Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Timeless recap: Season 1, Episode 8

Houston, we have a problem in 1969

Posted on

Sergei Bachlakov/NBC


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for time-traveling historians, scientists, and soldiers.

After getting stuck in the woods in the 18th century, Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy are now keeping things a little closer to home: July 20, 1969. Specifically, our heroes are headed to Houston, Texas, right as NASA is in the middle of coordinating the moon landing. As far as major historical events go, few are as significant as the day the United States put a man on the moon, so whatever Flynn’s plans are to rewrite history, it can’t be good.

From the get-go, Flynn isn’t playing around. He and Anthony (Rufus’s mentor and the Mason Industries employee who helps pilot the Mothership) pay a visit in the present to one of the NASA officials who worked on the project to get some information on the landing…before going back in time and MURDERING THE SAME NASA OFFICIAL to steal his ID badge.

Now, Timeless has kind of played fast and loose with the exact logistics of time travel, only setting up a few ground rules. Really, the only main rule our heroes must follow is to not interfere in their own time streams — no going back to the same point in time twice. But other than that, things have been pretty open-ended. Flynn seems to have no problem stranding Lucy in 1754, even though that would prevent her from writing the future diary he relies on so closely. And oddly, the only reason he and Anthony went back in time and targeted this one NASA official is because of information the official gave them in 2016. If they shoot him in 1969, he won’t be around in 2016 to give them said intel in the first place.

That’s the textbook definition of a paradox, and it raises some serious questions about how exactly the time travel in Timeless works. We don’t need to have an extensive guidebook to the inner workings of the Lifeboat — Timeless is the kind of show that requires a certain suspension of belief — but violating major time-travel rules like that either requires an explanation or more creative storytelling.

But Flynn has no time to ponder paradoxes: He’s a man on a mission. He tasks Anthony with infiltrating mission control and taking out NASA’s computer system with a basic DDoS attack. The Apollo 11 astronauts successfully land on the moon, but without assistance from the officials back in Houston, they have no way of getting back to Earth. Thanks to Anthony, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are facing certain death, and the failure of the Apollo 11 program could have dire consequences on the space race.

Which is why Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt need to find a way to reboot NASA’s computer system, save the space program, and, consequently, stop the Russians from winning the Cold War. As Lucy puts it: “Man, we live weird lives.” Yes, Lucy. Yes, you do.

NEXT: Not the bees!