Timeless recap: ‘The Lost Generation’
If last week’s episode was all about Rufus and Wyatt trying to manage without Lucy, this week is all about Rufus and Lucy trying to manage without Wyatt. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t go so well. Time travel is a tricky thing, especially when you’re on the run from a creepy secret organization and chasing down a homicidal terrorist, so it’s no surprise that the Time Team flails without one of its core members.
Ever since we first met them, Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus have been so wrapped up in their own agendas — Lucy’s focus on her sister and her mysterious father, Wyatt’s obsession with his dead wife’s murder, Rufus’ attempts to outrun Rittenhouse — that they haven’t really been able to focus on the problems in front of them. Every attempt to either catch Flynn or stop Rittenhouse has ended in disaster, historical inaccuracies, or — occasionally — murder. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see this episode get all of our heroes (finally!) on the same page.
With Wyatt now locked up after stealing the Lifeboat, “The Lost Generation” kicks off with a confrontation we’ve been waiting for, as Lucy finally meets with Benjamin Cahill face to face. As Rufus puts it: “Whoa. Scary Rittenhouse dude is your father?” We’ve known for weeks that Lucy’s dad is the same guy who runs Rittenhouse (and has been threatening Rufus), but Lucy only recently learned that for herself. When she attempts to question him, he informs her, “Rittenhouse isn’t a choice. It’s blood. Yours, mine, and your kids, someday. When you’re ready to come home, I’ll be here, Lucy. With open arms.” As far as father-daughter first meetings go, not the best start.
As always, Rittenhouse as an organization continues to be frustratingly vague. All we really know is that they like to manipulate history to preserve their own power — and they sure would like to get their hands on a time machine from Mason Industries. Also, they really like to threaten people who get in their way. As Lucy, Rufus, and Agent Christopher try to figure out what to do next, Lucy wonders if the best course of action is to actually let Flynn continue with his plan to take out Rittenhouse. It’s a fair question, especially considering all the damage that Rittenhouse has already done. “They wildly and extravagantly suck, and I want them gone,” Rufus adds. But as he reminds Lucy, Flynn has done plenty of damage himself. Even though his end goals may seem sympathetic, he’s still caused plenty of damage — erasing Lucy’s sister from history, stealing an atomic bomb, and, oh yeah, murdering Abraham Lincoln.
So in the end, they decide their best plan of action is to continue with business as usual. Poor Wyatt is still locked up in a sketchy holding cell, so they find a Walmart version of Wyatt to help them on their latest mission: a sergeant named David Baumgardner. He’s like a big, tall puppy who’s super psyched to be going back in time, and he gets to tag along on a pretty great mission: Paris in May, 1927.
Apparently, we can now add Charles Lindbergh to the list of famous historical figures who were actually members of Rittenhouse. Flynn and his new pilot, Emma, have decided to ambush Lindbergh as he’s completing his big Transatlantic flight from New York to Paris, hoping to pump him for information and/or kill him to cripple Rittenhouse. As Lucy, Rufus, and David race to find Lindbergh, they’re accosted by an extremely charming and extremely drunk Ernest Hemingway, who offers to help — as long as he gets the front-page headline about Lindbergh’s kidnapping. (That’s Flynn’s Lindbergh kidnapping, not the actual Lindbergh kidnapping.)
As a result, Lucy, Rufus, and David find themselves in a bizarro version of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, as they hang out in a glitzy Parisian bar with Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. But the coolest person in the joint — and arguably the coolest person in all of 1927 — is Josephine Baker, the renowned African-American singer, dancer, and future member of the French Resistance. Unlike the booze-soaked Hemingway, Baker is brilliant and eager to help the trio. As her well-connected informants try to track down Flynn, she even gets Lucy to open up about her guilt and confusion in one of the most poignant moments of the entire episode. Basically, Josephine Baker is the best, and I would watch an entire episode dedicated entirely to her.
NEXT: Bye bye, Baumgardner
It’s only a matter of time before Baker finds Flynn, and unfortunately, the trio’s pleasant little Parisian diversion is short lived. When they find themselves exchanging gunfire with one of Flynn’s henchmen, poor David gets shot. I have to admit, when they brought David in, I thought we would learn that he was actually a Rittenhouse sleeper agent or something, setting off a sinister episode arc. I didn’t expect him to get shot and die in a Parisian back alley. I’m now regretting referring to him as a Walmart version of Wyatt. Sorry, David.
With neither a Wyatt nor a David, Rufus and Lucy find themselves outmanned, so Hemingway volunteers to accompany them to the creepy abandoned chateau where Flynn is apparently hiding. But he’s pretty bad at the job, since while he’s vomiting, Lucy gets kidnapped by Flynn. She begs Flynn not to kill Lindbergh, telling him that she can convince Lindbergh to give up Rittenhouse for good, before he turns into a racist, hate-spewing Nazi sympathizer. She does a pretty good job of it, too: Lindbergh tells her that his Rittenhouse father wants him to become an international icon by flying around the world, then use his fame to “say terrible things about all sorts of people” and distract people from Rittenhouse’s evil machinations.
It’s kind of a bizarre narrative choice for the show: recasting Lindbergh as a good man who’s forced to be a racist by an evil shadow organization, when in reality, Lindbergh himself held some pretty horrific views about race and eugenics. I’m cool with Timeless playing with historical figures, but revising a noted racist so that his racist tendencies are actually the result of Rittenhouse machinations and not his actual beliefs feels a little odd, to say the least.
In the end, Hemingway puts his boxing skills and his “Hemingway hook” to good use, rescuing both Lucy and Lindbergh. After they recuperate at Baker’s apartment, Lindbergh promises to go into hiding and stay off the grid, but when Rufus and Lucy return to the present, they learn that he gave in to his Rittenhouse legacy, and things proceeded exactly as they had before. Womp womp.
But Lucy and Rufus have bigger problems to worry about than Lindbergh being Lindbergh. When they return, they learn that Agent Christopher has been pulled off of this assignment, and she’s been replaced by a whole host of scary-looking men in suits, led by a mysterious man named Agent Neville. It doesn’t take a cameo by Lucy’s father to realize that these men are Rittenhouse, and they’ve placed themselves in control of Mason Industries — and the Lifeboat. Agent Christopher is ticked off enough to break Wyatt out of super-secret prison or wherever they’ve been hiding him, and our trio is finally reunited. All that time in solitary confinement has left Wyatt extremely contemplative and introspective, and he tells Lucy and Rufus, “You can call it fate or God or the Force, but I am meant to do something. I am meant to protect the both of you. I see that now, and I will.”
“You realize you sound like a crazy person, right?” Lucy replies.
He definitely does, but for the first time in a long time, all three of our heroes (and Agent Christopher!) are united in a single task: stopping Rittenhouse. The odds are stacked against them — Wyatt is on the run, Rittenhouse is in control of Mason Industries, Flynn still has the Mothership — but they’re all finally on the same page. After all the self-doubt, guilt, and rebellion, it feels like Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt have all settled into their roles on the team — and they’re ready to take on Rittenhouse. Watch out, Benjamin Cahill.
Best Rufus one-liner: “How about you do me a favor and the next time you and your dad are at a barbecue, you tell him it’d be super great if he didn’t kill my family.”