It won’t be possible for Timeless to have an episode a week with as much emotional weight as “The Alamo.” There are too many chances to have fun with the premise of a show like Timeless to not prioritize them over heavy drama. But early on it seems like these types of inherently sad installments are when the show is at its best.
Just like the great episode that dealt with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, “The Alamo” took a story most of us (at least think) we know well and made it human and real. Knowing what awaited these brave men made watching it unfold much sadder than any history book retelling ever could. It was well paced and touching, and the parallels between what happened/was happening there and what Wyatt had experienced during his own service time was also one of the highlights of the season, making the past and present feel much more connected than in any previous episode.
The show is in good hands with its three leads (Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett), as all three bring an authenticity to their performances. Lucy begging Wyatt to stay with them, while true American legends (that managed to live up to the hype while still feeling real) died around them, was the most poignant moment on the show yet.
This might also have been the best episode for the show’s antagonist, Goran Visnjic‘s Flynn. Seeing him have to face the unintended consequences (the potential slaughter of women and children) of his own actions was a welcome touch. So far we’ve only seen things go relatively well, even if not totally successful yet, for him. But he’s meddling with the past and trying to manipulate people that can’t always be so easily controlled. If he’s not quite a villain as he claims to be, he’s more likely to be faced with moral quandaries than not, and watching him realize that gave him more emotional depth too.
Lucy not being perfect is also a smart touch. Her not remembering the famous letter exactly made it a more compelling story, as she had to rise to the occasion herself. Having the grenades handy was certainly a convenient plot device, but at least they gave them the old Chekhov treatment.
It will be interesting to see if the show starts to move towards multiple episode story arcs at some point. Not because these weekly installments haven’t worked (they have an urgency to them that gives them a built in excitement), but just because the production costs must be nuts. This is the advantage a big network drama has, being able to craft huge sets with a massive number of period costumes for single episodes; it’s a real treat getting to see these drastically different locations and eras every week. But at some point you wonder if they’ll want to get a little more life out of them.
So while we certainly don’t want or need to only visit historical moments where great Americans died, we know the show not only handles them well but excels at them, and that’s why by season’s end we’ll probably remember “The Alamo” as one of the show’s best.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Remember to tell us in the comments below.