Season 1, Episode 4 “Party at Castle Varlar”
Written by Jim Barnes
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Does Lucy (Abigail Spencer) still know too much history? Yes. Are there still too many coincidences and flimsy plots? Yes, but I’m still enjoying Timeless.
We start out by seeing a grand Nazi gala in a castle. The entertainment is the launch of a V-2 rocket. I assume that the rocket is actually aimed at a target, since it would be a waste not to. This is Timeless showing us the past as it was the first time around in case we didn’t know how it was supposed to be. They did this in the Abraham Lincoln assassination episode as well.
Jiya (Claudia Doumit) pinpointed Garcia Flynn’s (Goran Visnjic) location to within a city block by the power drain that they cause charging the mother ship. Evidently they have to plug her in between trips. Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and a team go after them. We see Anthony (Matt Frewer) handling the plutonium core. He needs a few more seconds and then they take off.
As usual, they know when they went and have a pretty good idea where. Lucy doesn’t know why but she speculates that they might be after the people in the resistance that met in a pub in the small village. That is, according to spotty, unreliable reports. Wyatt speaks German and three other languages, we find out. Once again, he turns out to be super-competent.
Mason (Paterson Joseph) shows them that he has put together a massive wardrobe, expertly crafted, sorted by geographical area and then by time. Everyone greets this tepidly. Lucy thinks it’s overkill. But that’s because she is thinking that this means she’s going to be doing this forever. Poor Mason. He does something right and no one cares. I would go crazy over the costumes. I don’t know how much time has passed now but it had to be a massive effort.
Lucy tries to buckle herself in but Wyatt ends up doing it again. She is spacey and zoning out in front of mirrors this whole episode. Her hands keep shaking. This is their way of trying to show that she is stressing out.
They finally land within sight of someone, something I’ve been worrying about for a while. Wyatt has to shoot a young, nice looking Nazi who is taking a leak. Then he shoots another one standing by the side of the road. Lucy is horrified, not at the violence, but at the risk of damage to the timeline. I was too. This could be someone’s great grandfather. It could have been one of the prisoners of war that built the Danforth Chapel at KU. Wyatt is unrepentant.
They find out why the soldiers are there when a V-2 goes buy on a truck. They are guarding the convoy.
The pub is full of Nazis. Wyatt and Lucy go in while Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) steals a car for a quick getaway. Wyatt hands Rufus a gun. He’s still trying to make him into a soldier. Wyatt gives the secret password but gets a no in response, twice. A German officer orders them out back. Luckily for them, the German officer is actually an irritated MI6 agent who has spotted them immediately as Americans. Americans are easy to spot. We stand out in most countries, by size, dress, mannerisms, and attitude. It’s very funny, though, when the spy says they couldn’t stand out more if they tried and Rufus comes up and puts a gun to the side of his head. He takes one look and says, “I stand corrected.”
It turns out the spy is Ian Fleming (Sean Maguire)! Wyatt goes all fanboy, which is cute.
They go to Ian’s place and tell him all about the atomic bomb and how their target might be planting it in the rocket. Ian is immediately attracted to Lucy and it shows. They all head to the launch pad to see if the bomb is there, but the Geiger counter says it isn’t. Lucy decides that they are wrong about what Flynn wants. They are interrupted by Flynn accompanied by Nazis. While they are hiding, Wyatt wants to shoot Flynn but Wernher Von Braun (Christian Oliver) gets in his way and Lucy stops Wyatt before he can shoot.
Lucy decides that Flynn is after Von Braun. She tries to impress on Wyatt and Ian Fleming how important it is that the Allies get Von Braun alive. Rufus already knows. Ian is going to take Lucy to the castle for the event. Wyatt kicks up a fuss, which is interesting, because he is a fan of James Bond and Ian Fleming is obviously better than he is at this spy stuff in this place and time.
