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Review of 'Timeless' Finale

Truly Timeless

Well, the Timeless two-hour special was as good a finale as I've seen for any television series—which means, it was true to the series narrative, satisfying, intriguing, and provoking— like the best finales of any television series from The Fugitive to The Sopranos, though of course those now classic series are in a class far higher than Timeless. (I talked about this, what makes a great finale, a few years ago on PBS. Here's the three-minute video. A great finale, even a good finale, is tough to make.)

Of course, the better the finale, the more it makes you wish that it wasn't a finale. And the very ending of Timeless offers us that possibility—a new time machine, in the earliest stages of invention, by the young lady Rufus was impressed with at the science fair. And there are lots of other little bits and pieces of possible futures of Timeless glittering in the starlight.

And these two hours did that as it tied up some major loose ends. The best was how Flynn came to have Lucy's diary. Indeed, Flynn was positioned and played perfectly in this special, crucially important to the story, making essential decisions, even though he was often not in the scene.

As I often say, not only a viewer but a reader and author of time travel stories, I like stories that lay out structures and principles of the time travel, and then stick to them, and take them seriously in the narrative. The principle that only the time travelers remember history as it were before they changed it is a good and logical one. I use it myself in my novels and stories whether to change the course of a river is very different from being totally submerged in it. I thought the best line in these two Timeless hours, both personally and metaphysically, is what Lucy says to Wyatt after she realizes that she can't live without him, "All we have between us is that past that only we remember."

I also much liked when Lucy realized there was a price to pay when you tried to bring someone back that time travel took away—Flynn for Rufus, the damage that a saved Jessica did and therefore, she couldn't risk bringing back her sister.

One little bit which I would have liked to have seen near the end—maybe it was left on the proverbial cutting room floor (or maybe someone went back in time and cut it out)—was Lucy and Wyatt embarking on their trip back to 2018 with which these two hours began. But this is a small quibble. Lucy and Wyatt are happy together. So are Rufus and Jiya. Lucy even got a plug in for Rachel Maddow (in a veritable masterpiece of timing, Rachel was on MSNBC at exactly the same time). I'll more than settle for all of that, especially when capped off with a new time machine in the making, and all that can hold for future stories. If they come to be, you can count on me to be back here with more reviews.

Historical Science Fiction—A Little Further Back in Time

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