REVIEW: Timeless Series Finale —The Miracle of Christmas

timeless finale

The Fall of Rittenhouse

Emma, the new leader of Rittenhouse after season two’s finale wiped everyone else out, is understandably not pleased with this turn of events. Timeless eliminates the unwieldy and cultish motives of the secretive organization that were kind of vague last season. Emma doesn’t care about the larger picture; she’s fueled by selfishness and greed, becoming a collector of riches and precious artifacts stolen from history. Honestly, historical gold heists are a lot more interesting than whatever convoluted motives Rittenhouse had before.

timeless finale emma

However, Emma’s antagonism toward the team feels like more of an afterthought. (If the show was given a whole season, her selfish motivations and thievery could’ve been a really intriguing concept to explore). She has others doing her dirty work, and she’s only spurred into direct action in the latter half when Jessica, her partner in crime, is wiped from the timeline. When both of her attempts to kill the team are unsuccessful, Agent Christopher and Conor Mason swoop in with one last trick up their sleeve to topple Rittenhouse. And, despite the rushed, somewhat wandering manner in which this plot works itself out, there’s something surprising and satisfying about watching Benjamin Cahill (Lucy’s father—we did not expect that) take down the organization he once helped build to protect Lucy.

Toward the end of the second hour, when Lucy and Emma finally meet for the last time, Emma tries one last, desperate attempt to save herself. She promises Lucy her sister back, but makes the mistake of asking Lucy to trust her. After their history, there’s no possible way Lucy would ever do that. So, Emma dies a meaningless death in the middle of a North Korean warzone, caught in the fray. Emma’s definitely a villain we love to hate, but there’s something fitting about her end. A hazard of time travel, a split second where anything can change.

Time Travel Woes

But even more damaging, it seems, are the emotional aftershocks of gallivanting through history. Jiya’s freaky visions aren’t at the forefront in the finale, though there’s a line that alludes to her still being affected by them. Time travel being what it is, now that Rufus is back, Jiya is technically older than him and she’s not the same person he remembers. She has traumas and physical scars left from the years she spent in Chinatown in the 1880s, and a hard life lived in the past that shaped her in ways Rufus might not understand. While suffering a minor wound in their off-screen clash with Rittenhouse in Korea, Jiya patches herself up and casually talks about a close friend dying from Bubonic Plague. Of course, she’s still the adorable nerd we love, but she’s been through things she doesn’t even want to talk about with Rufus.

timeless finale jiya and rufus

The disconnect drives a little bit of a wedge between our favorite geeky couple’s happy reunion. There’s a lot to unpack, from Jiya’s trauma to Rufus not existing in a timeline where he’d died, and so some of their interactions become awkward and fraught with tension. It feels realistic; next to the saccharine tone of the last act in the second hour, it’s these deeper, meaningful conflicts that really make Timeless so resonant. Their tension is resolved, of course; facing certain death—until Agent Christopher and Emma show up in the Mothership—there’s nothing else to do but make up for lost time and try to heal.

Lyatt

The same is also true for Timeless’ main ship, Lucy and Wyatt. Aside from saving Rufus, the question of Lyatt’s endgame is probably the one fans wanted answered most. The second season put them on an emotional rollercoaster, as we had to watch their ship finally seal the deal, only for them to be separated by Jessica’s reappearance. This paved the way for a secondary ship to emerge when Flynn stepped up to provide emotional support once Wyatt crawled back to Jessica. (Not going to lie, we shipped it a little bit, too, if only because Lucy and Flynn had such great chemistry and he was there for Lucy when she needed someone). And it turns out that future!Lucy’s journal detailed an affair between the two that, according to Flynn, didn’t end well because Lucy always had feelings for Wyatt. Obviously.

timeless finale lucy and wyatt

For all of his bad decision making, Wyatt’s heart was always with Lucy, too. He wanted to make things work with Jessica because he thought it was the right thing to do. The pair discuss their relationship and feelings for one another a few times throughout the finale; Lucy’s heart is still wounded by what could have been and Wyatt is still unsure if Lucy really wants him or Flynn. Again, had Timeless ironically been given more time, it would have been interesting to see this love triangle play out how it does in Lucy’s journal. There’s a lot of emotional baggage between these three that it feels a bit too convenient to be wrapped up with such ease. But, for the time we have, we get the closure we need as much as Lucy and Wyatt.

