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Timeless - The General - Review



I’ve been putting off the final two reviews of Timeless in the hopes that we would have a decision on a season 3 one way or the other… but we’re still waiting! I’m going to space out the reviews of the final two back to back reviews in the hopes that the next review will be a celebration. If that doesn’t happen, it can also serve as the launching pad for launching a more concerted #RenewTimeless campaign! I hope you are following the writers on Twitter because they’ve been super generous with releasing deleted scenes and script pages. Lots of goods on Erik Kripke’s Twitter too.

“The General” was written by Matt Whitney and directed by John Showalter. Once again the show treats us to a wonderful historical figure – Harriet Tubman (Christine Horn). I can’t ever rave enough about this show’s commitment to showcasing important women figures and women of color. I am also impressed that it doesn’t shy away from showcasing horrific historical events either and doing it without becoming preachy.

The episode begins in Beaufort County, South Carolina on June 1, 1863. Emma (Annie Wersching) arrives to activate the sleeper – Colonel Ryerson (Kevin Sizemore). She brings him a cheeseburger, but what he really wants are photos or letters from his wife – she tells him it’s been a bit “chaotic.” Wonder what that means? Is his family dead? Or just a nice indication that Rittenhouse is in real trouble. She wants him to stop Union raids among the plantations on the Columbia? River. She gives him a history book on the Civil War! That’s cheating! But really pretty clever.

Back in the present, Carol (Susanna Thompson) takes Keynes (Michael Rady) for a walk at night in a cemetery to talk about Emma. She tells him that she thinks that Emma is sabotaging the missions – and she tells him that she doesn’t care that he and Emma are sleeping together. Keynes wants to blame Lucy (Abigail Spencer) for the failed missions – and Carol tells him to stop thinking with his crotch! She reminds him that Rittenhouse is in Lucy’s blood – not Emma’s and that Rittenhouse is about family and legacy. Carol brings him to the grave of his daughter – her mother. She was 2 when he left. It seems to have the effect Carol was hoping for – to draw him back closer to her. It’s familial loyalty that has kept Carol from killing Lucy, and it’s interesting that Wyatt (Matt Lanter) was unable to kill Carol – because of the feelings he has for Lucy. This familial bond is a favorite theme for Kripke.

Denise (Sakina Jaffrey) and Connor (Paterson Joseph) call a meeting between just Wyatt, Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), and Lucy. They show them the picture of Jessica (Tonya Glanz) that Connor found, and he tells them that there were thousands of pictures on the chip of Jessica, going back to her childhood. It’s clear that Rittenhouse has been keeping tabs on Jessica her entire life. Wyatt is pissed off that they knew for a week without telling him. Denise points out that she’s “treading carefully” – but Rittenhouse clearly brought Jessica back from the dead for a reason.

Wyatt insists that he’s known Jessica since High School, but Connor points out that Wyatt knew “a” Jessica – the one who sadly passed away. Wyatt doesn’t know this Jessica – and really, he doesn’t know her any better than he knows her brother! Lucy comes to Wyatt’s aid when Denise asks if Jessica has done anything suspicious, pointing out that if Jessica was Rittenhouse, she would have killed them or given up their location by now.

Denise tells Wyatt that she’s moving Jessica out of the bunker because it will be safer for Jessica – and them. Lucy again jumps in to suggest Jessica would be safer in the bunker. Denise is determined, however, and tells Wyatt to think of the mission – he’s a soldier! And then Wyatt drops the bombshell that Jessica is pregnant. Lucy and Rufus are both shocked. Wyatt says if Jessica goes – he goes too. And then, of course, the alarm goes off. Lucy is left sitting alone, clearly devastated because that really has to be the end of any chance that she has with Wyatt.

Lucy’s turmoil is clear when she misses the significance of the date. It’s not surprising that Rufus does know it’s the date of the Cumvee River Raid. Garcia (Goran Visnjic) teases Lucy for not knowing it – and tells her that she’s the history geek! She tells them about the Union raid that freed hundreds of slaves – but forgets that Harriet Tubman lead the raid – again, Rufus to the rescue.

Denise wonders if Rittenhouse is trying to “de-rail” the underground railway, but Lucy points out that it had been going on for a long time already. Tubman was acting as a Union spy. Connor surprises everyone by jumping in with Tubman’s codename – “The General” – and hence our title. He tells them that she’s not just an America hero – she’s also a hero in the UK. And I might add, Canada too! She’s definitely a big part of grade school education in Canada too.

