‘Timeless’: That’s what history is

Timeless
“Stranded”
November 21, 2016

September 15, 1754.  Running through the French and Indian War. Running through the French and Indian War.  Running through the French and Indian War.

The Time Trio are being held by the French, captured as British spies.  The commanding officer departs for Fort Duquesne. Lucy thinks he’s Louis Coulon, the only man George Washington ever surrendered to. Wyatt cuts her off. “No history. Not right now.”

Lucy says she knows their situation isn’t ideal. It’s Rufus’s turn to snap at her. Not ideal is not having ketchup with your french fries. “This has been three days of trudging through the mud, bitten by bugs I can’t identify, eating meat I don’t want to identify …”

“Three days of listening to you whine.”

The post-Watergate breakdown in trust may be a bigger issue than the French right now. So, no. Not ideal. Wyatt turns his attention to the soldier futzing around with his gun. He asks Lucy how to say, ‘I had sex with your mother’ in French. He rolls away from Lucy and Rufus to give himself room to work.

He impugns the honor of the solder’s mother. The man tosses Wyatt’s gun aside and goes for his musket. Wyatt uses the bayonet to slice through his bindings and fight fight struggle fight. He shoots one soldier and clubs the other one unconscious.

They trudge onward through the woods. Wyatt asks Rufus for the recorder and chucks it into a pond. Now they can say whatever they want. Rufus gawps at him in horror and then downshifts to Luka and what he wants. Lucy says maybe he’s here for George Washington. Maybe he wants to change the outcome of the war. Wyatt gripes that whatever Luka was going to do, he’s probably already done it.

They hear voices as they approach the Omni. Two of Luka’s men have just placed C4 charges on the time machine. Wyatt shoots the man holding the detonator and takes fire from the other. The man then turns, fires at one of the charges, and flees.

Rufus doesn’t think, he just races after the man. Wyatt looks at the Omni. There’s a large hole in the ship’s hull. Exposed wiring smokes and sparks.

The trio reach the Heart of Gold just as Luka’s men seal the hatch. Wyatt jumps onto the ship, desperately trying to open the door. The engines spin up. Rufus shouts at Wyatt to get off the ship or he’s going to die. He jumps clear just as it blinks away. They all stare at the now empty space.

They’re trapped.

Rufus works on the Omni as the they realize this was Luka’s plan all along. Lucy says he couldn’t have picked a worse place to strand them.

“300 miles from anywhere in an era full of hostile forces and, you know, smallpox.”

Lucy tries to get Wyatt to talk to her as he rifles the dead henchman’s pockets. She wants to talk? Fine. They can talk about her deal with Agent Christopher. When was she going to tell him about that? Lucy says it’s no secret that she’s trying to get her sister back. Wyatt is the one who told her to figure out what she’s fighting for. Well, she’s fighting for Amy.

Rufus breaks in with a sitrep. There’s the obvious hole in the side panel and serious damage to the circuitry, but their big problem is they’re short a couple of capacitors.

“Like a flux capacitor?”

” … No. Those don’t exist.”

back-to-the-future_great-scott

Lucy tells Rufus to think. He built a time machine. If he absolutely had to build a couple of capacitors, what would it take? He says foil. Or, barring that, he could hammer thin sheets of tin or copper. Salt. A couple of glass jars, a forge, and “to learn to be a blacksmith.”

“And then you’d be able to fix it?”

“Probably not … maybe.”

Lucy shows him the dead henchie’s map. They’re less than 20 miles from Fort Duquesne. Wyatt balks. They’re just going to walk into a French encampment and ask to borrow a forge?

“Either that or we learn to start farming.”

And even if Rufus can build the capacitors, he’ll have to cannibalize the nav system for wiring, which means he won’t be able to control where they land.  He says they’ll never survive the trip, unless … Rufus trails off and then scrambles back into the ship.

The protocol.

Wyatt digs a hole exactly three feet in front of the Omni while Rufus pens a note with flight data and telemetry. They’re going to send a message in a bottle – or non-biodegradable polyethylene – to the future. Holy Wayne will dispatch a team of archeologists to their location and dig up the message. In theory the Protocol will work, but Rufus can’t be sure. No one’s ever tried it. If it doesn’t work …

“Then we don’t make it home. Or we die violently. Or both.”

