Rittenhouse Finally Makes It To Timeless
But he suddenly seems less important than Agent Christopher.
It only took ten episodes, but we are finally getting answers to some long-smoldering questions -- the most important of which, of course, is the origins of Rittenhouse. It turns out that Rittenhouse -- which we thought was a person, but then we understood to be an organization -- turns out to actually be...an organization named after a person.
We come to find that America's most evil organization spewed forth from the brain of David Rittenhouse: Loyalist and clockmaker by day; sadistic murderer and rapist by night. David Rittenhouse was a real person and a clockmaker. In fact, he was far more important than Timeless makes him out to be. In addition to doing a host of other really cool things, he was the first director of the U.S. Mint, and the first American astronomer to spot Uranus (hee hee). I want to take a minute here to point out that -- and Sarah D. Bunting will back me up -- I called this weeks ago. I could claim it's due to my extensive training as an American historian, but really, it's because I grew up in South Jersey and randomly thought to myself during an earlier episode, "There's a Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. Hmmmm...let me consult Wikipedia." (Seriously: it's gotten much more trustworthy over the past few years!)
My amazing skills at prognostication aside, we get set up for a whole lot of plot possibilities going forward in this week's midseason cliffhanger. In addition to understanding the origins of Rittenhouse and its goals, Flynn promises the crew that, if they help him kill Rittenhouse, good things aplenty will be bestowed upon them. The destruction of Rittenhouse will free Rufus from its clutches, and Flynn will reveal to Wyatt the identity of his wife's killer. In addition, he will return the time machine and walk away, since his family will have been returned to him.
The crew agrees, and in a plot that involves serving during the War for Independence as spies for George Washington who are tasked with tracking down the traitor Benedict Arnold, they manage to work their way into David Rittenhouse's home.
Adding to the steadily growing pile of gunshot victims this show has created so far, Rittenhouse kills Arnold, and Flynn kills Rittenhouse. Lucy intervenes when Flynn attempts to gun down Rittenhouse's son John (who, as far as I can tell, did not exist in real life), earning her Flynn's wrath and ending up getting kidnapped by him and returned to the present.
After ten episodes of a pretty uneven show, do we get any moments here that will get us through the midseason break and keep us watching when it returns in January? There were a few spots that could qualify as That Moment-worthy. The explanation of Rittenhouse's plan to manipulate the new nation's government from the shadows while allowing the riffraff to belief that they have a voice in the political process does make it seem like this entertaining yet lightweight primetime thriller suddenly got real political on us, dropping truth bombs about the dangers posed by our incoming tyrant, petty dictator, incompetent buffoon of a president. And the kidnapping of Lucy certainly also leaves us wondering what Flynn is up to and how the crew will get her back.
But for my money the moment, that held out the most promise for this show gaining any traction in the back end of the season and earning a renewal is the least action-packed part of the episode. Before being sent off 1780, Lucy ends up having dinner at Agent Denise Christopher's house.
We learn that Denise has a wife and two children. Following the meal, she asks Lucy to place a flash drive containing pictures of her family into the lifeboat. After witnessing the erasure of Lucy's sister from existence, Denise wants Lucy to promise to tell her about her family if their mission changes history again and they disappear. Sakina Jaffrey gives a lovely performance in this scene, conveying with just the right amount of subtle vulnerability how her family plays a central role in defining her and giving meaning to her existence.
If this show has anything more to offer than interesting costumes, running gun battles, and encounters with cool historical figures (and I'm not saying it definitely does), it likely seems to be an extended meditation on appreciating the relationships we have and not missing a chance to create new ones. Unfortunately, Timeless has a sketchy record up to this point making this work in the show. How can we forget Lucy's fiancé -- or her mother, whom we haven't seen in about five episodes? Not to mention the slightly over-the-top reaction we get every single time somebody mentions Wyatt's wife.
But the new relationships being formed are enjoyable to watch as we start seeing people come together in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. The crew working at trusting each other; the budding romance between Rufus and Jiya; and, this episode, Agent Christopher opening up and allowing Lucy at look at a different side of her: these are the elements that are making this show watchable on a weekly basis. I hope we see more of this moving forward. Because while I'm certainly interested in seeing how many of the plot points created in this episode get resolved, perhaps the one the will weigh on my mind the most is finding out if Agent Christopher's family is still there come January.