Now that you've all seen the finale of NBC's Timeless, let's get down to dishing on the details. All of my advance review sentiments still apply. Despite how you may feel about the spoilers addressed below, the writers did not take this task lightly. We'll go over their candid explanations and the thought process behind their decisions. I believe they did justice to each character and fulfilled most of the fans' deepest desires. They captured what we love most about this engaging, well-crafted, inclusive, innovative, educational, and empowering series.
Side Effects Include…
Aww yeah! Future Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) have come back to help their younger selves save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett). Awesome – they can travel back to their own timelines!
We spent months assuming the future of time travel made drastic improvements, but it isn't that much easier. Within a couple of minutes, Future Lucy experiences some seriously disturbing side effects. They urgently take off in the old Lifeboat, leaving the upgraded one (with auto-pilot!) behind.
The team wants to travel back to their own timeline to save Rufus – side effects be damned! Then Mason (Paterson Joseph) lists off a bunch of scary issues it can cause, all of which lead to death. He clarifies that every individual's tolerance level is different. Guess that is why both versions of Future Lucy has a harder time with it than the Future Wyatts. Gulp!
From this moment on, we know that anyone who travels back to his/her own timeline will likely face grim consequences. Even if they return to the present alive, we have no idea what kind of shape they'll be in. (Talk about foreshadowing *cue sobs*)
FYI: The writers didn't have time to address Jiya's (Claudia Doumit) visions, but that is still a possible side effect.
In hindsight, the auto-pilot feature also makes it easier for someone to get away with a self-sacrificing suicide mission. Maybe Future Lucy had a hunch about how things would most likely go down given her more intimate relationship with Future Flynn.
Future Lucy and Wyatt tell themselves to learn from the journal. It served as Flynn's (Goran Visnjic) guide and now it belongs to the Time Team. We see missions they have yet to accomplish – like a trip to the Titanic! (Too expensive to film, so ended up in the journal instead.) Then Wyatt gets a glimpse of how intensely he broke Lucy's heart.
Throughout Season 2, I had my beef with Wyatt. He finally gave in to his feelings for Lucy and then shelved them when Jessica returned. He tried to do the right thing. She was his wife. Lucy even gave her blessing, despite how painful it was to see them together. BUT deep down she wanted Wyatt to choose her over Jessica (Tonya Glanz). Wyatt knew he hurt Lucy, but that excerpt provided much needed – the insight Flynn had all along.
According to the journal, GARCY happened in the alternate timeline. She never gets what Wyatt did and she finds comfort in Flynn's arms. We saw their connection deepen throughout Season 2. Flynn and Lucy experienced a similar loss and didn't get the family reunions they longed for.
Despite trying to kill her on more than one occasion, Flynn had a soft spot for Lucy ever since they met in that Brazilian bar. His feelings for her grew stronger the more he got to know her. He respected her intellect and strength. He also enjoyed reminding Wyatt of what he gave up to be with Jessica. Hence the fun verbal jousts and brawls. But I digress…
When Lucy confronts Flynn about their future affair, she even admits that she's already seen his gentler side. (Yeah, we know. Swoon!) The few lines we can read in the journal play out like fanfic – kissing Flynn eased the pain. *bow-chica-wow-wow* Sadly, Flynn knows their affair does not end well. Lucy's heart always belonged to Wyatt. Sigh.
The same applies to Flynn – his heart belongs to his wife and family. He loves Lucy. That is evident in his loving looks towards her during his chat with "Zorro." That look melted my heart. (Couldn't find a GIF of it…yet.)
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Shawn Ryan explains how this conversation inspired the writers to tell Joaquin Murrieta's story in Part 1:
…ultimately what sold us was the idea of meeting this Joaquin Murrieta character and the parallels that he has with Flynn, so that Flynn can see some of the horrors of his past actions in the reflection of Joaquin in a way that motivates him then to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and to help Lucy, and to help the whole the team and to stop Rittenhouse.
While Flynn pines after Lucy, Wyatt has an epiphany. He finally understands the not-so-subtle message in Lucy's journal and tells the team this is all his fault. "Jessica lives, so Rufus dies." Wyatt needs to make it right. No one deserves to suffer because of the pain he caused by blindly trusting Jessica.
In that moment, Lucy lovingly looks at Wyatt the way Flynn looked at her. Jiya and Lucy will not let him go on a suicide mission alone. The Time Team is ready to sacrifice themselves to save Rufus. Of course, they are!