Wyatt is a sulky brat in the meeting. He tells Denise that Jessica better be there when he gets back, and Denise gives him her word.

Wyatt says goodbye to Jessica. He feels badly that she hasn’t been able to tell her family, and she points out that it’s weird how much he’s been talking about her brother – and it was about here that I began to wonder if the sleeper agent was her brother… Wyatt pushes again for how her brother was cured and by whom, and again, Jessica deflects him by saying that she was just a kid and doesn’t remember. She also uses the baby to distract him again – and Wyatt is clearly completely committed to the relationship now and swept up in the joy of impending fatherhood. It’s pretty clear to her that she knows he’s starting to suspect – and his questions clearly show his own doubts.

Lucy tries to talk to Wyatt. She tells him that he shouldn’t be angry with Denise and tries to gently point out that Rittenhouse must have brought Jessica back for a reason. Wyatt suggests that Denise freaking out and being distracted is what Rittenhouse wanted. Wyatt then gets angry at Lucy and accuses her of thinking that Jessica is lying – and lying about being pregnant. I’m with Lucy here – I think she is lying about that too – or maybe lying about who the father is…

I always like the nice bits of history that are simply and subtly inserted. Rufus worries about West Nile Virus, and Garcia tells him to worry about dysentery and typhoid – which killed 150,000 men. Garcia is not stupid, and he’s noticed that Wyatt is angry about something.

The team come upon the Union soldiers who were supposed to commit the raid and find the regiment has already been killed. They come upon one soldier (Conphidance) who is mortally wounded and he begs them to help him die easy or give him a gun so that he can do it himself. They are interrupted by Harriet Tubman, shooting and killing the soldier. It’s brutal, but a reminder that medicine was still incredibly rudimentary back then. The soldier would have died after a great deal of suffering. Rufus is thrilled to see her – but she is highly suspicious. Wyatt steps in with the right names of who sent them – Colonel Montgomery (Ben Bowen) – to win Tubman over – who suddenly thinks that they look familiar to her.

Garcia tells her that they come from really far north, and she lets it go. She tells them that they are too late. General Montgomery has retreated with all his troops, but she’s determined to find the Confederate soldiers responsible and slit their throats. Wyatt tells her that they’re trying to find a spy – and they try to point out she doesn’t have enough men. She tells them that she has more men at a safe house, and they are welcome to join her – but it’s clear that she is in charge and determined to carry out her plan.

In the present, Jiya (Claudia Doumit) demands to see Stanley Fisher (Terry Maratos) after hacking into Connor’s laptop. Connor denies knowing who that is, but he’s the pilot that has been locked away in a mental institution with similar visions to Jiya’s. She’s hoping to understand the visions better to help Rufus. Connor insists that he’s trying to protect her. Connor finally gives in and asks Denise to let them go.

As they watch Tubman tend to the sick men, Lucy gives Garcia – and us! – more background on Tubman. She knew herbal remedies because she was also a nurse, in addition to being a cook, a spy, and a soldier, but she was denied a military pension and died in poverty.

Samuel (Ethan Drake Davis) arrives with information about 100 slaves at one of the Plantations, and Tubman is eager to free them to join their fight. She finally gives in to Lucy’s plea that they find the Confederate spy first – otherwise, every battle they fight will be a losing one. They all assure her that they are on her side – Rufus is particularly committed to making sure that they don’t lose the war!

Meanwhile, Colonel Ryerson is being celebrated for his victory. He’s determined that they leave at dawn for Vicksberg. His plan is to ambush Union forces on their way there – once again changing history.

Lucy finds Wyatt with a rifle that Tubman insisted he take. Lucy suggests that Rufus and Wyatt should go with Tubman on the raid to help protect her while she and Garcia go after Montgomery. Wyatt is clearly angry about this too, but Lucy points out that Wyatt and Rufus are a better team. Wyatt agrees but is pissy about it. Honestly, I’m not feeling any sympathy for Wyatt here!

It was pretty funny watching Spencer mount a horse – if you haven’t seen the gag reel for season one, there’s a really hilarious scene with her attempting to mount one… Wyatt warns Lucy to be careful. Tubman doesn’t believe that they can convince Montgomery to return, but Lucy is determined that he will.

