Timeless 1×13 “Karma Chameleon” Review

Timeless “Karma Chameleon” Spoilers Ahead 

Wyatt Logan and Rufus Carlin in Timeless "Karma Chameleon"
Photo by NBC/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC – © 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The 80s was best for music, but I don’t think I’m down with the fashion.

Episode Summary | Time in History: The 80— the supposed good ol’ days. The time where people didn’t want to be forgotten. They wanted their finest hours celebrated. The time where they wanted to bless the rains in Africa. But the real question is, is Will Byers missing at this time or no? Oh, wait, wrong show.

On a more serious note, this week’s Timeless didn’t actually take us back to a significant point in our history, but rather Wyatt’s—more so Jessica’s, but the point is clear. Thankfully, this week Wyatt didn’t have murder on his mind, but rather a Back to the Future reversal. And one I can actually agree with: stop a one night stand in order to prevent a serial killer’s birth.

However, as we all know, things are never that easy, and as much as Wyatt’s plan was practical, it’s safe to assume that a lot of us knew it wouldn’t bring Jessica back. Nevertheless, the showcase of teamwork has been superlative. And if all else falls apart from this moment on at least we know that the A-Team Time Team will always have each other’s backs. Also, hopefully the lesson has been learned, and the team won’t travel without Lucy anymore.

Most Noteworthy Performance: Weekly reminder that the cast of Timeless is too good. And that’s perhaps what makes this series so fantastic because I’ve never seen a show balance its characters as well. As a result, someone like me is then left with a difficult decision every week—because let’s be real, even the guest stars are incredible.

Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan in Timeless "Karma Chameleon"
Photo by NBC/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC – © 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Timeless’ “Karma Chameleon” took Matt Lanter’s Wyatt Logan on an emotional mission this week, and in doing so, it required a lot out of its actor. If Lanter hadn’t already layered his character with boundless compassion hidden underneath the stoic front, it wouldn’t have been as easy to feel for his character. But from the very first episode, the audience could understand that his wife’s death had broken him beyond repair, and if there was any chance of healing those wounds, he’d take whatever means necessary. Mostly the easiest thing to appreciate this week was that Wyatt’s plans didn’t involve murder, but when Joel (Drew Roy) the bartender, accidentally slips and falls during a chase, Lanter’s delivery of Wyatt’s emotions were heart wrenching. Lanter’s breathless, childlike “I didn’t mean to” broke me—and it was his inability to speak that rendered the inexpressible guilt to the tee.

In the final few minutes after Joel’s death, Lanter illuminates Wyatt’s sorrows with a full range of emotions making it clear that this has left something permanent in him. Although Wyatt is a soldier, and he should be somewhat accustomed to seeing death and torment, this situation is different. And when he tells Rufus that Jessica would have hated this, Lanter was at his strongest—exhibiting palpable guilt and disappointment with a stillness in his posture that showcased absolute brokenness. Moving forward from this isn’t going to be easy for Wyatt, and Lanter makes sure that’s plastered boldly in his demeanor. When you look back to the innocent excitement over seeing Jessica again, it makes his “I don’t know how I’m going look her in the eyes” that much more haunting.

And the work that’ll be done following these events will surely be just as remarkable.

Most Exquisite Scene: There are a number of things I appreciate about this series, but as mentioned above, it’s the teamwork that leaves me enthralled week after week. And at its core, a team is fortified through honesty. Wyatt’s choice to tell Lucy about their plans was as lovely as Lucy willing to go upstairs and change in order to accompany them. It’s been a short while, but there’s undeniable admiration between this team and with Lucy especially, we can’t deny that there’s a little something more. (Which is interesting considering Wyatt’s sole mission is to bring his wife back.) But with this scene in particular, there was a moment—a moment where there’s only lingering thoughts of “what if ” cobbled with the belief that closure is occurring. In their minds, it was in every sense of the word, their end.

I didn’t expect to see Lucy cry, and because it was unexpected, it certainly made the scene that much more riveting. In the short time they’ve known one another, the team has grown beautifully, and the trust they’ve established is unshakable. So when Lucy fixed his jacket and said “good luck, Wyatt,” I wasn’t expecting Wyatt to bring back the “thank you, ma’am.” While we know the soldier generally uses it as a form of respect, with Lucy, we can be certain that it’s much more. A small, incremental word that’s become theirs.

