“The Capture of Benedict Arnold”
December 12, 2016
Lucy is having dinner with Agent Denise Christopher and her wife Michelle. She’s the first and only colleague that Michelle has met in 17 years. Lucy admits the invitation came as a surprise to her, too.
After dinner, over the dishes, Christopher says she’s been up most nights lately worrying – but not about Rittenhouse. It’s Lucy’s mother that’s been keeping her awake, and the fear that – like Carol – Agent Christopher could lose her children and not know that they ever existed.
Christopher says it helps her to understand the pressure that Lucy is under, and the responsibility she feels to keep history intact. She gives Lucy a thumb drive and asks her to keep it in the Omni. It’s a digital copy of her family’s life. Christopher asks Lucy to show it to her and tell her everything about this evening if, someday, the Time Trio come back and Christopher’s family is gone. “I need to know they existed.”
Rufus and Jiya are playing video games at her apartment. Holy Wayne drops by. He’s a little drunk. He muses over the way his life has spun so far from his first intent – making his mother’s job as a cleaning lady a little easier. That’s what Rufus wants, isn’t it? To make his mother’s life easier?
Holy Wayne’s voice shakes as he says he’s not a bad guy. He didn’t mean to get Rufus into this so deeply. He pulls a recorder from his coat pocket and says Rittenhouse knows Rufus has been tampering with them. They know. So this is his last chance. Whatever the next mission is, Rufus has to record it properly. If he doesn’t, Holy Wayne warns that he can’t protect Rufus or his family anymore. He hands Rufus the recorder and shows himself out.
The Time Trio are summoned to the hangar. Luka has jumped to New York, September 25, 1780, the day George Washington learned Benedict Arnold was a traitor. The Time Trio make their way to Arnold’s house in West Point where they’re taken under guard by Washington himself. Lucy is a little dazed at meeting him – and the whole him maybe wanting to kill them thing. It’s 50/50.
Luka slips into the room and tells Wyatt to stand down. He has a man in the next room who will kill Washington if shots go off. Wyatt says he’s bluffing. Luka reminds Wyatt he’s talking to the man who shot Lincoln. He tells them to nod and follow his lead – or he’ll have Washington hang them for treason.
The lead is to pretend that Luka is Austin Rowe, and that they are part of the Culper Ring network of spies. Luka warned Washington of Arnold’s betrayal, and now the general wants the four of them to find the man and return him to justice. Washington says he wants to look Arnold in the eye one last time before he hangs him.
Luka has no intention of returning Arnold – or of helping him. He shows the Time Trio the letter he found in Ford’s clock. It’s a letter from Arnold to his wife and mentions a Rittenhouse meeting. Luka says Arnold wasn’t just a member, he was a founding member. This is the year Rittenhouse began; this is their chance to kill it in the crib. No more worrying about their families. No more wild chases through time.
End it, once and for all.
The Time Trio just gape at him in silence. Luka rips out several pages from future!Lucy’s journal and offers them to her. He tells her to see for herself, in her own words, how bad Rittenhouse really is. As added incentive for their help, Luka offers Wyatt the name of his wife’s killer.
Taking the pulse of the group: Rufus is in a panic about the recorder and certain that his life is over. Wyatt is swayed by the possibility of finally learning what happened to Jessica. And Lucy says that Rittenhouse’s fingerprints are on atrocities from the Trail of Tears to Jonestown and Waco – but their job is to protect history, bad and good, right?
Without having reached any consensus they’re soon bluffing their way into an audience with both Arnold and Lord Cornwallis. Luka decides to move things along by shooting Cornwallis and a rando sentry. Lucy is like WHO’S GOING TO NEGOTIATE THE PEACE TREATY BETWEEN NAPOLEON AND BRITAIN, NOW? Luka snaps that history will find someone else. Big deal.
Luka and Lucy good cop / bad cop Arnold. Lucy gets him to admit that David Rittenhouse has promised him the future that he deserves. The one that he was denied when he was passed over for promotion and abandoned by Washington. They all ping on the new information that, in this moment, Rittenhouse is still just one man.
It’s enough for Rufus to throw in with Team Luka. Lucy asks if the answer is to just kill the man in cold blood. Her voice drips with disdain. Rufus says Wyatt has killed before – and so has he. If they can cut the head off the snake – if Rufus can free his family from Rittenhouse – then his vote is yes.
Lucy worries about the ripple effects on history. What if more people vanish like her sister. Wyatt counters that more people could be saved. What if they kill Rittenhouse and it brings Amy back? He says history shouldn’t be an excuse to sit back and let people suffer. And he knows Lucy well enough now to know that what she really believes in is helping people. She reluctantly agrees.
Using the threat of his wife hanging in his place, Luka compels Arnold to arrange a meet with David Rittenhouse. They pause along the way so Luka can water the horses. While the rest of the men are off peeing in the bushes, Lucy wonders what Luka will do after, if they succeed. He says he’ll go home to his family … and then say goodbye and walk away forever. His pursuit of Rittenhouse has changed him.
“How can I bring that into my home? What kind of husband or a father can I be after what I’ve done?”
They arrive at Chez Rittenhouse but decide to leave Rufus behind because slavery and 18th-century racism. They’re greeted by young John Rittenhouse who blithely tells Lucy that peasants are like the hands of a clock, following the path chosen for them by the clockmaker. It’s the clockmakers who create an orderly world. Monarchies are too selfish. Democracy is too chaotic, but it at least creates the illusion of a voice, which is all that peasants require. The illusion.
John has been parroting his father’s words. Lucy gently asks the boy what he believes. He says no one has ever asked him that before.
Rittenhouse joins them and oh, snap! It’s Principal Snyder from Buffy! This explains so much about Rittenhouse as a philosophy and as an organization.
The jig is up as soon as he walks into the room. This isn’t the first time that someone has tried to killed him. And Principal Rittenhouse isn’t surprised that Benedict Arnold turned, well … so he shoots the man in the chest with Luka’s gun.
With a nod, Wyatt and Luka are forced to their knees by Rittenhouse’s men. Lucy is led away to his bed chamber. Gross. And that’s when Rufus bursts through the window with a musket forcibly removed from an overseer. Fight fight struggle fight. And then it’s just Luka and Rittenhouse. The principal is unflinching. Killing him won’t change anything. He says there are others. The movement will outlive him.
Luka drops him mid-monologue.
The Time Trio stands in stunned, “We did it? Is it over?”, silence. Luka realizes that young John fled during the struggle. He finds the terrified boy hiding under a wagon. He weeps and begs for his life. Luka breaks. He can’t do it. He steps away and steels himself. When he turns back, Lucy is standing between him and John, shielding the boy.
She reminds Luka that he wanted to be a cowboy when he was 12. She says people change – John doesn’t have to follow the path his clockmaker father set for him. He has a choice. Luka has a choice. They all have choices! They can decide to be something different.
Lucy tearfully pleads with Luka not to do it. She tells him he can be a father. He can go back – but not if he does this.
Luka pulls her aside but John is gone. Lucy’s relief is short-lived. Luka drags her off to a clearing. The Heart of Gold pops into being. Following the sound of Lucy’s cries, Wyatt and Rufus can only watch as the ship disappears again with Lucy on board.