In “The Darlington 500”, Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus realize that Rittenhouse’s plan is already reshaping the world. We share our thoughts in this week’s Timeless roundtable with our friends Fangirlish!
In “The Darlington 500”, when the Time Team follows Emma and her goons to 1955 small town-South Carolina, we get first-hand knowledge of the alarming and insidious nature of Rittenhouse’s plan to reshape the world. The team relies on Wyatt’s extensive knowledge of the NASCAR world and stock car racing pioneer Wendell Scott to prevent the murder of the country’s major auto industry executives (paving the way for Rittenhouse to seize control of car manufacturing and the massive profits). In the process, we get a chance to learn more about Wyatt’s childhood, which works to bring him and Lucy closer together. *EEEEEEEP* This episode also has moments of levity with fast cars and deciphering head nods.
I have lots to say in this week’s roundtable with our friends Fangirlish! Team Fangirlish came up with the awesome questions, which I’ve included below along with my responses and Alyssa’s (Fangirlish) and Lizzie’s (Fangirlish) contributions. The full roundtable post includes a total of TEN contributors, so definitely go HERE for our thoughts on “The Darlington 500”!
1. Describe your feelings about “The Darlington 500” in one gif.
2. We got a little Wyatt backstory in this episode, and it does a lot to explain what kind of man he is. How do you feel about his dad’s behavior? Does it help you connect the dots in some way, with the man Wyatt is right now and the man he was before he met Lucy and Rufus?
Funmbi: Getting more of Wyatt’s backstory in this episode was truly one of the highlights. Given all the time travelling, it’s Lucy that we typically see as the one with the knowledge of the time period, guiding us through the mission. Wyatt really takes that role here because, clearly, he’s surrounded by “coastal elites” (*SNORT*), and if they’re going to figure out what Rittenhouse is doing with NASCAR, he has to take the lead. Wyatt is so knowledgeable about the history and the mechanics. At the same time, I love getting to see him be a fanboy. I love Wyatt’s joy! It totally makes sense that this is the place where we’d learn more about about how Wyatt grew up. His love of cars (and moonshine) is so interwoven with the pain of his father’s abuse. I think it also explains Wyatt’s character when we first meet him in Season 1. He’s tough as nails and badass, but he’s also a runner. His relationship with his father and then losing Jessica contributes to why Wyatt is so mission-oriented and not so interested in emotional relationships. It’s a testament to Wyatt’s character development that he’s able to open up to Wendell Scott about a painful time, still fanboy over his hero, and then use that painful memory of his childhood to connect with Lucy and help her through her disillusionment with Carol. It’s a testament to how much the Time Team is their own family.
Alyssa: This episode did a really good job of illustrating exactly why Wyatt Logan is the man he is today. The characters that we all know and love, they’ve been shaped by their experiences. The good, the bad, the heartbreaking. Wyatt is the perfect example of that. All we know about Wyatt is that one of the defining moments in his life was the loss of his wife. It helped us in understanding his recklessness and his grief. But this episode shone a light on Wyatt’s childhood, which is a huge reason why he is the way he is. Wyatt’s father wasn’t a good man. We’d heard him say that last season. But we learned exactly what his father used to do that made him so awful. Sure, he taught Wyatt about cars. But he did it in a horrifying way. He’d throw a young Wyatt in the trunk of his car and drive around until he scared the crap out of him. Then his dad would make Wyatt fix the car while he’d drink beer and smoke cigarettes. WHO DOES THAT TO A CHILD? Wyatt had had too much by 15, when he finally decided to fight back. Wyatt had to grow up real quick as a young teenager.
The part that really broke my heart was after the fact when Wyatt realized Lucy and Rufus had heard about his troubled childhood. You could see that shame written all over his face. He was embarrassed. Wyatt never wants Lucy and Rufus — his family — to ever look down on him. But, as we all know, Lucy and Rufus love Wyatt because of all of the things that make him him. And, in a way, they’re getting to see just how much Wyatt has changed since being a team with them. They’ve got his back, just like he’s got their back. Always.
