“Party at Castle Varlar”
October 24, 2016
Germany. December 9, 1944
Wyatt questions dropping into Nazi territory and blindly bumbling into a tavern that may or may not harbor Allied resistance – with a black guy.
Lucy says it’s that or let Luka give the Nazis a nuclear weapon. Rufus raises the excellent question of the language barrier. Wyatt no probs that he speaks German. It’s one of his four languages. “The army drops us into other places than Palo Alto.”
Lucy sarcastically wonders if the Army can also pull lederhosen out of its butt. Holy Wayne shows them to the TARDIS’s wardrobe room. Hundreds of expertly crafted outfits, suitable for any era or geography, and magically all sized to fit our Time Trio. Holy Wayne agrees that it’s a bit much, but “it’s better to have and not need, than need and not have.”
“It doesn’t seem like these missions are ending any time soon, so.”
Wyatt buckles Lucy in, and while it annoys me that the writers won’t let her do it her own damn self, it’s also a subtle indicator of the trust she places in him. Rufus powers up and we stay inside the pod as it travels through time. It’s a cool POV and I approve.
Also, the Omni has seating for three, but there are at least five guys on board the Heart of Gold. It must be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. SuperWhoLess is a thing?
The Omni’s hatch slides open to reveal a profoundly confunded German soldier. Wyatt shoots him. The trio carefully make their way through the forest, watchful for other soldiers. They find a second sentry standing along the road. Wyatt shoots him, too.
Lucy argues finding a middle non-shooty ground between protecting themselves and protecting history. Wyatt rifles the man’s pockets and is like, Nazi. Fair game.
Rufus alerts them to the sound of engines. They hustle out of sight as a convoy carrying a giant honking rocket rolls past.
After a brief surveil of the tavern, Lucy and Wyatt go inside to get some help … “or at least not die.” Wyatt tells Rufus to secure them a vehicle. Rufus is like, stay here hiding in the undergrowth copy that, before reluctantly agreeing to hot-wire a ride.
Lucy and Wyatt enter the tavern and the record skips as the table full of Nazi officers all turn and stare at them. They go to the bar and Wyatt orders the Remy Martin ’23. The bartender says they haven’t got that vintage, not even in the back where they keep the Allied resistance.
They take a seat by the window. Lucy’s hand shakes as she sips her whisky. A German captain approaches and directs them to exit the tavern through the rear door. They walk into a small storage shed. Wyatt and the captain draw on each other at the same time.
The man scolds them in veddy British accented English for trying to blow his cover and get them all killed. “I swear, you Americans, you couldn’t stand out more if you tried!” Rufus steps into view, luger pointed at the man’s head.
“I stand corrected.”
Wyatt says they’re OSS. He’s Agent … he briefly searches his mind for an alias before giving up and giving their real names. Do the Timeless writers read my recaps? GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
The man introduces himself as Fleming. Ian Fleming. Lucy’s jaw drops, but it’s Wyatt who turns into the fanboy. He can barely keep the excited grin off his face. He is adorable and it makes me like him so much more.
The squeeing continues at Fleming’s cottage. Lucy says, yes Ian Fleming was an actual spy for MI6 and a good one, too. Now rein in the crazy and be cool. Fleming pops a cork on a bottle of red while Wyatt outlines their mission.
Fleming says the Nazis have been building a launch pad at Castle Varlar. They’re holding a demonstration launch that evening. Members of the Nazi High Command will sip champagne while the V2 rocket they saw earlier is launched at civilians and Allied troops in Belgium.
Fleming asks how powerful the stolen Las Vegas nuke is. Rufus says it will obliterate everything within a 3-mile radius. Cheers!
They walk the short distance to the castle. Rufus can’t help but notice Fleming’s constant side eyeing. What? “The purpose of a spy is to blend in.” Rufus says he’s not a spy, he’s the pilot. From Tuskegee. He’s the one who got them there.
Rufus asks Fleming how he normalizes the spy life, with the whole keeping secrets and lying to everyone all the time thing. Fleming says he doesn’t consider what he does lying. He’s playing a role to get what he needs. Trust doesn’t factor into it.
“There are allies, contacts, and women – never trust. Only the mission.”
The two schnapps sipping guards at the launch pad are easily dispatched by Fleming with a slap and some shouting. Rufus scans the rocket with a Geiger counter but it barely makes a peep. He says it hasn’t been armed. The bomb isn’t there.
The discussion is cut short by the arrival of two cars. The Germans are only too happy to share the V2’s capabilities with generous donor Luka. Wyatt takes aim but one of the men steps in front of Luka. Lucy breathlessly tells Wyatt not to shoot. The man is Werner von Braun.
