Well, it finally (maybe) happened. The Time Team jumped one last time.
Timeless really did go all out for its fans in Thursday’s two-hour series finale/Christmas special. It was bittersweet and tied everything up fairly neatly, while also leaving the door open for a possible reboot or continuation, which I suppose makes sense. This is a show that has proven time and again that we shouldn’t count it out.
The episode starts with a dirty Future Lucy giving us our “previously on” and picks up right where we left off: The Time Team Minus Rufus staring at Future Wyatt’s beard. Future Lucy gives them her journal to help them get Rufus back, but can’t stay to explain anything since hopping into her own timeline pretty much causes head explosions. They also deal with the pesky little roadblock to Lyatt by Beard Man telling his younger, dumber self that of course Jessica isn’t preggers! I mean, I know they only have so much time, but this felt like a cheat.
Lucy and Wyatt have an awkward “Sorry your evil-organization-allied-wife lied about the baby and oh look Lucy kissed Flynn in the journal” moment while the rest of the team worries that Future Lucy died after her trip. Flynn assures them that she came to see him in Sao Paulo, so all’s good. While all this is going on, Jiya is nerdgasming over the upgraded Lifeboat while Lucy is reading ‘bout a whole other ‘gasming she was doing with Flynn on the Titanic. I could swear I read a fic like that.
Before they can save Rufus and the world, the alarm goes off and Christopher tells them to get their ass to the Gold Rush, since their mission is to stop Rittenhouse. One thing I’ve never quite gotten in this series is the rushing sense of urgency. I mean… you have a time machine. You can literally never be late. Anyway, the team grudgingly goes without Rufus, which is fine, by the way, since the fancy new Lifeboat has autopilot!! I mean, do we even really need to save Rufus now? I kid, I kid.
You know who doesn’t kid about killing Rufus and all his friends? Emma. She’s taken over Rittenhouse and decreed that the Bloodlines and purity bullshit is done. No more hereditary Ritten Rules, and to make her point extra clear, she shoots everyone who doesn’t want in on her game. No more is Rittenhouse about shaping history for their benefit. Now this once-massive organization is about one thing: Killing those meddling time travelers! Also, Christmas.
Back in 1848, Lucy has a 19th century Feminist moment by calling out some catcallers, and the team learns that Emma and Jessica were here earlier plastering up “Wanted” posters all over town. Flynn and Lucy talk about the Titanic sized elephant in the prairie since Lucy asked why he never said anything. Flynn tells her he didn’t really believe it, what with all the “trying to kill you and your friends” thing, and that the affair ended badly, since Lucy’s heart was never in it. Oh, also they meet the real life Zorro (Joaquin Murrieta)! They get off to a rough start, what with Joaquin and his pals ready to kill them for stealing his horses. That doesn’t work so well when it’s pointed out that the horses were already stolen. Lucy explains their mission to save their friend and that, along with the promise of gold, inspires an uneasy alliance.
Later that night, Joaquin and Flynn bond over their families being slaughtered, when Flynn goes all Confucius on the outlaw and warns him of the danger and pain of revenge. Meanwhile at the campfire, Wyatt announces that bringing Jessica back is actually what resulted in Rufus’s death, and in order for him to live, Jessica has to be taken out of the timeline. Wyatt decides he’s going to go back and kill her, which causes a bit of a kerfuffle since, ya know, same timelines. Eventually, Flynn points out that if everyone dies trying to save Rufus/Kill Jessica, no one will be around to save the rest of the world which is tough to argue with.
Quick peek at the Rittenhouse ladies: Jessica got some money from a dicky sleeper agent, and now Emma is heading to 1950s Korea to “buy” another sleeper. All caught up there!
Back with the Time Team, Lucy wakes up to see Flynn gone and Wyatt explains that he went to scout the area when, in reality, Flynn took the Lifeboat to 2012. Alone. The next morning when they take Joaquin to pan for gold, Flynn still isn’t here and the team gets caught by miners. Damn “Wanted” posters.
Meanwhile in the bunker, Denise and Connor argue about Rufus vs the World while Denise hangs Christmas lights. Denise says they have to destroy the machines when Connor points out that the technology already exists and it’d be dumb to not have one should they need it in the future. Look at Connor being all smart and altruistic.
Flynn, in the meantime is in 2012, killing Rittenhouse bodyguards and lying in wait for Jessica (who is also a Rittenhouse agent in this timeline). We see Wyatt and Jessica’s fight, and Wyatt driving off. Flynn fights Jessica through the pain of being in his own timeline and eventually gets the upper hand, killing her.
The team is all tied up and wondering where Flynn is, when outside there arose such a clatter; they thought Flynn was there to solve the matter!
I’m sorry. All the Christmas puns and one-liners got to me.
But it’s not Flynn, it’s RUFUS!! With Jessica out of the timeline, my cupcake is back! Wyatt and Lucy realize that this means Flynn must have taken the Lifeboat and killed Jessica. Wyatt has time for one salty remark about Lucy “ending up with” Flynn and after assuring his fragile male ego and Wyatt heads out, Lucy reads a letter in her journal. It’s from Flynn and I would tell you what it said, but I was very busy crying. Basically, Flynn sent the lifeboat back without him and went to see his family one last time before dying. In his letter he wishes Lucy a good and happy life. He says it made sense that he went back, since out of all of them, he was the most expendable. He writes to her that, maybe by doing this, he can make up for all the mistakes he made, and people he hurt. And now I’m crying again.
