TIMELESS Recap: “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”
By Ruby Campos
It’s close enough, isn’t it?
Picking up immediately after Lucy gets the phone call to participate in another time traveling mission at the end of the last episode, she makes her way to headquarters, and urgently questions Rufus and Wyatt about what changed in their lives after they helped alter the Hindenburg’s original crashing. The two are confused as their lives seem to still be the same, however Lucy is frantic, her sister does not exist in this version.
While Lucy is understandably not over her sister literally vanishing from existence, the rest of the team moves towards the main task at hand here. Flynn has traveled to the date and place of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Wyatt, Lucy, and Rufus gear up and make their way into the time machine once again, this time in Civil War era clothing.
The trio makes another uncomfortable trip back in time (Wyatt asks if this is something they’ll ever get used to), and they land in the woods and see a display of fireworks. Lucy tells the guys this is the celebration of the end of the Civil War
Up next, we see Flynn, totally not coincidentally, run into John Wilkes Booth and offer his help, because he knows of Booth’s plans to assassinate the president.
Returning to Lucy and the boys, the trio goes through the information that they are certain of and what they need to do in order to stop Flynn. They know he is going to do something about the assassination, but what exactly?
The three split up for a bit and while Lucy goes to the post office, Rufus, who is dressed as a sergeant, is greeted by black soldiers and introduces himself as Denzel Washington. They greet him warmly and ask him to write out notices, because they are looking for lost family members. However, the encounter goes downhill when they realize that Rufus isn’t actually a soldier, they are insulted that he is impersonating a sergeant when they have risked their lives and literally fought for their freedom.
Meanwhile, Lucy is looking through the mail, trying to find clues when none other than Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert comes in to write and send a message. A nervous Lucy hilariously introduces herself as Juliette Shakesman, just starting out in the acting business.
As Lucy chats with Robert, asking him about his relationship with his father, none other than John Wilkes Booth walks into the mailroom. Lucy is stunned, but Robert gives a little anecdote, telling about the time a Booth saved his life, and ironically saying that the Lincolns owe a great debt to the Booths.
Later, the three meet back up to figure out what they need to do. Rufus makes the argument that they could change things for the better by saving Lincoln’s life. Lucy is wary, she doesn’t want to change the world for the worse even if saving Lincoln’s life seems like it would do more immediate good than bad.
Wyatt is later injured in a shootout so they bring him to safety and Rufus is the one who needs to patch him back up. They eventually figure out that Flynn is probably aiming to kill the Vice President Johnson, Secretary of State Hayes, and General Grant along with Lincoln.
So, Lucy sets out to make sure Grant does in fact get on a departing train but comes across a stationary, damaged train. Upon the scene, she runs into Robert Lincoln once again and this time he asks her to attend the play with him. Unable to find an excuse, Lucy accepts. Immediately after, she runs into Flynn, who gives her another cryptic warning about Riddenhouse and her future. This time he tells her that she will be helping him rather than working against him. He also makes the case that he is the one saving America by changing the past.
When she returns to Wyatt and Rufus, Lucy stretches the truth a bit with how she saw Flynn by telling them she had only seen him walking by rather than speaking directly to him.
As Lucy is about to get ready to go to the play, Rufus makes a plea to Lucy to at least think about how many people she could help if she stops Lincoln himself from being assassinated. Lucy struggles with this, she wishes she could save him, but there is still their present to think about. Wyatt enters the conversation when he believes she’s implying that if Lincoln’s death was meant to be then so should his wife’s. He also questions Lucy about her sister, making a case that it is rather selfish for her to want them to change things to get her sister back but do nothing for Lincoln, or even his wife.
Before she leaves for the play they plan who is going to save who. Lucy is will be saving General Grant, Wyatt the Secretary of State, and Rufus Vice President Johnson.
Wyatt’s encounter seems to be the quickest and the one with the least interferences. He gets into quite the scuffle but saves the Secretary from being killed in his home.
Rufus has trouble when the same soldiers who discovered his uniform was a façade get in the way of his plan when they see him. He only barely saves Johnson by messing with the shooter’s aim.
Meanwhile, Flynn catches up with Booth and tries again to offer his help by giving him better weaponry, however Booth wants to make a scene and refuses the more modern technology. Flynn, who is already short on time, doesn’t have any more for an uncooperative Booth; he asserts that he needs to do this himself and leaves Booth unconscious.
Lucy’s nervousness picks up because she knows the moment is fast approaching. However, instead of Booth who enters the theater it is Flynn. Lucy cannot stop herself and calls out to the President but Flynn is too quick. In the altercation, she still manages to save Grant but Flynn escapes once again.
Before they make their trip back to the present, Robert thanks Lucy for saving Grant. Rufus urges the soldier, Nicholas, to go North whenever he finds his family. He also tells him that things are going to be hard now, but they do eventually get better.
Now in the present, they inquire what ended up being altered in history. It turns out that Lincoln’s killer was written off as an unknown gunman. A high school is named after Juliette Shakesman, who saved Grant’s life that night, however Rufus is given no credit for saving Vice President Johnson.
It seems that this encounter with the past was less catastrophic for their present lives than their first, but this doesn’t calm Lucy. There has to be something major that has changed due to their adventures in the past.
I really liked the overarching struggle that these characters seem to be facing as they continue to journey to the past. While it’s one thing to talk and think about what you would do if you were in a situation, it really is another to actually sit mere feet away from President Lincoln’s assassination. It was interesting to see Lucy’s struggle to let things play out as they should in this episode. While she has been the one of the three who constantly stresses the necessity to keep history unaltered for the sake of their own present, she still made a split second decision to at least try and save Lincoln. It will be interesting to see how she struggles with this as the season continues and she (along with Rufus and Wyatt) make more personal connections with people from the past.
While this episode was pretty heavily focused on Lucy, I enjoyed Rufus and Wyatt’s moment of bonding before they set out to stop the assassinations. Rufus confessing that he was terrified that he might freeze and let Johnson’s assassination play out felt very real considering he has never had to kill someone before. Wyatt, who is a soldier, lets him know that it would be worse if Rufus wasn’t scared of what they were about to do; he has complete confidence in Rufus and assures him that he won’t freeze when the moment comes.
I also wanted to note the intrigue of the mysterious Riddenhouse situation. It’s clear that Flynn knows more about what is to come and of what has already occurred but what continues to strike me is that Connor Mason continues to make sure Rufus records the trio’s journey to the past. Rufus is uncomfortable doing this without Lucy and Wyatt’s knowledge but it seems that more people are aware of Riddenhouse than they let on.
Catch Timeless next Monday at 10/9c on NBC.