Don’t be noticed. Don’t change anything. Two rules that were rapidly broken in the first episode of the exciting new time travel series, Timeless.
Timeless centers on thirty-something college history professor Lucy Preston, whose life is turned upside down when she is recruited to go back in time and try to save American history as we know it. Lucy, along with co-recruits Wyatt and Rufus, must use a prototype of a time machine to race through time, trying to set things the way they originally happened in history, rather than the way time machine hijacker, Garcia Flynn, made them happen instead. One small alteration in history can have a ripple effect throughout the rest of time, as we see at the end of this pilot episode of the show, in which one change in 1937 altered just about everything in Lucy’s present day life.
My first impression was that Lucy was far too on board with everything going on, considering that when a government agent came to her door late at night to take her to a facility where they had invented and began using a time machine, and she then had to get into said time machine and go fix history, she barely questioned it at all. Maybe I’m just skeptical about this day and age, but I would never have even opened my door if I were Lucy.
Things picked up from there as these three misfits attempted to find the time machine thief, Flynn, in 1937 New Jersey where and when the Hindenburg was set to land. Unsure of what Flynn’s plan was, the three recruits stumbled through the unfamiliar era, trying to remain inconspicuous. Being a historian, Lucy knew several details that the others did not, such as who certain people were and when some things would happen, solidifying her importance on the crew and helping them move along in their task.
I thought Lucy’s use of pop culture references when put on the spot, such as “Dr. Dre,” “Nurse Jackie,” and “General Hospital,” was pretty comical. Obviously, the people around her would have no idea that she’s not telling the truth, but I feel that this could easily come back to haunt her in that things the three crew members say and do may end up in the history books, since they are only going back in time to extremely important historical events.
Case in point, I thought it was a little crazy for the crew to hold the pilot of the Hindenburg at knifepoint. Yes, it would help them achieve their goal of stopping the zeppelin before it exploded, but they must have known that they were going to rewrite history with this stunt.
It’s pretty obvious that this show is going to try to tackle race issues throughout history, as Rufus gave a passionate speech about awesome things that people of color do in the “future.” I’m curious to see how this element of the show plays out, and I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what kind of turn it takes in future episodes before judging if it works for the series or not, based on if it becomes comical or political (or somewhere in between). It will be an interesting dynamic, as Rufus, who is African American, and Lucy, who is a woman, travel to times where they will be oppressed. Blending in with history while staying in charge and on task will prove to be challenging, and I think this adds to the overall premise of the show.
The episode ended shortly after the crew came back to the present time, leaving the impact of the changes in history to the imagination until next week’s episode. I’m extremely curious to find out how a change in 1937 affects Lucy’s mom’s health and the entire existence of her sister, Amy, as well as the fact that she is now somehow engaged. NBC has got me right where they want me with this cliffhanger.
Another juicy tidbit that was alluded to toward the end of the episode was the fact that Flynn carries with him a notebook that Lucy wrote, telling her that she has yet to write it. He also told her to ask why she was chosen for the project and what “Ritten House” was. This is all extremely vague and cliffhangery, and I kind of like that they’ve given viewers something to wonder about before next week’s episode.
Yet another questionable thing was that Rufus gave Connor Mason a recording of things said between Lucy and Wyatt throughout the trip back in time. What was that all about, and when do we get to find out?! While having all of these cliffhangers does make for a curious audience who will probably come back to find out the answers to the many questions left wide open, it also begs the question of if NBC is trying too hard with it. Yes, it will likely create longer lasting viewership for the show, but does this make it too cheesy? Hopefully the questions will be answered in episodes to come, and not left hanging indefinitely just to get people to come back for more.
The Pilot episode of Timeless was well written and engaging. It had a lot of different elements, and hopefully this won’t make plots and subplots too complicated in future episodes. I think this show will be both educational and enjoyable, causing people to immediately Google historical events that occur within the show to learn more about them. This will be beneficial to anyone watching the show who is far from being a history buff, but wants to learn more about American history, such as myself.
+ Loaded with action and suspense
+ Great cast of actors
+ Educational, but not dry
+/- A ton of cliffhangers, leaving viewers wanting more – but were there too many?
– Characters far too quick to trust, which I think is unrealistic
What did you think of this initial episode of Timeless? Will this show be a historical hit or a factual flop? How horrible was that alliterative sentence? Leave your comment below!
Jamie LeRoy is the head Graphic Designer and Photographer at The Geekiverse. She is fairly excited to be learning about historical events in a way that intrigues her, which has almost never happened before.
Photo courtesy of <www.nbc.com>