Timeless 2×04 “The Salem Witch Hunt” Review

Timeless “The Salem Witch Hunt” Spoilers Ahead

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All in good time. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

Episode Summary | Time in History: Centuries ago in 1692—a dark time in Salem Village Massachusetts where over 200 women are accused of witchcraft and 20 were executed. In Timeless’ realm, our very own Lucy Preston is also accused of it as is Benjamin Franklin’s mother, Abiah Folger. The Time Team with the help of Flynn and the exclusion of Wyatt travel back to find the sleeper agent before Rittenhouse does, and compelled by the truth Jiya told him earlier, Rufus makes some choices that leave him puzzled. Wyatt tries to clear things up with Jessica and in the end, we’re left with the mystery of what their future will be.

We don’t think about our choices as candidly as we probably should, but if someone watched our lives as they were occurring, the thematic essence of fate vs. free will would be a topic of great importance. And it is, truly our choices matter—they matter to the tee, so what happens when we’re presented with a clear vision of what the future will hold? A catastrophe of foreboding occurrences, a walk in the park, or an incredibly grey area that’s too complicated to properly analyze.

Timeless has done a superb job of laying out the foundation for fate vs. free will from the very first episode when the show was meant to be about preserving history. Today, Timeless is a show about saving the world even if that means changing history. It’s about conscious choices our team must make in order to ensure that greater trauma isn’t found in the face of Rittenhouse—the threat we may have underestimated for a while. Whether it’s in their personal lives or for the sake of this great mission that’s tied to everything, I have a feeling the potency of our choices will be an ongoing theme, and one I’m most certainly okay with.

Most Noteworthy Performer: Again, it’s never easy choosing for this category, and I hate myself for creating it when I did because everyone is too good. It could take the faintest millisecond for a performer to give us something memorable and ridiculously evocative.

But in Timeless’ “The Salem Witch Hunt,” Goran Višnjić takes the crown by reminding us of fact that Flynn is so multifaceted, we’re just getting started. There’s a lot to Timeless’ mystery that we’ve yet to unpack, for instance, how did Flynn travel to the future? How much does he know from Lucy’s journal? Are they close to getting his family back? Also, has Rittenhouse been defeated? Tell us!

Višnjić may play one of the most compelling “villains” on TV, but the passion he brings to the cause is exemplary. Flynn is indeed unhinged, in a constant state of rage, and unpredictable, but to deny that there’s softness in him would be an insult to Višnjić’s impeccable performances as an actor. Višnjić does a remarkable job of showcasing the very softness within Flynn in a manner so discreet, blink and you’ll miss it.

He still has a reputation to maintain, a heartache that’s too strong and too compelling within him to find light, but it’s in the moments where he realizes he may be the reason a daughter is left fatherless where that very heartache is brought to life in a captivating, utterly compelling performance. Višnjić makes it clear that at the core of it all, Garcia Flynn is a father—a man who’d give anything and everything to bring his little girl back. A man who’d even go too far to avenge his daughter and his wife because he feels so deeply, it’s impossible to not to.

And that’s just it, Garcia Flynn feels too deeply—he takes it all in to his core, breathes it in, but doesn’t let it out because he doesn’t know how to. It’s why he’s been so adamant on defeating Rittenhouse. It’s why everything he sets out for is met with cataclysmic emotions. It’s why Višnjić brings so much frustration into the character because there’s so much within Flynn, and it all begins and ends with his family—the only people who ever made true sense to him. The people that kept him grounded, free, and passionate in all the right ways.

Garcia Flynn isn’t exactly best friends with the Time Team, and he won’t be any time soon because his sardonic remarks towards them is far more entertaining, but he’s fighting for the right side, and that’s what matters at the moment. And Višnjić subtly makes it clear that though this isn’t exactly ideal for him, he doesn’t hate it as much as he thought he would. There’s something comforting about all of them being together, and it’s a comfort he’s needed since he lost his family. He’s needed a place to belong, a place to just be, and though he’s still a spitfire of rage who’s constantly being watched, it’s enough. It’s enough for now, and the serenity that’s found is of great importance.

