Timeless “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” Spoilers Ahead
Be loud. Be proud. “It was we the people, not we the white male citizens, but we the whole who formed this Union.”
Episode Summary | Time in History: 1919, New York City and a lot’s at stake for women when Suffragette Alice Paul is arrested then killed by a sleeper agent before she makes her noteworthy speech meant for President Woodrow Wilson. The team, now accompanied by fourth member, Flynn attempt to save the day by seeking the help of detective Grace Humiston, our very own Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. A surprising ally however manages to help the team save women’s rights as we know it and while rummaging through the products they’ve collected from the Rittenhouse raid, Mason and Agent Christopher make a discovery about one of their bunker mates.
I keep thinking that perhaps Timeless is done surprising us, but the reality is each episode will probably feel like a punch in the guts when we look back at how far we’ve come and how far we could still go. And as a woman writing this, Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” was as evocative as an hour of television can be, managing to stun me so often that live-tweeting became challenging. (Sorry, show, but you’re just too good.)
There was a great deal to appreciate about this episode and there’s a great deal to discuss, but the choice to remind us of the fact that our voices matter was bravery at its finest. Credit where it’s due is always something that I’m a fan of, which is why it’s so important to acknowledge that Timeless show runners are men because so often, writing of this caliber is done by women, and it’s amazing to see that on this show, it’s men, showcasing as proof of the fact that we can be equal in gender stereotypes without the hidden misogyny that’s unfortunately present in fiction when men attempt to tell stories through the eyes of women. So, hats off, gentlemen—this show’s certainly a special one. And hats off to episode writer David Hoffman for the astounding screenplay.
Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” gave us a glimpse into a darkness that isn’t often revealed, and it did so by reminding us of the fact that our characters are all so multifaceted, so exceptionally complex, it’s the ultimate treat to have the thematic elements of the show be brought to life through their eyes.
Most Noteworthy Performer: (Obligatory mention that the Timeless cast is some of the most talented group of individuals ever and there’s literally not a single performer who doesn’t consistently bring their A-game making my job that much more difficult.) But there’s no performance quite as intriguing as one that challenges the actor or actress to play on emotions that are foreign to their character, and this episode gave Annie Wersching the platform to bring humanity back into Emma.
For the first time, I was convinced that she was telling the truth, and while there was a tiny form of doubt in me, Wersching’s performance was so compelling, it managed to break me, and I suppose, even if she turned her back on them, the glimpse into her life was enough to reveal that somewhere beyond the haunting gaze and the ruthless choices, a human being resides.
The most enticing aspect of writing villains is bringing to life the grey areas in their motives—reminding us of the details that acute pain brought them to this moment and these choices. And while it’s never an excuse, it makes for quality television, showcasing that good and bad is a nonexistent concept when it comes to describing human beings. There is good in Emma, and there’s a great amount of terror in her, too—somewhere along the way, she made the choice to fight alongside people who think they’re in the right, but as a woman who’s escaped abuse and had her agency robbed, it makes perfect sense that she’d fight to regain it back when it was slipping through her clutches. And for a moment, Wersching wasn’t Emma Whitmore the Rittenhouse agent, she was Emma Whitmore, the little girl whose mother was her entire world and she’d been facing pain she couldn’t quite understand.
Timeless is the type of show that never shies away from vulnerability, and that’s something we’re especially grateful for because not only do our good guys experience bouts of sincerity, but so do our villains. And Wersching managed to convey a sense of doe-eyed innocence alongside her stoic exterior—it wasn’t the poetic crumbling of a character, but rather a reflection of all the layers that make us as complex as we are. And though there’d be moments where Emma would lose herself in memory, the meticulous choices Wersching made to bring her back were subtly remarkable.
Honorable Mention: Sarah Sokolovic was acutely present as Grace Humiston, but it was the speech in the end that broke me. Sokolovic was equal parts terrified, vulnerable, and filled with utter rage as she delivered the speech that’d have the same influence as Alice Paul’s, and it was because we’d seen her demeanor as the keen detective, which made this moment that much more evocative and raw. It was the physicality, the voice breaks, and the utter fear in her eyes that made it impossible to look away.
