Timeless Recap: Atomic City
In the latest episode of Timeless, Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt wind up in 1962 Las Vegas, where they meet a long-rumored mistress.
Before we begin, I should note an important plot point that I left out of the last recap: Rittenhouse. In the last episode, Rufus and Mason discuss why it's so important to stop Garcia Flynn from doing all of this time jumping, and Rufus mentions someone named "Rittenhouse." "Don't ever speak that name again," Mason warns. Later on, Flynn brings up Rittenhouse to Lucy and she asks him who that is. "Rittenhouse isn't a who, it's a what," Flynn responds. Exactly what Rittenhouse really is is still a mystery, but it seems to be some shadowy organization that Flynn is trying to bring down. Is he really on the side of good, not evil? ONLY TIME WILL TELL (see what I did there?)
As episode three opens, Lucy looks through photographs of herself and her newly found fiance, all evidence of a past she has no memory of. When what's-his-name shows up in nothing but boxers, Lucy uses the excuse of work calling to get out of the house real quick. I know it's not this guy's fault, because he's living in a different timeline than she was, but something about him kissing on her neck without her knowing who he really is makes my skin crawl. Call it the Trump Effect.
This time, the team has tracked Flynn's "mothership" machine to September 21, 1962, but with no clue where or why. After approximately one minute of research, they figure it out: he's in Las Vegas, where President John F. Kennedy is set to attend a DNC conference, headlined by Frank Sinatra. There are many celebrities and members of the mafia who are set to attend, and once again they jump to conclusions: they fear that Flynn is there to assassinate JFK one year early. Of course, a more solid prediction would be to think that Flynn is up to something entirely counterintuitive to what they initially think he is up to, but maybe they haven't been watching the same show we all have.
Before they leave, Mason pulls Rufus into his office and questions Anthony's loyalty. Remember Anthony? Well, apparently, he's all of a sudden a major character. Anthony is the time machine's project manager, a devoted husband and father, who is piloting the mothership for Flynn. Mason wonders if Anthony is indeed being coerced against his will to accompany Flynn, but Rufus won't believe that his friend is anything but a victim.
When the Timeless trio shows up in the desert, an atomic blast looms over the horizon: there's a testing site about 50 miles outside of Vegas. Lucy explains that before Vegas was Sin City it was called Atomic City. No one makes any connection to that and Flynn wanting to be here. Not long after they enter the casino and hotel where JFK is set to appear, Rufus finds Anthony at a bar and insists that he come back with them. Anthony is reluctant, which leaves Rufus unsure about his friend's alliances after all. When Rufus asks if Anthony is helping Flynn assassinate famous Presidents, Anthony says that they're only there for "Christy Pit." Rufus has no idea who she is, but he starts looking for her immediately.
Meanwhile, at the main event, Wyatt fears that Flynn is about to make a move on JFK and is set to stop him. Instead, Flynn picks up a woman from the crowd and kidnaps her, leading her into the staff quarters. Following them, Wyatt "saves" the woman from Flynn by getting the snot beat out of him. Flynn escapes, and Lucy and Rufus show up just in time to see that the woman is Judith Campbell, a lesser-known yet highly influential mistress of the Camelot President. The team sequesters Campbell in a hotel room and learn that Flynn is blackmailing her with photos of her and the President together. Wyatt makes a plan to lure Flynn into a trap, using Judith as bait. But before he does that, in a shout-out to Back to the Future II, he sends a telegram and asks for it to be delivered in 2012. For some reason the telegram operator is fine with that, and Wyatt dictates a moving message to his dead wife about how she should go home with him on the night she dies. The reason behind her death is still unclear. Lucy overhears Wyatt's ploy but instead of chastising him, she is sympathetic. And now they should all have their time-travel licenses revoked.
Somewhere in the middle of the desert, Anthony and Flynn speak of doing "whatever it takes" to rid Rittenhouse from history forever. It seems that Anthony is indeed a willing, if reluctant, participant in Flynn's scheme. The true meaning of the plot then becomes clear: "Christy Pit" was a nickname for the plutonium core of a nuclear weapon. Flynn and Anthony and there to steal one. Judith double-crosses Wyatt and works with Flynn to get her incriminating photos back, and in return she steals the keys to the nuclear weapon and hands them over to Flynn.
From there, the climax comes and goes rather swiftly: the team intercepts Flynn, Anthony and Judith on a desert road, Rufus steals the suitcase with the core but has apparently never seen a movie before, because he has an empty suitcase and Flynn gets away with the nuclear weapon. Rufus and Wyatt ask Lucy what happens to Judith, and she shares that she is reviled by the press and dies of cancer.
With not much else to do, they travel back to the present, where because Judith has inspired Lucy (??) she moves out on her fiance. He lets her do so, saying that he loves her so much that if she needs some space, he is happy to grant it. Lucy gets teary-eyed, setting up a future plot in which she will inevitably have to choose between getting her sister Amy back or keeping what's-his-name in her life.