‘Timeless’ recap: The Time Team says goodbye in a festive finale

Time to say farewell to TimelessAfter two seasons (and two cancellations!), NBC’s decade-hopping drama comes to an end with an action-packed finale. Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt have experienced their fair share of mortal peril and moral quandaries as they’ve zipped around American history these past two years, and the two-part story “The Miracle of Christmas” attempts to give them a little bit of closure.

Is it successful? Sort of. “The Miracle of Christmas” is an odd beast, squeezing a season’s worth of plot into two hours. Last May’s season two finale ended on a cliffhanger, with Rufus dead and future Lucy and Wyatt visiting their past selves with an offer to resurrect him. NBC declined to renew the show for a third season, but fan campaigning helped convince the network to greenlight a short finale and tie up loose ends. And boy, are there a lot of loose ends to tie up: Over the course of the finale, the team members travel to multiple decades, meet a few historical figures, steal some horses, deliver a baby, revive a dead friend, and rack up a pretty serious body count — all while trying to work through the emotional baggage and traumas they’ve each experienced. That’s a lot to cram into one finale, and as a result, some of those threads are barely touched upon before the episode hurries on to the next thing. But you can’t help but feel that the Timeless crew did the best with what they were given. A slap-dash ending is better than no ending at all, and although it would’ve been nice if Timeless had a little more, um, time to wrap things up, the finale still makes for a lovely sendoff.

Timeless’ first season introduced it as a clunky historical adventure with a murky mythology, but the second season simplified things by stripping away some of the convoluted Rittenhouse mystery and focusing on character-driven drama. “The Miracle of Christmas” continues that trend by letting the historical shenanigans take a backseat to what’s going on inside the characters’ heads. When we last left the team, they were still reeling from Rufus’ death. Jiya was processing her PTSD from being left in 19th-century Chinatown for years, while Wyatt was still trying to cope with the revelation that his formerly dead wife Jessica had been secretly manipulating him as a Rittenhouse agent. (Also, she said she was pregnant!) And poor Lucy was dealing with A) her evil mother’s death B) her conflicting feelings for Flynn and Wyatt, and C) the fact that her beloved sister has been erased from history. So yeah, a lot of emotional trauma in the bunker.

But a glimmer of hope arrived in the final moments of the season two finale when badass future versions of Wyatt and Lucy arrived in their own Lifeboat (looking a little worse for the wear) to ask, “You guys wanna get Rufus back or what?” Tonight’s episode picks up exactly where that cliffhanger left off, with future Lucy and Wyatt dispensing with some important exposition. (They say Jessica made up her pregnancy. So much for that plot point!) Most importantly, they come bearing Lucy’s journal and a new-and-improved version of the Lifeboat, with convenient autopilot capabilities. And so present Lucy, Wyatt, Jiya, and Flynn set off to take down Rittenhouse with renewed vigor.

Their final mission leads them to 1848 California, where the gold rush is about to take off and Rittenhouse has planted its final sleeper agent. Emma and Jessica lead the team on a mad dash around the California hills (with a sort of unclear agenda), and our heroes cross paths with Joaquin Murrieta, a notorious Western outlaw who supposedly served as the inspiration for Zorro. But who cares about Zorro! The California adventure is merely filler before the real drama starts up: After spending time with Lucy and watching his newfound friends grieve for Rufus, Flynn decides to go back to his roots and steal a time machine again. This time, however, he’s got a more benevolent goal in mind — and he travels back to 2012 to make sure Jessica dies as she was originally supposed to. If Jessica dies in 2012, she can never kill Rufus in Chinatown, and before long, everyone’s favorite engineer-slash-sci-fi-nerd is back from the dead. Got all that? 

But Flynn’s sacrifice comes with a price. He sends the Lifeboat (on autopilot) back to 1848 California, while he stays in 2012. He sees his long-dead family one last time, before succumbing to the effects of traveling through one’s own time stream. But we haven’t seen the last of him yet…

(Recap continues on next page…)

NBC’s science-fiction drama Timeless features Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett as they time-travel in an effort to save history.

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