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Timeless - Hollywoodland - Review

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Timeless “Hollywoodland” was written by Matt Whitney and directed by John F Showalter – one of Eric Kripke’s go to directors. The episode features another female historical figure that many people may dismiss as simply another pretty Hollywood actor – Hedy Lamarr (Alyssa Sutherland). Once again the show takes the opportunity to show how much more this woman contributed – and the show even fixes the injustice that saw her not get rewarded for her inventions. This episode also sees some movement on what’s up with Jiya (Claudia Doumit). The episode ends with Flynn (Goran Visnjic) joining the team. I’m sure this will prove to have mixed reactions, but I’ve enjoyed Visnjic, and I’ll looking forward to this new dynamic to the team. The episode also showcases Abigail Spencer’s (Lucy) singing!

The episode begins with the sleeper agent – Lucas Calhoun (Ryan Cargill) – being dropped off in the Hollywood Hills by his father (Josh Randall). Fifteen years later Calhoun (Teddy Sears) is a very successful and powerful producer. I loved him showing up to shut down a picture, telling the director (Chet Grissom) that he’s taking the leads to star in a television show. The director is aghast, but Calhoun insists that television is the future! Nobody dreamt of peak tv back then! Calhoun was doing a great job of cornering the market. Calhoun’s father shows up and tells him it’s time for him to play his part. They’ve rescued Keynes and are moving ahead.

Back at the bunker, Jiya has another seizure – giving us a flash of the next episode btw. This time Denise (Sakina Jaffrey) sees it and is very concerned. She’s furious with Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and Connor (Paterson Joseph) when she finds out that they knew and didn’t say anything. Jiya didn’t want to be benched, and she doesn’t want to see a doctor. She does indicate that the “hallucinations” may be more than that, but she’s interrupted from saying anything else by the alarm that the mothership has jumped.

Once again, Lucy doesn’t see anything obvious about the date – January 2, 1941. Once again, Denise and Lucy go to see Flynn who’s in the infirmary because he’s been stabbed. Clearly, Rittenhouse is attempting to silence him. Denise makes him a lame offer of more protection and internet, but that’s the best she can offer because he’s a terrorist – and he killed the guy who stabbed him! Lucy tells him that she can get him out, but he’s reluctant to trust her because she’s the reason he’s in there in the first place. Lucy tells him frankly that they need him more than he needs them – he’s got the power. Flynn draws her a picture.

I loved Wyatt calling it Pictionary – but the very, very simplified Paramount logo leads them onto the Paramount lot. This time they got their disguises by stealing them once they landed! We get yet another classic pop culture reference as Rufus asks if this is their new normal – stealing clothes – “like Winona Ryder pre Stranger Things!” For those not in the know, Ryder’s career hit the skids when she was caught shoplifting – several times.

When a security guard (Matthew Downs) stops them, it’s Rufus who leaps in to provide a cover for them, claiming to be Langston Hughes. He acts insulted that the security guard doesn’t recognize him – he won an Oscar for Way Down South – Lucy jumps in with no he didn’t! – and Rufus then hilariously blusters that he should have! He was robbed! He moves on though, saying he’s there to see the head of the studio – Barney Balaban (James DuMont). And yes, he really was head of Paramount from 1936 to 1964. Hughes is also a fascinating historical figure – who did write The Ways of White Folks and was a well-known, innovative poet. I actually wish the episode had delved more into Hughes’ life.

Of course, they don’t have an appointment when they are escorted to Balaban’s office, but Rufus continues bluffing, saying that he’s there about his new musical… starring new singing sensations Wyatt (Matt Latner) and Lucy! I loved that Lucy also had to time-adjust Wyatt on which duo they were like – too early for Bogie and Bacall! I also loved the little dig at themselves when Lucy asks Rufus if he can pull of pretending to be Hughes and Rufus replies, “who knows what writers look like?” I’m looking at you Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan!!! I could pick you out of a line up!

