TIMELESS “THE KENNEDY CURSE” REVIEW
BY JENNIFER HOBBS
A PRESIDENTIAL PROBLEM
Buckle up, Clockblockers, because if tonight’s episode of Timeless is any indication of how fast-paced the rest of the season will be, we’re in a for a wild ride in the Lifeboat.
“The Kennedy Curse” opens with a literal bang, and only escalates from there, as a Young John F. Kennedy is called into his English teacher’s office at his Connecticut boarding school. His teacher opens a drawer, and pulls out a modern-day weapon just as Flynn and Wyatt burst through the door and prevent the Rittenhouse sleeper agent from assassinating the future president.
Meanwhile, back in 2018, Lucy has only just awoken from a 105 degree fever, brought on by being stabbed with an unclean weapon during the Salem mission. She’s been out of commission for a while, and Jiya reveals that Rufus has taken Wyatt and Flynn back in time without her.
Left behind, Lucy is roped into making awkward small talk with Jess, who’s still in the bunker, and it’s abundantly clear that the Time Team (and every #Lyatt shipper) has yet to work through the complications her presence creates.
But before things can get too uncomfortable, Rufus and Wyatt return . . . with Young JFK in tow! The mission went sideways without Lucy’s historical knowledge to help guide them, and though they rescue Kennedy in the nick of time, they’re forced to leave Flynn behind. This enables the duo to bring JFK back to the present, where he’ll presumably be safer until Flynn finishes off the sleeper agents.
If you think that sounds insane, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet . . .
FATE’S A FICKLE FRIEND
Lucy and the rest of the bunker inhabitants are understandably shocked by the sight of the future president, to the point of initial disbelief. Luckily, the ever-quotable Rufus is there to clarify: “It’s not who you think it is . . . Unless you think it’s young JFK. Then it’s definitely who you think it is.”
Before the team can muster a plan, JFK wakes up and is immediately suspicious of the rag-tag group staring down at him. He’s still trying to process why his English teacher would try to kill him, and why Wyatt was there in time to save him. After some fumbling and unconvincing explanations, the team disperses to handle this latest hiccup.
Agent Christopher notes that: “Our secret bunker’s getting kind of crowded,” but speaks too soon, as JFK escapes while everyone’s distracted.
(Side Note: Kudos to Kennedy for finding a way out of the bunker in less than five minutes, when Wyatt couldn’t manage it in the weeks he had while Rittenhouse held Lucy hostage.)
The team divides and conquers to track Kennedy down before Rittenhouse does, and Jessica gets tapped to help out, much to Lucy’s chagrin and Agent Christopher’s concern. Though our favorite Bunker Mom tries to convince Jess that these missions are dangerous, Jess points out that she can handle it, as Lucy’s “just a teacher” and obviously does fine. This definitely doesn’t earn her any points with the already chilly Lucy, who decides that if Wyatt and Jess are pursuing JFK, then she’s coming too, injury and all. Cue a very awkward love triangle . . .
The trio quickly deduces that JFK has run to the nearest place, which just so happens to be a gas station. There, he struggles to reconcile modern-day technology with what he knows of the world in 1934, and freaks out when the gas station attendant tells him that it’s 2018. Before Wyatt, Jess, and Lucy can catch up with him, he befriends a customer, Kayla, and drives away with her to a party in Palo Alto. Turns out, JFK’s a charmer in any decade.
On the way to the party, Kennedy is suddenly in acute pain, and so Kayla decides to take him to the nearest hospital. Lucy suspects that’s where he’s headed, as John’s complicated health issues are a carefully hidden, but well-documented secret. Unfortunately, Lucy’s mom deduces this as well, and dear old Grandpa Nick sends Emma to take care of Kennedy . . . and Lucy.
This causes Carol to go rogue, and with the help of some muscle, she attacks and kidnaps Agent Christopher, who is headed to her office for additional resources. Christopher wakes up in some other kind of bunker, where Carol tries to convince her to bench Lucy, so she doesn’t get hurt. Carol warns Christopher that Rittenhouse is determined to kill Lucy. Despite trying to appeal to the agent’s motherly instincts – and even going so far as to reveal that she considered giving Lucy up for adoption in order to hide her from Rittenhouse – Christopher refuses kowtow to Carol’s demands.
Back in our bunker, Rufus and Jiya have a heart-to-heart about believing in higher powers and fate. Rufus doesn’t believe in either, but Jiya is less certain. She feels that she’s having these visions for a reason, and that her miraculously healed heart-murmur is an indication that something bigger is going on. Their views diverge even further: while Rufus thinks her visions are simply self-fulfilling prophecies, Jiya believes they’re evidence that it isn’t as easy to change time as the team may have thought . . . after all, last week’s episode proved that even though Rufus avoided killing a man in Salem, (which Jiya foresaw), he still died anyway. Interesting stuff, but before we can theorize more deeply, Mason interrupts with the news that Agent Christopher has gone missing.
Meanwhile, Lucy and company have arrived at the hospital just after Emma. They catch her heading into John’s room, only to discover that he’s already disappeared with Kayla, determined to track down the time machine in the bunker in order to get back to his own era.
Wyatt and Emma face off in some intense hand-to-hand combat (Fun Fact: it took them over 8 hours to film that scene!) before Lucy and Jess catch up. In a very fulfilling moment for Clockblockers everywhere, Lucy whacks Emma over the head with a metal hospital tray so hard that it throws her off for a beat. Not long enough though, as Emma quickly recovers and holds Lucy hostage with a knife to her throat. Despite Lucy’s urgings, “Do it. She’s their only pilot,” Wyatt doesn’t take the shot for fear of hurting Lucy. Emma escapes, Jess realizes that there’s something more than just co-worker camaraderie between Wyatt and Lucy, and hospital security arrives to cart Wyatt off in handcuffs.
