Warning: this story contains spoilers from Monday’s episode of Timeless, “Party at Castle Varlar.” You’ve been warned!
When the most famous spy in history asks you out on a date, most people would figure out a way to bend time and space to make that date happen. But Timeless flipped the script in Monday’s episode, “Party at Castle Varlar,” when Ian Fleming (Sean Maguire) made a move on Lucy (Abigail Spencer) when they were saying their goodbyes after a successful mission in Nazi Germany in 1944. When Fleming (yes, that Fleming, the man who created James Bond), who had been hitting on Lucy throughout the entire episode, asked her out when he had plans to come stateside. But instead of going weak in the knees, she flat out rejected him.
And she did it all with a smile on her face. How’s that for a hilarious twist?
“I thought it was great!” Maguire told us with a laugh. “This show is not just for guys. It’s for girls too and I think for a girl to see another girl having a kind of James Bond hitting on you and you go, ‘Nah!’ That’s such a big girl empowerment moment. I think it’s so cool. If he had just gotten his way, that would have been predictable. But for her to go, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ it gave her character a lot of charm and strength. I thought it was a great way to get the audience to laugh at the end.”
Maguire, who still can’t believe that he was able to portray the most famous spy in the world for an episode of the NBC time travel series, loved all the James Bond references that the writers managed to sprinkle in the episode.
“One of my favorites was introducing myself as ‘Fleming. Ian Fleming,'” Maguire shared. “You know what you’re doing there, just mimicking that very famous Bond line.”
But it wasn’t just the references thrown in here and there that made the episode for Maguire. He was pleasantly surprised at how Fleming’s character was written.
“I love how the script wasn’t just writing him as heroic, but he was actually sarcastic,” Maguire says. “Like when I told the trio that they couldn’t stand out more even if they tried, and then Malcolm [Barrett, who plays Rufus] runs in, and one can assume that in Nazi Germany in 1944 there weren’t many African Americans, I’m like, ‘I stand corrected.’ I just thought that was very dry and very Bond-like. I got such a kick out of delivering a line like that.”
But one of the biggest twists in the hour came during the big action climax of the episode, when Fleming, Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) found themselves locked in a windowless room with their hostage with no way to escape while Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) was about to break through the door to kill them. Instead of Fleming saving the day with some heroic move, it was actually Lucy who remembered from history that the castle they were in had a secret tunnel through the fireplace, and she was able to lead everyone to safety right under Flynn’s nose. It’s just one of the ways that Timeless continues to subvert the classic hero/damsel stereotypes.
“That’s one of the very clever things about the show is that you’ve got a big sprawling action movie type show but underneath it is some really clever social commentary on time and how time has made us look at race, how women are viewed and treated, stuff that used to be commonplace but we get now that that’s not right,” Maguire says. “It’s a very clever device of this show. I loved the rant Malcolm gave to the racist guard in the Hindenburg episode, like, ‘Just wait until you see Michael Jackson dance or Michael Jordan dunk.’ I get so keyed up and inspired by that. This show is making us look at history in a new way.”
He pauses to laugh, then adds, “I would imagine that if I were a history teacher, I’d just be cheating all the time and make my class watch this. It’s a great way to impart a history lesson and also have some fun.”
While Maguire was only scheduled to appear in one episode of Timeless, he’s always down for a return trip to reprise his role as Ian Fleming in the future.
“Oh my gosh, yes. In a heartbeat,” Maguire says. “It’s one of the most fun times I’ve ever had with a role. I don’t know if they can find a way for Ian Fleming to come back and cross paths again, maybe in a season or two down the line. But I wouldn’t have to think twice.”
What did you think of Maguire’s take on history’s most famous spy? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!
Timeless airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.