Wyatt and Lucy are first and foremost friends—friends who’ve been able to share their pain with one another with the belief that they’re never judged. They’re the friends who’ll remind one another when they’re crossing lines, and they’re the friends who’ll push one another towards what they know will bring them joy. And after their little adventure as an undercover criminal couple, whatever friendship they’d established had been lit with a tiny spark. Lanter and Spencer have established an outstanding on-screen partnership, and in the fleeting, quiet moment before Wyatt walked away, their expressiveness spoke a thousand words. Though this is goodbye, it’s the kind of goodbye that’s filled with gratitude and admiration. Whatever happens, whatever they’ve shared is sacred. An experience, a feeling they’ll perpetually carry with them. A little Roman Holiday magic with the lingering heartache taking root in both.

Thankfully, we know it isn’t goodbye, but once again, kudos to Lanter and Spencer for making us believe that in this moment, though there’s belief for happiness ahead, there’s also profound sadness.

Timeless is a series that follows fate, chance, and choice closely. And the exploration of the themes continues to be one of the series’ best elements. Wyatt’s journey in bringing Jessica home didn’t end as he’d imagined, but that only gives the series the opportunity to potentially explore the element of fate even further. A monster of a topic without a doubt, but it’s a frequent theme within the series that creeps itself into every episode. And with that exploration comes further understanding of these characters. “Karma Chameleon” changed Timeless’ melody forever—with the reveal that Rittenhouse is in Lucy’s genes, and Agent Christopher’s distrust in Mason coming out, maybe Flynn’s not the only one we need to worry about.

Further Thoughts:

  • If you follow me on social media platforms other than this website, then you’re aware of the fact that I’ve got my head set on the belief that Jessica is actually alive. And if tonight’s episode proved anything, it’s that this theory is still en route to becoming a reality. To be clear, I’m not a fan of theorizing in my reviews. That’s not what these are meant for, but in this case, I’m willing to make a slight exception. Jessica being dead despite the fact that they’ve stopped her “murderer” is interesting. And Wyatt continuing to yell “she’s alive” almost felt like the writers were foreshadowing the future —throwing it in our faces a bit that we should listen. Let’s put it this way, if I were still in school and this was a chapter in a novel, my professors would be all over this idea. Who else thinks Jessica is still alive and a part of a Rittenhouse? Or not? Hiding away?
  • Speaking of Rittenhouse, I’m starting to wonder if how much we know about it actually as bad as we imagine? What if it’s an organization set to protect the world? That’s probably a long shot, but can you tell I’m trying really hard not to be worried about Lucy’s future? And if her father’s always known about her, does this mean her mom is aware of Rittenhouse too?
  • I’m actually a little disappointed that Rufus didn’t tell Jiya about the plan, and I’m hoping the two actually talk about it in order to strengthen their relationship. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is we need more Rufus and Jiya on our screens. And while we’re on the topic of Jiya, I loved watching her confide in Lucy. Although they were on different sides of the spectrum in this situation, it’s good to know that the two feel comfortable with one another.
  • Rufus is the best wingman anyone can ask for. And in the dark times, he’s the best partner. It was great to see him help Wyatt through everything but mostly, it was great to see him defend Wyatt in the accident. He knew how agonizing it must have been, and his number one priority was reminding his friend of the fact that three women will now be saved because of this. That choice to uplift him in his darkness is exactly the kind of things friends do, and Rufus never falls short in being the anchor for his team.
  • Anthony’s death was unexpected, but I appreciated him going to the “good side” before it. It felt right that he’d try to destroy everything because the shock that surfaced upon learning he’s helping Flynn wasn’t easy on the team. However, it also tells us that this is no joke, and once you try to double cross, there will be dire consequences.
  • Introduction Song References (in other words, I tried to get creative).
    • “Don’t You Forget About Me” — Simple Minds.
    • “Finest Hour” — Cindy Valentine ft. Larry Weir
    • “Africa” — Toto
  • And lastly, Mason is trying really hard to make sure we don’t actually like him right? That is his objective.

What are your thoughts on Timeless’ “Karma Chameleon?”

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