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Timeless - The Day Reagan Was Shot - Review

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Timeless “The Day Reagan Was Shot” was written by the team of Arika Lisanne Mittman and Lauren Greer and was directed by Alex Kalymnios, whose other credits include Being Human, EastEnders, and The 100. Greer moves from writer’s assistant to writer for this episode. We’re already at episode 8, folks which means there’s only 2 more left for the season! I loved that this episode circled back to Denise (Sakina Jaffey) having Lucy (Abigail Spencer) come to her place for dinner and giving her the USB to keep on the lifeboat – who would have ever thought it would be used this way! It was terrific to have Denise’s backstory, and it was a nice twist that the way they changed the past actually had a positive effect on Denise’s life in the present.

The episode begins in Washington, DC, on March 30, 1981, with the letter from John Hinkley (Erik Stocklin) to Jodie Foster. We then see Denise at home with her wife, Michelle (Marci T House), and kids, Mark (Michael Garza) and Olivia (McKenna Roberts). We learn that her mother – Ananya Sirivastava (Pooja Batra) – doesn’t know about her family. Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) is pushing Jiya (Claudia Doumit) away. She tells him her dad did the same thing when he thought he was dying because he thought it would make it easier. It just made him look like a douchebag.

Lucy calls Rufus on what’s been bothering him. I love that she admits to watching “truly awful television” and that Real Housewives is her guilty pleasure! Rufus tells Lucy and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) – who agrees he’s been sulking all week – about Jiya’s vision that he’s going to die. Lucy and Wyatt agree they won’t let that happen. Think of all the times we could have died they remind him: Al Capone, Nazi Germany – the Alamo!

Because it’s 1981 that means that neither Flynn (Goran Visnjic) nor Connor (Paterson Joseph) can go on the mission, so Jiya volunteers. The others are reluctant, but Rufus agrees almost immediately, adding – morbidly – that she’ll need the experience because they’ll need another pilot when he’s gone.

Jiya is thrilled to be in the 80s! It was really nice to see Doumit get a chance to do something more. Jiya is very good at stealing clothes – and shoplifts some legwarmers, blue eyeshadow – so 80’s! – and raybans too! Lucy tries to get them to focus – and fills them – and us – in on the history, involving Hinkley’s attempt on Regan.

Denise doesn’t arrive until after the team has left, and she’s positive that the team isn’t in 1981 because of the attempt on Reagan’s life. As it turns out, Wyatt sees a laser site on one of the cops and jumps on her, saving her life – it’s Denise (Dhriti Sirivastava (Karen David))! However, Hinkley also gets away, which isn’t supposed to happen. However, if they kill Denise, none of them will ever meet. Karen David does a magnificent job of capturing a young Denise. I really loved the insights into her character, but especially the cultural challenges that she faced throughout her life as well.

In the present, Garcia wonders why Rittenhouse would get fancy and try to kill Denise in 1981 when they could have killed her three weeks ago. It creates a much bigger ripple to kill her in the past. Connor goes through all that Denise has done for the team, and I loved that it really did demonstrate how much every member contributes to the team.

In 1981, the team tries to decide on their next move. Wyatt and Rufus go after the sleeper, who is posing as secret service agent. Jiya and Lucy go to Denise to tell her about Hinkley. I loved that they used Cagney and Lacey as their aliases. It’s just under the wire though as the show premiered in the fall of 1981! And I loved that Lucy knew that too – I had to look it up on IMDb… It’s also timely as a re-boot of the series was recently announced - though it failed to get picked up to series.

They tell Denise that they are private investigators. She wants to know who they work for, and Jiya tells her they aren’t at liberty to say. They begin to tell her that they need help apprehending the shooter, and they are interrupted by Denise’s mother! It quickly becomes clear why Denise was dodging her call at breakfast in the present. Her mother doesn’t approve of her job – it’s too dangerous and would prefer for her to be a doctor like her sister. Denise’s mother is also impatient for her to get married! I loved the looks on both Lucy and Jiya’s faces when she mentioned marriage.

Rufus and Wyatt end up on an elevator with the sleeper agent – Owen (Matthew Alan) – and an elderly woman (Edith Fields) with a walker. It’s hilarious as Wyatt and the sleeper both put their hands inside their jackets on their guns. The woman finally leaves the elevator after asking after Reagan, muttering that she voted for Carter! There’s a great three-way fight in the elevator. The sleeper agent begs them not to kill him and promises to tell them everything. In fact, he gives up surprisingly quickly.