The team heads back to the bunker to debrief and to toast Flynn’s memory. Also Emma returns to Rittenhouse HQ looking for a Dead Jessica. When no Jess is to be found, Emma gets pissed and heads back to North Korea, 1950. (PS, I loved the “Jan” reference thrown in here!! That poor, poor social media person behind the Timeless Twitter)
Rufus and Jiya have some reconnecting to do, what with Rufus having no idea about Jiya living in Chinatown, and Wyatt and Lucy have their own awkward moment when it appears they’re still together in this new/old timeline.
The alarm sounds again and the team heads after Emma to North Korea on the night of the Chinese invasion and the “Miracle of Christmas.” While the team freezes their collective asses off (we know it’s cold because they put a “blue filter” on the footage), Denise and Connor try and figure out why Emma went there, when they see photos online of the Team, shot dead.
They don’t get dead yet, though, since Wyatt killed the pilot Emma bribed to kill them. Rather than show the fight, we see the aftermath and (after a few more Christmas one-liners than necessary), the Team heads back to the Lifeboat, assured that the only reason they’re there is to die.
Denise and Connor are still arguing, and it looks like surviving the helicopter crash didn’t mean shit, since they’re still dead. Denise decides that Emma doesn’t need both of her time machines and devises A Plan.
Looks like it’s still a (super) blue Christmas in North Korea while Rufus and Lucy have some Lyatt heart-to heart. The team finds a dead car and Wyatt and Rufus work on it while Jiya and Lucy warm up in a nearby church. Lucy and Jiya have a Talk and Jiya tells Lucy she’s afraid she’s too different from the person Rufus fell in love with. They chat with another woman in the church who tells them she’s waiting for her husband and son to come home (which won’t happen because war). Wyatt and Rufus fix the car in time to see some North Korean soldiers heading over. Lucy insists on bringing her new friend with them and they escape in the nick of time.
Meanwhile, Emma is happy to see the team is dead, but she’s looking in a book so who knows. Ben Cahill (Lucy’s Daddy) comes in and yells at her for using the Lifeboat to collect art and diamonds. Denise is with him and it looks like Emma’s game is up.
The team is trying to get their Korean friend to safety when, oops! She goes into labor. Lucy and Rufus head for help, and Wyatt (who has done this before, I guess) stays behind to help deliver the baby. Just as Lucy and Rufus return with a doctor, there’s an explosion, but yay everyone survives and awwww new mama finds her family in the port town, as well!!
Unfortunately, they can’t take a truck since they’re all rigged with explosives, so the team walks until they find out they’re surrounded by Commies! The team hides in the church while trying to figure a way out. Since fraught, life-and-death situations always bring about huge emotional revelations, Lucy tells Wyatt that she realizes that she still loves him and nothing would change it. Nothing like your impending death to clear shit up. They kiss and wait to get shot, which won’t happen, since Denise is there with the Mothership! And Emma, who has some tricks up her sleeve (or a pin to pick handcuff locks). She tells Lucy she can bring Amy back and Lucy straight up doesn’t care anymore. Before Wyatt gets to shoot Emma, the Chinese do it for him.
Back at the Bunker, everyone is getting their happy endings, and the Mothership is being destroyed. The next morning, Denise gives everyone their scarves (aw) and the team toasts beating Rittenhouse and Flynn. They cover up the Lifeboat and say goodbye to the Bunker for good.
We do some of our own time traveling and head to 2023, where Lucy is again teaching, and is married to Wyatt (who works with Denise). They have two daughters, Flynn and Amy. Meanwhile Rufus and Jiya are some techie charitable bigwigs. The team meets up again for one last trip: to Sao Paulo to kick the whole thing off by giving a grieving Flynn Lucy’s journal.
She tells Flynn that he’ll have to sacrifice everything, that he’ll be considered a terrorist and traitor, but he’s none of those things. He’s a hero. With that, she leaves and protects history, which we see through a montage of Timeless moments. It could have ended there an been a great farewell and thank you to fans, but Kripke and Ryan decided to leave the door open just a crack by showing a teenager who had figured out the technology.
Okay. I have some feelings about this finale, but overall I think it was a great send off for the little show that almost could. Were there things that annoyed the shit out of me? Yes (Hello, non-preggo Jessica). Was there stuff I wanted to see that I didn’t? Ahem, Titanic. Did I wish Flynn had survived and gotten his redemption without death? Abso-fucking-lutely. I wish it, but as sad as it makes me to see Flynn dead, it really just made sense. His sacrifice was so in character, especially knowing what Lucy says to start him on this mission. Also, time travel means no one is *really* lost. My Garcy heart is hurting, but I honestly really enjoyed the finale. I also loved that they left this little opening at the end, should the show get picked up or rebooted at some point. It was so good to see the Time Team again, but man, it’s a bittersweet Christmas gift.