If Timeless is going to have an episode about secrets and treachery, it’s certainly fitting to set that episode in the middle of the Watergate scandal.
Finally, our time-traveling trio is getting some answers — and only a few of them involve meeting a secret source in an empty parking garage! For weeks, Timeless has hinted at its core players’ backstories: Lucy’s mom, sister, and mysterious father, Wyatt’s dead wife, Flynn’s dead family, and Rufus’… family? Honestly, until recently, when Rittenhouse threatened them, we didn’t even know Rufus had a family.
Well, he does! And they seem really nice and normal! For the first time, Timeless ditches the flashback cold open and sets its opening scenes in the present, where we meet Rufus’ mom (and hear about his basketball-playing little brother). As we learned previously, Connor Mason recognized Rufus’ genius and helped fund his education and provide for his family. In return, Rufus has to keep informing on his friends to Rittenhouse, much to his dismay (and with increasing threats from that creepy white-haired Rittenhouse agent).
His next task is to travel back in time once again with Wyatt and Lucy, this time tracking Flynn and the Mothership to June 20, 1972. That, of course, is the day Richard Nixon recorded his most notorious White House tape: the one with a gap of 18 and a half minutes. For decades, movies and TV shows have speculated about what sort of incriminating material may have been in those 18 and a half minutes, and our heroes set out to get that tape before Flynn can. (While wearing some fabulous ‘70s outfits, I might add. As Wyatt puts it: “I look like Greg Brady.”)
The only problem is they’re too late. By the time they walk up to the White House with their fake press credentials, Flynn’s men grab them and tie them up in an abandoned hotel room — the same place they stayed when they were trying to stop the Lincoln assassination all those years ago. Or days ago? Ugh, time-travel problems.
For the first time, all three of our heroes have a face-to-face confrontation with Flynn. Over the course of these first few episodes, Flynn has been a tough villain to understand, as we know very little about him and his motivations. At the beginning, we were told that he was an NSA contractor turned international terrorist, who killed his wife and young daughter. Since then, he’s been flitting around through American history, supposedly in order to wreak as much havoc as possible.
Now, with Flynn, Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus in the same room, Flynn feels like far more of a threat, and he does a little bit of villain monologuing, explaining his intentions. He swears that when he was working with the NSA, he discovered that money was being funneled to Mason Industries to help funnel Connor Mason’s research into time travel. After digging through some of the encryption, he learns that Rittenhouse was basically bankrolling Mason’s research, and only a few days after he told his superiors, his wife and baby daughter were killed in a tragic home invasion. “We call them silencers, but they’re not that silent,” he says, bitterly. He swears up and down that he was framed, and since then, he’s devoted his life to completely wiping Rittenhouse off the map, hoping that one day he’ll return to the present to find his wife and daughter still alive.
So is Flynn telling the truth? Maybe… Although, I see no reason not to believe him. It’s the only real motivation we’ve seen for his insane time-travel murder spree, and it’s a far more compelling reason than just general terrorism. Flynn even tries to convince Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus that they’re on the wrong side of history — ha, history — by showing them Lucy’s supposed journal and talking about all the times he’s confronted Lucy during past missions.
Which is when Rufus and Wyatt are like, “Um, what confrontations during past missions?” Turns out that Lucy has been keeping the existence of her journal and her little chats with Flynn a secret, much to Rufus and Wyatt’s annoyance. They’re understandably angry that Lucy hasn’t been telling them everything, but Flynn has no time to play marriage counselor: He’s already retrieved the 18 and a half minute tape, and when he plays it, they hear Richard Nixon reveal that he’s being blackmailed by Rittenhouse and he needs to find something called “the doc.” So, he tells Lucy and Rufus that they have five hours to go find that doc, and if they don’t, they can say goodbye to Wyatt.
NEXT: All the President’s Men (and Women)