Meanwhile, Wyatt gets some civilian clothes – and Rufus calls him Colonel Sanders! Tubman points out that there are plenty of decent folks – white folks – who are willing to help too. Rufus thinks he’s going to go undercover as a freeman – and Tubman tells him that they’re sneaking him in as a house slave. Rufus asks if Wyatt can do an accent – and then advises him, “Less JR from Dallas and more Leo from Django Unchained.” When Tubman wants to know who they are, Rufus says guys from back home! She also tells him that he talks way too much. Rufus tells Wyatt not to try the accent…

Wyatt and Rufus again appeal to Tubman to wait for Montgomery to get back and for them to catch the spy. Tubman suddenly realizes why they look familiar – she attributes it to God – she’s seen them in a dream!

Jiya and Connor arrive at the hospital to find Fisher locked in a dream. Apparently, he spends 95% of his time like that. He gasps awake and immediately asks Jiya if she’s having visions too. In his visions, he sees the most evil men doing unimaginable things – Stalin, Hitler, Genghis Khan. He tells Connor that Connor’s worse than any of them! He then asks Jiya how many mental trips she’s been on – she’s not sure – and if she’s seen the new colors – the forbidden colors – she hasn’t. He says, “you will, if you love them.” Perhaps the forbidden colors show you how to change the vision?

Rufus tries to talk to Wyatt about Jessica. He manages to break through Wyatt’s defensiveness. He gets Wyatt to consider what if Jessica is Rittenhouse. I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised when Wyatt said that if she is, he’s done. He’s lost her once and won’t lose her again – he’ll choose her over the team! Rufus sympathizes – more than Wyatt realizes at first. Lanter and Barrett are both really good in this scene. Rufus urges Wyatt to consider it and to consider if there’s anything with her family that doesn’t add up – and of course, there is! Wyatt denies that there is but still looks thoughtful.

Rufus shares a moment with Tubman. She asks how long he’s been free and considers him lucky when he says all his life. I don’t think he’d disagree! He asks Tubman about her visions – clearly thinking about Jiya’s. Rufus asked if God told her to go on this raid even with the odds stacked against her. She tells him that she has a right to two things: Death and Liberty. She’s determined to have one or the other. He asks her if she’s afraid, and she tells him that she’d be a fool not to be, but she’d stick her rifle right in fear’s ugly face anyway! Tubman’s visions certainly raise a lot of questions. Are these visions also tied to time travel in some way? Maybe Jiya’s aren’t?

Montgomery is rightly skeptical of Garcia and Lucy’s story. I loved how impatient Garcia was getting in explaining that they have no papers or identification because they are spies! Montgomery tells them to change his orders to go to Fort Hudson. Lucy demands that Montgomery listen – he’s going to need the freed slaves if he has any hope of winning. I loved her really taking him to task – and the look on Garcia’s face is priceless!

Wyatt arrives at the packed party, clearly a fish out of water, and with no clues as to who the spy might be – and the admonition to speak as little as possible. I loved Wyatt using Rhett Butler as his alias! Priceless…

Meanwhile, Tubman rallies the slaves to leave that night. She asks Isaiah (Tarnue Massaquoi) what’s happening at the house. He tells her some kind of occasion, but he doesn’t know what, and she asks him to sneak Rufus into the house as a house slave. Tubman promises to wait for Rufus’ signal as long as she can. I loved Isaiah remarking that Rufus was just a tiny thing! We find out he has clothes for Rufus because his brother – who he called chipmunk was also small. I loved how he looked at Rufus!

At the party, Wyatt makes some gentle inquires as to the mastermind behind the battle and is pointed directly to Colonel Ryerson. He signals Rufus who is serving drinks. Wyatt pulls him aside and tells Rufus that the Colonel suddenly had knowledge of events – he’s got to be the sleeper.

Fisher tells Jiya that they can time travel without the machine. He insists they’ve been given a gift from God – like Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale… Kirk Cameron! And I burst out laughing at the last one! But he could also have added Harriet Tubman to this list… Jiya tells him that her visions come in bits and pieces. He tells her that she has to let her mind relax – he’s spent entire weeks in the past! He tells her to find a very quiet place, and eventually, she’ll get better at falling into her visions. And then he just dives into one. Jiya has more questions, but Connor tells her that he could be catatonic for days, and she doesn’t want to end up like him. Connor apologizes to Fisher on his way out.