True to form, Balaban doesn’t know what Hughes looks like and welcomes them in to hear all about his new musical… Hamilton! Which Balaban shoots down because it would never work… Wyatt then floats a story about a Cabal – and Balaban immediately thinks he’s talking about that RKO picture… They are interrupted by the appearance of an unhappy Hedy Lamarr who wants nothing to do with a party that night.

Lucy is star struck by Lamarr and remarks that she’s even more glamorous in person. Lamarr says any girl can be glamorous – she just has to stand still and look stupid! As they are talking, Balaban gets a call that RKO-281 has been stolen – it’s Citizen Kane.

The team realizes that this is likely the target because the movie was never stolen in history. Lucy tells the others that William Randolph Hearst (John Colton) never wanted the movie released – as it is clearly about his life. Rufus and Lucy are both shocked when Wyatt reveals that he’s never seen the classic film! It turns out that the party Lamarr was complaining about is going to be at the Hearst mansion, so the team decides to crash it – after stealing some additional costumes, this time from the costume department… handy!

Lucy fills Rufus in on Lamarr’s background. Telling him that she basically invented wifi, but her invention of frequency hopping that was used by the military never resulted in her getting rich – she and her inventing partner George Antheil (Beau Brians) never saw a penny from it – and yes, this is all true.

Meanwhile, in the present, Jiya reveals that she hates doctors because her father was healthy until he went to the doctor who diagnosed cancer and her father was dead shortly after. Of course, he would have been whether he went to the doctor or not… Denise insists that whatever is causing Jiya’s seizures, they will deal with it and make her better.

While Jiya sees the doctor, Connor finally reveals that he knows what’s wrong with her and that they won’t be able to deal with it. There are rules for a reason. They sent more than three people before and the two pilots both got sick with the same symptoms. One died of a brain aneurism and one ended up a non-functioning schizophrenic. Connor tells Denise that Rufus doesn’t know – he would never let Jiya learn to be a pilot if he did!

Connor and Denise are worried when Jiya finally emerges from her doctor’s appointment. The doctor brought a portable MRI machine and there is nothing wrong with her brain. In fact, she’s healthier than she’s ever been in her life – the heart murmur that she’s had all her life is gone! Connor and Denise are stunned – but I doubt that they should cease to be concerned.

Back in Hollywoodland, the team crash the party, and Lamarr sees them going in and she’s thrilled to see them there. She proves she’s as smart as she’s supposed to be by spiriting Rufus off to hear his latest poetry. It’s hilarious when Rufus tries to pass off the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as his latest poem! Lamarr doesn’t spare his feeling by telling him it’s awful – but she knows he’s not Hughes. She has Hughes’ poetry – and his picture is on the back!

Rufus tells her the “truth” – that they are friends of Orson Welles and are trying to get Citizen Kane back for him. Lamarr has also seen the film. It’s also funny when Lucy says “Spoiler alert – Rosebud’s a sled!” and Lamarr has no idea what a “spoiler” is! LOL! The funniest thing is that Rosebud being a sled is one of the earliest examples of a spoiler!

They see Calhoun with Hearst, and Lamarr tells them he’s a very successful producer – his next film is going to be about dinosaurs – Jurassic Park! For his own part, Calhoun is enjoying the life he’s made for himself in Hollywood and asks his father if he really has to go back to the present. His father tells him that there’s more work to do. It turns out that Hearst is going to give Rittenhouse a column in his papers in exchange for the movie – it would be the beginning of fake news! I loved this nod to current events.

Lamarr and Rufus head after Calhoun and Hearst to get the details on the exchange. I loved Lamarr helping Rufus make a more effective listening device with a pin hole and scotch tape added to a glass. I also loved that Scotch Tape was still a brand name and not the generic term for cellophane tape – nice catch writers! It’s another type of Intellectual Property – Trademark law… but for a legal nerd like myself, it was really fun! Rufus tells Lamarr that if he didn’t already have a girlfriend, she’d be the perfect woman!

While they are doing the spy work, Lucy and Wyatt are dragged in front of the party to sing! Wyatt bails – he tells Lucy that if he has to sing, their cover will be blown immediately because he’s terrible. Lucy, however is really good. She has a few false starts – stage fright? – as she launches into “You Made Me Love You” but she ends up really selling it.

