Thursday, December 20, 2018

REVIEW: 'Timeless' - The Time Team Fights to Save Rufus and Defeat Rittenhouse in 'The Miracle of Christmas'

NBC's Timeless - "The Miracle of Christmas"

As Christmas arrives, the team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to save Rufus. When the Mothership jumps to 1848 California, they're forced to put those plans on hold and go back to the Gold Rush, where they encounter one of the era's most dangerous villains. Then chasing the Mothership to 1950 Korea in the winter, our team helps a pregnant refugee escape a tragic fate. Stuck with no way out, our team faces its toughest challenge yet, and come to terms with their feelings for each other.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series finale of NBC's Timeless.

"The Miracle of Christmas" was written by Lauren Greer & Arika Lisanne Mittman and directed by John F. Showalter

It truly is miraculous that NBC and Sony came to an agreement to produce this series finale for Timeless. Most of the time when shows are abruptly cancelled, their networks don't revisit them in the hopes of providing more closure for the fans. The show was cancelled for a reason. And yet, Timeless has always been special because it has had the perception of a fan-driven support to get the network to reconsider. That was the narrative following its first season cancellation. It was the same narrative following its second season cancellation. It's clear that this is a show that people love. This finale may actually allow it to have a longer shelf life because Sony can promise that it has a satisfying ending and is worth the investment of new viewers. It may not be what the series creators had planned. As such, there are a couple of things that have to be wrapped up a little too neatly here in order to provide some sense of closure. And yet, that's still better than getting nothing at all. It's just wonderful to see all of these characters again one last time. There was also so much plot that this finale had to deal with as well. The team had to find a way to bring Rufus back to life following his death in Chinatown. They also had to stop Rittenhouse after it was taken over by Emma and Jessica. Plus, it had to figure out how to tie up all of the narrative loose ends that had been established throughout the series. That included all of the times in which a future version of Lucy appeared. That's a tall order. Moreover, it had to be fun and emotionally rewarding for all of the fans who fought so hard for it. In all of those regards, it is a success. It's absolutely heartbreaking at times. Several members of the Time Team have to make personal sacrifices in order to make things right for the overall timeline. That's brutal for them but also very rewarding for the overall stakes of the show. Wyatt understands that Jessica has to die in order for Rufus to live. That just builds into the tragedy of Flynn going back to 2012 to ensure that she died when she was originally suppose to. He just happened to die as well because he chose to stay behind and see his family one last time. This condensed version of the way the creative team wanted to wrap up the series meant that it couldn't fully delve into the idea that in the future the team found a way to go back to points in time they had already visited. Here, it's mostly summed up as them dealing with consequences that never made it impossible just unlikely to recommend because of the grave costs. Flynn carries that out in order to bring Rufus back to life. He sacrifices himself for the good of the team. That means that the future Lucy and Wyatt come from no longer exists. Time once again changes. It changes for the better.

However, it's also fascinating to see all of the characters deal with their evolving feelings on time travel now that their missions together have come to an end. Agent Christopher and Connor Mason understand that there is no keeping the lid on this scientific achievement. Just like nuclear weapons, the technology exists now and cannot be erased even if they dismantle the Mothership. In the end, that's proven to be completely true with a young mind only drawing the plans for her version of the ship. But it's also very aspirational because it confirms that there is a team of good guys to always ensure that the timeline is protected. Sure, it also comes at a time when Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus and Jiya go on their darkest mission to date. They are sent back to the beginning of the Korean war. It's a cold and desolate time with it seeming incredibly likely that they will be killed by communists. And yet, they still felt the need to help protect the people of the era and enrich their lives for the better. During this chapter, there is no historical context for the family the team helps. They just do the right thing. That's so sweet and special. Sure, it also increases the stakes enough to make everyone believe that they are about to die. In fact, there are multiple moments that tease the audience into believing that something tragic has just happened. Instead, Flynn is the only major death amongst the heroes. Jessica and Emma die as well. Their deaths put an end to the Rittenhouse chapter of the world. Sure, it may very well remain a threat in the future. It's just something that Agent Christopher, Connor Mason and Wyatt will continue to monitor. Everyone else has made their peace with understanding that the timeline isn't something that should be messed with. Even in the hopes of fixing things to make them right, it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Flynn just wanted to be the hero who saved his family. He became a hero in the eyes of the team even though he never got to enjoy a future with his loved ones. Wyatt wanted Jessica to come back to him. She only did so as a member of Rittenhouse who was the reason why Rufus ended up dead. And Lucy wanted to bring her sister, Amy, back to life. And now, she accepts that she has to sacrifice her in order to ensure that nothing else goes wrong. If it does, then it would be the team's fault. They couldn't blame their actions on some nefarious organization trying to harm the world. It's better to be the protectors of history. Lucy has a stronger appreciation for that now. But it's still difficult too. That's what makes it so rewarding and sweet to see her and Wyatt having a family in the future with them naming their children after Flynn and Amy. It ensures that these memories live on in the minds of the people who experienced all of this even though they are forging ahead into the future to create a possibly better life for themselves. That truly is a nice way to wrap up this story.