Timeless Recap: 'The Capture of Benedict Arnold'
In the Timeless mid-season finale, we finally get some long-awaited intel on Rittenhouse. And it's not exactly what you'd expect.
Or maybe it is, if you know your history.
After a brief interlude in which the story of Benedict Arnold is set up in 1780, we jump back to the present day, where Lucy is having dinner with Agent Christopher and her wife. This is the first time we learn anything about Christopher's backstory (save for a brief moment in the last episode when she mentions she used to be a cop), and it's actually very refreshing. She has two kids, and she gives Lucy a thumb drive of family photos and videos. She asks Lucy to show it to her if Lucy ever comes back to a present where her family doesn't exist. It's actually a very good moment between the two of them.
Gia and Rufus, meanwhile, play video games together (what geeks, amiright?) as Mason shows up, drunk and rambling apologies for what he's gotten Rufus into. Rufus asks Gia to step into the next room, and Mason warns him that Rittenhouse is aware that Rufus is tampering with his recordings. He needs to record this next mission properly, or Mason won't be able to protect Rufus anymore. After he leaves, Gia steps out of the next room and it's clear she's heard everything. Before she can ask Rufus too much about it, though, they got called up - Flynn has just appeared in 1780, on September 25. It's the day that George Washington learned that his best general and friend, Benedict Arnold, was conspiring to turn West Point over to the British. Because that's just what they do, the group guesses incorrectly that Flynn must be trying to kill Washington, and they high-tail it to the past.
Also because it's just what they do, as soon as they arrive in 1780, they get captured, by Washington and his men. But Flynn is there also, and tells them that he is after Benedict Arnold. The letter he found at the end of last episode with Bonnie and Clyde's key is from Arnold to his wife, indicating that Arnold is a founding member of Rittenhouse. He has learned that 1780 is when Rittenhouse began, and he wants their help cutting the head off at its source.
So Flynn wants their help killing Rittenhouse, and he has a few modes of persuasion: ending Rittenhouse means no more threats on Rufus' family, no more jumping through time for Lucy (although I think she kind of likes it), and....he offers to tell Wyatt who killed his wife. Apparently he has some "influential" friends at the police department. Who knew?
They agree to help Flynn, mostly because it seems they have no choice. They tell the Americans that they're actually British Loyalists and are chased to the British base. They meet Benedict Arnold and General Cornwallis, and when Cornwallis refuses to leave the room so they can ask Arnold questions about Rittenhouse, Flynn shoots him. When they interrogate Arnold, he lets slip that Rittenhouse is actually just one man who is gaining a following. What a twist!
Except it's really not, if you knew that David Rittenhouse was an actual historical figure. Full disclosure: I certainly didn't, but isn't that sort of Lucy's job? Isn't that why she's there, to know history really well? But she looks as shocked as the rest of them upon learning that the shadowy organization they've been chasing through time are basically just the fanatic disciples of this one guy. Even Flynn wasn't aware of this development, but come on. I literally had to do one Google search to find this out. Maybe after they changed time after the Hindenburg, they also wiped away Google and just forgot to mention it?
Anyway: Flynn wants to kill Rittenhouse, but the group is conflicted because now it's just murdering someone in cold blood. Wyatt of course is all gung-ho about it, because as I've mentioned before, he'll jump at the chance to kill anyone in the past. And he'll especially do anything if it gets him one step closer to learning the truth about his wife. Rufus isn't about it, but Lucy breaks the tie and decides that she would rather get this all over with.
Flynn demands that Arnold take them to Rittenhouse, but Arnold doesn't want to bring Rufus along, so Flynn agrees to leave him outside. On the way, Lucy asks Flynn what he'll do once his mission to end Rittenhouse is complete. Flynn admits that he is planning to leave his wife and son, a real stand-up guy. Lucy asks why, and Flynn admits that he can't really live with himself after all of the horrible things he's done and the people he's killed. Lucy is surprised by his conviction.
They are taken to Rittenhouse's clock factory, because, of course Rittenhouse is a clockmaker. How perfectly fitting. They meet his young son, John, and ask him about his father. He begins espousing his father's ideology, something about peasants unable to rule themselves just like the hands on a clock and democracy is only the illusion of choice. Lucy asks John what he thinks of all this, and he answers, "No one's ever asked me that before."
Then Rittenhouse himself enters, and he's a creepy old man who asks Lucy if she's "reproduced" yet and decides that Flynn and Wyatt are there to kill him. He takes them captive, and picks up Wyatt's pistol, shooting Benedict Arnold several times for betraying him by bringing these killers into his house. He's about to kill Wyatt and Flynn also, and tells his men to take Lucy to "his bedchamber," but Rufus breaks in saves them all. They gain the upper hand, and as Flynn approaches Rittenhouse with a gun, Rittenhouse starts going off about how his followers will survive him and yadda yadda yadda. He's in mid-sentence when Flynn kills him. Score= -2 major historical figures!
With Rittenhouse finally dead, Flynn turns to end his son, who is clearly going to perpetuate his father's craziness, but he's gone. Lucy tells Wyatt and Rufus to stop Flynn as she tries to find John. but Flynn gets to John first, who begs for his life. Flynn is clearly conflicted over killing a boy, but he's just about to do it when Lucy appears and shields John. Flynn begins to preach to her again about the greater good, but she gives him a speech about the importance of choices. "You have a choice, right now," she says, "You can decide not to do this." But Flynn has come to far, and he tries to force Lucy out of the way before realizing that David has disappeared again.
Enraged, Flynn begins dragging Lucy with him, saying that she needs to see what is at stake. This half of the season ends with Rufus and Wyatt chasing after Lucy and Flynn, as Flynn pulls her into the Mothership and the two disappear together.
That's it for Timeless for four weeks, until January 16, 2017. It did get picked up for a full season so we'll have at least several more episodes to figure out what's going on. Whether or not it makes it to Season 2 remains to be seen, but hopefully we get some answers about what exactly Rittenhouse's mission is and who killed Wyatt's wife before it's, you know, history.
Thanks for following along!