I’m thinking that Abigail Spencer must have some musical theatre in her background! It’s a great choice of song that resonates with the disappointing conclusion to the episode. Both Spencer and Lanter are terrific as Lucy sings to him and he suddenly realizes the depth of his own feelings. It’s also beautifully shot as the song as a performance narrows to the characters and the wide shots tighten to close ups of the two.

Lamarr lets the team stay with her. She has an “inventing mind” and a laboratory full of inventions, which George and Hedy are happy to show off to Rufus, leaving Lucy and Wyatt alone… Lucy fills Wyatt in on George and Hedy – they are just inventing partners, mainly because George was married when they met. Sound like anyone else we know??? Wyatt remarks that some men find beautiful women intimidating, and Lucy assumes Wyatt is referring to her. Wyatt blusters that he didn’t mean her although she is beautiful.

Lucy tells him that she doesn’t see herself that way – she’s more of a nerd. She skipped her prom for a debate event, but she’s sure that Wyatt was a player. He tells her that he got drunk and banned from prom – he was lost back then. He then tells her that she saved him. He took the time travel assignment because it was dangerous and he’d stopped caring – but now he cares again. Lucy tells him that’s exactly how she felt when she thought he was dead – the two kiss and then spend the night together.

It’s priceless when Rufus bursts in on them the next morning. He’s mortified – and later thrilled. He promises not to tell anyone – except Jiya who he is definitely going to tell!

The three head back to the studio to get the film from Calhoun before he can give it to Hearst. Lucy has a new dress – that the guys tease her about, but she explains it’s her favorite time period! They follow Calhoun into a sound stage and are interrupted by a security guard (Chris Gann) who is shot. Lucy insists on trying to help him while Rufus gets the film and Wyatt shoots and kills Calhoun. They have to leave the guard – likely bleeding to death – and Lucy isn’t happy, but they can’t be found there.

Rufus gives Hedy the film to give to Welles. He then tells her that the US military will use her frequency hopping invention and that she should make sure that she “renews” the Patent. Unfortunately, there is no renewing of Patents – that would be Trademark. Nice try show, but this was an oopsy moment. Hedy does take Rufus’ advice (when in reality, the Patent would only last 17 years from the time of filing – he could have told her just not to file it until 1946…) and she ends up making $30 billion and building a tech empire. Why do I think that this is going to come in handy for the team?

In the present, Denise pays another visit to Flynn and gives him a piece of paper that she says is a very bad idea…

The final scene of the team in Hollywood has Wyatt hotwiring a car and the three driving off to visit the under construction Oakland Prison – which just happens to be where Flynn is. In a nicely intercut scene, we see them leaving something in the wall in the past, and Flynn removing it in the present. It contains a key, a mask, and a credit card. Gas is released in the prison – hence the gas mask – and Flynn makes his escape.

When Flynn arrives at the bunker, Wyatt is not at all happy. He leaves the room, and Lucy runs after him. The two share a sweet moment. Lucy asks him to forget about Flynn because they have each other now. And then… Wyatt gets a text and breaks out of the bunker.

Wyatt goes to a bar and finds Jessica (Tonya Glanz) his dead wife apparently alive and well! Sorry Lyatt fans – looks like their romance is being nipped in the bud. I’d be less ticked off if they hadn’t let the two finally acknowledge their feelings – this feels like a cheap trick. One can only assume that Jessica knows who Wyatt is – otherwise, who sent the text? And why would anyone BE sending Wyatt a text anyway?? I thought that Jessica maybe didn’t look like she knew who Wyatt is… but then, there’s that text…

As always, my favorite parts of the show were the historical figures that they highlighted – Langston Hughes and Hedy Lamarr, and the fun inside jokes and references. Not so terrific about this episode was bringing back Wyatt’s long lost wife. And unlike some fans, I’m really looking forward to Flynn joining the team! What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And now that Supernatural has just been renewed for a 14th season, don’t you think Timeless should lend them Kripke to write – and direct! – the 300th episode????

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