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Relationship Deep Dive: The Time Team

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The Time Team--a promotional shoot from NBC Timeless.
©NBC

Type: Platonic
Show: NBC’s Timeless
Featured Characters: Rufus Carlin, Lucy Preston, Wyatt Logan, Jiya Marri, Denise Christopher, Conner Mason, and Garcia Flynn

From the very first episode, the Time Team took Timeless viewers by storm in an unlikely workplace friendship that promised something exceptional was bound to grow. Throughout the course of the show’s two-year run, the team grew, adding in Garcia Flynn to the mix that also always involved Jiya Marri, Denise Christopher, and Conner Mason. With each of them serving a purpose individually in the mission, together, it became all about protecting each other. Together, it became something bigger—a family, a love grand and true and forever in the face of a union brought on by fate and cemented through choice.

Timeless was always going to be an intriguing show with its plot to protect history, but at the end of the day, the friendships and the characters made it the show worth remembering plus re-watching years later. It’s the effortless growth that evolved each of its characters with every passing episode into stronger, better versions of themselves because of the choices they each made to be a team player even while situations pulled them into all sorts of directions.

The Time Team: The Starting Trio

Although Rufus Carlin, Jiya Marri, Denise Christopher, and Conner Mason were acquainted before the mission began, the Time Team as we know it initially started with the three travelers—Rufus Carlin, the pilot, Lucy Preston, the historian, and Wyatt Logan, the solider. They were the characters audience members got to know first and it was their bond in each episode that made us come back for more week after week. (At least, where this audience member is concerned.)

The best kind of teams are the so often the ones that consist of three different people. Han, Leia, and Luke. Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And in our case, Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt.

The Time Team started out knowing nothing about each other and grew into the kind of team who’d do anything to protect one another in the face of danger. When Lucy was captured, in “The World’s Columbian Exposition” Wyatt and Rufus were both clearly in a state of utter distress until she was found. When Rufus was killed in “The General/Chinatown” Wyatt and Lucy both made the choice to do everything in their power to get Rufus back even if that meant they would lose Amy and Jessica in the aftermath. There was no question about the fact that they wouldn’t put Rufus first in this situation, and there was also no question about the lengths they each were willing to go to for one another.

It’s part of the reason why no one else could have replaced Wyatt in an episode like “The Alamo.” In spite of their differences, this team knew how to work together and they learned, most importantly how to fervently trust each other. As discussed in Rufus Carlin’s deep dive, this bond is also a large part of the reason why he couldn’t keep spying on Wyatt and Lucy because he didn’t want to lie or feel as though he was somehow betraying them. It’s why he accompanied Wyatt into the past even when he knew it wasn’t the best call to stop Jessica’s death.

Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt ceaselessly made the choices to trust each other and to give one another chances to grow when a mistake cost them something important.

While in the beginning the team didn’t understand why or how their missions mattered the way they did (especially when it came down to saving historical figures versus letting history stay true to what’s meant to be), they understood, at the very least, that they were on the same team. The three of them, no matter how different from one another were loyal to the idea of protecting people and ensuring that they do the best they can to be of use to both the past and the present.

Where there were disagreements, they were always willing to meet each other halfway even after mistakes were made, and that’s part of the reason why their friendship was so meaningful. The complexities that made up each of them played a larger role in strengthening their relationships even when loyalties were questioned and where trust wasn’t as strongly cemented. But at the end of the day, especially at the very end, it was clear as day that what they had found when forced into this journey against time was something incomparable.

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Trust and the Test of…Time

It’s always bizarre using the word “time” when referring to Timeless, but it does ultimately come down to the detail that in a literal sense, their trust stands the test of time. They break and they endure and every part of their journey is questioned, but at the end of the day, they make it through. They make it through when they choose to trust that maybe, just maybe Garcia Flynn could be on the same team, which proves to be challenging at first in spite the fact that it’s the right call.

And that’s just it—the Time Team starts when they are fighting to stop him, but his character is intrinsically tethered to their fate. Much like for Lucy, the finale showcases the fact that though in the beginning neither of them chose this mission, by the end, they’d be willing to do it all over again.

Snark and sass is a part of this show’s charm and the one detail about “The Miracle of Christmas” I’ll always hate is the fact that Garcia Flynn dies. However, it’s the decision that exhibits how he always belonged with them in the first place—he was willing to make the tough calls just as much as they were, and he was willing to do the hard thing even if it meant he’d gain absolutely nothing from it. That’s the tragedy in all this. Flynn’s time is not only short lived, and the loses the most making him the type of tragic hero Aristotle wrote about. His role in the Time Team was integral to the happiness they were guaranteed in spite of the darkness he needed to live through.

In the end, they each gain something from the friendships that are established, and a piece of themselves becomes etched into the very fabric of time as choice after choice leads them to a better place than where they first begin. What Lucy is able to do for Denise Christopher’s future in “The Day Reagan Was Shot” or how Rufus is a part of Mason’s journey in “The King of the Delta Blues.” The ways in which Wyatt would be lost without Rufus’ help in “Karma Chameleon.”

At some point, they have each been a person’s anchor. They have each been a person’s only hope.

The worst part of Timeless will always be the fact that we didn’t get enough of it. We didn’t get nearly enough of Jiya and Rufus as a couple. We didn’t get nearly enough of Flynn in the bunker. We got a bit more with Lucy and Wyatt solely because they’d been on the missions together and thus, we were given insight into their development.

But still, there was never enough of the friendships—the heart, the choices, and every piece of the puzzle pieces that made the Time Team so memorable as a group of complex heroes finding home and second chances with each other.

I am of the firm belief that every good show must contain the “found family” trope somehow, and Timeless succeeds at it effortlessly with the Time Team. No matter how dark it got, they knew they were part of a team they could rely on. No matter how harrowing history was or how isolating based on the time period they were in, they knew, without a shadow of a doubt that someone would always have their back.

As we look back, in the final episode of Timeless, I had said:

From the very beginning, Timeless has emphasized one of the most important themes in life, which Parks and Recreation mentioned so beautifully, too “Nobody achieves anything alone.” And it doesn’t diminish human strength or individuality, but it accentuates the fact that human beings are not designed to be alone—we’re strong and capable individually, but with a partner, a team on our side, we’re unstoppable. And that’s the one thing the Time Team had that Rittenhouse didn’t—an actual team, steadfast loyalty, and sincere love.

A love that’s been the very anchor from day one. A love that’s made each of them better, stronger versions of themselves. And to celebrate that love at Christmas time especially warms my heart to bits. Whether it’s the sacrificial love of a man who’d found purpose again, the love of an incomparable leader like Denise Christopher who’s adored each of the team members like family, two nerds appreciating every inch of one another, or two lost souls finding their way back to each other and understanding that they’ve been meant to be all along.

Timeless was always a show about finding home amidst saving the world, and The Time Team found theirs together.

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