It turns out that the sleeper agent has little to tell them. He only knows about his mission. He was dropped off in 1969 and was only activated that morning. It makes sense that after 12 years alone – and in the secret service – that his loyalties might have shifted. He also tells them that he didn’t have a choice about taking the mission. This in particular resonates with Rufus.

Meanwhile, Denise has apparently agreed to an arranged marriage. Lucy and Jiya come to the same conclusion about Denise’s importance. What if this guy makes her quit the police force? She still hasn’t come out to her mother in the present. If she doesn’t go to Quantico, the entire team will cease to exist!

They manage to convince Denise that Hinkley is a real threat. Jiya is really good at the agent stuff as she jumps right in and says that they work for Jodie Foster! Jiya wants to just tell Denise the truth, but Lucy cautions that that could make it worse. Denise agrees to check out Hinkley’s hotel room with them.

While they wait for the hotel manager to return, Lucy brings up the engagement. Both Lucy and Jiya gently try to convince Denise that this may not be the right thing for her. It’s hilarious when Denise thinks that Lucy is hitting on her. I did like that Lucy and Jiya try to normalize the whole thing by claiming that they are a couple. Lucy sucks at pretending to be gay… Denise admits that she experimented in college, but she’s an adult now. Lucy points out that it isn’t something you grow out of.

We learn a little about Jiya too as she relates that her mother had expectations for her too. Lucy points out that all three of them have demanding mothers. Denise is still not willing to give up her family though.

They examine Hinkley’s room and find the written confession – as well as all kinds of Jodie Foster memorabilia. Lucy thinks he may have gone to Yale where Foster goes to school. They notice blood by the sink, however, and Denise demonstrates her superior sleuthing by realizing that he would want to know what he did mattered, and would, therefore have hurt himself to get inside the emergency ward.

The sleeper agent tells them that Rittenhouse bailed his family out of financial troubles. They told him that he would be taken back in time, but they didn’t tell him anything else about his mission. He didn’t know he would be expected to kill someone until that very morning. Wyatt wants to know why they brought Jessica back, but the agent just keeps insisting that he doesn’t know anything about it.

Lucy tries to find out more about Denise’s plans and asks her if she’ll continue as a cop after the marriage. Denise says that her fiance’s family is very traditional, so she’ll be expected to stay home. Then she tells them why she became a cop in the first place. Her father had bought a Cadillac and he was very proud of it because he’d only come to the US with $10 in his pocket. Then a man gunned him down, killing him instantly. He wasn’t trying to prevent the guy from taking the car, he only stood up to him to save Denise who was in the backseat. She was comforted at the scene by a woman police officer named Denise Christopher. It was the first time she’d seen a female cop. She asked why a woman would want to be a cop, and Christopher, told her because she wanted to stop the bad guys.

Lucy points out that Denise is really good at what she does. She shouldn’t quit. But Denise tells her that she promised her mother that she would never lose her the same way that she lost her father. Lucy insists to Jiya that they have to find a way to stop the wedding.

In the present, Garcia wants to know what Denise is doing – to save herself! Denise insists that she trusts the team. Garcia is shocked that she’s just doing paperwork. But Denise points out that there is nothing she can do to prepare for her absence in the last 37 years. We also get a little reminder of Garcia’s past. He tells Denise about putting his daughter to bed on the last night he was with her. Like any good parent, he told her repeatedly to go to sleep – she just wanted three more minutes – and that he’d see her in the morning – but then she was dead the next time he saw her. Denise is clearly sorry for his loss. Garcia goes on to say that for the last 3 years all he’s done is try to get them back – and he’s failed. He’d give anything to have the three minutes more with his daughter. He tells Denise to go home and be with her wife and kids while she still can. This is a great scene, and it was a nice reminder that Garcia is a victim in all this too.

Wyatt wants to kill the sleeper, but Rufus wants to take him as a POW – they aren’t killers like Rittenhouse. The sleeper wants them to just leave him in 1981, but there’s nothing to stop him from going after Christopher another time. The sleeper tells them that his brother – Zac (Bryan Dodds) came to the past to activate him. He knows that his brother has gone to Denise’s home to finish the job.

