Timeless: 2.02 The Darlington 500
Another week and another adventure for our time travelling trio who travel to South Carolina 1955. This episode expands on the season premier that revealed Rittenhouse have sleeper agents embedded throughout modern history, but the execution doesn’t quite live up to the premise.
After tracking Rittenhouse’s Lifeboat to 1955, Lucy speaks to Garcia Flynn who, after making a harsh but rather fair assessments of Lucy’s predicament relents and gives up some information as to where in 1955 Rittenhouse may be. At this point some must be left wondering if Garcia has perfect recall as he is able to remember a seemingly random address of the top of his head.
Once in appropriate attire for 55 the team step back in time to find their target, Ryan Millerson, who happens to be a future champion NASCAR driver, which causes Wyatt to go all fanboy and shows a passion for racing and bootlegging. In their search to track down Millerson the gang befriend Wendell Scott who was one of America’s first black stock car drivers.
As the episode unravels a big leap in logic needs to be taken; the premise centres around Ryan Millerson being a sleeper agent, who has apparently been in the past since the 40s, and his mission is to be a suicide bomber and kill a number of executives from major car companies. Why does this plan need to be so complicated? Why does Ryan have to live in the past for ten years to become a racing car driver? Surely any Rittenhouse agent willing to die would simply strap a bomb to themselves and detonate it right under the car executives stand? Security seemed non existent.
If this network show has been retooled for a family friendly audience it certainly doesn’t show as Wyatt brutally snaps the neck of a Rittenhouse henchman and shoots dead Ryan Millerson.
The B plot of this episode revolves around Carol Preston, Lucy’s mother, who has grave misgiving about her devotion to Rittenhouse and her grandfather’s diaries. The young Nicolas Keynes who is adjusting to life in 2018 by digesting Wikipedia seems unhinged and not the great visionary that Carol had hoped for; this is further reinforced by the fact that he is insistent that she track down a grammar phone, songs to play on it and pickled eggs. You can understand her cause for alarm. After Emma returns from 1955 to tell Carol that their overly complicated plan failed the two have a disagreement about Lucy. Carol obviously wants no harm to come to her daughter but how long will that be viable if her pesky offspring keeps spoiling her plans?
The story closes out with everyone gathering to hear a rousing speech from grandfather Keynes who seems to have created some master artwork that Picasso could be proud of and seems more with it - or at least is very good at giving megalomaniac style speeches, as he spills out his intentions to save humanity.
Agent Christopher and Connor Mason are relegated to a C story and for a man that had a successful company and made billions of dollars, Mason shows a lack of any real intellect in insisting in appearing in public despite the fact that he is supposed to be in hiding. Fed up being cooped up in the new hideout Mason wants to get back out there and have the admiration and adulation of his peers, not heeding Agent Christopher’s warnings she humiliates him in public. You just have a feeling this is not going to end happily.
Darlington 500 is an enjoyable episode but with such glaring leaps of logic the show will have to work hard to get back on track.