Timeless 1×11 “The World’s Columbian Exposition” Review

Timeless “The World’s Columbian Exposition” Spoilers Ahead 

Lucy Preston and Garcia Flynn in Timeless "The World's Columbian Exposition"
Photo by NBC/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC – © 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

And this, Clockblockers, is an example of a remarkable winter premiere.

Time in History (Episode Summary): After Flynn took Lucy captive at the end of “The Capture of Benedict Arnold,” Wyatt and Rufus set out to bring her home. Still consumed with the desire to erase Rittenhouse from existence, Flynn takes them to the moment in time where Harry Houdini was just getting started—Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. An undercover H.H. Holmes sets a thick, oxygen-eliminating trap for Wyatt and Rufus. There’s a reunion. There’s a happy conversation. There’s a victory. But in the end we’re left with what can change the course of a character’s life forever.

Welcome to the very first installment of our Timeless reviews. We just couldn’t stay away from this show. (I tried, I really did.) Here’s how these will work, each week I’ll be choosing a performer and a moment. Some weeks, like this week, each actor will get their time. They’re too good, and essentially why I want to write about Timeless—Rufus, Wyatt, and Lucy are special. And “The World’s Columbian Exposition” was yet another wonderful showcase of the fact that this team is in it for the long haul. Together, they’ve built something more exquisite than a time machine, and no matter how ugly it gets, they’ll always come home to each other.

“Fear isn’t actually happening. It’s just your reaction to it.”

The reason each member of the Time Team deserves their own segment this week is due to how poignantly fear attempted to puppet-master their lives. And in overcoming it, it wasn’t entirely absent, but rather their choices to react differently towards it paved the road towards their mission’s victory. No matter how temporary, for a moment, everything was alright.

Most Noteworthy Performance: 

Abigail Spencer is remarkable in Timeless’ “The World’s Columbian Exposition”—that’s a fact that’s been established long ago, and her work this week was, in short, overwhelming. When serial killer Holmes has her trapped in a box, Spencer makes you feel every ounce of Lucy’s claustrophobia. The breathlessness in her voice coupled with the fear in her darkened eyes made me feel trapped even as a viewer. (And while the camera work would’ve forged a similar feeling as well, so much of the scene’s strength resided in Spencer’s delivery.) But perhaps most importantly, it was the way Spencer wore fear in the face of strength that’s left me most impressed. Lucy is trying extremely hard to overcome the pangs of both physical and emotional entrapment, along with the memories resurfacing from her past, which Spencer makes sure the audience feels every tinge of.

Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin in Timeless "The World's Columbian Exposition"
Photo by NBC/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC – © 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Additionally, I continuously find myself in awe of Malcolm Barrett’s work as Rufus Carlin. The sincerity which Barrett layers Rufus with is often the shining fragment of his persona, but in Timeless’ “The World’s Columbian Exposition,” Barrett’s harsh demands into the recording made me believe that Rufus will choose his team above all. And he’ll make sure to protect his family at the same time. However, what continues to stand out amongst these actors in this week’s episode was the fear that was worn alongside confidence. Rittenhouse is clearly at large and Rufus is terrified, but that fear isn’t stopping him from doing the right thing and the presence of it in his demands made it that much more cathartic. The relief etched with the fears made Barrett’s work as an actor feel incredibly organic. And the one liners, let’s never forget Barrett’s impeccable delivery of Rufus’ nervous chatter.

At the pinnacle of a team member being held captive, there’s always a leader whose head space is tormented with the paralyzing fears of “what if” in the face of a fierce attitude. And in Timeless’ “The World’s Columbian Exposition,” Matt Lanter proves he’s the right actor for the role baring raw vulnerability in the form of a soldier struggling to appear collected. Wyatt’s agony over Lucy’s whereabouts vocalized the magnitude of depth in which he cares for this team, and Lucy especially. You can’t tell me he isn’t starting to care about Lucy just a little more than he ever thought possible. You can’t tell me the possibility of finding love again is completely out of the cards for him. But what you can do is actually pinpoint the exact moment Wyatt’s breathing finally achieves a normal rhythmic pattern again, and it’s in the moment he walks side by side with his team. Lanter carries the team as a leader perfectly, but I’ve found myself most in awe of the childlike comfort that’s exhibited when they’re all together. He’s the soldier, but without them, there’s no wonder in him left.

Most Exquisite Scene: While some may argue against the claim about to make, let it be known that it’s said with the most unwavering belief I have. The best teams are the ones that consist of two boys and one girl. It’s the most iconic. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even renowned films like Singin’ in the Rain consist of an unforgettable trio. And in an episode where the trio was apart, gorgeous reunions were bound to take place. When Rufus and Wyatt finally hear Lucy’s voice at the other end of the wall in the “Murder Castle,” there’s happiness, there’s relief, and there’s hope. And in that flickering moment of serenity when Lucy ran to Wyatt then Rufus, a lot of our stress levels probably decreased too.

Spencer, Barrett, and Lanter are such exceptional scene partners that in those moments, their energy emanated hope—you felt the deep serenity that engulfed them as they found one another again.

On another note, while feelings between Wyatt and Lucy probably won’t be explored for a bit longer, the evident admiration that’s at large is undeniable. Wyatt’s inability to move forward or calm himself for even a moment since Lucy disappeared spoke volumes on behalf of how deeply he too needs her. Their reunion embrace was filled with the kind of profound longing and desperation that showcases overwhelming bliss. At last, they’d found themselves in a place that’s safe. And that’s what I find myself most intrigued with, at this present day in time, Wyatt and Lucy need one another in ways they themselves can’t even imagine. She challenges his patience and honor, which undoubtedly would make him a better soldier. Some shots need to be taken right away, but others can wait—and what’ll come from the realization that he can potentially get Jessica back is bound to make the rest of the season riveting.

Timeless’ “The World’s Columbian Exposition” was a solid episode,  which showcases the show’s promising future. Where there’s history, there’s greatness. Where there’s a trio fighting through their battles together, there’s wondrous growth. And in an episode where fears were dealt with through realistic approaches, there’s incredible writing.

What are your thoughts on Timeless’ “The World’s Columbian Exposition?”

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