Timeless 1×15 “Public Enemy No. 1” Review

Timeless “Public Enemy No. 1” Spoilers Ahead

Lucy Preston, Wyatt Logan, and Rufus Carlin in Timeless "Public Enemy No. 1"
Photo by NBC/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC – © 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Coming soon to a theater near you: The Untouchables: A Remake starring Connery, Costner, and Robert De Niro like you’ve never seen them before.

Episode Summary | Time in History: Chicago, 1931. Al Capone. Eliot Ness. And Capone’s brother? Who even knew he had a brother? I surely didn’t. But that doesn’t stop our heroes from finding every opportunity they can to make sure Capone gets what he deserves after Ness (Misha Collins) is shot and killed. As we all know, originally he’s the one who brings Capone in. The team’s place was far from what actually occurred, but because Flynn jumped, they couldn’t save Lucy’s sister as they attempted to. But it’s the way the episode ended that’s left me propelling in search of a time machine to next Monday.

In the season’s penultimate episode, Timeless “Public Enemy No. 1” once again explored the convoluted topic of fate vs. free will. And on top of that, it’s created yet another riveting episode with its impeccable focus on detail. Who else wishes this show was around when they were in High School? And for those who are, you’re lucky. That said, “Public Enemy No. 1” was strong for a number of reasons, but its focus on detail floored me. Its execution of friendships equating to family floored me. And because this was the season’s penultimate, we’ll be changing up the format to discuss a little bit more than the usual performer/scene of the week.

Up until we gathered details on Rittenhouse, Flynn was the villain we needed to focus on, but after “Public Enemy No. 1,” I’m starting to rethink whether or not he’s actually as horrendous as non-rogue members of Mason Industries seem to think. If we take a moment to look at it from his standpoint, it’s understandable why he is as enraged as he is. If Rittenhouse killed his wife and daughter, they have left him powerless—standing alone to face the unknown in a world where a cult like Rittenhouse is at large. And Goran Višnjić took me by surprise with his honest display of perplexity in the church. If he and the Time Team have already messed around with history, does that mean God does not exist? Does that mean his plans can be changed? Where is the line drawn between what’s meant to be and what comes to us by our own choices? And without tumbling down into a never-ending hole of analysis, the bottom line is God and also, the force, allow choice. For instance, the dark side—Anakin Skywalker had all the willpower not to give in, but alas, Vader was born. (Excuse the Star Wars references, I have a feeling they’re never gonna stop.)

Perhaps some things are destined for the sake of life lessons, but ultimately, free will is granted to all. And Flynn seeking absolution, though nowhere near it, felt right in a way. Maybe it’s because this cast is too good not to perform together, but a part of me wants Flynn to team up with the good guys. And maybe just maybe, they’ll be a little bit more successful that way. That way, Lucy could prevent history from changing too much. Wyatt and Rufus won’t need to look over their backs. It could work, okay? Maybe Rittenhouse can be eliminated without murdering anyone. And I need it to happen on a profound level.

On that note, while Flynn dealt with Heavenly Father issues, Lucy dealt with her manipulative earthly father. There’s absolutely no part of me that feels any sense of remorse when that man’s around, and his choice to use Amy as a pawn to get Lucy to comply was revolting. And taking it back to the topic of fate vs. free will, let’s look at the choices Lucy made this week. She could have refused to go after Flynn. She could have let him destroy history and go after her sister one last time. She could’ve stood her ground longer.

But the reality is, that’s not who Lucy Preston is—she cares too much about the greater good, and it’s not easy for someone like her to be selfish. And that selflessness is what makes her so different from her father. She has the power to choose, and thus far, Lucy’s chosen on behalf of those who couldn’t. She’s chosen to protect history even though she’d rather save her sister. She’s chosen to be better. And having made this choice, it felt right that Lucy would convince Jimmy (Capone) to seek justice on his brother. Because something tells me that even though Cahill is her father, when the time comes, she’ll have to make a choice just as difficult.

Families should always stick together, but in cases like this, when one steers too far and there’s no way of bringing them back, sacrifices for the sake of justice must be made. And I found myself pleasantly surprised by how riveting Mather Zickel’s performance was. Timeless’ “Public Enemy No. 1” was filled with thrilling performances (Misha Collins was spot on has Ness!), but Zickel brought such heart to his character, it was a marvel to see. That’s why when he held his brother after shooting him, my heart broke for them both. Despite how terrible Al may have been, at the end of the day, he was his brother, and their little quarrel before the shooting was filled with exceptional performances—Zickel and Cameron Gharaee felt like real brothers. If Ness and the Capone brothers proved anything, it’s that Timeless creators know how to make their guest stars just as intriguing as their stars. 

Point being, family drama was at an all-time high this week on Timeless. 