As they walk along the river, Lucy observes that this will one day be downtown Pittsburgh. Concrete as far as the eye can see. But it’s really quite beautiful in its wild state, isn’t it?

“Super beautiful. I just wiped my butt with some leaves.”

Rufus pauses to pick some berries, delighted to have something to eat. The red ones in clusters are fine, right? Wyatt takes the berry and tosses it away. He reminds Rufus that one mistake is all it takes to die. Rufus shouts that he gets it! He sucks at the outdoors! He hates the survivalist crap! That’s why they have Wyatt!!

“Who do I have Rufus?!??”

Wyatt says he’s just one guy. If he doesn’t have someone he can count on – really count on – they’re not going to make it out.

They evade the French search party only to be captured by a band of Shawnee warriors.  Rufus asks if they scalp you after they kill you, or if scalping is how they kill you?

Time passes. Rufus says he can’t stop thinking what he wouldn’t give for one more Chocodile.

Not where Lucy and Wyatt expected Rufus to go with his thought, but it does get them all laughing. Rufus turns serious again. What he wouldn’t give to be able to tell Jiya how he feels about her. He says they went on a date once. It was super awkward and he hasn’t had the guts to talk to her about it since.  That’s the scariest thing for him. “Just talking to someone.”

Lucy says when she was little her mother read her these biographies for children. She always thought she would read them to her own kids. “I just always figured there’d be … time.”

Wyatt says Jessica always wanted a little boy. And he would tell her to relax. They had all the time in the world. Lucy apologizes for saying that her death was meant to be. Wyatt deserves to get Jessica back. He says he wishes she could get Amy back. He doesn’t blame her for making a deal with Agent Christopher. If he could, he would.

Rufus asks, “What’s the point of having a time machine if you can’t fix your regrets?”

A group of warriors file in followed by the chief. Wyatt asides to Lucy that the chief is a woman – one who can speak English. Chief Nonhelema tells him not to look so surprised. Lucy introduces herself as Dr. Quinn, medicine woman.  She’s heard of Nonhelema. “Because you are a great chieftess … and very beautiful and super intimidating.”  She says they’re just here to help.

Nonhelema chuckles. She says the French came to help but they started building forts. When the Shawnee fought back, the French killed all their men. Her daughter still bears the scars of what they did to the women. She says the English are no better. She orders Lucy and Wyatt killed. Rufus gets to live. He’s cut loose and the knives go to Wyatt and Lucy’s throats. He pleads with them to stop and begs Nonhelema to listen to him.

He admits that they lied. He says they’re not British, they’re not French, they’re not from anywhere around here. But he says Lucy and Wyatt didn’t force him to be with them; they’re his friends. They’ve saved his life on more than one occasion.

“We look out for each other. We’re not even supposed to be here. We just want to go home.”

And if Nonhelema kills them, she’ll have to kill him, too.

Nonhelema’s brother confers with his chief. He advises killing them all. Nonhelema orders them released instead. She tells Wyatt and Lucy she is sparing them because of Rufus’ honor. But if they prove him wrong, she will spare no one.

In the present day, a nice suburban family is having their front yard torn up. Agent Christopher says she used a Zika mosquito cover story to clear out the street. Jiya paces as the archaeologists slowly work their grids. Finally one of them finds the capsule. It’s cracked, but Holy Wayne tells them to open it. They pull out the parchment. The page is blank. All of Rufus’s carefully transcribed notes and formulas have faded.

Back in the hangar, the parchment is scanned using every available test and technology. Only two words are legible. Death and millennium.

“Death? That’s not at all ominous.”

Lucy thanks Rufus for saving them. She says it was incredibly brave. Rufus shrugs it off.

“Figured if I was going to die, I’d rather not do it alone in the woods.”

Wyatt has relieved the corpse of a rapidly decomposing French deserter of his uniform. He cuts quite the fine figure. “Blue and white uniform really blends in here, don’t you think? It’s hard to believe they lost the war.”

They arrive at Fort Duquesne. The blood on Wyatt’s uniform sells their story that he was wounded in battle and can’t speak. Rufus slips through the camp, gathering the items he needs. Glass wine bottles, wax candles, tin plates, and copper flasks.

He finds a forge and watches the smith at his work. When the smith walks away, Rufus squares his shoulders and is like, I got this. He stokes the fire and works the flasks until he has the thin sheets of copper foil he needs.

