Timeless: 2×08 “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Review

I feel like I should probably just copy and paste a paragraph on how amazing Timeless is every week because I honestly feel like a broken record. Just like the past seven episodes, Timeless once again hit it right out of the park in an episode that hit us through the heart and killed us with too many emotions.

And then, of course, we had that god awful twist in the end, but we’re not going to worry about that now, okay? For now, let’s just focus on 1981 and young Denise Christopher.

Time Team bonding. I was so, so happy to see my OG Time Team interacting in a casual scene together, without any pressing issues they had to tend to. Of course, they were discussing Rufus’ impending doom, but the whole thing started because Lucy was there for him as friend, asking him what was wrong. And as much as I love all the new relationships and dynamics with the expanded Time Team — Sassy Flynn, I’m looking at you, babe — I really missed seeing Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus like this. Just being friends who really care about each other.

This core group is what really makes Timeless work and I feel like we didn’t get to see a lot of them together this season. Wyatt was dealing with Jessica, Lucy was dealing with her entire world crashing around her, and Rufus was dealing with Jiya’s visions and the world of problems that his unwarranted reactions caused to his relationship. So to see these three finally talking and supporting each other was a real treat and I hope we get more of those scenes in the next two episodes.

TIMELESS — “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan, Karen David as Young Denise Christopher — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

The reason why Wyatt is part of the team. This one threw me for a loop. When the Time Team (plus Jiya) arrive in 1981, they quickly figure out that they are not dealing with the attempt at killing President Reagan on March 30th of that year. Wyatt sees a Secret Service agent aiming a gun at a young police officer and thankfully jumps to action just in time, pushing her out of the way. It turns out that the officer is none other than a young Denise Christopher, who had just recently joined the Police Force in Washington, D.C.

Still shell shocked at his discovery, Wyatt tells her his full name and that he is US Army Special Forces. Back in 2018, Agent Christopher arrives at the bunker shortly after the Lifeboat took off, and when Mason tells her when and where they went off to, she immediately knows what they are doing and that Rittenhouse is not after Reagan. On the contrary, they are after her and the plan is to eliminate her before she has the chance to become Agent Christopher.

Without Denise, the Time Team doesn’t exist. She doesn’t recruit Wyatt, she doesn’t put over 200 Rittenhouse members behind bars and she most certainly does not take the Time Team off the grid when they blow up Mason Industries. It’s exactly what Rittenhouse wants.

And this is the moment that I finally realized just how fundamentally important Denise Christopher is to this show. Sure, we love her and she’s our mama bear, but without her, everything falls apart. Without Agent Christopher, there’s no Timeless.

That said, we need to talk about this Back to the Future loop we’ve got going on here. I’ve watched this episode four times already and I keep coming back to this: it’s clear that Denise has always known that one day they would travel to 1981. That’s why she assembled the team; that’s why she specifically recruited Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan, because he was the guy that would eventually save her in the past. Twice.

And then there’s the matter of the USB drive that Lucy gives to young Denise. Is that the same USB drive that Denise would give to her in 2017 and ask her to keep it in the Lifeboat? Are these points in time stuck in a loop? Are these fixed points in time — unchangeable?

I know, my head hurts too.

TIMELESS — “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Claudia Doumit as Jiya, Karen David as Young Denise Christopher — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Cagney and Lacey + Denise. This was my very favorite aspect of this episode. We really, really needed some Lucy and Jiya bonding and having them be the ones to help Denise to come out to her family and help her through such a crucial moment of her life was everything. And I have to say, standing ovation to Karen David, who absolutely killed it as a young Denise Christopher. What a fantastic casting choice. Her chemistry with Abigail Spencer and Claudia Doumit was so stellar and they had me ugly crying by the end of this episode.

Of course the whole Cagney and Lacey thing was hysterically funny, especially when they started posing as a couple, so Denise wouldn’t get suspicious of their ridiculous cover story. But what really came out of this was Lucy and Jiya helping her choose the path that would eventually lead to Denise becoming a Homeland Security agent, and then assembling the Time Team. And yes, that’s important and crucial to the show, but what really mattered here was how they approached the fact that Denise was a lesbian in a traditional Indian family, terrified of what would happen to her should her family find out.