Back at the cottage Wyatt is furious at yet another missed opportunity, but Lucy says they can’t risk von Braun. He’s the father of the German rocket program. Rufus backs her up. Fleming is with Wyatt. He says those same rockets rained on Britain during the Blitz.
Lucy simply says there’s a bigger picture at play. Wyatt stands down. Fleming takes his cue. He agrees that if orders are to capture von Braun then they’ll snatch him up and deliver him to the Allies.
Fleming says von Braun will be at the launch that evening. He and Lucy will go in. She can accompany him as her secretary. Wyatt and Rufus will provide backup from the perimeter. Fleming doesn’t understand Wyatt’s concern. Lucy is just as capable an operative as they are. Isn’t she?
Fleming goes off to find Lucy a uniform because I guess he has his own TARDIS closet. Lucy and Rufus try to impress upon Wyatt how valuable von Braun is. Lucy says he helped define modern America. Not only will he jump start America’s rocket program after the war, but “he’s the guy who gets us to the moon.” NASA is because of him. The US wins the space race and the Cold War because of him.
Lucy is still shaking as she pins the swastika to her lapel. She’s startled by Wyatt. Doesn’t he know how to knock? Wyatt says he did. Twice. Lucy was miles away. He’s worried about her. She’s putting on a good front, but he knows it’s to hide the freak out she’s in the midst of. He’s seen it before with new soldiers in the field.
Lucy insists she isn’t. Wyatt simply says she has two options. “Get over the hump or crack up.” Talking is one way to get over. Lucy points out that Wyatt never talks.
“I’m over the hump.”
Lucy tells him about a car accident she was in during her sophomore year of college. She was on her way to tell her mom she was dropping out of school to join a band. Her car spun out into the river. The car filled with water and she was sure she was going to die. Someone came by and pulled her out. Odds are we’ll learn later it was Luka.
Ever since that accident Lucy has put herself only in situations she can control. She says now, every time she gets in the Omni, she feels like she’s back in that car. Drowning. All over again. She doesn’t think she can keep doing it.
Wyatt tells her he grew up poor in west Texas with a world class son of a bitch for a father. But his Grandpa Sherwin picked up all the slack. Wyatt smiles as he realizes Sherwin is less than 200 miles from them right now.
“Younger than me. In the 101st, killing Nazis.”
That’s why Wyatt struggles with pardoning von Braun or letting Lincoln die. Because it feels like he’s letting his grandfather down. But it’s also what keeps him going.
“He’s the reason I fight. To make him proud.”
Wyatt straightens Lucy’s tie for her. He says if she wants to keep doing this she has to figure out what she’s fighting for and she’ll be okay.
More of this please, Timeless. Seeing who the characters are, what they struggle with, and what they believe in is what makes this show sing.
Lucy and Fleming arrive at the do. Abigail Spencer’s physical acting is perfect. Lucy is stiff and ramrod straight. She softly clenches her fists to keep from fidgeting. She looks a little like she wants to burst into tears but she holds it together.
Wyatt and Rufus keep watch on the perimeter. While they’re there, they may as well disable the rocket. Rufus isn’t happy about doing it. He says the rocket is supposed to launch. Wyatt draws a line at firing on civilians. This one is for Sherwin in the 101st.
Fleming joins Lucy on a gallery overlooking the party. He puts a comforting hand on hers. Wyatt can’t even. He passes the binoculars to Rufus.
“Dude. James Bond’s hitting on Lucy. And she’s into it.”
They spot von Braun in the crowd. Lucy ever so slowly makes her way towards him. The plan is to lure him off to a side hallway where Fleming can grab him up. Lucy looks like she wants to throw up.
She counts to five, gets over the hump, and puts on her game face. Luka grabs her by the arm. He was wondering when she was going to arrive. And he’s impressed she found her way to the British spy.
Fleming appears behind Luka and presses a gun to his back. Luka gives a signal. They’re surrounded by soldiers. Fleming surrenders after a brief standoff and a gun held to Lucy’s head. The two are led away. Luka grabs von Braun. Killing him is too easy. Handing him over to the Soviets is far more destructive.
Soldiers fan out across the castle grounds. A Jeep load of them pulls up to the rocket just as it explodes. Cowboy Wyatt may be willing to charge the front door guns blazing, but Rufus is smart enough to create a diversion and save the Belgian civilians. Team Rufus!
Panic sweeps through the castle guests. Fleming uses the confusion to deploy the pistol he literally has hidden up his sleeve. He tells Lucy not to look so impressed. “It only holds three bullets.”
Two more guards rush in. Wyatt fires through a window and takes them out. He’s shown framed in the broken glass in a clever nod to the Bond films’ iconic intro sequence.
