October 17, 2016
September 21, 1962
Is a date that holds no meaning for Lucy. Which is unfortunate, because that’s when Luka is. After several hours of sciencing, Jiya finds him. It turns out the “negative mass energy” that’s so inconvenient to loose papers has a signature that can be tracked. She puts the Heart of Gold somewhere in the desert within a 50-mile radius of Las Vegas.
Lucy provides the why for the where. She says President Kennedy was in Las Vegas on that date for a DNC fundraiser at the Sands Hotel. Sinatra was the headliner and the room was full of politicians, celebrities, and waste management consultants. Any or all of them could be a target.
The Time Trio suit up and board the Omni. And I kind of love how analog the controls are, with the pushing of buttons and flipping of switches to initiate the launch sequence. It makes the craft feel solid and real in a way that a bank of sleek flat touch screens wouldn’t. The pod’s interior also reminds me of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit, which I’m sure is no accident.
Wyatt straps Lucy in and notices the giant honking rock on her left hand. Is it part of the costume or does she have something to tell them? Lucy says she’s apparently engaged to a total stranger named Noah. She was up all night flipping through scrap books of a life she has no memory of living. Wyatt teases her, asking if she’s going to take Noah’s name or keep hers.
“I don’t even know his last name.”
The Omni lands in the desert on the edge of Vegas. A mushroom cloud blooms into the sky in the distance. Rufus thinks they’re too late, but Lucy says there’s a nuclear test site 60 miles on the other side of town. Before it was Sin City, Vegas was known as Atomic City.
Wyatt unexpectedly picks up the exposition baton. He says in the 1950’s and 60’s the US Department of Energy tested over 1,000 nukes in the Nevada desert. Bombs were set off a couple of times a week. Lucy looks at him like the radiation has caused him to grow two heads. Wyatt shrugs. Military history he knows.
And y’all seriously, what is up with the Department of Energy?
The Time Trio’s faces look like Christmas morning when they walk into the Sands – you could do worse than the glamour of the Rat Pack era. But the casino may be as far as they get. Tickets to the fundraiser are sold out and security is tight. While Lucy and Wyatt argue over what to do, Rufus slips off into an employees only area. He comes back with server uniforms.
“In ’62 I’m pretty much invisible. It’s my superpower.”
Rufus leaves the showroom when he spots Max Headroom in the casino. Rufus thinks he’s affecting a rescue, but soon comes to the gut punching realization that Holy Wayne was right. Max is working with Luka. The hurt and betrayal in Rufus’ voice is heartbreaking, but it quickly turns to anger. He demands to know why. Max vagues that it’s all a means to an end and raises a glass in a toast to the amazing Christy Pit.
Luka enters the showroom. Wyatt struggles through the crowd to get a clean shot. He thinks Kennedy is the target. Luka approaches a young woman instead. He tells her she has an urgent phone call from her sister and hustles her into a service area. Wyatt follows them. FIGHT FIGHT STRUGGLE FIGHT. Luka gets away again some more. Y’all, Luka is either very good, or Wyatt is just very, very bad at his job.
The Time Trio pepper the woman with questions. Why was Luka after her? Is she Christy Pit? She doesn’t know and no, her name is Judith Campbell. They spirit the mistress of both JFK and mob boss Sam Giancana off to a motel. She doesn’t buy that they’re trying to protect her by kidnapping her from another kidnapper.
Rufus puts on his best authority voice and world weary posture and says they’re Vegas PD. Undercover. The ruse doesn’t last a hot second. Rufus is so disappointed. He really thought he had it sold.
Judith steps into the bathroom to freshen up and allow Lucy to infodump on her place in history. She also tries to go out the window BECAUSE WINDOWS ARE SOMETHING THAT BATHROOMS HAVE AND THEY MAKE AN EXCELLENT POINT OF EGRESS WHEN THE FRONT DOOR IS NOT AN OPTION.
