(SPOILER ALERT: This review has spoilers for events in the Season 2 finale. However, it is free of all major spoilers for “The Miracle of Christmas, Parts I/II”)
This is it, the series finale of Timeless! It was both exciting and sad to watch such a contemplative and tributary episode, since we finally get to see the resolution of many crucial story arcs but also the far-too-soon conclusion of a marvelous TV show. We’ve watched the Time Team travel though history many times in the Lifeboat, initially pursuing the apparently nefarious Garcia Flynn and then shifting their sights on the insidious shadow organization of Rittenhouse. I love how the show ends, but if it could be revived somehow, Hulu perhaps (the service that streams all the episodes), I, as a loyal Clockblocker, would wholeheartedly support that.
“The Miracle of Christmas, Parts I/II,” directed by John F. Showalter (Without A Trace, Supernatural), takes place immediately after the two-episode Season 2 finale, “The General/Chinatown,” where it turned out that Jessica, the wife of Delta Force soldier Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 90210), had been an undercover Rittenhouse operative. She kidnapped an engineer of the Time Team, Jiya (Claudia Doumit), and they became immediately pursued by Jiya’s boyfriend/Lifeboat pilot Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett, Preacher, Better Off Ted), history professor Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer, Rectify, Angela’s Eyes), Wyatt, and Flynn (Goran Višnjić, ER, Extant). The mission succeeded in rescuing Jiya, but it also resulted in Emma Whitmore (Annie Wersching, 24, Marvel’s Runaways), the badass Rittenhouse operative, fatally shooting Rufus. The final scene shows an updated Lifeboat materializing out of thin air in the Time Team’s bunker and Future Wyatt and Future Lucy dramatically stepping out of the ship; think of the weathered-looking time travelers as if they just returned from an Indiana Jones-esque quest. Then Future Lucy asks, “So? You wanna get Rufus back, or what?”
Simply enough, this is a perfect episode to end Timeless. The Lyatt (Lucy-Wyatt) relationship is an incredibly compelling element of the the show and one of the best TV couples I’ve seen with the strong chemistry between Lanter and Spencer. The connection is also great between Rufus and Jiya, the two science geeks of the Time Team.
As for Flynn, first he had suffered from Rittenhouse killing his wife and daughter, so he was driven to destroy the organization through murderous, time-rifting means so he could try to bring his family back alive. Then he turned into an uneasy ally of the Time Team once their goals — defeat Rittenhouse once and for all — became one and the same. And now his story comes to an emotional close as he steps in Rittenhouse’s path once again and helps the Time Team, making him one of the most memorable examples I’ve seen in terms of villain-turned-hero character development. Attention is also paid to the multilayered bond between him and Lucy.
Even Homeland Security Agent Denise Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey, House of Cards, The Mindy Project) gets into a bit of time-traveling action. I do wish Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph, Peep Show, Casualty) had played more of an involved role in the plot, something to finalize his arc, which started all the way back when he was CEO of Mason Industries; the proud inventor of the Mothership, the Lifeboat’s successor; and a Rittenhouse partner, having agreed to assist them in exchange for their bankrolling his company.
Timeless wouldn’t be Timeless if it failed to maintain its signature concept of educating fans on the obscure bits and pieces of history. In Part 1 we learn about the California Gold Rush and Joaquin Murrieta, who is said to have been part of the inspiration for the masked vigilante Zorro. In Part 2 we learn about the Hungnam evacuation, also known as, incidentally enough, The Miracle of Christmas, which Wyatt describes as the Dunkirk of the Korean War. This is a stirring subplot for me, not only because it plays out well for itself but also because it ends up linking back to the Lyatt relationship.
The pacing and action is good aside from a slow opening scene that has Future Lucy quickly narrating over a bunch of shots from previous episodes to catch us up on the story. Rufus still gets the best lines, whether they’re sardonic, like calling Emma the ultimate Grinch, or just plain funny, like flubbing his words by saying “heliclockter.” And speaking of Emma, I don’t think anyone but Wersching could portray her with such a convincingly frightening edge.
Not only does the series finale stand by itself as an emotional story, but it’s a splendid homage to the whole show. I caught so many of the callbacks, including one for an adorable Lyatt gag all the way back in the pilot. The show even gives us a time loop that properly sums up the core of Timeless. And who knows if Timeless will be revived? After all, the final scene does leave a small opening for more time-traveling in the future.
“The Miracle of Christmas, Parts I/II” makes me eager to go back and re-watch the first two seasons. It will stick to my brain for a long, long time. I’m serious, Timeless has to return sooner or later. Preferably sooner.
Windup score: 95/100