A serenity that’s found in the delicacy of his kindness towards Lucy—there’s something special there, a bond that we aren’t quite sure what to call, but it’s special, undeniably special and we’re here to see it grow into something bigger. (Fun fact: when the show first started, we thought he could’ve been her dad from the past! But here me out, what if he’s her long-lost brother instead?) Regardless, there’s no denying that what the two of them share is special, indescribable even, and when he chose to remind her of the fact that she isn’t like her mother, Višnjić was at his best—the utmost sincerity in that moment could light up any room because it means that he’s forgiving her for his capture, it means he’s looking at the bigger picture, and it means that he’s learning to love a little bit more every day, and Višnjić’s delivering a full range of emotions masterfully.

Most Exquisite Scene: The concept of witchcraft and anything related to the Salem Witch Trials has always freaked me out. I’m a chicken, let’s put this out there. But I love Timeless for bringing the darkness to life in a way that’s much bigger than distorted faces or floating figures. It’s a darkness about establishing norms and condemning differences. It’s a darkness that favors and praises one group while terrorizing another, and it was fascinating to watch Lucy sit in a room filled with women accused of witchcraft. (Although her mother is the worst for accusing her of it, so there’s that.)

But to watch Lucy in that situation, celebrating the women for who they were and as they are, and the choices they had made for themselves was a beautiful showcase of what it truly means make a difference. It was a room full of women who were awaiting their deaths and instead they found a single moment to be okay with themselves as they were—better yet, women who were being celebrated by one woman’s choice to stand up and another’s to empower. And as a woman, it’s watching moments like this that easily makes me so proud of this show. We’re all so very different, some of us love the color red while others love Tiffany blue, but instead of shunning one another or putting each other down for those choices, we need to celebrate them, parade them around, praise them, and accept them. We need to consistently remind women to stop defending their reputations because it’s no one’s business but their own.

And that’s the moment where it becomes clear that Lucy’s agenda has changed —she’s no longer fighting to preserve history, she’s fighting to save it. And sometimes, saving it means keeping people alive who were meant to be dead. It means changing things. It means fighting the real enemy, which isn’t change, but choices—it’s making the choices that’ll impact the lives of good people instead. That’s why hearing her voice that she’s here to save people later on in the episode was so important, for it revolutionized just how vital living through this moment was for her. Yes, Lucy’s seen sexism alive and well, but living through something as dark and horrifying as the Salem Witch Trials inspired her to find light in a whole new way—it inspired her to fight for those whose voices aren’t heard instead. The voices that led to hanging or burning or life long condemnations, those are the people Lucy is fighting for. And that’s what makes her a leader—an acutely qualified woman to call the shots because she’s incredibly wise and remarkably kind, strong and vulnerable, sincere and steadfast.

And in an episode that showcased women fighting for women, it’s important to acknowledge the one woman only Wyatt seems to be fighting for, Jessica. I realize I’m in the minority when I say I’m okay with what’s happening, but how could I not be? The Jessica that stood in front of us today was a kind, clearly exhausted woman who’s dealt with a drunken, absentee husband that she’s always missed, fought for, and loved. She’s a woman whose story deserves to be told, and she’s a woman who’s tired. A woman who’s seen heartache after another, and it matters that we see her in this light because human growth takes place in trying times.

We still don’t know how Jessica was brought back, and if it was truly Rittenhouse, we don’t know why they chose to do so. If she is Rittenhouse, it’s vital that we learn the why too—a thing I’m certain we’ll get because these writers care about their characters. They care about the motives and they care about putting their characters in the driver’s seat. Again, we don’t know what’s going on with Jessica, but we do know that dealing with her death and proper closure is exactly what Wyatt needs.

He still needs to tackle the alcoholism and jealousy head on before embarking on a relationship with Lucy. He needs to put those things front and center of his life and deal with them in a way that’s healthy. In grief, humans suppress emotions, they leave somethings behind while letting go of others and oftentimes, the proper closure isn’t met. But in this situation, Wyatt can finally be a better man for Jessica, but at the same time, he can grow into a better version of himself. A version of himself who could be a better partner for Lucy, too.

This show doesn’t do drama for the sake of drama, it would’ve already done so by now and in a way that’s not so eloquent, but this? This is compelling, and this is the story of how women will support one another. Whether Jessica is Rittenhouse or not, I have a great feeling about the fact that Lucy’s kindness could have an impact on her life. (Or at least if not, we get a fascinating villain and I’m all for that because truthfully, Keynes isn’t doing it for me quite yet.)