While Rufus toils away, the camp surgeon seeks out Wyatt. A good leeching and a little mercury inserted rectally will have him right as rain. Lucy tells Wyatt to knock the doctor out. He doesn’t want to know why.

They regroup with Rufus and head for the front gate … just as Louis Coulon orders it closed and the camp searched. They make a break and go over the wall, reasoning that the fall is better than facing a French firing squad.

At the Omni, Wyatt uses the plate to cover the hole in the hull while Rufus works on the capacitors. He says it should work enough for one trip. They won’t know until the rings start spinning, but by then it will be too late to change their minds. Without the navigation system they could land anywhere – the bottom of the ocean, inside a mountain, or the middle of Fallujah are all possible outcomes. They need Jiya and Holy Wayne to guide them home safely.

Even then, the odds are somewhere between 1 in a billion and impossible.

Jiya is alone in an office on the cusp of giving up. Holy Wayne joins her bearing two tea cups and a bottle of whisky. He tells her the story of meeting Rufus, scrawny nerdy middle schooler, at a sad inner city science fair. Holy Wayne invited Rufus to stay after to talk with him, but Rufus turned him down. He said he couldn’t be late to pick up his younger brother. Holy Wayne says he was impressed. A genius with a sense of responsibility.

“I thought he’s going to do great things one day. And when he does, I want it to be for me.”

Jiya says the first time she met Rufus, he saw the tribble she got at Comic Con, and he told her that they would never be friends because she was Star Trek and he was Star Wars. Holy Wayne says that was Rufus, always wanting to take awkward to bold new heights. Jiya points out that Holy Wayne is already talking about Rufus like he’s gone.

She insists that Rufus will be back any minute, bragging about what a hero he was. Like Han Solo. And then it hits her. The meaning of his message. She explains that the Omni’s navigation system is most likely down. So they’ll have to catch the ship mid-jump, assume control, and guide it back to the hangar.

Agent Christopher calls it an interesting theory, but questions now Jiya is getting all that from two words. Jiya is like, Star Wars bitches.

“It’s like what the Death Star did to the Millennium Falcon.”

star-wars_death-star_tractor-beam

Wyatt closes the ship’s hatch just as the French break through the trees. Rufus fires up the engine. The cabin echoes with the sound of musket balls striking the hull at close range. The rings start spinning.

The Omni overshoots the landing pad.  It explodes into being atop a row of desks. Holy Wayne and Agent Christopher help the Trio out of the ship. Wyatt quips. Lucy is giddy with relief. Rufus just beams. And then he sees Jiya. He raises his hand to her. Hey. She raises her hand back. Hey. She looks like she’s ready to pass out.

Jiya finds Rufus in the wardrobe room after he’s had a chance to scrub 1754 off himself. He searches for the words that came so easily when death seemed certain, but they fail him now. He starts babbling instead about building a reasonably durable plastic tube. Jiya grabs his face and kisses him. YAY! KISSING! A stunned Rufus asks what the kiss was for.

“For making it back.”

“Thanks to you.”

The Time Trio celebrate not dying of smallpox or being sold into slavery. Rufus also checks Wikipedia to see if there’s any record of them. He finds an entry on the “Pennsylvania Orb Incident.” It’s described as one of the earliest UFO sightings in colonial North America. They all toast to the French. Rufus says he’s going to eat his body weight in Chocodiles. Lucy pulls a box out of her purse.

Who’s got you, boo?

Lucy wasn’t sure if they were ever going to see any of this again. Wyatt says they got lucky. Lucy shrugs. If you believe there is such a thing as luck. She brings up the journal and her fears that it’s not a fake. Is that what she’s meant to be? Helping Luka? Wyatt flatly tells her it’s not. If she doesn’t want to write a journal … don’t write it.

Lucy says she’s always believed that everything happens for a reason. That there is some greater plan. But how can she believe in fate and not believe in her own fate? Wyatt is like, can I just shoot something now? Rufus says not to look at him. His degree is in physics, not metaphysics.

Wyatt tells Lucy to have a drink. Did she decide to take the drink or was it pre-written? Meant to be? He says she made the choice, “and that’s what history is. Choices. Some small, stupid, some monumental. But we make them.”

“So if you’re not happy with the history that Luka has predicted for you then rewrite it.

Timeless airs Monday at 10:00 p.m. (Eastern) on NBC.

Whitney is also watching Supernatural and Hawaii Five-0. Follow her on twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

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