I wasn’t surprised when Timeless got cancelled at the end of the first season. I liked it, but it certainly wasn’t special. I was pleasantly surprised when it was reprieved and hoped that it become a stronger show in it’s second year.
The sophomore season of Timeless is scaled back. The reality of a tighter budget. Gone is the lab with banks of computers and loads of technicians. Replacing it is a bunker with nothing more than the core cast. It’s no longer about big set pieces, but more intimate and about characterisation. I liked this version better.
It doesn’t mean that it is without flaws though. The most glaring is Rittenhouse. Not so much the organisation (they are very good at generic bad guys), but the family. The season opens with us meeting Nicholas Keynes, Lucy’s great grandfather who appears to be key to the Rittenhouse plan. He doesn’t really do anything. Yes, he paints a big mural, but as the guy who is setup as the big bad, he’s neither.
I liked the idea of having sleeper agents throughout time. It changed the stakes, and one of the things that Team Excellent Adventure had to do in each episode, is work out who the mole is. It was disappointing when we started to find out that some of the sleepers we doing it against their will. Rittenhouse is about loyalty, have they met Emma?
Now there is a compelling villain and someone who is very dangerous. She has been a thorn in the side for the entire season, and now that she is in charge, things could very well be different in the future (or should be past). She’s all about working your way up the Rittenhouse ladder, not being born into it.
It was a nice twist bringing Jessica back, but it was obvious that she was going to be Rittenhouse. She came back and was just there. So, what else were they going to do? I did think originally that they were going to do a redemption arc, especially when she announced that she was pregnant. However, it seems that she is going to be Emma’s number two.
What really made this season better than the first was the development of the main characters. The addition of Garcia Flynn certainly helped. Should I be as suspicious of his growing relationship with Lucy? This is where I should be looking for a redemption arc. The relationship between Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus (Team Excellent Adventure) were all different because of the outside influences on each one. Flynn, Jess and Jiya.
I liked the development of Jiya’s character this season. The internal conflict of how much she should tell Rufus about her vision was well played. The fact that she learned to have control of her abilities off screen, should mean that they have something planned for her next time around.
The big shock in the finale was of course Rufus’ death. It was going to happen, there was a rather large hint in an earlier episode when Rufus didn’t kill someone, who died very soon afterwards anyway. Are they going to find a way of stopping Emma from killing him, or are they going to change the timeline so that he didn’t go on the mission?
The funny thing though is that I think that Timeless works really well at telling individual stories but, struggles with the large arcs. It’s got a strong premise but is very much in the style of an older show. One where it isn’t about solving the big mystery, it’s about having adventures in the past. They do very well with the historical aspects of the series.
I do have a question about the lifeboat. Jiya got her powers because she was the fourth person on the lifeboat which was designed for three. However, everything was fine when they simply added a fourth chair. Huh?
Mind you everything is in the air now thanks to the arrival of Team Lara Croft (future Lucy and Wyatt). I did get the impression watching the finale that the writers were chucking as many balls into the air as possible in the hopes of getting a third season. We’ll see if it has worked.