Flynn offers sage advice – if the team dies trying to save Rufus, who will stop Rittenhouse and save the world? After all, Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) specifically recruited Wyatt, Lucy, Jiya and Rufus to stop Flynn/Rittenhouse and preserve history.
We aren't surprised to see Flynn sneak off. Granted, I don't think Lucy would've let him "ride ahead" as easily as Wyatt did. A sick feeling stirred in all of our stomachs as Flynn boarded the Lifeboat. But we're focusing on the journal now, so we'll get to that in a moment.
I am so thankful we saw Future Lucy give Flynn the journal in 2014! According to Ryan, Eric Kripke always wanted to reveal that moment before the series ever ended. (Not that I'm saying the series is over. We'll always keep fighting for more).
We heard the tale so many times and imagined different versions of Future Lucy. But I never thought of Future Wyatt and Rufus going with her. Given her side effects, I'm so glad they did!
I don't know if their conversation went differently the first time around, but this Lucy is honest with him. He doesn't save his family, but he becomes the biggest hero of them all. Sigh…
Regardless of the helpful insights the journal provides, we know that it isn't 100% reliable because history can always change. Who knows how many versions of the journal exist! I'm just glad we got to peek inside.
It is incredibly satisfying to see Future Lucy pen the journal and to witness Present Lucy's reaction to finally reading it. In some ways, the journal is another character on the show. It holds so much knowledge and contains adventures we can only imagine. Maybe new Future Lucy decides to keep one too and fills it with happier memories.
Although he started off as a "villain," I always loved Flynn. Not because I've liked Visnjic since his ER days. Flynn is an alluringly nuanced and enigmatically complex character.
We've witnessed so many of Flynn's paradoxical layers – the sweet family man who plays with his little girl and tucks her in at night, the vengeful father and husband who goes full-on Liam Neeson, the clever NSA asset who shoots first and doesn't give a damn about asking questions later, the lone wolf, the loyal teammate who has his posse's back, the wiseass who would joust with Wyatt, the gallant gentleman who defended Lucy's intellect and honor, and the self-sacrificing hero.
Of course ,I'm upset that he died! I don't want to see him leave the series. BUT I still feel this is the right ending for Flynn. Plus, time travel always leaves the door open for dead characters to appear. Writer Arika Lisanne offered hope and explained Flynn's storyline during her Twitter Q&A:
Even Visnjic thanked the writers for doing his character justice:
Flynn has been on a journey of redemption from the start. Given his violent tendencies, we figured he'd go down fighting. At least this way he went down for a cause greater than himself.
Flynn's initial agenda was to get his family back. Rittenhouse killed them, so he needed to end them. He didn't care about history or the bigger picture. He just wanted to save his family. Salvation is a big theme associated with Flynn from the start. He's the one who would always tell the others that they can all save the people they love.
In the end, Flynn did save his family – his new family, the Time Team. After spending years fighting fate, he surrendered to their collective destiny. In doing so, he redeemed himself. He saved his soul and the people he cared for. He also got to reunite with his family – just not in the way he/we hoped.
Earlier in the series, Flynn had a beautiful conversation with Agent Christopher – saying he would give anything to have one more minute with his family:
It is fitting to see Flynn spend his final moments on earth watching his loved ones again before joining them on the other side.
There's also the time travel Catch-22. Flynn went back to kill Jessica so that Rufus lives. He took out two Rittenhouse agents in one night. Given that he's a total badass, he probably didn't anticipate such an extended fist-to-cuffs with Jessica.
The Time Travel side effects were bad enough, but wrestling that Rittenbitch didn't help. If it is a toss-up between going back and dying in front of the team or spending the time he has left with his family, we all know what Flynn would choose.
Now, I can't help but wonder if Flynn's decision to go back and kill Jessica caused his family's death to begin with. That brings the story full circle in the most heartbreakingly tragic way.
Flynn's note to Lucy killed me – a sobbing mess. He admits that he's dispensable. (You aren't to us!) He took this agenda upon himself for selfish reasons. He screwed with history and Rittenhouse to get his family back. The Time Team's intentions to protect the world are pure and take priority. Plus, Flynn had his happily ever after before and Rittenhouse took it away from him.
Now he wants that blissful family life for Lucy. She loves Wyatt, so she should be with him. Signing off with "All my love" was just another sucker-punch to my broken heart. Infinite swoon!
