Timeless interview: Sakina Jaffrey on Agent Christopher’s story, how to fight for renewal

Sakina JaffreySunday night’s Timeless season 2 episode 8 proved to be an extremely powerful episode for Agent Christopher, as we saw the Time Team do everything within their power in order to protect her in the past. Not only did they save her life, but they managed to help her move towards a path of happiness. They kept her from being in an arranged marriage that would alter the entire course of her future. They were cognizant that any one move would keep her from eventually having the life that she wants, and also keep her from organizing the Time Team to battle Rittenhouse.

So what did Sakina Jaffrey have to say about this episode, what she enjoyed about it, and also what’s coming up in the finale? She spoke to CarterMatt about it all along with what fans can still do in order to help save the series from cancellation.

CarterMatt – What have you enjoyed about doing this season? We know everyone better as characters, and I suppose what comes from that is the opportunity to do some new and exciting things.

Sakina Jaffrey – I believe I heard [executive producer] Shawn Ryan say that, with this show, they take an emotional moment for a character and find a historical moment to match that journey. So I had assumed ‘oh, this is a cool historical moment or this is a cool historical moment,’ but they actually do it the other way around and focus on the character first. I’m always interested in how much they bring to the lives of these characters and how they are matched to some sort of historical event that you didn’t really think much about.

In this episode, it really felt like a rumination on what it’s like to know your future and how for Agent Christopher, it saves her soul and her life and her future knowing it. I just get chills thinking about that idea. But, with Rufus and Jiya it’s really a destructive force at the time of this episode. Rufus really can’t handle the knowledge.

I think it’s so fascinating how they play all that out, and of course time travel allows for that sort of contemplation.

How has Agent Christopher adapted to some of the recent changes, whether it be the further rise of Rittenhouse or Jessica being in the present?

For me, traditional Indian families often reject homosexuality in their children. It’s very real to me. I’ve had very real experiences of homosexual friends whose parents have arranged straight marriages for them. And, of course, from the parents’ point of view, it’s protecting them.

So, to have it encapsulated in one episode where Agent Christopher says ‘two women can get married?’ — I just got chills! In a way, it feels like we got there very quickly, but of course we didn’t. There are 80-year old and 90-year old gay and lesbian couples who were called ‘roommates’ back in the sixties and seventies. It seemed accelerated because we took a time machine, but huge advances have been made. I know that I have been asked to speak to parents of younger Indian kids who are being forced into an arranged marriage. There is all sorts of self-destructive behavior that comes from not living your truth. For that very reason, I love this episode.

There are a bunch of other tangential issues that involve women in this episode — one of them is stalking, and it is often women who are susceptible to that. I actually looked up when the first stalking law came into effect and it was actually after this. With Agent Christopher, I have to be secretive about what I do but I also want to be with and protect my family. I love all of those sort of things. I just found it to be really funny, moving, and deep.

When you get a script that has this many different dimensions to it, whether it be funny moments or ones that are darker and serious, do you ever wonder how all of it is going to come together?

I don’t because I can hear now every script read by the actors, who I know and love so much. I just think ‘my god, they really know how to write for these characters.’ I’m just so happy that Agent Christopher smiled and she hugged (laughs)! She is so not my personality — I’m probably the biggest hugger and emotional person and a joker, very different from the character.

What I actually am curious to see is if the repaired relationship with her mother actually ends up changing her in the event we get another season. Of course, she’s the mama bear and I think she takes very seriously the responsibility of protecting this group because she got them together. We realize that she knew Wyatt and trusted that he would be the man for this a long time ago.

I also feel like I’d love to see a more playful side of her, and I’d like to see her get in that d–n boat! I’d like her to go back in time. (Laughs.)

Have you thought about specific period in time you’d like to visit? I’m sure that bounces around in your head.

I’ve joked that I would just like to go forward to the midterm elections, but besides that, I would go way back. I want to go back to the first civilization! The building of cities. I’d like to see what we can fix and do right all the way back then.

I’d love to see more of what it was like when the Native Americans had this land. And then weird things like when Lucille Ball did her first show, things that may not be as historically important but for me, massively important.

I know the finale is on the horizon. Is there anything you’re especially excited for people to see?

I can tell you that my jaw dropped in the last moment of the episode. I can say that Jiya’s story comes to the forefront in a fabulous way.

What would you say to people out there who want to do their part to make another season happen?

Call or tweet the advertisers and continue telling NBC how much you love the show. I know a lot of fans agree with us that an earlier timeslot will bring up the numbers; I know we get 120% more viewers following [the episodes airing] and that shows that people are interested.

The one thing I would love to tell people is that history teachers need to spread the word. I can’t tell you how many messages and tweets I get saying ‘this [show] has made me interested in history.’ In particular where we are at in terms of our political history, I think it’s a great thing to let young people now how powerful they can be and how a vote can be important. I have a 23-year old and a 20-year old. I think the climate is so different and they are studying to be empowered, to give themselves the information so that they can make this country what they want it to be. I think that’s the biggest message and I would get that word out.

Regardless of what happens with the show next, what are you hoping to do over the hiatus?

Mostly comedy, I’m always looking to do comedy. I played Mindy’s mom on [The Mindy Project] but sadly that show is over. Mostly I just want to have a ball and giggle and be in that room. We totally do that on our set when the cameras are off, but that’s my first love and that’s what I would always love to be doing.

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