After taking some time off for the holidays, “Timeless” returned to NBC on Monday night with an episode that introduced to us to the famed Chicago World’s Fair, and some of the inspiring, wonderful work that was done by many there. Oh, and it also brought us the most notorious killer at this point in American history in H.H. Holmes.
“The World’s Columbian Exposition” was a bit of a hodgepodge episode of a lot of different ideas bouncing around. You had to resolve the matter of Flynn capturing Lucy, the rescue mission by Rufus and Wyatt to find her, meeting Harry Houdini, defeating Holmes, and eventually getting everyone back to the present day all in one peace. While there were absolutely some enjoyable moments through the process, this felt in many ways like a better two-parter episode jammed into one instead. Much of that may be due in part to having only 16 episodes for the first season. That simply forces the show to move quickly.
The part that was likely the most shortchanged was the saga of Holmes. For most of the episode, it was not clear that it was George all along, and by the time it was, we got into some truly terrifying stuff. He locked Lucy in a box, making her worst fears in a reality, and put her on a trajectory where her life was in grave danger. Were it not for her incredible memory of everything Holmes did and believed in over the course of his life, odds are that he would have taken her out. This served as a lengthy-enough distraction to get Wyatt in there to kill him. Maybe he changed history ever so slightly here, but hey: Isn’t this an occasion where he changed it for the better? There didn’t seem to be any blowback as a result of it.
Meet Houdini – The show’s version of the character, played by Michael Drayer, proved to be a great deal of fun. He at first used Lucy for one of his famed illusions, and eventually proved valuable with him rescuing her from Flynn. We also loved the subtle note of him, even after taking Flynn down a peg, taking a moment to do a little promotion for his magic show. This was a spunky, energetic version of the character, and one we do hope comes back at some point down the line. (The challenge there for the most part is finding a story to fit the era.)
Goodbye Rittenhouse – Are they done for good? Hardly, but Rufus decided after going through the order with Holmes and the Murder Castle that he didn’t want to be bothered anymore with the recordings. He made one last one, told Mason to pick a side, and that was that. It’s a huge line in the sand that could easily come back to bite him — hopefully, it won’t. You gotta love a bold Rufus, though we question doing this when we’ve already seen what he’s capable of.
And … your cliffhanger – While Flynn lost his latest battle to mess up history by destroying J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, he did find another way to mess with one of the team members’ minds: He told Wyatt that Wes Gilliam, a man currently in prison, was responsible for the murder of his wife. From there, he told him that the only way to potentially stop this man was to find a way to go back in time to stop Gilliam from even being born.
Our Grade: B. The episode took a little bit of time to get going, and maybe part of that was the fact that we lacked the fun group introduction. That is, after all, harder to achieve with Lucy separated from the group. From a historical perspective, everything was great in between Holmes and Houdini and the World’s Fair. It just wouldn’t been a meatier story if we’d found a way to give Lucy more time taking on Holmes, and for us to get to see a little more of this particular era.
What did you make of this “Timeless” episode, and did you enjoy most of what the story brought to the table? Share now in the comments, and head over here to preview further what is coming next. (Photo: NBC.)