Von Braun makes a break for it and runs right into Lucy and Wyatt. They hustle him into a small study. One that has no windows and no other exit. They barricade the door and Wyatt prepares to make a stand. Blaze of glory suits Fleming. And as one of his last acts he intends to execute von Braun.
Wyatt stops him before he can fire. Fleming shouts that von Braun’s rockets destroyed London and killed his brother Michael! If they give von Braun to the Allies he’ll never pay for what he’s done.
The competing angels of Fleming and Lucy dance on Wyatt’s shoulders. He says he agrees with Fleming … but he trusts Lucy. They listen to her. “End of story.”
Luka orders a detachment of soldiers to break down the door. Fleming demands the gun from Wyatt. Lucy stares at the fish symbol over the fireplace. It’s the same one she saw earlier in one of the windows. It’s a motif that runs throughout the castle. She knows it has meaning. Something to do with the Catholic Church …
The Nazis come through the door. The room is empty.
Lucy leads the group through a secret passageway that ends on the other side of the burning launch pad. She says Catholicism was outlawed in Germany in the 16th century. A network of tunnels was built in the castle to get priests in and out through the fireplaces. Wyatt says they were called ‘priest holes.’ Rufus wonders how he knows that.
” … It was in Skyfall.”
Morning. They wait at Fleming’s cottage for the Allies to collect von Braun. He sits noodling in his notebook, seemingly unconcerned about his change in state. Rufus approaches him with purpose. He has a question. Von Braun is like go ask someone who cares. Rufus takes the notebook and pencil and finishes the equation von Braun was working on. Does he have the man’s attention now?
Rufus asks if von Braun ever thinks about the people his rockets have hurt. The tens of thousands who have died because of something he created.
Nope. Not even a little.
Von Braun says caring would inhibit him from reaching his goal. Getting to the moon is all that matters. He doesn’t care who provides him with the means.
Rufus looks horrified. And then his expression hardens. He says he helped invent something greater than Von Braun ever will. And all he can think about is the destruction it’s causing and the people it’s hurting.
“But, you weren’t thinking about that when you were creating it. Because if you did, you never would have gone through with it.”
The car arrives. Fleming says his good byes … but maybe it’s only au revoir for Lucy. He’s sure he’ll find himself state-side after the war. Will she be waiting? Lucy leans in close.
Fleming smiles and walks away. He stops as he reaches the car and looks back. “Well, never say never.” Wyatt can’t help himself. He adds, “AGAIN!” Lucy and Rufus try not to die from adjacent embarrassment.
Holy Wayne is astonished at Lucy’s report. She’s just described, beat by beat, the plot of Weapon of Choice. Wyatt says there’s no such movie. Holy Wayne au contraires. 1964. It’s the one in the castle with the rockets. Connery’s finest as far as he’s concerned.
Rufus snags a tablet from a passing tech and IMDBs it. “Bond infiltrates the castle, rescues evil scientists with the help of CIA agents Wyatt, Lucy, and Rufus.”
“How much you wanna bet Bond sleeps with Lucy in that one?”
It’s left to Agent Christopher to put the damper on the fanboying. What about the nuke? Rufus says there was no sign of it. Not even radiation traces. Holy Wayne wonders if Luka could have a different purpose in mind for the core.
The Heart of Gold sits in a church, presumably still in 1944 Germany. Max slides the core into the craft. If his math is correct, the battery he has created should power the time machine for 300 years and provide all the power Luka could ever need without having to plug in.
Lucy finds her way over the hump. She tells Christopher she’s in for the long haul, but she has terms. And no, saving America isn’t good enough. Lucy needs a cover story – why she’s taking a leave of absence from her job. Why she gets called away on short notice in the middle of the night. But more importantly, she wants Holy Wayne’s people working on getting her sister back. Or else she walks.
Lucy knows now what she’s fighting for. She’s fighting for Amy.
“That’s my price.”
Rufus hands off the recorder for the last time. He didn’t think he had it in him to be a hero. To risk his life for someone else. But he did. Because he knows Lucy and Wyatt would do the same for him. He trusts them.
“Spies can’t trust. And that’s not me. I’m just not wired that way.”
Holy Wayne grasps him by the hand. He understands … but Rufus has to understand how deep he’s in with Rittenhouse. He needs Rufus to be on his side. The self-assured, confident titan is gone. Holy Wayne looks scared. Rufus is sorry, but he can’t.
Rufus’s Prius dies on him as he drives home. A big black sedan pulls up behind him. An affable older man gets out. Car trouble?
“Shame when things don’t do what they’re supposed to.”
Which is why Rittenhouse felt the need to reach out. They need Rufus to play his part. It helps them protect everyone. His mom … his family … isn’t that what he wants? To keep them safe?
Affable man is glad they talked. Safe travels.
Timeless airs Monday at 9:00 p.m. on NBC.