TIMELESS — “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Claudia Doumit as Jiya, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Sakina Jaffery as Denise Christopher — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

And isn’t that what happens every single day in the LGBT+ community? Isn’t that fear a constant reminder of what you could stand to lose if you came out to the world, even now in 2018, where same sex marriage is legal in a lot of countries? The dilemma that Denise faced was gut wrenching. Her mother had already lost her husband when Denise was little, and she didn’t want to give her mother a reason to lose her as well — whether it was by working in law enforcement or for the simple fact that she was gay. That and she was also terrified of facing the consequences of coming out to the world by herself.

While most of the first scenes were hilarious — especially when Denise thought Lucy was hitting on her — Spencer, Doumit and David slowly built a rapport that was beautiful to watch. When Lucy and Jiya finally decide that they need to break out the USB drive and tell Denise the truth about who they are and where they come from, I was already an emotional mess. What was really great about this was that they slowly built up to this moment of showing Denise what her future was like. Again, standing ovation to Karen David. The emotion in that scene really just snuck up on me and, before I fully realized what was going on, I was already full on ugly crying.

Then Wyatt and Rufus run over the sleeper agent’s brother — who was about to shoot Denise — and before we know it, she comes out to her mother and her engagement is off and her life crashes down around her. But Lucy and Jiya are there to support her and give her the USB drive for her to hold onto, just so she’ll be able to remember what she’s fighting for.

And the parallel to that scene in 1×04 when Wyatt tells Lucy she needs to figure out what she’s fighting for just hit me right this second and is making me emotional again. How incredible is it that Wyatt passed along his advice to Lucy in Nazi Germany and she, in turn, passed it along to Agent Christopher — before she was Agent Christopher! — in 1981? This show is absolutely beautiful and I can’t get over how wonderful the writing really is. Especially in small moments like this.

TIMELESS — “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Episode 208 — Pictured: (l-r) Sakina Jaffery as Denise Christopher, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Then we’re back to the present and that half a second of panic Lucy and Jiya experience when they don’t see Agent Christopher right away really messed me up. And then she’s telling Wyatt that she waited 37 years to thank him for saving her life, and that moment was so monumentally huge. This is where it comes full circle. That’s how they know why Wyatt is in the team and the emotion in that entire scene is palpable. When she hugs Lucy tight, I was full on ugly sobbing again because Sakina Jeffrey and Abigail Spencer played this moment so beautifully that just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes now.

This entire journey was fantastic and this was one of the very best episodes of the series so far. Timeless always excels when they’re handling emotional character development, but this time they really hit it out of the park.

The journal. So of course this whole thing with Denise and the USB drive got Lucy thinking, so she finally — FINALLY — confronts Flynn about the journal and how he got it. This scene was absolutely fantastic because one, Goran Visnjic as Sassy Flynn gives me so much life. Two, because we finally got some really important answers. Five years from now, Lucy travels to 2015 and finds Flynn in Sao Paulo, Brazil — side note: as a Brazilian, hearing Goran saying Sao Paulo with his cute accent was everything — and tells him that she knows what happened to his family, that Rittenhouse was responsible and that there was a way he could stop them. Then she handed him the journal and said he would need her help.

Here is where it gets interesting. One, five years from now, they will figure out a way to travel into their own timeline without dying. And two, this is the exact same thing that happened with Agent Christopher. It’s a temporal loop. Because, as Flynn said, Lucy was the one who started this whole thing by going back in time and giving Flynn the journal, which would prompt him to steal the Mothership and jump start this whole mess.

I know, this sounds complicated and confusing, but that’s time travel for you.

And last, but definitely not least — let’s talk about Jessica. I’ve gone through so many theories this past week about what Jessica’s angle is here. We know she’s somehow connected to Rittenhouse and that she probably has some sort of surveillance tech on her. The entire point of the sleeper agent subplot in tonight’s episode seemed to serve as a parallel for Jessica. Of course we learned a lot about how RH works — and we could clearly see that Wyatt is now suspicious that something is off with zombie wife — but what we really needed to focus here was how sleeper agent and his family were recruited into RH.

Flashforward to that last scene. When Jessica is scrolling through her Instagram feed, talking about her brother, Wyatt knows something is up. In his timeline, her brother died when he was a kid. Then Jessica is explaining that it was some cutting edge technology that saved her brother, so now we have an answer to what the hell RH was doing in 1980 when the Time Team went to 1941 Hollywood. They saved her brother, which indebted her family to RH, which is probably why they were all recruited.

