TIMELESS “Space Race” Recap
By Ruby Campos
One Giant Leap
What would happen if the first moon landing didn’t happen the way it was supposed to? This week’s episode of Timeless takes that question into the spotlight as the trio races to prevent the disastrous results that could come of Flynn’s meddling through time.
The episode begins with Flynn and Anthony securing their access into NASA. They kill Wayne Ellis, a scientist working at NASA, the day the moon landing is scheduled to occur. They steal Ellis’ ID badge along with a plumber’s uniform, both items essential to successfully disguising themselves.
While Anthony immediately follows orders to take down the computer system at NASA, Flynn takes a special interest in Maria Thompkins, a secretary working in the building.
After the three split up, Rufus notices Anthony and confronts him but he’s too late; the entire computer system has shut down and contact with Armstrong and Aldrin completely cut off.
Rufus meets back up with Lucy and Wyatt and they consider how dire the consequences of this situation really are. The race to landing on the moon is a close one between The U.S. and Russia; if Russia makes it before the U.S., it could go as far as Russia also winning the Cold War.
Lucy and Rufus are left to fix whatever it was that Anthony did to shut down the entire system while Wyatt goes off to see if he can find out anything else. After stating that he is looking for a Russian spy, AKA Flynn, Wyatt learns that Maria Thompkins is studying to become an aerospace engineer and fears that Flynn may try to use her skills for his nefarious plans.
Rufus realizes that the virus Anthony embedded into the computer system is too complicated and modern for him to reverse on 1969’s simple computers. They conclude that they need to find someone who knows how to navigate these computers, someone who works in the building. Rufus suddenly remembers that Katherine Johnson, an incredibly gifted black mathematician, who is currently working in the basement of the building.
After writing up a super complicated math equation on a chalkboard, Rufus manages to convince Katherine that he is not just a janitor and she follows them to the control room to assist them.
Meanwhile, Flynn finds Maria and her son at the park and strikes up conversation with her. He gets away though when he sees that Wyatt has tracked him down.
Rufus and Katherine bond over the technology as they race to fix the system, Katherine boasts of the impressiveness of the two megabytes and the amazing 10-minute speed of the computer, while Rufus seems to be missing the technology of the 21st century. The system is moments away from recovery when Anthony and another of Flynn’s men come in wielding guns. Anthony is sure that Rufus doesn’t have the guts to do any physical harm until he shoots the other man. This gives the computer just enough time to fully reverse the virus and NASA immediately gets back into contact with Armstrong and Aldrin, and the moon landing goes continues as planned. The whole room applauds Katherine for saving the lives of the two astronauts.
Maria and Wyatt catch the iconic moon landing on TV after Wyatt tells her that Flynn was a Russian spy likely looking to her for inside information. Maria goes to bring her son to the TV to watch the event but finds Flynn over him sticking him with a needle. Before Wyatt gets a chance to stop him, Flynn reveals that he was giving her son epinephrine for a deadly bee sting, saving the boy’s life.
In present day, Agent Christopher reads Flynn’s unredacted file to the trio and reveal that the reasoning behind Flynn’s strangely heroic behavior was that Maria Thompkins was his mother, and her son was his step-brother who was supposed to die from the bee sting that day in 1969. They all find Flynn’s actions puzzling, as he doesn’t let anything like the moon landing prevent him from attaining his goals, whatever they may be.
The episode closes on a moment shared between Lucy and Rufus. Lucy tries to comfort her friend and assures him that he had to shoot Flynn’s worker, that they wouldn’t have been able to save the astronauts if he hadn’t. However, Rufus’ issue isn’t that he feels bad about killing the man, its that he realizes he doesn’t feel bad about it. When they first started traveling he was terrified of causing harm to anyone and it seems that part of him has already changed so drastically. As Lucy offers a hand, he worries about the person he is turning into because of time travel and the credits roll.
Catch Timeless Monday nights on NBC at 10/9c