Fortunately, Lucy slips him a paperclip, nonchalantly telling Jess not to worry, that they “do this a lot.” Jessica uses this moment to tell Lucy that she knows Wyatt has feelings for the historian. She acknowledges that time travel has allowed him a second chance at love, but then confesses, “I don’t think I’m the one he should be getting that chance with.”
But Lucy, oh Lucy, the hero none of us deserve, continues to be ENTIRELY TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD and convinces Jess to give Wyatt a chance. Lucy recaps every single thing Wyatt has ever done to try and save Jess, like going back in time to prevent her murderer from being born, sending telegrams Back to the Future-style, and getting court-martialed for his efforts: “Even though you weren’t there, you were always on Wyatt’s mind.”
This scene is beautifully done – two smart, strong women, who respect one another and the man they both love enough to be honest and kind instead of competitive. There’s no pettiness, no spiteful jealousy, just heartbreak as we watch Lucy continue to be an incredible human, despite everything life has thrown at her, and we see Jess soften enough to give both Wyatt and Lucy a chance. Hats off to the Timeless writers for giving us such a meaningful, bittersweet moment, rather than predictably pitting two capable women against each other.
Before we get consumed by #AllTheFeelings, Wyatt’s impeccably timed escape includes him rolling up in a stolen car, calm as can be. Jessica is stunned, but Lucy simply encourages her: “See? I told you we do this all the time.”
Back in Bunker #2, Carol deduces that Agent Christopher is chipped with a tracker, and is a Trojan horse leading the good guys right to Carol’s location. Carol’s muscle knocks Christopher out, and dumps her back at her house where both a concerned Connor Mason and Christopher’s daughter find her.
In Bunker #1, Rufus and Jiya use social media to track down Young JFK, a suggestion that the newly united Team Lessica (Jucy? Whatever, it’s no Lyatt) propose. It works, and the team tracks Kennedy to the party in Palo Alto, where Kayla is finally coming to the realization that Kennedy isn’t crazy, and that he really did time travel. JFK reads his own Wikipedia page, and learns that he becomes president.
Rather than being thrilled by this news, Kennedy is distraught . . . his older brother Joe is supposed to become president. As he keeps reading, John learns that Joe dies at the age of 29 while on a secret mission in WWII; that his sister Kathleen dies in a plan crash; and that both he and his brother Bobby are shot. Kayla explains to him the “The Kennedy Curse” – which many believed to be true, due to so many members of the Kennedy family dying young and tragically.
An inconsolable Kennedy is finally found by Wyatt, but he escapes into the party. As he dashes off, we see a half-dollar with his profile shift into the image of someone else, and then Emma (who’s caught up with the gang) starts shooting.
There’s a true moment of panic for Clockblockers, as everyone worries that Kennedy is dead and history has shifted irrevocably, but thankfully, Wyatt manages to protect the future president. The team – with Young JFK in tow – finally makes it back to the bunker, where they prepare to take him back to his own time and to retrieve Flynn. (Did anyone else miss Sassy Flynn this episode?)
Kennedy is understandably shaken and saddened by what he knows about his future. He asks if he was a good president, and Lucy, in yet another gut-wrenchingly bittersweet moment, tells him emphatically that he was “one of the greatest.”
Rufus, adopting the Time Team’s new strategy of saving decent people – history be damned – warns JFK not to go to Dallas on November 22nd, 1963, and then the three gentlemen head back to 1934 one last time.
When they return a few moments later, we learn two very interesting things: 1) Flynn is back and still loaded with sass (“This damn ship needs more seats, because next time, I am not going to be the one left behind!”) and 2) JFK was still assassinated two years into his presidency, but instead of it happening in Dallas, it happened in Austin. Perhaps Jiya is right after all . . . history is harder to change than they think.
KENNEDY’S NOT THE ONLY ONE CURSED
With everything back to “normal” – at least, for now – we get a few final moments with the team in the bunker.
Agent Christopher tries to convince Lucy to stand down for her own safety, telling her “If you were my daughter, I would be so proud” . . . another heartwarming moment from the de facto Bunker Mom.
Wyatt bumps into Lucy in the hallway, and they seem to say goodbye to their very brief relationship. “No regrets,” Wyatt says, followed by “I’ll see you around the bunker, babydoll.” (Yes, that’s the sound of #Lyatt shipper hearts breaking).
BUT . . . just as we think all the romantic triangles have fizzled out, Flynn overhears their sad exchange, and looks hurt on Lucy’s behalf. In a very Flynn-like manner, he follows her to the kitchen, where she’s an obvious wreck curled up in oversized sweats and staring blankly at the TV. Flynn snags two beers from the fridge and hands one to her, clinking bottles in a sign of camaraderie as he settles in next to her on the couch.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, CLOCKBLOCKERS?!?! I’ve been picking up on some hints of a deeper Lucy/Flynn connection for a while now. None of you seem ready to abandon all hope for a Lyatt romance and convert to Team Flynn, and yet it’s definitely becoming clear that Flynn cares for Lucy. In what capacity? Does he have romantic feelings for her? Are they related somehow? Is he aware of something she isn’t thanks to her Future Lucy Journal from Season 1? Or does he simply commiserate with her as someone who’s also lost everyone he’s ever cared about thanks to Rittenhouse?
Perhaps we’ll find out more in next week’s episode . . . the teaser seemed to indicate that Flynn gets one wish, at least: a fourth seat is added to the Lifeboat, and Connor Mason is along for the ride!
Timeless continues Sundays (10-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.