Just as Wyatt tells Rufus about the sleeper, shots ring out and cries of ‘we have runners.’ Tubman shoots the man (Scott Vance) who tries to stop her, but the alarm has already been sounded.

The Colonel comes upon Wyatt and Rufus and tells the men with him that they are Union spies. A gun fight ensues until the Colonel has one bullet left – and he takes a woman hostage. Rufus comes up behind him with the history book. When the Colonel demands it, Rufus throws it on the fires. The Colonel takes off with Wyatt and Rufus in hot pursuit. Tubman kills him! I loved how she was the hero!

There’s a lovely scene between Tubman and Rufus. She asks again where he’s from and he dodges answering again. She tells him that when she saw them coming in her vision, they were like angels sent straight from Heaven. Talk of God is much more prevalent in this episode than we’ve seen up until now. Rufus asks if her visions always come true. She tells him no, and that sometimes, they don’t make any sense at all. But then she tells him that she saw them stepping out of a giant metal ball! And that freaks Rufus out…

Rufus tells Tubman what an honor it’s been meeting her. He tells her that he wishes he could give her some advice on how to make money. But Tubman isn’t worried about money. Her only desire is to remain free – and that is a wonderful moral for the show. When you don’t have your freedom, money doesn’t matter. We should do everything in our power never to sell our freedom.

The team returns and Rufus sees that the changes to history were minor. Garcia congratulates Wyatt on the baby and tells him that he’ll make a great father. And while, Wyatt certainly took it as a dig, let’s not forget that Garcia’s daughter is still dead. Wyatt is likely mostly disturbed that it was Lucy who told Garcia.

We get what seems to be a running scene at the end of every episode. Wyatt and Lucy bump into each other in the hall. It’s an awkward and painful scene. Lucy doesn’t apologize for telling Garcia – it was a long ride and he was going to find out eventually anyway – all true! As Wyatt goes to leave, Lucy pulls him into a hug. It’s not sexual in any way, just Lucy making sure that they are still friends and that Wyatt is ok and knows she still supports him.

Jessica tells Wyatt that she had a weird interaction with Denise – who suggested that she should leave for the health of the baby. Wyatt tells Jessica that he told Denise not to say anything until he got back, and that if Jessica left, he did too. Jessica seems a little too pleased about that. But then Wyatt says that maybe Denise has a point. Wyatt tell her that he wants it to be as normal as possible for her and that she’ll have security and he’ll be there as often as he can be.

She immediately accuses him of hiding something from her. She begs him not to keep secrets again, and he swears that he’s not keeping anything.

Rufus checks in on Jiya, and they both admit that they worry about each other. Rufus tells Jiya about Tubman’s visions. He tells her that Tubman thought they came from God – he’s not ready to go there yet, but maybe something is sending her the visions for a reason. Rufus is onboard to pay more attention to the visions, and Jiya suggests that if she can find a way to see more of the vision, they’ll have a better chance of stopping it. Rufus tells her “if we can’t run from it, we’ll run right into it.” Jiya tells him that it sounds like a plan. And as soon as Jiya leaves, she lets herself fall into the vision.

Wyatt wakes up to find Jessica isn’t in bed with him. He goes into the control room when he hears the Lifeboat firing up and finds Jiya and Jessica in the Lifeboat! Jessica pulls a gun on him – we don’t see her with the gun on Jiya and Jiya doesn’t look like she’s being forced. Did she see something in the vision and enlist Jessica’s help to fix it? Is anyone else on the Lifeboat? But, of course, none of that is the case. Jessica has taken Jiya hostage and stolen the Lifeboat – she is Rittenhouse!

Jessica tells Wyatt to stay back but he runs up the ladder and is blown back when the Lifeboat jumps! And then it was on the next episode… This was another fast-paced episode with everything that makes this show special. Great dialogue, fascinating history, and some terrific performances. Once again, Abigail Spencer delivers a terrific performance. I loved the final Barrett/Doumit scene – these two have such great chemistry! And Matt Lanter did a great job making me angry at Wyatt! What did you think of this episode? How impatient are you about word about renewal?? I hope you are following everyone on Twitter and joining in the #RenewTimeless campaign – lots of special stuff being posted every day by the writers, producers, and cast! I'll be back - hopefully with news - and the final review for season two soon...Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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