Tonight, “Timeless” gave itself an opportunity to recover from what we personally feel to be its weakest episode of the series to date, and it did so in a variety of different reasons.
The most exciting prospect of “Space Race” was getting a chance to rocket over to the age of the Moon Landing in hopes to ensure that it still happened, and that Garcia Flynn didn’t figure out a way once more to alter the timeline. This one was extremely significant, and why it worked conceptually had a whole lot to do with the stakes. There were real people from history involved, and for many people out there, they may have memories of them. Take, for example, President Richard Nixon, who had a message prepared in real life in the event that Apollo 11 didn’t make it back to Earth. It was super-cool for the writers to include that, but not so cool that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in such serious danger.
Also, tonight brought us the show’s version of Katherine Johnson, an unheralded hero from the space age who was in part responsible for making the wheels turn and the Moon Landing a success. She was a personal hero of Rufus’ from the future, and she helped inspire him to take the career path that he chose.
By the time we neared the end of the episode, Katherine was essential for helping to ensure that Aldrin and Armstrong were able to make it to the Moon and back. In the process, though, we saw arguably the most dangerous side of Rufus we’ve seen to date, as he was forced to resort to pointing a gun in order to ensure the safety of the team. He had to take a life, but is clearly struggling with how it was making him change.
Who was the mystery woman? – Flynn spent a good percentage of this episode focusing in on a woman and a child who ended up playing a very clear role in his life. As we learned at the end of the episode, he specifically met up with Maria, his mother, in order to ensure that his half-brother did not die after being stung by a bee. He also just wanted that connection to his mother, even if it lasted just a short period of time.
This was a nice way to present some of the character’s past and humanize him a little bit. We know that he’s a bad guy in this narrative, but yet at the same time there were folk-hero elements to this story as we were reminded ever so much as to how Flynn in many ways has the authority to do what Lucy and Wyatt want to in terms of saving people they love; they’re just working a mission defined as greater and don’t want to betray orders.
Back to the present – Johnson received the credit she deserved in the history books, while Flynn’s half-brother was still alive and living in Paris. Apparently, the higher-ups didn’t have a problem keeping information about Flynn a secret from those working for them.
Overall – A significantly stronger episode of “Timeless” than what we saw last week, and one that raised a wide array of questions as to how the missions are changing our heroes. It was intense, funny at times, and powerful at others. Episode Grade: A-.
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