‘Timeless’ Has a Need for Speed in “The Darlington 500”

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Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC

TIMELESS: 2.02 “The Darlington 500”

Timeless went racing back to 1955 in another high-powered episode, this time chasing a Rittenhouse sleeper agent that has already changed history: Ryan Millerson.

While the show has done a relatively good job so far avoiding head-scratching time-paradox moments, this is really the first episode where we need to step back and understand what’s happened. We already knew that Rittenhouse was sending agents back in time, so they could influence history. In this particular case, we have race car hero Ryan Millerson, who Wyatt idolized as a child. Except he didn’t. Ryan was placed in 1946 only a few weeks ago and his impact there made such an impression that it rewrote history. Wyatt’s memories are not from when he was six years old. They’re actually new.

If that makes you get a headache and a panic attack at the same time, let’s take this a step further to try to understand Rittenhouse’s plan. Given that Emma and her lackeys then went back in time to meet up with Ryan in 1955, this means that it’s not simple enough for Rittenhouse to simply place someone in time and say, “Ok, when you get to the Darlington 500 in 1955, place a bomb in your car and kill the important auto executives.” Clearly, they need to see what effect their sleeper had on time, in order to then go back and execute their plan. After all, what if Ryan crashed his car in his first race, destroying any chance to be a famous race car driver? What if he was good, but never good enough to make it to Darlington? They need to know what could really happen. Which means, they essentially told Ryan, “We’re placing you in 1946. At some point, we’ll be back so you can take on this suicide mission, but in the meantime, become as successful as a race car driver as possible.”

This seems a little convenient for the show—otherwise, what’s the point of having anyone go back in time? We’d never know what Rittenhouse did or didn’t plan in our dark times of history—and a little overly complicated for Rittenhouse. And since good ol’ grandpappy Nicolas was the one who came up with this plan way back in the early 20th century, I think we’re starting to see exactly how crazy and/or brilliant he really is. And that was long before he painted a manifesto mural on a wall.

Is your head spinning? Because mine is a little. But let’s focus on a few other things that happened in this episode, beyond these big picture, world-changing, history-changing sleepers.

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‘Timeless’ Is Back — And Off to a Great Start

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Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC

TIMELESS: 2.01 “The War to End All Wars”

I’ve spent the entire day thinking about Timeless.

To say season 2 packed a punch would be an understatement. The last season ended on a shocking revelation: Lucy’s mother is part of Rittenhouse. But that was just the start of what would change the lives of the entire Time Team. Moments after Carol confessed her true role, Lucy is taken, and Mason Industries blows up.

Let’s just say it was an explosive beginning to what appears to be a thrilling season already.

We jump back in six weeks later, where the remaining members of the Time Team are hunkering down in a bunker, hiding from Rittenhouse, who assumes they all died in the explosion. Rufus is trying to fix the life boat, while Wyatt is brooding and itching to get out and find Lucy. And everyone—Jiya, Connor Mason, and Agent Christopher—are all getting used to their new lives and new digs.

Wyatt’s reaction was especially interesting (and not only because I’m a Wyatt and Lucy shipper). Her disappearance hit all the same buttons that his late wife did. Lucy disappears into thin air, presumed dead. But Wyatt refuses to believe it, insisting that Rittenhouse has her, and he needs to find her and bring her home. He’s overly angry and overly emotional, but it’s all fitting when you consider his past.

Meanwhile, we find Lucy dressed up for WWI, ready to go change history with her mother. You have to be impressed with Abigail Spencer, who from the moment we see her, seems like a very different Lucy. Gone is the light in her eyes, her animated excitement, and general passion. Instead, she seems focused, if distanced, and ready to do what’s next. At this point, though, it’s uncertain what that is.

From the get-go, I never doubted Lucy. I didn’t think she’d willingly turn and become part of Rittenhouse. I could see how hard it was for her to shoot an innocent man, and that she was doing it against her better judgment. It wasn’t to prove loyalty; it was to play a part. But I also didn’t think she’d go as far as to take on a suicide mission, a mission where she’d either be left behind in 1918 or get blown up in the mother ship during a jump. And to hear it so soon after being reunited with her fellow Time Teamers, who she had long believed were dead. It was heartbreaking to realize how far she’d go to stop Rittenhouse when she thought she was alone in the war.

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