Timeless Review – Season 2, Episode 4: “The Salem Witch Trials”

by Rachel Bellwoar

If there’s a silver lining to Wyatt not telling Lucy what he was up to the end of “Hollywoodland,” it’s Abigail Spencer’s acting at the start of “The Salem Witch Trials.” Finally able to reach Wyatt on the phone, Spencer is given the freedom to react to Jessica’s return without him seeing her face. Verbally composed but visually exhausted, Spencer nails the difficulty of Wyatt’s good news.

Malcolm Barrett and Abigail Spencer (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/NBC)

It helps that the writing for this scene is top notch. Lucy is about to say something like, “That’s wonderful,” but can’t go through with it. Switching from a statement – “That’s…” – to a question – “How is that possible?” – Lucy tries to land on a lie she can tell halfway convincingly.

Since becoming more cavalier about changing history when innocent lives are at stake (less a positive development than a sign of Lucy’s growing disheartenment), it wouldn’t have been a surprise to learn the Time Team’s actions brought Jessica back to life. It’s much more unnerving to know Rittenhouse wanted her alive.

Does it all point back to Lucy? On most shows, Lucy would be paranoid to think it’s all about her but here, she might be right. Ben Franklin’s mother, Abiah (Medium’s Sofia Vassilieva), is accused of being a witch and it’s not her relatives who turned her in. It’s Lucy’s mom.

The alternative explanations are wholly worse: Wyatt being blackmailed to keep Jessica alive. Jessica turning double agent. Rittenhouse going through Wyatt, to hurt Lucy, is the best case scenario.

It might not be Emma’s idea of satisfaction (she wants Lucy dead), but she’s been waiting this long to surpass Carol’s authority in Rittenhouse. What’s a little longer to push Carol’s daughter out of the way? Maybe Emma saw a chance to rattle Lucy’s cage and took it. Maybe this is part of some master plan. Carol was born into power, while Emma worked her way up. Unless Carol has something hidden up her sleeve, it’s starting to show.

Sofia Vassilieva (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/NBC)

Other thoughts on “The Salem Witch Trials:”

  • Flynn detractors may point to the fact that Lucy gets her arm cut as a sign Flynn isn’t up to being the Time Team’s soldier, but while their methods are vastly different, the one thing Wyatt and Flynn have in common is their chemistry with Lucy. With Flynn, it’s more of an understanding, than anything close to romantic, but in Salem he introduces Lucy as his wife and helps Lucy with her seat belt. Those are fighting words from the show writers, who know that’s Wyatt’s signature move, yet with Jessica around, it’s no longer his place to help. I guess they’ll always have 1941?
  • Fun Time Travel Trivia: the Lifeboat is the time machine equivalent of flying couch.
  • In a short amount of time, Abby Franklin and Lucy develop a pleasant friendship and she’s the perfect person for Timeless to shine a light on. Unknown beyond her famous son, the first results on Google all focus on Abby being a wife and a mother. A lot of this episode is speculative but she’s somebody you’d want to do further research on.
  • After hoping Jiya would talk to Rufus about her premonitions, it’s weird to have Rufus wish the opposite were true: that she had never told him he was going to shoot a man in Salem. His preventative measures do seem to seal the man’s fate, rather than save him as intended, but there’s no telling her silence would’ve changed anything and she needed to tell somebody. Their conversation gets off to a bad start, too, with his poor choice in Sixth Sense joke. Time travel’s already broken up Lucy and Wyatt. With Flynn around as a back-up, might it be viable to set an episode in the present, and let Rufus take a trip off? How are Flynn’s mechanic skills?
  • After Jessica died, Wyatt got his act together. In this episode we see what would’ve happened had Wyatt been left to self-destruct — divorce papers. The question becomes are they better off apart, or can the changes Wyatt’s made save their marriage?

Timeless airs Sundays at 10 PM EST on NBC.