Wyatt drags Judith back into the room and threatens to tie her up. Lucy assures Judith he will do no such thing. OH THE HELL HE WON’T. Judith says she doesn’t know why Luka wants her, but that he threatened her. He has photos of her with Kennedy. He could ruin her and cost Jack the next election.
Wyatt decides he’s tired of chasing Luka. He wants to get a step ahead by using Judith as bait. Lucy and Rufus both balk, but Judith is more than game if it means getting the pictures.
Waiting for Luka. Waiting for Luka. Waiting for Luka. Judith spots him through the window. She clubs Wyatt over the head with a telephone and rushes out of her hotel room. She meets Luka as he’s coming off the elevator. They have a deal as long as she gets the pictures. “You wanted me, you got me.”
Luka drives her to the Nevada Test Site. The guards wave her through. The General is expecting her. Five minutes later she has his keys.
Wyatt mopes through the hotel not trying to save history. Until he walks past a Western Union office and realizes that maybe he can save his own. He dictates a message to his wife Jessica and asks to have it delivered in 2012. He pleads with her to go home with him. Even if he’s being an ass, “just let him take you home.”
Wyatt assumes Lucy is judging him, but she says she understands. She would do anything to get her sister back. Wyatt apologizes for being a dick earlier about Judith, but he doesn’t believe in ‘meant to be.’ He says there’s no such thing as fate.
“It’s all just dumb luck and random chance. Just a roll of the dice.”
Luka unlocks the hangar. Judith watches in shock as Max ever so carefully removes the core from the bomb sitting inside.
Wyatt asks if the core could be transported on the Heart of Gold. Rufus has no idea. It’s not something they’ve ever tried before. “But if it explodes during a time jump, who knows what it will do … to the past or the present.”
Luka rendezvous with his conspirators. They load a well secured drum into the back of a pickup truck. Luka follows with Max, the core, and Judith in her car.
The Time Trio walk out of the Sands. Rufus opens the door of the shiny red convertible that pulls up to the entrance. The man doesn’t spare Rufus a glance as he hands over his keys. “See? Invisible.”
Wyatt forces Luka into a game of chicken out on the dark desert highway. With the cool wind in his hair, he insists that Luka won’t hit them – “because then we all blow up”. Luka swerves and Wyatt threads the needle between his car and the truck. All three vehicles skid to a stop.
Shooting, shooting, shooting, shooting.
Lucy gets Judith to safety while Rufus convinces Max to hand over the nuke. Luka breaks cover while Wyatt is reloading and gets into the cab of the truck. Max hops into the bed, making himself a perfect target for Wyatt. Rufus jumps in between them, shouting that they have the nuke – and that Max is his friend. He needs their help.
Judith says her goodbyes. She hopes Wyatt doesn’t take the concussion personally. He asks what happens to her as she walks away. Lucy sadly says Judith’s secrets eventually come out anyway. She’s vilified by the public and dies of cancer.
And then Rufus opens the empty briefcase. If anyone was wondering why Luka was willing to cut and run empty handed, it’s because the nuke was never in the case to begin with. It was in the drum, buried in the desert where it could be safely retrieved in the present day.
In the lab, Wyatt calls the internet for information about his wife. If the telegram reached her, it didn’t work. Jessica is still dead.
Lucy packs a bag and breaks up with Noah. She tells him about Judith, a woman who seemed to have it all together … but didn’t. She says no one has it all together – least of all her – and that she needs time to get her head straight. Noah agrees with her, which makes me wonder what this timeline’s Lucy is like. He’s also shockingly understanding and gracious, which makes me think he must be evil or working with Luka in some way.
Rufus thanks Wyatt for not throwing him under the bus with Agent Christopher. Rufus says with conviction that he won’t let his friend die without knowing the truth of what’s going on. He questions why Wyatt isn’t more curious. ‘Why’ is apparently above Wyatt’s pay grade.
“Yeah, but without the ‘why’, how can we be sure we’re on the right side of things?”
Timeless airs Monday at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.