Timeless: 2.01 The War to End All Wars
Not even cancellation can stop Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus from trying to save time from the evil meddling of Rittenhouse. After debuting in 2016, Timeless was put out to pasture at the end of its first season. However very quickly NBC reversed this decision after much fan uproar and renewed it for a second season, stating that cancelling Timeless had been a mistake.
The show is now back along with a raft of changes to its structure. Along with its renewal the show has been retooled to be more family friendly. Gone is the covert centre of operations that our trio operate from and in its place an undisclosed abandoned bunker. This new setting helps to isolate the team and forces them to operate in the shadows without the resources afforded to them through Connor Mason’s billions. This brings a more grounded focus to the show and gives the impression that not every man and his dog knows time travel is possible.
The opening episode picks up from the end of season one with Lucy working her way deeper into Rittenhouse and accompanying her mother and Emma Whitmore to the battlefields of World War One France. Their mission to rescue a seemingly insignificant figure from history.
Meanwhile Rufus, with Jiya’s help, struggles to fix the Lifeboat. Wyatt struggles to keep things together and is consumed with anxiousness to rescue Lucy; Agent Christopher firmly stamps her authority and demonstrates she is in charge and things will be done her way from now on.
Once the episode has established where everyone is and thrown in some techno babble from Mason, Wyatt and Rufus hop into the Lifeboat in search of Lucy. It is quickly established that Wyatt is in love with Lucy. No mention of his dead wife or his strong desire to solve her murder or keep her from dying. It is disappointing that the show has taken this direction as a man fuelled by regret and motivated by past mistakes worked wonderfully for Wyatt. Now he just comes across as a lovesick teenager.
All too quickly Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus are reunited and with it the writers throw away an the opportunity to do something far more interesting with Lucy's character. This is slightly touched upon when she is given an ultimatum to prove her loyalty to Rittenhouse by killing an innocent soldier. Most shows would have found a way to avoid their main character bloodying their hands, and the act of carrying out this murder brought a much needed depth to Lucy and the story as a whole.
Timeless always excels at last minute twists and this episode is no exception, the revelation of the fact that Rittenhouse has sleeper agents throughout history who have been building identities and working their ways into power over long periods of time gives a tantalising glimpse at what could possibly be done with future story lines. The revelation of who the solider rescued from the battlefield brings an interesting twist to the sordid chaos of time travel rules. And everything comes full circle in the closing moments when the fate of Flynn Garcia is revealed who moves from villain to time travel consultant.
The War to End All Wars is a good solid opener and it is great to see these characters get a second chance at keeping history on the correct path. With the veil around Rittenhouse now firmly lifted the mythology around them starts to become clearer. Unfortunately the ambiguity of good and evil has been brushed away and in its stead is a more traditional and predictable good guy/bad guys scenario. At least the show is more focused on what it wants to be and hopefully that will lead to a much stronger second season.