Most Exquisite Scene: Very rarely do I get so engulfed by a scene that live-tweeting becomes challenging. Very rarely do I get so stunned by a scene that I’m left with no words. And the Women’s “Silent” March was a remarkable paradigm of the kind of scene that’s bound to leave a lasting impression. The brutality in it, the heart, the raw, vulnerable cries, and the heart wrenching honesty was brilliant. Timeless doesn’t shy away from giving us the elements of history that are often glossed over, and that’s why this scene shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was, yet there were heart palpitations, anxiety, and actual tears. And who doesn’t love that kind of reaction?
There’s so much to dissect with this scene, so much heart that was placed into showcasing the gruesome reality that comes from a fight of any sort. Where there are people fighting to gain some type of recognition, there will always be people fighting against them. And in the midst of that, there’s silence, too — people who, not with terrible intentions, but rather a form of obliviousness, believe that speaking up will do nothing. And in their silence, without intending to, help the side we’re fighting against.
There’s something so poignantly haunting about this fact, which in every country, every race, every religion rings as universal truth, for holding back our words when they could help change something for the better is never the right choice. We often hold back out of fear that rejection or backlash may follow, but the Women’s Suffrage Movement serves as proof of the fact in the end, it’ll be worth it.
Timeless’ choice to highlight the darkness within the movement was a bold and brave choice for it allowed viewers to understand that because these women made the choice to fight their absolute hardest, we have the rights that we do today. And though sometimes it seems like we may be going backwards with the absence of equal pay and health care, we’re still doing much better than Alice Paul and the women who fought alongside her. Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” was one of the most violent episodes the show has done, but I commend it for doing so because it gave us tangible darkness without throwing anything in our faces.
It wasn’t meant for shock value, but rather honest storytelling. And more than anything, not only did I appreciate the men in our Time Team running to defend the women, but the show also chose to remind us of the fact that even when they’re doing something noble, Black men will still be seen as a threat. Which is why I suppose I found myself resorting into a cheerful wreck when Flynn jumped in to protect Rufus.
But this scene. Good lord, once again, I’m floored in a position where words aren’t coming easily because it was a marvelously powerful showcase of the sexism in America— not American history, for it’s still present today. And that powerful exhibition was filled with performances so raw, so captivating, it was impossible to even blink out of the fear that something would be missed.
Whether it was Abigail Spencer’s cry when Lucy called out to President Wilson, Sokolovic’s panic and aching vulnerability as she crumbled through the masses, or the cries of all the women in that scene who were being violently beaten by men, this is a scene that’s bound to be remembered for a long, long time. The scene did what history lessons often don’t do, which is showcase the radical hatred that’s within men who view women as property. It gave us darkness that network television often averts from, and for that alone, this show deserves to remain on air longer because it’s telling the stories we all need to hear. It’s taking the risks that are viable and necessary in a world where people often live in oblivion to the hatred, racism, and sexism that’s taking place.
Silence should rarely be an option when the lives of innocent people are at stake, and the episode’s choice to remind us of this fact was an ultimate display of just how balanced Timeless truly is as a series. And that’s one of the things that I can easily appreciate because at no point do the inner relationships or character journeys feel out-of-place. The series moves through its characters, and it moves through the relationships its established.
Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” was anything but silent, thankfully giving us conversations that needed to happen and strengthening our core characters more than ever. For instance, Wyatt and Lucy needed to have yet another conversation after the choices he made to act as if he’s entitled to her personal life. And I get it, Flynn’s still got a long way to go to prove that he’s one of the good guys, (He’s getting there, though, let’s be honest about this fact.) but in no way, shape, or form does he own Lucy, which is why I could appreciate Flynn calling him out on that while simultaneously reminding him that Jessica is his wife.
I could also greatly appreciate the fact that when Flynn said he wasn’t going to kill Rufus, he went out of his way to save his life even.
Conversations need to happen and relationships need arguments in order to meet one another halfway, creating a healthy, equal romance, which is why the challenges that are facing Rufus and Jiya are so fascinating to witness as they’re not only paying homage to the infamous fate vs. free will debate, but they’re reminding us of just how desperately the two don’t want to lose each other.
Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” did a number on my soul while compromising me further, but it continued to effortlessly inspire me, and I presume many others to continue asking the questions that matter. History’s the most riveting topic when it isn’t shoved down our throats, and that’s something I know a lot of students suffer with, we want to know things out of our own free will not when someone wants to test us on it. (Where was this show when I was actually a student?) And that’s why Lucy’s final cry about this world not knowing Alice Paul served as such a pivotal reminder of the fact that preservation means conversation.
