bunker aside from him, Jessica, Lucy, and their stupid fucking drama, and if Jiya is lost, he doesn’t think he’ll forgive his friend. I love Rufus.
Soon after, the alarms sound, telling the team that the Lifeboat is back online. All the things happen, except when they ship is supposed to show up, nothing happens. Jiya is lost in time. Mason has hope that she escaped and was trying to get back, so the team decides to scour through anything that might be significant to Jiya, while running face recognition software to find her face or name in literally all of time. It’s a lot of work. Thankfully, Jiya is smart as fuck and not only makes sure she gets into a book Lucy would know (she wrote it, after all), but writes a message in fucking Klingon for them to find. The message is simple: coordinates and “Don’t Come.” Well, there’s no way anyone is listening to the last bit of the message, and the team heads out to find the Lifeboat which has somehow gone 130 years unnoticed.
Once they get the now super old time machine back in working order, Rufus, Lucy,
Flynn, and Wyatt head out to get Jiya, Rufus asks Flynn to come since they’ll need the muscle, and Jiya is worth two trips
The team lands in 1888, and start to search San Francisco’s Chinatown for the photography studio in Jiya’s portrait. Lucy tells the team (and us) about how the Chinese are forced to live in a tiny space, and ignored by white society unless it’s for whoring, drinking, or gambling, and eventually they find the studio. Sadly, they don’t have as much luck finding Jiya, since the little girl they talk to tells them not only does she not remember the woman in the photo, but that the photo itself was taken three years prior. Oh shit.
The kid’s shifty behavior makes more sense when you see that Emma, Jessica, Carol, and Keynes are all behind the curtain, so to speak, holding guns on the girl and her dad. The girl gives Wyatt and Flynn a tiny signal, but not small enough as a frustrated Emma shoots Carol twice in the chest, and flat out kills Keynes. Who says you need to work your way up? Emma is gonna shoot that glass ceiling!
Flynn and Wyatt go after Emma and Jessica and whaddaya know, they split up! Lucy sees her mortally wounded mother and goes to comfort her, only to hear Carol tell her that she wishes she’d told Lucy about her role sooner so Lucy could grab her rightful place in Rittenhouse. Sweet last words, Mom. Carol quick apologizes for getting rid of Amy and tells Lucy her dying wish is for her to take over Rittenhouse, and then she dies and, much like Lucy, I can’t summon up a tear for her. Once Carol dies, the little girl tells Lucy, who gave the girl and her father her gold locket as payment for the whole “murder in the shop” thing, that Jiya is working in a saloon nearby, and that she was told specifically to not tell Rufus where Jiya was. She says the only reason she’s telling now is because Emma is trying to kill Jiya. Rufus heads to the saloon while Lucy waits for Flynn and Wyatt to return.
Speaking of Wyatt, not trusting that Flynn wouldn’t kill his baby mama, Wyatt goes after Jessica himself, and when he finds her, begs her to come home with him. She tells Wyatt that Rittenhouse is her family, and that they raised her, as well as saving her brother’s life. Wyatt confirms that she’s still knocked up with his kid, but that isn’t enough to convince Jessica to leave her “family.” Color me SHOCKED.
Rufus shows up at the Bison Horn Saloon to see a badass Jiya breaking bones and taking no shit. Their reunion is sweet for about a second before Jiya yells at him for coming after her. She tells him that this is where and when he dies in her vision, and that, no matter what she does, he is always killed. Rufus doesn’t care, but Jiya refuses to leave, which is a hiccup.
Meanwhile, Lucy is alone mourning her previous life when Flynn returns. After he assured her that he couldn’t kill Wyatt even if he wanted to (remember that Flynn has future knowledge), Lucy tells him what her mother told her. Flynn tells her that it’s Wyatt’s fault for lying about Jessica, and when confronted with the same situation, Flynn tells Lucy that he doesn’t give a damn about Wyatt. That’s not why he’s here. Lucy asks him why, and Flynn looks like he’s about to tell some stories before Wyatt shows up, pissy that the two of them are getting so close.
Back at Bison Horn, Jiya tries and fails to convince Rufus that she’s happy with her new life, and when everyone else shows up, flat out refuses to leave. She’s not willing to risk Rufus’s life, and not even a rousing speech from Lucy will sway her. Doesn’t much matter, though, since Emma and Jessica show up. Emma’s running shit at Rittenhouse now, and she’s not taking anyone’s shit.
Let’s take a quick break to peek in on 2018, shall we? Christopher knits poorly to deal with her anxiety while the team is away, and Mason tells her that in some ways, he prefers his previous life, in which he didn’t spend any time worrying about the people he loves. It’s the blossoming of found family, which is a long-running theme in Kripke’s works.
Flynn and Wyatt call a temporary truce to get everyone else to safety, and we have another gun fight on our hands! The two work surprisingly well together, even if Wyatt won’t let Flynn shoot Jessica, and the team gets to safety, bucking Jiya’s vision of Rufus dying. They have a moment, but we got shit to do and the team heads outside.
Outside doesn’t seem like a great idea, however, since Emma is waiting for them, and quickly shoots Flynn in the arm and Rufus in a much more fatal place. Rufus dies in Wyatt and Jiya’s arms while Lucy runs after Emma, and Flynn runs after Lucy. Okay. I’m not here to see my cinnamon roll die. Kudos to the writers for letting us think he was safe when he wasn’t stabbed in the gut, but holy shit that scene hurt. Rufus is dead, guys. Fuck that.
Lucy catches up with Emma and can’t kill her. Not for any weakness or morality reasons, but simply because she’s out of bullets. The two fight and Emma lets loose some of her jealousy and insecurities about Lucy’s “princess” life. Nevermind that now Lucy has lost her sister, her mother, the idea of her father, and Rufus. Emma has a grudge against hereditary rule. The two fight, and Emma gets the best of Lucy before Flynn shows up, saving his historian and scaring Emma off. Lucy keeps shooting, and when she’s out of bullets, collapses in Flynn’s arms. She’s at her lowest, most vulnerable point, and leans on him for comfort. And my heart shatters.
The Team comes home, and the joy of seeing Jiya back is soon replaced with anguish and anger when it’s revealed that Rufus died. Jiya is pissed at everyone for not listening to her, and I don’t think Mason could be in more pain if his own son had died. Eventually the two find comfort with each other as they mourn the man they both love, while Wyatt finds Lucy.
He tells Lucy that it’s his fault Rufus is dead and everything between them is so messed up. Lucy tells him that yeah, it’s his fault their relationship is fucked, but Rufus isn’t on him. Wyatt got Jiya home, and that’s really all Rufus cared about. Wyatt tells Lucy he loves her, and when she doesn’t answer he lets her off the hook. Everyone is heartbroken. Flynn sees them talking and walks away, only to hear the sound of the Lifeboat approaching.
Before we know it, another upgraded Lifeboat shows up, and Future Lucy and Future Wyatt climb out, asking if everyone is ready to save Rufus.
Holy. Shit. Okay, so I’m pissed that Rufus dies, but honestly, it was done in an unexpected way (which is saying something when his death was presaged all season) that I can see how it makes sense. I need another season of this show to see how the new 2018/future meshed team will work together, and frankly, I’m living for all the ship fodder. You guys. They can go back in their own timelines now!! We could learn more about how Flynn and Lucy met!! We can see what shit may have been Rittenhouse and may have been Time Team Part Deux this whole time!! This opens up so many possibilities and storylines and drama, and I’M HERE FOR ALL OF IT.