“I love you, Wyatt Logan,” Lucy tells Wyatt in a war-torn chapel, believing this to possibly be their last moments together. There was a lot of excited fangirling and some tears at this point, too, because yes, she finally, finally said those words all of us Lyatt shippers have been longing to hear. She tells Wyatt she’s loved him since the Alamo (how could you not??) and their fake-but-totally-not kiss while undercover with Bonnie and Clyde. And she tells Wyatt that she doesn’t care about the past or the future, she just wants to live in the present. Which, for a diehard historian like Lucy Preston, is a pretty big declaration of love. We get so many amazing Lyatt kisses in the last act, not only in the past and present, but also in the future. It’s definitely a nice confirmation of Lyatt being endgame.

Happy Endings

From there, the finale leans into the traditions of a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie, but we’re not complaining because the Time Team has earned this. It’s cozy; the team enjoys celebratory drinks while Agent Christopher (wearing an ugly Christmas sweater picked out by her kids) gifts her bunker babies with scarves she probably stress-knitted while she was worrying about them. Mason laments the destroyed Mothership, and the dreamy, bright atmosphere is tempered by the losses suffered. Lucy makes a tough decision not to get her sister Amy back. It’s not a choice she makes lightly, but she knows the dangers of messing with timelines and how easily it can lead to obsession. It hurts that Lucy will never actually get back what motivated her to work for Mason and Agent Christopher in the first place, just as Flynn died never having saved his family from their fates. It adds a necessary touch of realism and a bit of angst to an otherwise sugary sweet ending.

The closing minutes of the Timeless finale gives us a glimpse of our Time Team in 2023, and it’s beautiful. Rufus and Jiya start a foundation for math and science that gives back to their community, while Lucy and Wyatt are happily married in Palo Alto with adorable twin girls named Flynn and Amy. (If you weren’t crying before, how could you not be by now?). Lucy is a tenured professor of history who proudly teaches about the women often forgotten by time. It must be so cool to have a history professor who traveled through time; we’re kind of jealous of those students, to be honest. Even though Lucy can’t tell them she’s a time traveler, she makes a few cheeky quips alluding to her past while chatting with some students.

The Time Team reunites in their old bunker for one final mission in the Lifeboat, which Mason hung onto just in case someone else decides to use time travel technology for evil in the future. The original trio of Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt head to 2014 Brazil, where Lucy braves the nasty effects of traveling into her own timeline to deliver her journal to Flynn. That fateful meeting we’ve heard so much about is such a lovely way to bring the series to a close. Lucy tearfully makes sure that Flynn knows he’s a hero for what he’s about to do.

And so, Timeless comes full circle—Flynn is sent on his way to Mason Industries following Lucy’s words, and the rest is quite literally history. The added montage of pivotal moments in the series set to the song “Time After Time” is a poignant touch, the last in this gorgeous love letter to a show that’s going to be beloved for generations to come. We’re so fortunate to have seen the series close like this, to have gone on this journey with these characters for as long as we have. On borrowed time, Timeless gave fans a satisfying goodbye.

As a tribute to the fandom, the finale was full of references that only Clockblockers would appreciate. From Emma’s Rittenhouse minion mentioning “Jan,” a joke perpetuated on Twitter, to Malcolm Barrett slipping in “heliclockters,” into Rufus’ dialogue, there was plenty of fan service to enjoy. Our personal favorites were the ship names making an appearance; Rufus calls Lucy and Wyatt “Lyatt,” much Lucy’s confusion, and Jiya and Rufus’ company has been lovingly named “Riya Industries.”

Timeless really does love its fans as much as the fans love Timeless.

Although this is the end (for now), the series leaves the door open for more. There’s a thread left at the end where a young genius is seen developing her own form of time travel technology, so who’s to say the team won’t dust off the Lifeboat in the future? The actors, writers, and crew love this show dearly, the fans still want more, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Timeless will find a new home. Timeless has taught us so much. Its significance as a tool for education but also an example of how to create a show that organically weaves in diversity and social justice into its plot will not be forgotten. Its messages of hope and friendship and love underneath a fun, sometimes campy, science fiction show is what we all needed, right now, and we’re thankful it even existed at all.

It’s been an absolute joy covering this show. I can only hope that there will be more of it in the future, because we need shows like this. We need Timeless. As a longtime Clockblocker myself, even though this has been an incredibly satisfying end, I don’t think it will be the last time we see the team together. But for now, this shameless history nerd thanks the cast, writers, and crew for all of the history lessons and adventures. Thank you, Timeless, for letting us travel through time right along with you.

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