Wyatt has noticed Lucy’s shakiness and makes her talk to him. She describes going off the road and into a river in a car and being helpless til someone saves her. She feels that way every time they time travel. (One of my worst nightmares, by the way.) He says he fights to make his grandfather proud. The grandfather is fighting WWII right now. He says if she figures out what she’s fighting for, she’ll be fine.
Rufus and Wyatt take advantage of Lucy being in the castle to disarm the rocket. Neither one of them can stand the idea of watching the rocket launch at Allied soldiers and civilians. Wyatt has really good binoculars and can see Fleming flirting with Lucy and can see when they are captured. He wants to go in, guns blazing, but Rufus has a better idea.
Lucy talks to Flynn and finds out he wants to give Von Braun to the Russians so they will win the Cold War and get to the moon first.
Boom! Rufus sabotages the rocket and it explodes on the launch pad. In the ensuing panic, Rufus and Wyatt save Lucy and Ian, who are busy saving themselves. They pick up Von Braun and accidentally corner themselves in a room. Wyatt wants to shoot his way out. Ian wants to kill Von Braun first. Wyatt wants him dead, too, but he (finally) concedes to Lucy. Lucy sees a Jesus fish on the fireplace and leads them out through a priest hole.
Rufus has a talk with Von Braun before the allies pick him up. He wants to know how he can live with himself, since Rufus is having trouble with his part in inventing the time machine. Von Braun is cold and remorseless. I don’t know if he was like that at all in real life.
When they get back, they find out there’s a new James Bond book/movie, Weapon of Choice. The one with the castle and the rockets. They need to find a copy and keep it IN the time machine so they will still have it when they change time again.
Lucy tells Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) that she wants a good cover story and she wants help getting her sister back if she’s going to continue doing this. That’s what she’s fighting for.
Rufus tells Mason, again, that he can’t keep spying. Mason implies that he would be in danger as well if Rufus doesn’t. On the way home, Rufus’s car quits. No lights, no ignition, nothing. A car pulls up and a guy gets out and addresses him by name. Their version of the Cigarette Smoking Man? The Rittenhouse man threatens Rufus’ family, not too subtly, and leaves. Then the car starts again.
The plutonium was used for a battery for the mother ship. They won’t be able to track it by power usage anymore. It should make it more convenient to travel through time. They won’t have to keep coming back to a time with electricity.
We learned some things about the characters in this episode. Wyatt is black and white in his morals and has a savior complex. That’s why he’s been a pain ever since Lincoln was killed. He holds himself to an impossible standard. I didn’t realize that since he was willing to break rules for the greater good.
Guilt drives Rufus. Guilt that he is spying on the others, and that he helped cause this in the first place.
Lucy is propelled by loss.
I think Garcia is trying to take down the U.S. because Rittenhouse’s rise came with it. He is trying to prevent his enemy from existing and killing his family.
Even though this was a win, they changed a lot of history. The bomb never fell on Belgium. Nazis were killed, and Wernher Von Braun ended up with the Allied Forces months, if not a year, earlier and without all the other scientists he took with him.
The real history is that after Germany was invaded Wernher Von Braun intentionally sought out Americans to surrender, because he knew he would get better treatment than he would from the Russians. There were atrocities on both sides between the Russians and Germans during the war. German refugees fled from the advancing Russian front. Wyatt and Ian thought that Von Braun escaped punishment for the damage his rockets did. Lucy and Rufus thought he was too important to scientific progress. I think the real lesson to be learned is that we benefited greatly for having a reputation for treating prisoners decently.
Lucy still knows too much history. Next week is the Alamo (of course) and Wyatt should get a chance to be the expert, since he’s from Texas. They also need to take some time to train Lucy and Rufus in combat and it wouldn’t hurt to train Wyatt and Lucy to fly the ship. Although given how nauseous Wyatt gets, that might not work too well.
This episode gelled pretty well. The show is improving, although I don’t know if that will matter since the ratings aren’t doing so well. Also, what made the episode so good was the marvelous job that Sean Maguire did playing Ian Fleming. He was wonderful.
Timeless airs on NBC on Mondays at 10pm/9c.