Matt Grant

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Timeless Recap: "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln"

It's Abraham Lincoln, yo!      Photo credit: NBC

It's Abraham Lincoln, yo!      Photo credit: NBC

Well, between Timeless and the second Presidential debate this week, Abraham Lincoln is certainly getting his fifteen seconds of fame!

I'm sure he feels so honored. 

In the second episode of Timeless, some mysteries deepen and others just get more confusing. Lucy rushes back to work exclaiming about her missing sister Amy, who, thanks to their meddling with the Hindenburg disaster, was somehow never born. Agent Christopher insist that Lucy doesn't have a sister in her file, confirming that we are definitely in a new timeline in which the only thing that has changed is Lucy's family dynamics. When Lucy shows Mason a picture of her sister, which she took to 1937 and then brought back. he's fascinated by the implications. 

Unfortunately, though, there isn't much time for mulling over the consequences, because there's a President to save! Or in this case, un-save? Flynn has this time jumped to April 14, 1865, the night that John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. Once again, it's unclear to Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus exactly what Flynn is up to, but they know they have to start somewhere. Of course Lucy, being a history professor, has written an entire book on this exact day - isn't that so lucky? - so she knows everything that's going to happen. 

Right off the bat, things get awkward. Lucy runs into Robert Todd Lincoln, Lincoln's eldest son, as she's waiting for Booth to show up and the two strike up a bit of a fancy. Lucy can't help but ask him what it's like to be Lincoln's son. Robert replies that his father "Casts a long shadow, but it's one I don't mind being in. He's a great man, and he's done some great things." And just in case we forgot that this is a show where some characters know what's about to happen and others don't, he adds: "And he's just getting started." 

Meanwhile, Rufus and Wyatt continue being the worst time travelers ever. Rufus gets into a scuffle with some black Union soldiers who recognize that he's not wearing an authentic uniform, and Wyatt gets shot when the trio run into Booth's fellow co-conspirators. If you knew that Lincoln's assassination was part of a larger conspiracy against Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward, and Vice President Andrew Johnson, you already know more about history than Wyatt, who somehow keeps getting to travel back in time. As it turns out, only Booth succeeded in his assassination that night, but Flynn plans to change that by equipping the conspirators with semi-automatic weapons. After a brief run-in with Lucy, Flynn informs her that he's actually trying to save history from the people she's working for, and that one day, she will be on his side, not theirs. Intrigue! 

The biggest conflict comes when Rufus, after seeing first-hand the effects of a fellow soldier's life torn apart by slavery, urges Lucy to save Lincoln rather than let him get shot. She has the power to change history, perhaps for the better, he says. Lucy isn't so sure, saying that history is history for a reason, and that's the way it should be. "Maybe if you're white," Rufus retorts. "My history sucks." Wyatt brings up his wife, asking that if Lucy had a chance to save his wife with the time machine, wouldn't she do that? Her silence angers him. "You just lost a sister, and you're going to sit next to Robert Lincoln and let him lose a father?" he says. 

All of this brings us to Lucy being invited to attend the play with Robert, putting her in the very same box as Lincoln himself. She reacts the same way I probably would after meeting the President: she's speechless and tears up a little. Flynn meanwhile accosts Booth on his way to the theater and insists he take a better weapon, but when Booth refuses, Flynn knocks him out. Meanwhile, Rufus and Wyatt are tasked with stopping the other co-conspirators, which they handily do. 

Lucy is left to anxiously await Booth and is unsure of her feelings. Should she stop the assassination or let history play out the way it's meant to? It's too late for the latter, though: Flynn, not Booth, is the one who enters the President's box, shoots Lincoln twice in the head with a silencer, jumps onto the stage, and disappears. By the time Lucy has reacted to seeing Flynn's face instead of Booth's, it's too late for Lincoln. On the ride home, Lucy mulls over the difference between seeing history as some "abstract thing" and being there when it's real people in real circumstances: she's just seen a man get shot in the head. 

Somehow, they forget they're in a time machine and are coming home in time for dinner. Wyatt is patched up from his gunshot wound and Lucy is shown by Jiya, one of the technicians in the lab, how the Hindenburg affected her family's history: her parents never met. A survivor of the Hindenburg who was supposed to die married her grandfather, and therefore her parents never met (?). So Amy was never born, but then why is Lucy here? Turns out, her mother has been lying to her about her true parentage her whole life. Intrigue! Too bad she can't just run home and demand answers because her mother will be all, "I don't know what you're talking about." Now we have a Back to the Future situation where she will have to get her parents to meet! 

Lucy then goes home to an engagement party, where she meets a fiance she has never seen before. She wants to ask her mother about her parents but her mom brushes it off. It's clearly a sore subject. Intrigue! 

Next week, continuing Timeless' Journey Through History's Biggest Moments Ever, Lucy and the boys visit 1960s era Las Vegas, with the Rat Pack....AND THE ATOMIC BOMB!!!!!! Stay tuned!