‘Timeless’ episode 13 review: Matt Lanter’s performance, Wyatt’s heartbreak make ‘Karma Chameleon’ signature piece
Even before Monday night’s new episode of “Timeless” in “Karma Chameleon” came on the air, our thought was that this is a show very much worthy of getting a second season on NBC. After watching it, a season 2 almost feels necessary.
This episode is, by far, the strongest work that we’ve seen the show deliver to date. Matt Lanter gives a brilliant performance as Wyatt, and the writing finds a way to make time-traveling as a device secondary to the emotional ramifications of our heroes’ action. It’s got science fiction, but it never feels like anything more than a human chapter in someone’s life. This is how all good television should be.
The mission – For Wyatt, this one simple: He wanted to travel back to the 1980’s, and in turn stop the parents from Wes Gilliam from ever having a one-night stand. The child is conceived when a storm at an airport forces everyone to not drift too far from the scene, and they connect with each other at a time when the parents are both troubled and lonely.
This is where Wyatt entered the scene — he asked a flight attendant about the location of Wes’ future mother (this was her job), and determined that she was at the bar. After convincing Rufus to come along with him, the two planned to distract her and ensure she never got to spend significant time with her love-interest-for-the-night. This proved FAR more complicated than it seemed, given that there were a continued stream of distractions, and Wyatt’s entire plan blew up when the flight attendants showed up and it was clear that Wyatt didn’t actually know the person that he claimed to previously. His entire plan blew up, and it only got worse when, after he was carted away by security in the midst of trying to create a distraction, fate had found a way and Wes’ mother was off being created in a hotel room. Wyatt then had to haul Wes’ future father out of that room, and in the midst of the rain and a dramatic chase scene, made one of the most regrettable moves of his life in killing him. It wasn’t purposeful, but the result was still the same. He had done the one thing he’d promised not to do.
As he and Rufus approached the Lifeboat to head back to the present (where he would face consequences for taking such an unauthorized field trip), the only consolation he had was that his actions, however terrible they were, would end up bringing Jessica back to life in the present. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. While Wes may have killed two other women and they were now alive in the present, the same cannot be said for his late wife. She was still dead, and it begged the question as to whether or not Garcia Flynn was lying, or if he was simply mistaken regarding what happened. After all, Flynn’s goal has been all along to get the team on his side in taking out Rittenhouse; why do something to deliberately anger Wyatt? Then again, this guy does fancy himself rather evil in his machinations, and this was another one.
As we noted, Lanter was incredible in conveying so many layers of heartbreak and devastation through this episode; we’re not sure if he is ever going to get a chance to have his wife back, but if it doesn’t happen, there’s going to be something powerful in watching him try to let go.
Lucy’s present-day struggle – Wyatt made Lucy promise to not go to Agent Christopher with what she knew, mostly because of the fact that it could cause all sorts of chaos for her own deal regarding her sister. Instead, she was presented with a deal of her own: Join Anthony in destroying both the Mothership and the Lifeboat, since doing so would enable everything with Flynn and Rittenhouse to end. He claimed that the mysterious organization was much worse than Flynn, and therefore could never be in possession of the technology.
We certainly think that Anthony was right with this assertion, and that may also be why someone out there chose to take him out. After all, this episode concluded with Anthony’s dead body being found, meaning that someone out there was clearly not pleased with what he was planning. Lucy, knowing that her father was involved in Rittenhouse, decided to pay him a visit — and in the process, was told just how important that she is to the organization. She may not love it, but her father may be the Darth Vader of the whole operation.
The best episode of the season – “Karma Chameleon” may actually be the best episode of 2017 to date for any show, let alone this one. While the “evil father” twist for Lucy’s certainly been done before, it felt earned. The meat of the story was with Wyatt back in the past, as we were reminded once more of how finicky time travel can be, and also how heartbreaking it can be to think that there is a way to bring a loved one back, only to have it all crumble in front of your eyes. Grade: A.
Next week’s episode – To get a preview for what is coming up next on the series, be sure to visit the link here right away. (Photo: NBC.)