At the end of the day, each member of the Time Team continuously chooses to put their lives on the line, and it’s that very choice that makes them so favorable amongst viewers. That’s why when the writing presents us with one of our favorite couples asking one another to come back to each other safely; our minds immediately trailed to the worst-case scenario. It’s like that episode of Chuck where Sarah says, “what could possibly go wrong” on the day they’re supposed to be off before their wedding. Well, good going you just set everything into motion.

That said, Timeless is great at a number of things but in “Public Enemy No.,” it takes the crown for balancing its storylines and developing its characters. It was wonderful to see a different side of Jiya come out and simultaneously watch her relationship with Rufus grow even stronger. Jiya messing with the system then sitting on the table claiming she still has to pee will go down as one of the best Timeless scenes in my book. Claudia Doumit was ridiculously outstanding in that moment—I actually “YAAS’d” out loud. (That’s a thing now, right?) While Jiya’s often able to shine with her technical abilities, this was just one of those moments where she felt so badass, anyone and everyone would want to be her. And while her courageous speech comparing Mason to the Wizard would’ve been enough to leave us cheering for her, this moment made her the episode queen.

It was great to see Jiya have a good chunk of work to do this week, but it was also great to see the sincerity between her and Rufus. While their conversation over the phone was adorable, I hate to have been right about the way it ended. Rufus isn’t coming home safely to Jiya. At least that’s what he believes. But …choking up a little here … they love each other. And when you realize that’s what Rufus was trying to tell the team before he slips into a state of comatose, the heart starts to hurt a little bit. While we know these aren’t his final words (no one’s taking away Rufus from us), the fact that she was the number one concern on his mind despite all the pain he was going through was a sight to see.

It also felt right that he’d know she’d be okay. He was scared for her, but he had full confidence in the fact that if anything did happen, the team would help her out of Mason Industries. And also, she’d find a way to be around the Rittenhouse folks without getting herself hurt. That kind of belief in someone could move mountains. It’s what every relationship needs to be successful. And when all this is over, or rather slightly calmer, can we please get a quiet moment where the two go on a nice little date away from gadgets and gizmos? Perhaps in season two?

With Rufus being critically injured, it means Wyatt has failed— at least in his book. At least that’s what his hearty apology implied with the sunken face Lanter projected. And again, to play on fate vs. free will, Wyatt’s fate’s been tested in a way no one else’s has, after everything he did, Jessica is still dead. (Or is she?) Does that mean she was meant to be dead at this point in time no matter the course of events? But that aside, he’s chosen to stay by his team and protect them. A duty he clearly takes incredibly seriously because in his eyes, their entire lives are on him. He is meant to protect them.

In this moment, his team is his destiny—they’re his priority. And watching him try to buckle Rufus in with Lucy’s help is still breaking my heart. In the most catastrophic moment of Timeless history, the Time Team proves that together, they’ve found family. They may not share blood, but at this point, they share something deeper—a natural desire to fight alongside one another and believe in each other. In a number of ways, they’re ridiculously different from one another, but their hearts are aligned toward the same, noble path. They’re also a bunch of film nerds, and that in and of itself is glorious.

Timeless’ “Public Enemy No. 1” was yet another enthralling episode, and frankly, at this point it’s fair to assume that each episode will be just as explosive, if not more. But with this penultimate especially, it was fascinating to have so much focus on the details. Whether it was Ness pointing out Rufus’ sweater resembling a woman’s or Wyatt’s comment about button-fly jeans, the costume analogy alone is an absolute blast to watch on this show. And it was brilliant of the series to pay homage to that because fashion can throw everything off—especially if we’re going back in time.

It blows my mind that there aren’t people watching this show because it’s too good not to. But to conclude the monster this review turned into, whatever happens next week, I’m sure the importance of choice is coming into play. Lucy will have to make one. Wyatt will, too. And let’s not forget Flynn. I have a feeling Rufus has to sit this one out so does that mean Jiya’s our Pilot?

Further Thoughts:

  • Seriously, how incredible are our guest stars? Misha Collins, Cameron Gharaee, and Mather Zickel were spot on.
  • The film references on this show are truly everything.
  • Connor Mason needs to go away forever. I’m 300% done with him at this point. And same with Cahill.
  • I loved the fact that before they did anything else, Wyatt’s idea was to get Amy back. Her disappearance was essentially their fault and making things right is what Lucy deserved. And having that support from Wyatt, the fierce determination that this is their last chance projected the most gorgeous smile out of Lucy. These two, they get each other. They really do. And their continued support towards one another seems to leave a lot of at a loss for actual words.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode of Timeless? Remember if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss let us know in the comments below. Also, friends. If you’re somehow unable to watch live, here’s a list of place that’ll make your views count. Tell everyone you know.


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