Our choices are ridiculously important, we can’t stress that enough, can you imagine what would’ve happened if Lucy went with her mother? Carol may be trying, but she’s still got so much to prove before any of us can trust her again, especially Lucy. But Jiya’s visions are more than just premonitions, there really is something so much bigger here, and I appreciated the challenges it brought to her relationship with Rufus because fate vs. free will is monster of a topic and what happened with Judge Samuel Sewell was a result of something we can’t quite figure out. Could it be blamed on his choice to not look both ways? Could it be the choice to not let go of the gun quicker? Could it be the fact that he was meant to die? See, a monster of a topic.

But Jiya choosing to tell Rufus says a lot about how she perceives their relationship. She doesn’t want to keep things from him, she doesn’t want to have something hanging over her head if it could potentially help him, and now, something tells us that if she refuses to share in the future, it’ll lead to an event that could have potentially been worse. It’s all just a big, perfect mess that’s bound to make our core couples stronger, and truthfully, I’m here for it. I’m here for Rufus and Jiya exploring the ramifications of what’s to come from Jiya’s visions, and how they could rise from it. I’m here for this exploration leading to something that’s tied into Rittenhouse in a whole new way.

Timeless’ “The Salem Witch Hunt” was yet another episode for the books—riveting, heart shattering, honest, and so remarkably raw in its means of tackling the fate vs. free will concept. It’s choice to continuously acknowledge how awful history was towards women and people of color never fails to showcase the importance of making a change. Acknowledgement matters. And naturally, the sass was on point. Timeless gets it right. It forces us to ask thought provoking questions and then leaves us with hours of material to contemplate on.

Further Thoughts:

  • Rufus’ comment about Black and white necks bending the same was so ridiculously perfect and profound. Never change, Rufus Carlin—keep opening up the truth because the world needs it.
  • Did Abigail Spencer break anyone else with that “I rather be hanged” response. There was so much pain in her eyes as she rejected her mother, but our Lucy has been through too much, and the fight that’s within her is only just beginning. The fight that’s all about protecting other women is something that’s bound to have a profound impact on her, too.
  • I truly appreciated Wyatt going straight to the point with Lucy and telling her about Jessica because this is where his loyalty shines. At his core, Wyatt’s an honorable man willing to do the right thing, and the right thing, often correlated with the hard thing is something people tend to shy away from. But the choice to make sure she hears it from him followed by heartfelt apology slayed my soul in a painfully worthwhile way. There’s so much love between Wyatt and Lucy, they’re partners and they’re best friends, and at the end of the day, they’re each other’s light in darkness. But sometimes, loving someone means letting them go — it means giving them the space they need in order for them to figure out their own light. It means giving them to platform to live in a world where you aren’t theirs. It means loving them though they aren’t yours to love and it means carrying on with grace and kindness even though your heart’s breaking in every way. And that’s exactly what Lucy did because to deny that there isn’t a part of her who’s happy for Wyatt would be an injustice to the vast capacity of love she has. Lucy’s selflessness is the very thing that makes her so special, and you knew in that moment that though she ached in a way that’s indescribable, it’d be okay because he’s happy. And his happiness is truly of great importance to her.  But on Wyatt’s end, he’s not entirely happy because though Jessica’s reappearance is everything he’s ever wanted, letting go of Lucy isn’t easy, it’s doable, but there’s a part of him that clearly doesn’t want to, and Matt Lanter makes that evident to us through the pain that’s projected in Wyatt’s eyes. These are all necessary choices that need to be made because at the end of the day, that’s what I’ve always wanted for Wyatt and Lucy. I’ve wanted them to choose each other over and over again despite who’s still in their lives. I don’t want Jessica to die again, but I want her and Wyatt to come to the understanding that they just don’t work together — now wouldn’t’ that be captivating? Knowing that he’d choose Lucy a thousand times in every timeline because she’s the one he can’t be without? Knowing that no matter who’s in or out of their lives they’ll always choose each other? Sign me up for this.
  • Also, I’d really like Lucy and Jessica to be friends. And also, more of Jiya and Lucy please.

Be sure to rewatch the episode again on Hulu, NBC.com, Demand, or on your DVRs without skipping commercials. Hashtag #Timeless every time you tweet (one hashtag, per tweet or it’ll be marked as spam!) — let’s show the network just how fiercely we want this show to stay.

What are your thoughts on Timeless “The Salem Witch Hunt?”

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