Lizzie: I don’t even think this needs to be said, but just in case: his dad was not a good man, and he was clearly not fit to be a father. The fact that Wyatt could have that childhood and not come out a bully or someone who channels anger in a destructive way, but the man he is, speaks a lot to what’s inside him, to his grandfather, probably, and to the choices he made to channel his anger and become actively better.
And I think it also shows why he fell so deeply with Jess, and why, after that moment in the Alamo when he felt Lucy and Rufus needed him, the fact that they were keeping secrets cut him so deep, but also how quickly he let go after, and how he was willing to risk his life to protect him. He’s just a man who feels deeply, way too deeply, you might even say. And sometimes emotions can cloud a man like that, but emotions can also set him free.
3. Lucy is still struggling with who her mother is. Is it really easier for her, knowing that her mother is basically evil? How does she reconcile what happened with the woman she grew up with? How does she move forward?
Funmbi: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and this is Carol. It actually shouldn’t surprise us, because Carol is a product of Rittenhouse. Their primary concern for decades (centuries?) has been to reorient the world so that they can be on top. Carol has been socialized into that mindset and nothing can get in the way of that goal; certainly not an alternate universe where she has another daughter (Amy), but is comatose… But the thing is, I really believe that Carol wants Lucy at her side as Rittenhouse ascends to their power-position. But that’s not Lucy. I know this sounds kind of twisted, but part of my wants to thank Carol for keeping Rittenhouse a secret from Lucy. Lucy had a chance to develop an actual conscience. She knows that Rittenhouse must be stopped, even if she must confront her mother time and time again. But it cannot be easy for Lucy, it can’t! In last week’s episode, we saw how much of who Lucy is today is an attempt to follow in her mother’s footsteps. This is natural, instinctual (as Wyatt says… even he wanted the approval of his abusive, no-good father). My heart breaks for Lucy, because it’s so clear that Carol is 100% with Rittenhouse. But I have hope that Wyatt (!!!!!!!!), Rufus, and the Time Team can help her and give her the strength to oppose Carol.
Alyssa: Given the point that Lucy is at with this struggle it’s certainly not easy for her to reconcile what’s happened with the woman she revered. This woman is her mother. This is the person that’s supposed to always protect her, always put her first. And Lucy learned that not only is her mother evil, but she’s not willing to put her daughter before Rittenhouse. Maybe in time this will get easier for Lucy. But right now, while it’s fresh, I can’t imagine how hard this is for Lucy knowing what her mother put her through, knowing what her mother has done to ensure her sister never returns, and knowing that her mother will never put her first. How does she reconcile with what happened? Time. She has to accept what her mother did and who her mother is. She has to understand that family isn’t defined by blood. Lucy has Wyatt and Rufus and the rest of the team to lean on, to care for her. THAT is her family.
Lizzie: I don’t think it’s easier, not really. I think Wyatt saying that was a big JESSICA IS COMING AND SHE’S GONNA BE EVIL, TAKE NOTICE, foreshadowing. I also think that this is more applicable to someone like Jessica than to your own mother. This is not one of those things you ever get over, but hopefully, with the team to support her, it can be something that Lucy can deal with. She deserves people that love her for who she is, and not for what she could do for the cause, and I don’t think Carol is really one of them, even if I do think she loves Lucy.
4. Rufus got to experience something we’ve seen him experience a lot during our team’s time travel: racism! How do you feel about the way Timeless handles this subject?