Then she drops the pregnancy bomb. I’ll be honest, I panicked. I legit panicked. But then after talking this out with my fellow reviewers, we came to the conclusion that this couldn’t possibly be true. She’s either not pregnant and lying to his face or she’s pregnant and it’s not his baby. Cause it’s simple math, guys. At this point, Jessica has been in the bunker what? Two weeks? Three at most? How would she even know she was pregnant? It’s not like Agent Christopher keeps the bathroom cabinet stocked up on pregnancy tests.

So my theory is that she knows they’re getting close to finding out that she’s really a filthy RH agent and she’s getting desperate. And if you look at Wyatt’s reaction, you’ll see that he knows this is bullshit. Again, Matt Lanter is an incredibly expressive actor and he managed to go from “WHAT?!” to “I’m going to be a dad?” to “No, wait a damn minute” in the span of five seconds and it was GLORIOUS!

So no. Jessica is not pregnant. She’s lying through her teeth and shit is going to hit the fan next week.

Bonus:

Let’s talk about Riya real quick here. Malcolm Barrett and Claudia Doumit have an incredible chemistry together and, even though I think Rufus was a total ass in the past few episodes, I loved how they finally had him admit that he’s terrified and that whatever happens, he just wants to be with her. I don’t know how this is going to play out and I have zero theories on this, but I just wanted to comment on that last scene between them and how it made my heart grow three sizes at the love and friendship and support they both managed to convey.

Only two more episodes to go. I’m not ready to say goodbye to these precious babies, so please, tell people about Timeless. Recruit everyone you know. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell strangers in the street. This our time to show NBC that Timeless matters and needs to be renewed. We can do this, guys!

The season finale of Timeless airs next Sunday, May 13 at 9/8C on NBC.

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Published by

Luciana Mangas

30-something Brazilian journalist. Crazy about TV. Currently in love with DC and Marvel superheroes, that tattooed lady from NBC, clone conspiracies and dystopian futures. You can reach her at @lucianamangas on Twitter and talk about how much you love TV as well. Or puppies. Puppies are cool too.

2 thoughts on “Timeless: 2×08 “The Day Reagan Was Shot” Review

  1. Great write up. However, I disagree that Agent Christopher “always” knew that she meet the Time Team back in 1981 and that Wyatt saved her life, and that she picked Wyatt for the team because of that. In my opinion, when the Lifeboat took off for 1981 at the beginning of the episode, she had no idea she’d ever met them before. It was just good fortune that she picked Wyatt for the team. Remember she tried to replace him once.

    Instead her memory/knowledge changed when the Team encountered her in 1981 and Lucy & Jiya showed her her own family on the flash drive. Remember, before the team traveled to 1981, she was at odds with her mother–who didn’t even know about about her own Grandchildren (Christopher’s kids). That changed and so did her awareness of her past meeting with Wyatt, Lucy & Jiya (I don’t think she had any interaction with Rufus in 1981).

    Look at it this way, if Agent Christopher had “always” known, why didn’t she tell Lucy & Wyatt about it much earlier in their relationship? She would have known from her experience that knowing the future was a good thing, not a bad thing. And telling them would have made their mission–to save her life (twice!) a lot easier, right? It would have been reckless for her not to tell them!

    Of course, there’s no “right “answer, this is just a messy time paradox you inevitably encounter in Time Travel stories.

    Which is why we love them!

    Like

    1. You make an excellent point. That was the one aspect of the episode that I really struggled with because it all comes down to timey wimey stuff. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer, but I think what they intended to do here was to explain why Wyatt was chosen for the team. And the only way that could’ve happened was if she already knew. Remember when AC arrived at the bunker and Mason told her they had gone to 1981 to save Reagan? She immediately knew why they were there, which makes me think that she already knew that some day in the future, they would save her in the past. As for her not telling them, it’s not like she knew the exact date they would go on this mission and she didn’t really know all the details. Just that a Wyatt Logan and two women posing as Lacey and Cagney would help her. Of course, things still changed a little bit (her relationship with her mom), but I think the major event — Wyatt saving her — was a fixed point in time.

      Does that make sense? All this timey wimey stuff makes my head hurt!

      Like

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