Leave it to Barrett to make an epic and hilarious entrance. He was the one Flynning it up outside, kicking ass to save his friends. He's oblivious to the trials everyone faced in his absence. He only has fond memories of being together as a team. Despite being the resident joker, Rufus has one of the most sensitive souls on the team.
As they celebrate his return at the bunker, Rufus makes it clear that Flynn and Wyatt's sacrifices weigh heavy on his heart. Two people died to ensure he lived. His friends' suffering sinks in and he empathizes with the pain they endured.
I appreciate the realism and love Rufus' heart-to-hearts with his teammates and Jiya. He's a guiding light throughout the series. He hated being a double agent because he's a sweet and honest guy. Deceit is not in his nature. What you see is what you get. He calls people out and encourages everyone to stay true to themselves – Flynn it up, Lyatt's rocky romance, Mason's importance, etc.
He knows things are different in his reality and wants to understand what the others have gone through. He feels terrible that Jiya endured three years of hell in Chinatown, all to protect him. She wants to shield him from the ugliness and hesitates to tell him how much she's changed because of it. Of course, Rufus only loves her more for it. She's become G.I. Jiya and more badass than before.
He makes keen observations from his altered perspective and offers his friends some unsolicited advice. He's on "Team Lyatt" and can't believe they aren't together in this timeline – especially when they clearly love each other.
Rufus always keeps it real – Wyatt screwed up with Jessica, but he would never sacrifice Lucy like that. It is pretty obvious that Wyatt chooses Lucy, or else Rufus would still be dead. He gives Lucy the nudge she needs, just like he had for Wyatt – "You love Lucy!"
He is also very forgiving. He doesn't hold a grudge against Wyatt and absolves him of any wrongdoing. The present is what matters. They should make the most of it. Why worry about a timeline that no longer exists? Everyone should be happy to be together and move on towards a brighter future.
Sigh, we love you, Rufus! For so many reasons, but mostly for your big beautiful heart.
Agent Christopher and Connor Mason
These two are adorable together – in real life and on the show. Both of them love and worry about this team. They feel responsible for everything that happens. Mason even more so since he created the machine.
Agent Christopher turns into Bunker Mama while the team is off on their mission. She can't knit any more scarves, so she might as well decorate for Christmas. Once the timeline is corrected, she even hangs mistletoe in Lyatt's room. So cute!
Although she unleashes a low blow to Mason. He feels bad enough. No need to kick him when he's down. I love how they discuss what to do with the Mothership and Lifeboat. Mason – and the writers – think ahead to all the time travel possibilities. Anyone can follow in his footsteps and create another time machine, so it is safer and logical to keep one – just in case.
Having made the decision to destroy the Mothership, it is only fair for Agent Christopher to hitch a ride to the past before it's too late. So awesome! I smiled the whole time and love that she addressed it herself too.
This leads us to our resident Rittenbitch – Emma.
Emma Did a Bad, Bad Thing
Now that Emma has full control over Rittenhouse, we discover her self-serving reasons for time traveling. She is in it for the money and power. For a brief moment in Season 2, we thought there was hope for Emma in "Mrs. Sherlock Holmes." She had a rough upbringing, devoted herself to what she deemed a noble cause, and surprisingly had Lucy's back to better women's future.
Nonetheless, she turns out to be as horrible as we first thought. She made a mockery of Rittenhouse – in Benjamin Cahill's opinion. He was bad news, but at least he had some conscience in the end. Everyone except Emma finds redemption/peace/happiness of some sort.
She continuously tried killing the Time Team all so she could have free reign over time travel and the past. No grand master plan, just looting and fulfilling selfish desires.
It is sad that Emma did not have anyone. I guess since no one cared for her, she never learned how to care about anyone else. She manipulates people to get her way and cannot be trusted. Would she really help bring Amy back? Hell no!
It is pretty sweet that Emma was struck down by something out of the Time Team's control. It would not have been their style to kill her. I know Lucy gave them the okay to shoot if Emma moves, but still…
Here's the kicker – I think Emma was knocked down, but I don't think she is dead. She'll be the team's white whale when the show continues. She'll probably do something in 1950 Korea that will rattle their timeline at some point. Even if the future seems sublime for everyone at the end of the movie.
