Timeless Recap: The Space Race
This week on Timeless, Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt stop Flynn and Anthony from sabotaging the Apollo 11 moon landing, or some such nonsense.
But before we get into all of that, we need to address the fact that Flynn and Wyatt, and this time even Rufus - RUFUS, for crying out loud! - keeps killing people in the past, all seemingly without any consequences.
If you'll recall, at the end of the pilot, the gang prevented Flynn from making the Hindenburg disaster worse than it was, and by doing so, allowed someone who was supposed to die to live, which meant that Lucy's sister was never born. I know, I'm confused too.
But the point is this: from the outset, their time traveling had some real-world consequences. Ever since, however, Flynn and Wyatt have been killing people in the past at a rate of approximately two people per episode. Each time, they return to the present with nothing different than when they left it.
This just doesn't make sense to me. How does leaving someone alive in 1937 alter the future so drastically that a full human being no longer exists, but killing someone in 1969 leaves no consequence? Is there some horrifying alternate future outside the confines of Mason Industries that we are somehow not aware of? Perhaps there's secretly a barren, war-torn landscape in Ohio or something that the trio will one day stumble upon and realize they are the cause of it all?
I could tolerate most of this senseless violence so far until this episode, when Rufus, apparently distraught over the moon landing never happening and Anthony's betrayal in the name of science, kills a NASA guard to prove that he means business. In the end he frets to Lucy over how their time traveling escapades are changing him, but that all happens in the PRESENT, where there is NO APPARENT CHANGE DUE TO THEIR ACTIONS IN THE PAST.
Look, I don't mind knocking off a few bad guys, especially if they're Nazis, but the most basic rule of time travel is pretty clear: don't change anything too drastically, because it can create a ripple effect through the spacetime continuum and either change the future as we know it OR create an alternate timeline that can be difficult to escape from. We all remember what happened when Marty McFly left a copy of a 2015 sports almanac back in 1985. It those stakes that make time-travel narratives fun.
Unfortunately, in Timeless we have yet to see any of these stakes on the large scale, minus Lucy's mysteriously vanishing sister. The trio keeps averting major history disasters, but it's the smaller-scale ones, the ones that show that every human life is worthwhile on some level, that is always at the heart of the best time-travel stories. Until we see something similar on Timeless, I'm afraid the show won't be much more than a Monday night distraction.