Parkland’s Emma Gonzalez, for instance, I cannot imagine not knowing this brave soul’s name, and though I wish the circumstances were better, it’s still so vital to our history along with the stories that our children will come to learn. But goodness, does it hurt to know that Lucy continuously remembers so much more than the rest of the world. Maybe she could and should write a tell all one day. I’d read it.
- If I loved Rufus and Jiya’s relationship less, I might be able to talk about it more. But good lord, Timeless—thank you for writing realistic couples because though not many would have the type of argument they did, their approach to it was as raw as can be. Kudos to both Malcolm Barrett and Claudia Doumit for keeping me on edge with their performances because the innate vulnerability cobbled with the heartfelt perplexity broke me. Because in the midst of it, we not only got signs of the affect her dad’s death had on her, but we were reminded of just how desperate she is to keep Rufus alive because she can’t by any means lose him. Rufus’ fears of dying alongside the paranoia that it’s bringing, forces him to essentially lash out on Jiya because she’s the closest person to him. And it’s that very thing that made this fight so tangible because they are each other’s person —each other’s best friend. Sometimes, it’s easy to lash out on the person we’re closest to because at the end of the day, the level of comfort that we have with them is unparalleled to anything else. While I’m glad the two of them patched things up in the end, I’m excited to see how far this goes with Rufus’ life on the line, but I hope that my confidence in their relationship isn’t misplaced because I’m certain they’re going to be okay.
- Is there anything more profoundly moving than two grown adults who could just stay up all night talking to one another? I could easily appreciate just how far Flynn’s come because of choices such as this one—when he said he wanted to get to know Lucy better, that’s exactly what he meant. His choices towards her have always been honorable, and to deny that would be utterly ridiculous.
- Timeless’ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” was an episode about women and their agency, and I love that before the characters better themselves, their flaws are laid front and center. Wyatt’s choice to tell Flynn to stay away from Lucy essentially takes away her agency, but upon realizing that he’s wrong in doing so, he makes it clear to her that who she is as a person is everything that’s right. The choice to tell her that he’s fortunate she’s the person that she is not only reveals how much he loves her, but it illuminates the understanding that he’s not entitled to her. And the choice to then use his words to uplift her as opposed to attempting to control her life brought to back his nobility, too—he’s far from perfect, flawed as all these characters are, but they’re learning, day by day bettering themselves. The thing is, Wyatt trusts Lucy, he trusts her more than he trusts himself, and he needs her in ways he could never even fully describe. And while he has absolutely no right to be jealous because he’s the one that got lucky, the exhibition of real human emotions, and the choice to have them confronted sooner than later is where Timeless is most admirable. If this went on for multiple episodes, I’d be annoyed beyond words, but because it was dealt with head on, all was well.
- But in all seriousness, can we just talk about what an amazing, selfless soul Lucy Preston is? I could, and eventually will, write an entire essay on her. Because there’s nothing harder than watching someone you love with another person, but sometimes, loving someone so deeply means giving them the happiness they deserve even when you aren’t apart of it. And vocalizing that she refuses to stand in the middle of them made me cheer out loud because this was the honorable thing to do.
- I’d been saying Jessica’s in Rittenhouse since the very beginning, but now a part of me doesn’t want her to be a part of it because I don’t want her to be evil. But regardless, I trust this show and I trust the approach they’ll take with this— so bring it. However, and this is probably my anti-PDA stance in the world, but good heavens that kiss gave me so much secondhand embarrassment. Take it to your room, girl; we don’t need to see that in front of everyone.
- I’m 100% calling the Time Team the Time Beatles now because I laughed way too hard during that scene.
- Do I ship Emma and Nicholas? Heck no. You’re kissing your “friend’s” (or whatever Carol is to her) grandpa. That’s just … weird. Please stop. Could I potentially ship a redeemed Emma and Flynn? Heck yes.
- More influential than Beyoncé? Oh Rufus, always bringing your pop culture A game. Bless. Also, Flynn in up? Malcolm Barrett for all the ad lib awards this week.
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‘ “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes?”
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.