After the heartbreakingly open conversation Jiya has with Rufus in 1950, she realizes that he loves her no matter what. She did what she had to for the sake of survival. Sure, she's changed, but not at her core. Rufus still loves Jiya for all the same reasons and then some. Which is why he so awkwardly asks to move in with her.
I love that they finally mention Rufus' poor family too. They still think he's dead! I'd love to see the look on their faces when they learn he's alive. Can you imagine how Rufus would fumble through his cover story? Jiya would probably end up telling it for him. Family has always been so important to them.
Jiya's faith and family played a big role too. We got a glimpse of her immigrant family story in "The Day Regan Was Shot" and I'm so glad they mentioned it again. Jiya never stopped believing in Rufus and appreciates all of the opportunities she and her family had.
Everything Rufus and Jiya love come to fruition in Riya Industries. Rufus serves the community and Jiya acts as the face of the company as they work to enrich children's education and access to valuable tools/knowledge.
More on that time machine prototype in a moment…
Come on people, we always knew Lyatt was endgame. We knew they'd be together since the first time he called her "ma'am." I love Garcy flirtations, but Lyatt was just meant to be. Even Wyatt succumbs to fate when Lucy confesses her love.
The Lyatt scene in the chapel in 1950 is everything it needed to be. She thought he had died and realized that the past didn't matter. She can't imagine her life without Wyatt – she has loved him since the Alamo. I'll admit, knowing he can deliver a baby duress doesn't hurt either ;)
Wyatt messed big time and he owned up to it. He knew that the second they got back from Chinatown. Even after believing Jessica was pregnant with his child, he still told Lucy that he loved her. He apologized over again for breaking her heart. Lucy could be mad at him, but she never stopped loving him. Flynn acknowledged that much in their conversation about hypothetical Garcy's doomed affair.
With everything that has happened these last two seasons, it is fitting to see Wyatt and Lucy together. Their paths collided in the same way and they were thrust into this new reality together. I love that five years later, Lucy is a tenured history professor focusing on female figures. It's cool that Wyatt works with Agent Christopher on special assignments. And yes, their four-year-old twin girls – Amy and Flynn – are precious. Lucy has the happy family life Flynn wished for her in the note.
Everything comes full circle when the original team goes back to make the fateful Flynn visit. Lucy immediately experiences side effects, which has us worried for what the future might hold in 2023. Still, she's able to give Flynn a peck on the cheek, express her gratitude and give him the hope of heroism.
Just when we think we don't have any more tears left to cry, they hit with this magnificent montage, covering the team's best and worst moments – fragments in time perfectly set to a haunting cover of "Time After Time":
Here We Go Again (We Hope!)
This movie had two contradicting goals: To attract a broader audience in hopes of higher ratings and giving loyal fans closure just in case the ratings aren't high enough to lure a new savior. It made the experience bittersweet because we watched and re-watch with mixed feeling. The door is intentionally left open for new adventures. Simultaneously, a new mission statement was made by the team.
NBC wanted a Christmas-themed movie, so the show-runners and writers scoured through history searching for an unknown story. Instead of featuring a special historical figure, they chose to emphasize the importance each individual plays in history.
Lucy's stirring plea to save the pregnant Young-Hee (Kahyun Kim) despite the inconvenience is huge. Especially when Jiya backs it up with her own family's immigration. Time and again, this show finds creative and educational ways to teach viewers and touched on relevant issues we face as a society. Women's' Rights, racism, refugees…everyone matters and plays an important role.
After everything they've witnessed and endured, Lucy knows the right thing is to let Amy go. "Everybody loses someone they love." Flynn's death taught them that saving a life comes at a great cost. If she saves Amy, she would only take away somebody' else's loved one.
The Time Team is here to preserve history, not to rewrite their life stories. However, not everyone shares the same principles.
The movie ends with Paulina (Marika Dumancas), the girl from Riya's science fair, working on prototypes for a new time machine – just as Mason predicted. It would be cool if Paulina ends up related to Young-Hee, especially since her family values education – just a thought.
Bottom line: Time travel will happen again and when it does the Time Team will be ready to protect the legacy they've established.
Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who worked so hard on Timeless. By now you all know how much each of you matter to Clockblockers. You found an enchanting way to educate us all and will continue to do so for years to come. Your characters inspire and offer hope. Young girls will look up to the strong, smart and confident women. Boys will learn they can be sensitive, tough and intelligent to a geektastic degree. I truly hope this is not the end of our adventure together. But if it is, thank you for one helluva ride.