Funmbi: I frequently think back to the pilot episode when Rufus says, “I am black, there’s literally no place in American history that would be awesome for me.” I remember watching that for the first time and cosigning this SO HARD because, as a Black woman and history lover, I’ve had this thought many a time, myself. But because Rufus is the #HeroInAHoodie, that fear and anxiety never stop him from travelling with his team. And the truth is, at first, I was ambivalent about how the show might tackle racism. I certainly didn’t want them to sugarcoat the experiences of discrimination and violence that people of color have experienced in this country. At the same time, I was nervous. Could my heart handle seeing Rufus in these difficult historical situations week in, week out? Ultimately, I think Timeless strikes the perfect balance. Yes Rufus experiences racism and discrimination. And this week, the potential for violence is very real when Wyatt and Rufus run to help Wendell Scott as he’s about to be ambushed by a group of angry, White men. But the series balances this by highlighting stories of people of color and, treating them respect, not fetishizing the pain of racism. This allows the viewer to enjoy moments of levity… like Rufus doing the head-nod and Wendell sideeyeing him 😉
Alyssa: Timeless is a show that not only addresses racism but it takes the time to deal with it as evidenced by this episode. Racism has been an issue that’s existed throughout history, and getting to deal with it in different ways is really important. But perhaps most important is that Timeless allows ALL of our characters to handle it. But no one more than Rufus, a black man traveling throughout history where there is literally NEVER a good time in history for him. This episode highlighted racial tensions in the South in the ‘50s and also reflected the determination of blacks during this time. We saw that with Wendell Scott. We saw that in Rufus and Wendell’s discussion. Yes, unfortunately, blacks are always going to have it worse. But, as Wendell said, “What’s too tough for everyone else is just right for us.” And luckily for us, we get to see that every week. We see it in the historical figures we meet. And we see it in Rufus’ traveling through time and experiencing it firsthand.
Lizzie: I think this exact topic was my first indication, back in the Pilot episode, where Rufus comments about how, as a black man, there’s no place in American History that’s good for him, that this show was going to be different. Especially because it’s more than a throwaway comment, it’s something they always make a point of, and deal with. And that speaks not just to the writers allowing Malcolm to have a voice in how Rufus react, but to a diverse writers room that understands these issues in a way so many rooms filled with middle-aged white men just can’t. So kudos, Timeless. You’re doing amazing, sweetie. Keep at it.
5. Back to the Lyatt feels! Will we ever not have them? That’s a rhetorical question. Wyatt and Lucy got, ahem, closer this week, not just physically, but emotionally. What were your feelings on that trunk scene and that second almost-kiss?
Funmbi: My Lyatt feels overfloweth *SWOONY SIGH* As I mention before, it’s a testament to the depth of the feelings between Lucy and Wyatt, that he would willingly revisit the pain of his childhood to help her try to heal from her mother’s abandonment. I adore Wyatt so much in that moment. As for that scene in the trunk of Wendell’s car, I remember watching and chanting the whole time “kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss…” We almost had it all, LOL! I love that Lucy and Wyatt are getting closer. The hope is that their emotional connection will soon become a physical one 😉 😉 😉
Alyssa: I swear that Lyatt will be the death of me. There are just so many facets to their dynamic that just fills my soul with love and happiness. They are the stuff that OTPs are made of, and each and every is a new opportunity to unfurl a new side to their relationship and further taunt us with feels. Speaking of, that trunk scene. That trunk scene was everything. And it wasn’t just because of that almost kiss (which was seriously scintillating.) But that conversation and the “hang on to me” that left me fangirl heart swooning reminded me of why Lucy and Wyatt work. This isn’t the shell of a relationship. This is a relationship being built from the ground up. This isn’t the first time they’ve had a conversation like this. And it certainly won’t be the last. But Timeless reminded us about the importance of foundation in relationships.
Lucy is going through something that can only be described as PTSD. She was held captive by Rittenhouse — and her mother — for six weeks. She thought the people she loved — Wyatt and Rufus — were dead. She thought she was alone. And she was willing to do anything to stop the bastards responsible. So of course she’s not okay. That’s a lot of shit for someone to go through. But Lucy has something that a lot of people don’t: she has people that love and care for her and are always willing to listen. And Wyatt let her know that earlier in the episode, which is exactly why Lucy decides to open up to Wyatt about her feelings about her mother. Having heard what Wyatt went through with his dad, Lucy found she could relate to him, as Wyatt similarly has experienced PTSD. Lucy and Wyatt have something in common: a terrible parent. And Lucy wondered if it ever got any easier living with that. While Wyatt was able to just brush it off, that comes from years of working through it. Lucy has only just realized that her mother is a terrible person. But, as Wyatt suggested, maybe it’s better that she knows once and for all. Knows that her mother is terrible. But it’s easier said than done for someone that has praised her mother for so long. That’s something that Lucy is going to have work on within herself — but she also has the luxury of leaning on those, like Wyatt, that love and care for her.
