Timeless’ season two premiere, “The War to End All Wars,” kicks off not long after the events of the season one finale, which saw Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) be arrested and Lucy (Abigail Spencer) find out that her mother, Carol (Susanna Thompson), is also a high-ranking member of Rittenhouse in a shocking turn of events. The series, which was canceled and then renewed four days later, kicks off its new season and puts its best foot forward. The episode reveals some new drama to set up season two and progresses the characters in a way where the dynamics between them are still familiar, but also adds new layers.
One of the most striking things about Timeless’ return is that it has leveled up. The series, created by Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan, sets many things in motion and heightens the stakes. Season premieres have a lot of pressure riding on them, but Timeless seems to exist outside of that. It’s found its strengths and stuck to them, leaving no plot thread forgotten and going all in with a premiere that adds some new drama and more intriguing dynamics than ever before. While we obviously don’t get any immediate answers, it doesn’t take long before Wyatt (Matt Lanter), Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), and Lucy are reunited. Rufus and Jiya (Claudia Doumit) are still going strong, but Rufus is concerned about Jiya’s blackouts. Meanwhile, Wyatt is going crazy over the fact that Lucy has disappeared and there’s no way of finding her.
The most fascinating aspects of “The War to End All Wars” is that it expands on Lucy’s dynamic with her mother. She spent most of last season interacting with her at arm’s length, with Carol playing the concerned, if sometimes confused, mother until the last possible second. Lucy is walking on eggshells, trying to prove that she is loyal to Carol, to Rittenhouse, and also to Emma (Annie Wersching), who has popped back into the picture and doesn’t trust Lucy at all. It’s the first time we’ve seen the show travel back in time with Rittenhouse’s plans taking center stage.
Now that much has been revealed, there’s less time wasted trying to stop them and more time focused on what it is they’re doing in the past, which is saving a World War I soldier who is revealed to be Lucy’s great-grandfather (Michael Rady). It’s a nice change and one I’d hoped would have stuck around for longer before going back to the status quo at the end of the episode. Despite the fact that Lucy’s time working with Carol and Emma is short-lived, the mother/daughter dynamics are strong enough to suggest they’ll factor into the rest of the season. Lucy’s family history has always played a large part in the story and that doesn’t look to change any time soon.
The storyline also showed us that, while Carol has terrible plans in the works, she obviously loves her daughter and wants to share with her all of her life’s work. The disappointment is palpable on Carol’s face once Lucy’s true intentions are revealed, but the biggest takeaway is the fact that Carol seems hesitant after Lucy pleas with her to leave behind the plan and come home with her. The episode also parallels Madame Marie Curie (guest star Kim Bubbs) and her daughter, Irene (Melissa Farman), to Carol and Lucy’s relationship. There’s some tension there with regards to what the mothers want versus what the daughters want, but deep down there’s also love there as well.
“The War to End All Wars” opens up various new avenues to explore, new dimensions for familiar characters, and more mystery by way of Jiya and what her blackouts could now mean. No one knows why they’re happening yet, so it’ll be interesting to see how the writers deal with it in the coming episodes, but hopefully it’ll tie back into the main plot somehow. Jiya’s progress as a character has come a long way and one of the most exciting aspects of season two is the potential for her to be more central to the narrative.
Wyatt has grown a lot since last season, too, and it’s on full display in the premiere. Having finally accepted his wife’s death, he’s ready to finally move forward with Lucy and the show wastes no time having them finally get to the point where they seem ready to be together. Rufus’ interactions with Mason were lovely and really highlight how far the pair has come given all that went down between them last season. The fact that Rufus is willing to give Mason a second chance is a nice gesture, even though the trust is still not back completely.
Ultimately, Timeless’ season two premiere hits the ground running and never lulls or loses focus. The inclusion of Emma in what seems like a bigger role this season adds a physical wedge between Lucy and Carol. Meanwhile, the mystery with Jiya is ever-evolving. The gang’s back together and ready to get back into their time traveling adventures and it’s just nice to see them back onscreen again. The stakes are definitely raised and there’s plenty of new depth to explore as the season goes on. It’s safe to say Timeless’ second season is off to a solid and exciting start.