Timeless “Atomic City”sees the team travel back to 21 September, 1962 where JFK is visiting his pal Frank Sinatra with his mistress Judith Campbell. Three episodes in and Timeless has committed its first “oops” moment.
It is surprising that the writers and producers would assume no one remembers, or had read about, the distance put between then President Kennedy and Frank Sinatra. Frank was caught on camera hugging known Mafia mob boss Sam “The Weasel” Giancana.
Kennedy dumped Frank like a nuclear rock and it caused a rift between Peter Lawford, married to Pat Kennedy, and Sinatra that lasted till Lawford’s death. By March 1962 the president changed plans that would have had him staying with Frank on the west coast. JFK, with his brother-in-laws help, stayed with Bing Crosby instead.
Frank went ballistic.
By September 1962 the president would not have been attending a show with Frank and by that time the “Rat Pack” were cooling down their intermingling acts. The height of the Sands Summit was in 1960, during the filming of “Oceans 11.”
Clearly the storyline was meant to capitalize on the Cuban Crisis, which happens a month later, and the Judith Campbell connection between Giancana and Kennedy. But placing Kennedy in Vegas at that time was a big boo-boo.
Timeless this week saw Flynn (who still resembles Clint Walker so much that it is slightly disconcerting) go back to Las Vegas in 1962 to steal the plutonium core to an atomic bomb. He enlists the aid of Judith Campbell who agrees after he blackmails her with pictures of Judith and the president.
As Wyatt, Lucy and Rufus try to first learn what Flynn is up to and then stop him, Rufus learns that Anthony is not a reluctant prisoner at all. He is helping Flynn willingly.
Campbell is portrayed as a somewhat sympathetic character in the episode. Although she is looking out for number one, she also cares deeply that the photographs could harm Jack’s career.
She helps Flynn by getting a general’s keys to the holding area where the atomic weapon is stored. Later, when she is rescued by Wyatt and the others, Judith confesses if she had known what Flynn was after she would have refused to help.
There are a few gags about Vegas and the time period. Rufus finds Lucy a cigarette girl outfit which she refuses to wear. She tells him to find her a waitress outfit instead. The punchline is that the waitress outfit is the same.
Another gag has to do with Wyatt, although this one has a slightly bittersweet taste to it. He sends a telegram to his dead wife, to be delivered 11 February 2012. It is a lump in the throat moment that is alleviated by his saying defensively to Lucy:
“Well it worked in Back to the Future II.”
It does not work in this episode of Timeless. Despite Wyatt warning his future wife to come home with him on the night she dies, when the team return she is still dead.
This appears to be one of those “fate” issues, something the show touched upon in the pilot episode when the journalist; Drummond, dies the next day after being saved by Wyatt. Some things, it seems, cannot be changed after all.
While any change in the past causes differences in the timelines, some things may not be changeable. Drummond survived for one day and then died anyway. Of course the idea of the telegram Wyatt sent to his wife in the future was not necessarily “fate” when she dies anyway. It could have more to do with telegrams being phased out by 2012.
Back in the present, Lucy is still engaged to Noah and living with him. She decides to move back in with her mother. She tells her confused fiancé that she needs to get her head on straight.
Meanwhile, Flynn and Anthony dig up the plutonium core that they buried outside of Las Vegas back in 1962.
Timeless continues to entertain and manages to ask the question of just what we, the viewers, would change if we could go back. Clearly, Lucy wants her sister back and Wyatt is trying actively to bring back his dead wife.
Another theme has to do with Lucy being there to keep history on the straight and narrow. Despite her presence each trip has resulted in something changing, sans the most recent one, and only the Hindenburg mission altered the present.
It will be interesting to see where this show heads. Hopefully they can avoid any further historical boo-boo’s in the future (pun intended) and keep the mysteries coming.
Timeless airs Mondays on NBC.
- Abigail Spencer – Lucy Preston
- Matt Lanter – Wyatt Logan
- Malcolm Barrett – Rufus Carlin
- Goran Visnjic – Garcia Flynn
- Paterson Joseph – Connor Mason
- Sakina Jaffrey – Agent Denise Christopher
- Claudia Doumit – Jiya
- Matt Frewer – Anthony Bruhl