Now, to that almost kiss. Are we going to have an almost kiss every episode? At this rate I’m hoping third time’s the charm because my poor heart can’t take much more of this. Being in that trunk — being so physically close — they were closer to kissing than not kissing. Then after having that conversation — each of them letting their walls down emotionally — it set the stage for what would’ve been a passionate, hot kiss. Jiya was the Clockblocker last week. Now it’s Rufus and Wendell’s turn. Good God, people. We just want our OTP to kiss.
Lizzie: It’s been a while since a show has made me feel this much, and probably even longer since a fictional character has made me feel so invested. I think that speaks to Matt and Abigail’s chemistry, but also to the amazing writers on this show. Because this was an intimate scene, a real, awkward, amazing, beautiful scene and I just HAVE SO MANY FEELS. Because this feels so earned. I went on and on about this in my review this week, but I just have to say it again. It feels SO earned. And that’s why I feel it too. That’s what I’m all in.
6. Describe your feelings about Rufus and Wendell Scott interrupting Lyatt with one gif.
7. Rittenhouse’s master plan is starting to take shape, and it looks really, really scary. Do you think the show has done a good job of upping the stakes in regards to the ‘Big Bad’? How do you feel about Rittenhouse?
Funmbi: I really don’t understand how Lucy is descended from cuckoo megalomaniacs ON ALL SIDES. As Nicholas Keens reveals his (albeit artistic) plans for world domination, I remember just thinking to myself that Rittenhouse are basically Nazis. “It’s time to begin preserving human culture. Taking what’s best of us and subtracting and sloughing away the worst.”
Ummmm, eugenics?! That’s going to be a hard pass from me.
*SIDENOTE* Nicholas’ resentment of electronic devices straining your eyes is also my resentment (she types on her laptop, while her glasses rest on her nose).
With that said, I am curious to see how/when the Time Team learns of Rittenhouse’s plans. It absolutely ups the stakes in the scariest way. And it’ll be interesting to see these various sleeper cells in history be activated and the ways the missions would reshape history. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus will be on the case to stop them, but this episode demonstrates that Rittenhouse is *already* changing history and our collective memories. SCARY!
Alyssa: I love how Timeless was able to give us an enticing Big Bad in Garcia Flynn in season 1, and how they still managed to deliver us this terrifying new villain in Rittenhouse, which is terrifying in every way. The thing that makes Rittenhouse terrifying is the uncertainty. The uncertainty of their master plan. The uncertainty of how large their reach is. The uncertainty if they’ve really put sleeper agents throughout time if they can ever really be truly stopped. Rittenhouse isn’t a single-season Big Bad. This is a Big Bad that our Time Team will be battling for the foreseeable future and, presumably, most of the series. This is the kind of Big Bad with so much potential and possibilities because of many things, including the personal connections we’ve seen, as well as that terrifying uncertainty about what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and what they will do.
Lizzie: Well, before they were kinda like the bad guy in the shadows and now there are stakes involved and wow, are there big stakes, so yes, I’d say Timeless has done a good job in this regard. Especially because they’ve made the people we love involved in the endgame, or at least so it seems. I get the feeling we’re not even close to how scary Rittenhouse can be, though, and that scares me even more.
8. Flynn was actually helpful this week, but he’s not a patient man and he wants something in return. Where does the Time Team go from here? Can they actually work with him? Do you want them to? What does he bring to an already established dynamic?
Funmbi: You’re absolutely right the Flynn isn’t patient. He won’t keep helping the Time Team while sitting in that jail cell for much longer. I don’t know how or if the Time Team will be able to break Flynn out, but I do see how he could be an asset to the team. He knows more about Rittenhouse than any of them and he certainly wants his vengeance. Yet, I don’t know if Flynn can be trusted. When the chance comes, I wouldn’t put it past him to seize the Lifeboat, abandon the others, and peel out on his own mission. Although, I’m with Lizzie… I want to know what Flynn knows of Future Lucy!
