Review: ‘Timeless’ meets James Bond by way of Indiana Jones

Senior Television Writer
10.24.16 18 Comments

A few thoughts on tonight’s Timeless coming up just as soon as you get me lederhosen in the next five minutes…

Early in “Party at Castle Varlar,” Mason shows Lucy the massive period wardrobe collection they’ve assembled for the team’s upcoming missions, since the demand for these time trips doesn’t seem to be going away. And at the end of the hour, we find out that Anthony has used the atomic core not to build a bomb, but a battery that can power Flynn’s time machine for 300 years. Appropriately, the episode in between suggests a series that’s positioning itself well for the long haul on multiple fronts.

Beyond the closet, Lucy also demands that she get a “job” working for Mason to cover for her many absences from the present, and also that the support team help her figure out a way to un-erase her sister from existence. And when Flynn’s team packs up in a hurry, we see that they have cases full of old currency and other gear that’s useful for their own travels. This is basic stuff that you would expect both operations to nail down as the game continues, and the fewer areas where the series invites the audience to as more questions of a premise that is inherently question-inviting, the better. Everyone has an agenda – Lucy and Wyatt trying to save lost loved ones, Rufus being threatened into working for the mysterious Rittenhouse – that gives them added shadings even as the primary focus for them and for each episode is the Mission of the Week.

Speaking of which, the trip to Nazi Germany did a nice balancing act. On the one hand, it was a fun homage to James Bond (even if it stretched the nature of Ian Fleming’s spy work – which was done primarily from a desk back in London – to pull it off) and to Indiana Jones (complete with a secret passage inside a Nazi-occupied castle). On the other, it didn’t shy away from the fact that this kind of constant peril wouldn’t sit well with a non-soldier like Lucy. Even without the matter of her personal timeline being so drastically rewritten, this can’t be easy on her, and her trembling near-panic as she put on the Nazi uniform was a nice piece of acting from Abigail Spencer, and the latest example of how Timeless understands how important it is to ground the time trips and historical cameos with genuine, complicated emotion from its heroes.

Will check back in later in the season, but feeling good about where Timeless is creatively at the moment, and looking forward to the stylistically diverse Spencer double-act when Rectify returns on Wednesday. (Look for more on that tomorrow.)

What did everybody else think?

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