So, four episodes in, is Timeless worth sticking with? This week Jiya – Timeless’s geek girl equivalent of Blindspot’s Patterson – has managed to trace the Big Time Machine, but by the time everyone gets to the location Flynn evades capture by transporting to the Germany of late 1944. Now, Nazi Germany is, of course, the greatest of all the time-travel destinations: if you had the chance, would you kill Hitler? Would you? Would you? (Yawn.)
To its credit, Timeless doesn’t give anyone the opportunity to kill Hitler, nor is Flynn trying to give the Nazis that nuclear weapon from last week (which is pressed into action as a power source for the BTM). But Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus head there anyway, using the Little Time Machine, and discover that Flynn’s plan is more subtle, yet – by 1944 anyway – arguably more far-reaching: to hand Wernher von Braun over to the USSR, rather than allowing him to get to America. As this would change the course of the Cold War, and perhaps stop the US from getting to the Moon, Flynn needs to be stopped. Can anyone help? Well, yes: an undercover British intelligence officer. But not just any old British officer; it turns out that by going into the right bar and ordering the right drink you can make contact with Ian Fleming, who would in due course turn his real life wartime experience into a modestly successful series of spy novels. Meantime, Fleming’s something of a playa as well: “James Bond’s hitting on Lucy!” breathes Rufus to Wyatt.
Von Braun is saved for the post-war West, although the show has a reasonable stab at debating whether he deserves such a benign outcome, after the destruction wrought by his creations; Lucy and Wyatt are now starting to register a slight flutter on my shipping seismograph; and Rufus is threatened by someone connected with Rittenhouse, whatever that might be. There is, however, a moment which is both meta and poignantly optimistic, when Lucy wonders how she’s going to lay her hands on some lederhosen for their trip to Germany, and Mason shows her a warehouse brimming with costumes from every era and continent. I’d imagine that’s only going to be needed if Timeless is renewed, though, which at the moment looks unlikely. This is a shame: I like it, I think it’s good fun, and at the moment I’m intending to stay the course.