Alyssa: It’s just a matter of time before Garcia Flynn is out of prison, whether it’s with the Time Team’s help or his own resourcefulness. It’s no secret that the Time Team and Flynn aren’t on good terms. Even when forced to work together, there was never a sense of trust or reliability there. But because they have that common enemy — Rittenhouse — it makes this partnership not only necessary but expected. I fully expect Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus to work with Flynn. It said it in Lucy’s journal. It’ll come to pass. Somehow. Sure, they can work with him. It doesn’t mean they’ll trust him. But they need him more than he needs them at this point. They’re going to have to make this work. Somehow. Flynn definitely brings a lot of emotion to this established dynamic. And he brings a lot of change. The Time Team have been working together for quite awhile, and they know that they can depend and trust each other. Flynn is a wild card. I don’t want this becoming a full-time thing — because the Lifeboat can only hold 3 — but I’d be interested to see what it brings out in these characters. But let’s be honest, there’s nothing like Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus. They’re the OGs. Ain’t nothing going to change that.
Lizzie: Well, you know what they say, the enemy of my enemy …and Flynn is truly Rittenhouse’s enemy, so? I speculated before that our Time Team was going to find themselves in a: Do the ends justify the means conundrum soon enough, and here they are. In Flynn’s case, I’d say they do, not just because I like Flynn – which I do, he’s a fascinating grey character that you can’t help but feel for and yet, sometimes, want to strangle, but because what other option do they have right now if they want to move forward?
Dynamics wise, I still expect Lucy to be the only one who sort of trusts him, Wyatt to be, well, less than happy to see him, and Rufus to be sort of in the middle, but more on Wyatt’s side. I think other things are going to affect the group dynamics, not Flynn. I’m not worried about this aspect of it.
Also, let’s remember Flynn knows a great deal they don’t. He’s probably been to the future – or met Future Lucy somehow, and he had that future diary filled with secrets for a hell of a long time. He probably memorized that thing. So, what does Flynn know and how can he help? I can’t wait to find out.
9. Okay, but what in the world is happening to Jiya? Speculate a bit. Also, how are your Riya feels?
Funmbi: Jiya sees the future… past… some combination of the two? In this episode, her vision is expressly about Rufus, which could make things complicated for the Riya relationship. Of course Jiya would want to help and protect Rufus with what she knows. I mean, those two are great partners! But how will Rufus react? As an aside, those repeated seizures CANNOT be good for Jiya’s brain. I’m highly concerned.
As an aside, can we talk about how Agent Christopher has Connor Mason escorted out of an international conference like a damn criminal. That’s they type of stuff that would drive a man to the enemy… Js.
Alyssa: Anything that has to do with the brain is never good, right? And this is definitely something going on with her mind. But then again, this is time travel. Who knows. But she’s definitely seeing the future. Getting a vision of Rufus hurting himself and then having it come to pass, that’s terrifying. Whatever is happening to her, it’s shaking her to her core. She’s trying to get a handle on it — trying to convince herself that whatever is happening is all in her mind. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. She’s getting visions of the future, that’s for certain. And maybe this is just my Angel fangirl coming out, but I can’t help but think of what happened to Cordelia and begin freaking out about these visions Jiya is having. When the Time Team went back in the finale with four people, this happened. But it happened to Jiya. Why? Why her? Is there something bigger at stake here? Something that she was susceptible to? This is going to be a season-long (maybe longer) arc that I am dying for answers. Also my Riya fans are just all over the place. There are no words for how much I love these two. Jiya isn’t just terrified about what’s happening to her but what she sees is happening to Rufus, as well. There’s this inner struggle of her deciding whether or not to come clean to Rufus about what she’s seeing and what’s happening to her. This is something that’s certainly going to challenge Rufus and Jiya’s relationship. But if they’re as strong as we know they are, they’ll overcome this together.
Lizzie: Jiya is …eh, seeing visions of the future? Which, I guess, might be bad for her but really, really good for the team, at some point in the season? Especially if her visions help save one of our own? Because, writing wise, what’s the point of giving her these visions if they’re not gonna have an impact?
NO POINT. THERE’S NO POINT.
As for my Riya feels, I’ve got a sense some rocky times are coming for these two, because Jiya’s keeping secrets, and even when she tells Rufus – which, this being Timeless, she will, I don’t foresee that he’ll be all like yay, potentially dangerous visions! So, yes, angst. For everyone. Isn’t that just amazing?
Timeless airs Sundays at 10p/9c on NBC.