It’s no surprise time travel is dangerous business, but our trio have found themselves in the bloodiest and most hazardous situation yet.
We’re five episodes into Timeless, and so far, most of the exposition has focused on Lucy and her backstory: her relationship with her mother, her attractive but mysterious new fiancé, her search for her sister. All we really know about Rufus is he’s brilliant and Connor Mason is pressuring him into working for Rittenhouse. We know even less about Wyatt, except he’s a top-notch soldier with a dead wife (and he’s a James Bond nerd).
With “The Alamo,” however, Timeless explores a little bit more of who Wyatt Logan really is — and it’s intense. Even before our trio gets into the time machine, things start to go bad for Wyatt, as a superior officer stops by to remind him his job is to kill Flynn as soon as possible. Needless to say, Wyatt hasn’t been doing a very good job so far, so the military decides to bring in someone else to see if they’ll have better luck. Wyatt is disappointed, of course, but before he can reluctantly step away, Flynn takes out the Mothership again. With no time to train the new guy, Wyatt gets to take one last trip into the past.
And it’s a date he knows a little something about: 1836, just a few days before the Battle of the Alamo. “I’m from Texas,” Wyatt explains. “We all know that one.”
Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt power up the Lifeboat, don some cowboy hats, and take a trip to 1836 Texas. It takes them a little while to figure out exactly what Flynn’s plan is — “How the hell do you make the Alamo worse?” Rufus asks — but as soon as they find Colonel William Travis shot dead in his office, Lucy puts two and two together.
Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt meet many of the colorful figures from the Alamo, including Jim Bowie (of Bowie knife fame) and Davy Crockett (the bear-killing, coonskin-cap-wearing King of the Wild Frontier), but of all the heroes who died at the Alamo, Colonel William Travis was one of the most influential. As General Santa Anna laid siege to the Alamo, Travis penned a letter describing the battle and promising to “never surrender or retreat,” signing it, “Victory or death.” It was Travis’ famed letter that rallied the Texan army and encouraged the young nation to fight back against Santa Anna, leading to his eventual defeat and Texas’ future statehood.
Except thanks to Flynn, Travis ends up dead several days early, so he never gets a chance to write more than a few words of that famous letter. As a result, no one will remember the Alamo at all.
NEXT: Davy, Davy Crockett…King of the Wild Frontier
While Lucy freaks out about Travis’ letter and Rufus just chills with Davy Crockett, listening to his crazy bear stories, Wyatt is left to deal with his own past. Since he’s started traveling through time, he’s faced Nazis and assassins, but the Alamo reminds him a little too much of his military service and what it was like to be in the battlefield. Before long, he’s having full-on traumatic flashbacks, and he soon opens up about the time he and his men were caught in crossfire and he was the only one to survive. “I left them there to die, and they gave me a medal for it,” he says bitterly.
But Wyatt doesn’t have much time to reflect, as Flynn has prodded Santa Anna into attacking several days early. As his full force descends upon the Alamo — playing music to unnerve them — Santa Anna’s men wave a red flag, promising to take no prisoners and accept no surrenders, including women and children. Even Flynn is a little freaked out by Santa Anna’s brutality, but this is the guy who literally shot Lincoln in the head and tried to blow up the Hindenburg (with plenty of women and children aboard). Even if he’s just trying to protect Lucy, whom we know he has a mysterious soft spot for, it seems a little out of character to suddenly start worrying about the women and children.
Before long, our trio find themselves in the middle of one of American history’s bloodiest battles. Lucy’s busy trying to replicate Travis’ letter, Rufus is trying to find a way out, and Wyatt is right there on the battlefield. Soon, however, Rufus conveniently remembers that hey, Wyatt brought some grenades on this mission (but not on any others), which sure would come in handy with creating an escape tunnel. It’s not exactly the Alamo basement, but close enough.
Lucy’s written her letter and Rufus has created a way out, but when Lucy comes to get Wyatt so they can escape, he refuses to go. He’s still racked with guilt after his own experiences, and he decides that if this is going to be his last time-travel mission, he may as well go down fighting. Lucy begs and pleads with him — he’ll die, it’s fruitless, he shouldn’t feel guilty — but the only thing that gets through to him is that she and Rufus need him. They can’t do this without him. The look in her eyes is enough to convince him to come back to the future (after Bowie hands him the first-ever Bowie knife… how’s that for a parting gift?).
Back in Nazi Germany, Wyatt was the one who calmed down Lucy when she was racked with PTSD, and now it’s her turn to return the favor. We’re starting to learn a little bit more about each of our heroes — although I still want to know more about Rufus — and they’re also starting to learn a bit more about each other. While some of Wyatt’s exposition felt a little clunky at times, his survivor’s guilt (both with his wife and his fellow soldiers) gives some real perspective into who he is, and it’s such a nice moment to watch Rufus and Lucy stand up for him and refuse to do their job without him.
It’s hard not to feel close when you’ve witnessed Lincoln’s assassination, escaped Nazi Germany, and survived the Alamo together.
Best Rufus line: It’s a toss-up between “Wyatt, you wanna say something strong and reassuring?” and “How’d you get fired? How do I get fired?”
Episode grade: B-