Lucy and Jiya crash the engagement party and tell Denise about the future. I loved Lucy saying that she still wasn’t hitting on Denise, but that she looked amazing! And she does! Lucy does what Denise told her to do in 2017 – she shows her the pictures of her family to prevent them from being erased from history! It all seems to make sense now…

Denise takes Garcia’s advice and goes home to her family. I liked how Denise’s arrival home is intercut with Zac arriving at her mother’s house in the past. It’s a nice tease as she comes in the house whether she’s going to find it empty… but then she doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Jiya suggests that they could have told Denise everything – about Rittenhouse in particular. But Lucy insists that knowing the future is too great a responsibility – one she wouldn’t wish on anyone. Which of course brings up Jiya’s “gift.” She wonders what it’s even for. Jiya wonders if she should just walk away from Rufus. Lucy suggests the visions are so that Jiya can save Rufus. She tells Jiya that she used to think that history was set in stone, unchangeable. And then her sister disappeared – which showed her how fragile time really is.

Zac is just about to shoot Denise when Wyatt runs him down with his car. They go back to the sleeper only to find that he’s hanged himself. Rufus is particularly upset. Wyatt finally concedes that maybe Owen was a victim too.

Denise tells her mother, and then asks Lucy what to do. Lucy tells her to take the job with the FBI and the rest will fall into place. Denise worries she’ll make the wrong choices, but Lucy has faith in her as she has faith in the team. Lucy also gives her the usb with all the pictures on it – and that little time pretzel really hurt my head! If that’s the one that Denise made, but Lucy gave it to her, and that’s why she had it, so that she could give it to Lucy, then who did make it?

I loved how this episode really focused on the bond between the women. As the Lifeboat returns home, the door opens and we see Lucy and Jiya look out expectantly, but they only see Garcia and Connor at first – and then Denise steps forward.

Denise welcomes Wyatt back, telling him that she’s waited 37 years to say thank you for saving her life. He tells her no thanks are necessary – but she also reiterates that she always knew he was the right man for this job!

Denise then thanks Lucy for saving her family. She gives her back the USB, and then proves that the future can be changed for the better! Denise’s mother is waiting with dinner – she’s a big part of family night and Denise can’t imagine their lives without her! Lucy was instrumental in getting Denise to talk to her mother and she’s improved Denise’s life. Denise tells her that while the road wasn’t easy, knowing what was to come gave her hope! Lucy looks wistful as she’s still missing her sister and has also really lost her own mother at this point.

Rufus tells Jiya about the sleeper. She tries to tell him that there was nothing he could have done and after all, the sleeper tried to kill Denise. But Rufus has clearly really identified with him. Rittenhouse got Rufus to comply for awhile by threatening his family. Rufus also worries that he’s going to end up the same way – dying alone in the past. Jiya tells Rufus that he’s not alone – he has the team, and he has her. It looks like Rufus is taking Garcia’s advice too – even without Garcia giving it to him…. He tells Jiya that however much time he has left, he wants to spend it with her.

Jiya isn’t giving up yet. She reminds Rufus that they are problem solvers. She wants to find a way to change the vision. They can make more time. It’s a sweet moment when Rufus kisses her and tells her that he’s so in love with her.

Lucy goes to Garcia and wants to know what he meant by saying that she’d given him the journal. He tells her that two weeks after his family was killed, he’d run as far as he could and was on his third drink in a bar in Sao Paul, Brazil, when Lucy walked in and told him that he could help destroy Rittenhouse and get his family back. He tells her that she looked maybe five years older than she is at present – but still good!

Lucy points out that they can’t go to their own timeline, but Garcia points out not yet. Rufus and Jiya might be able to fix that in the next five years.

Wyatt finds Jessica (Tonya Glanz) looking at pictures of her family. She’s explained her absence by telling them that she’s bartending on an Alaskan cruise. Wyatt sees a picture of someone he doesn’t recognize. She tells him it’s her brother Kevin who he plays pool with all the time – but in Wyatt’s timeline Kevin died when he was three. Jessica says that Kevin was very sick, but received cutting edge medical treatment. Wyatt wants to know how her family afforded it – and if there’s something that she’s not telling him… and then she drops the bomb that she’s pregnant! And UGH! THAT old chestnut? But it is the perfect way to change the subject.

We got some really great performances from Jaffrey, Doumit, Visnjic, and Barrett in this episode. I liked the reminder of how Rittenhouse has impacted Garcia and Rufus’ life – and this is likely how they influenced Jessica too. I wonder if she really is pregnant or really an agent of Rittenhouse – or another innocent victim. Only two episodes left now – both on this week in the US – and we likely won’t learn the fate of the show until the upfronts later next week! What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – and be sure to watch and live tweet this Sunday night!!!!

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