Breaking from the previous format, the Nov. 14 episode of “Timeless” breaks its characters into two groups of two: Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Rufus (Malcolm Bennett) in a race against time to prevent the Watergate Tapes from falling into the wrong hands, leaving Wyatt (Matt Lanter) held hostage by the show’s villain/hero Flynn (Goran Visnjic).
The quote above emerges during the first part of a conversation between the latter men, both still actively grieving the horrific loss of loved ones, both with access to time machines, both responding in different ways to similar situations: Wyatt holds firm to the party line, that this show’s version of time travel strictly prohibits going back into a timeline in which you are already a part. Flynn, with nothing to lose, is intent on destroying the entire criminal organization which put out the hit on his family — and if that burns down the world? So be it.
This sixth episode of the freshman season raises the stakes at just the right time. We’ve spent the past five episodes acquainting ourselves with the show’s conceits, learning what to expect of determined Lucy, anxious Rufus, and stalwart Wyatt, and firmly placing ourselves on their side of whatever nebulous enemy they’re up against. This episode throws it all into chaos, by foregrounding the heretofore only vaguely referenced “Rittenhouse.”
Joining the ranks of nebulously understood plot device organizations like “Alias’s” Rambaldi, “Revenge’s” Initiative, and “Pretty Little Liars’s” Carissimi Group, Rittenhouse is a classic bad-guy organization: Nobody tunes in to learn these entities’ infrastructures, but their suit-wearing gatekeepers are always reliable for throwing around veiled threats that send our protagonists scurrying. “Timeless,” to its credit, knows this — and until the final twist, confines the character known only as Rittenhouse Agent (John Getz) to limousine blackmail scenes.