Timeless: The Watergate Tape – Rittenhouse (Review)

 Timeless - Season 1

Timeless follows up The Alamo with a relatively short jaunt back to 1972 and the Watergate scandal. This episode got off to a shaky start with President Richard Nixon repeating that they needed to get the “doc.”

Presumably only the television audience were able to ascertain immediately that Nixon was not on about a document.

There are a few problems with this episode. For one thing it suddenly swerves into 12 Monkeys territory with the phone number given to Rufus.  It becomes even more like the 1995 film when the Rittenhouse guy turns out to be the voice on the other end of the line back in 1972.

A further twist is that the Rittenhouse boogeyman is Lucy’s biological father.

The best line in the episode went to Sakina Jaffrey’s character. Wyatt complains that he looks like Greg Brady. Agent Christopher responds:

“Well, go find Marcia and Peter and get going.”

(Another cute ’70’s reference comes from “Doc” when she looks at Lucy and calls her Laurie Partridge. A pretty spot on call actually as Spencer, in her ’70’s garb does faintly resemble the actress Susan Dey.)

Rufus observes that “they don’t have colors like that anymore.” He pretty much hits the nail on the head with that one. Just as some of the 1970’s fashions have disappeared, some colors really seemed to die out when the ’80’s started. (No pun intended.)

Little nods to the time period aside, the implication being made about Cahill, aka Rittenhouse guy, is that he was there on the day. Which in and of itself indicates that the Rittenhouse group also have access to time travel. Otherwise how could he have known to give a particular number to Rufus and be waiting at the other end of the phone for that call.

Of course the biggest part of the show had nothing to do with Nixon or the Rittenhouse legacy. It was all about trust and the lack of it.  Both Rufus and Lucy have kept secrets from Wyatt and from each other. At the end of the mission the military man states bluntly that he does not trust either of them anymore.

Wyatt also insists that Rufus will now be a double agent.  (Rufus then gets the second best line of the episode when he says “I can barely single agent.”)

It was surprising that Lucy’s dad is the show’s resident boogeyman. However this did feel a little too…The X-Files and the Smoking Man, aka Cancer Man.  Clearly Cahill is the big bad of the show. Connor Mason, despite his attempts at standing up to the man, fears Cahill and that speaks volumes.

Having Rufus directly affect a mission, via the Black Liberation Army, (a radical group made up of former Black Panthers) was a brilliant touch.   It allowed the pilot to take charge for awhile and shared a little civil rights history at the same time.

Garcia Flynn was able to shed a bit more light on his tragic backstory and he also revealed more about Wyatt’s dead wife.  We now know that it was his actions that got the woman killed. Both expositional bits of storyline explained a lot about both men.

It is also apparent that the two are more alike than Wyatt would care to admit.

The “Doc” was a walking, talking historian of the Rittenhouse group’s membership numbers and names.  (This fictional group who are silently controlling our world and its destiny sound amazingly like the Illuminati. Which again brings up our previous mention of Masons

Thus far, Timeless, has managed to keep story mixing pretty well with the trips back in time.  There are things that do not match overly well in terms of historical correctness. For example, not one person was wearing flairs or bellbottoms in the initial scene set in the park.  (Platform shoes were also missing…)

The flower children verbally accosting the Army guys was pretty spot on but if memory serves the cry was “Baby Killers” (A term brought about  after the 1968 Mai Lai Massacre.) Nixon’s name was not used in conjunction with the term.

(Coincidentally, the term was still in use in the early 19080’s in some parts of the country.)

Timeless is still entertaining, although the episode this week felt a bit bland. Of course any storyline following “The Alamo” would have problems after that rather grim episode.

The team is now standing on uncertain ground. Wyatt does not trust either Lucy or Rufus.  It will be hard for the trio to move past this one and the plan to have Rufus report back on Rittenhouse seems doomed to failure.

Timeless airs Mondays on NBC. Tune in and see what happens next week. The title, “Stranded” sounds pretty interesting if not a little ominous.


Guest starring Tom Amandes as Mark Felt,  Mustafa Shakir as Gregory Hayes and Tiffany Mack as Doc.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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