"Timeless" TV Movie Finale Dec 20 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Romulan_spy, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That changed between seasons 1 & 2. In season 1, Rittenhouse was a secret conspiracy that already controlled the United States and had been shaping its history behind the scenes for centuries. Garcia Flynn stole the Mothership in order to go back in time and destroy the organization, which incidentally meant pretty much destroying the United States as a side effect, so the heroes had to chase Flynn back in time and stop him from changing key events in American history. So Rittenhouse in season 1 didn't want to change history, but to preserve it, and they were essentially running Mason and his team from behind the scenes (although they did implicitly want to control time travel to give themselves more power). Eventually the team learned about Rittenhouse, broke from its control, and found a way to bring it down in the present without undoing the past, although it was revealed at the end of the season that there was a deeper facet to the organization than the one they'd brought down.

    Season 2 changed the dynamic so that Rittenhouse was no longer the entrenched power trying to preserve a history that favored it, but a subversive group trying to change history in its favor -- mostly by undoing generations of progress in civil rights and putting women and non-whites back into servitude. It was a much more straightforward us-vs.-them dynamic than the first season, a lot more simplistic, and it didn't mesh very well continuity-wise.



    No, it's consistent with the way time-travel fiction usually works -- the people who traveled into the past are from the original timeline. They left it, made a change in the past, and then came back to a different timeline than the one they left, so they still remember their native timeline while the people who stayed in the present were changed along with it. This is standard. When Marty McFly came back to 1985, he still remembered the original timeline where his parents were losers and Doc was shot, and he was surprised by the changes. When Kirk and Spock came back from the past in "Yesteryear," they still remembered the timeline where Spock was the first officer, even though nobody else remembered Spock. In the Arrowverse, when Barry Allen changed the past in "Flashpoint," he still remembered what the original timeline had been like (e.g. Diggle having a daughter instead of a son) even though everyone else knew only the altered timeline. It's time-travel fiction 101: The time travelers themselves still have their original memories, because they aren't native to the new timeline they created. (Although some stories do have the travelers' memories change. Legends of Tomorrow is deeply inconsistent about this -- sometimes the Legends remember the way time is "supposed" to be, but sometimes their memories are altered, depending on the needs of the story.)

    For all of Timeless's sloppy temporal physics, this is one thing they did always keep consistent: The time travelers remember the timeline they left, while everyone who stayed in the present is changed by the time travelers' actions in the past. So every time the characters came back to the present, they needed Mason and Christopher (and Google) to tell them what history now said, and the others needed the time travelers to fill them in on how history had been before. In this case, Lucy and Wyatt were still in the 19th century when Flynn went forward to 2014 to re-kill Jessica. So they weren't affected by the change to post-2014 history.


    The point is, you can't have it both ways. A show that's built around constantly changing and rewriting history cannot suddenly claim that history is fixed and consistent; it's a logical contradiction.


    No, that's not the way this kind of time-travel story works. The whole point is to change things so that the original circumstances are erased from the timeline. Kirk and Spock prevent Edith Keeler from being saved. The second Terminator prevents Skynet from ever being created (ignore the later movies). Marty prevents Biff from using the sports almanac to get rich. Once the disruption to time is undone, you don't have to go back and make it happen again. Because the time travelers are from the original history and still remember the event even though nobody else does. So the catalyst for their change to history still happened for them, but it's been erased for everyone else and there's no need to recapitulate it. A loop and a branching-history model are mutually contradictory.
     
  2. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    Captain Janeway was the smart one she said Time Travel gives you headaches so best to be avoided.
     
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  3. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How would Rittenhouse have successfully changed history if Flynn didn't steal the mothership, delivering them the time machine so they COULD change history? It seems that the solution to everything would have been for Lucy to burn the diary, never deliver it to Flynn, and none of this would have happened.

    That's not the problem. But why would EMMA remember Jessica? Why did Flynn even have to die? He could have just gone to 1848 with the lifeboat. Instead of being the time traveler that remembers the original timeline (which I am ok with), it seems that here, you just have to be a regular castmember.

    When Flynn killed Jessica, history changed, and Lucy and Wyatt were in a different century. They were not with Flynn, were not the people who time traveled to kill Jessica, and should have been affected.

    But when his mother was killed, the Barry we know had no memory of the timeline in which he was raised by his parents. Only Thawne did.

    The unaltered Barry either disappeared or became a time remnant.

    Actually, her writers were just lazy.
     
  4. Romulan_spy

    Romulan_spy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I get that shows do it that way. I guess I was just thinking that if the timeline changes directly affect the character, shouldn't the changes propagate and eventually change them to fit with the new timeline? For example, in this finale, when Wyatt and Lucy come back and see the single bed, implying that they are a couple in this new timeline, the changes should propagate and change them. After all, the Wyatt and Lucy we see are from the future compared to these changes. In other words, they are the Wyatt and Lucy that should have already experienced the new timeline from their perspective.

    Maybe I am not remembering season 1 correctly but wasn't Rittenhouse already embedded throughout history? After all, we meet the founder of Rittenhouse (played by Auberjonois) in like 1776 in one episode. Flynn steals the Mothership in order to go back in time and kill members of Rittenhouse in the past, hoping it will erase Rittenhouse from history thus preventing them from killing his family in the present. So if Flynn had not gotten the diary and stolen the Mothership, Rittenhouse still would have existed in the past. It is only in season 2 that Rittenhouse uses the Mothership to activate sleeper agents in the past.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not if they're in the past when it happens. In this case, when Flynn made the change in 2014, Lucy and Wyatt were in 1848. If they'd been in 2018 when Flynn made the change, then yes, they would've been altered with everyone else. But they were outside of that timeline and came back to it after the change.


    Not in Timeless. By that logic, Lucy should've forgotten she ever had a sister. Every series makes up its own time-travel rules, and Timeless has always been clear about this particular rule, even while it's played fast and loose with others. The time travelers always remember the history they came from, even when the changes to the present alter their personal circumstances. Lucy never forgot she'd had a sister. She never remembered the fiance that materialized in the new timeline. Wyatt never forgot that Julia had been killed. And so on. What you're describing here has been done in other time-travel stories, yes, but never in Timeless.


    Again, no. You're confusing two completely separate time-travel models used in different works of fiction. Flynn got the diary in the original timeline, which has already been rewritten dozens of times since then. Since this is a universe where time travelers still remember events from erased timelines, that means the impact of those events on the timeline is not erased. The cause and effect still works. This is the standard way that most time-travel fiction does it. Bad thing happens in original timeline. Time traveler goes back to undo it. Time traveler succeeds and it never happens. Time traveler returns to new, better timeline which goes forward as normal, with only the time traveler remembering the bad version of history. And they all live happily ever after. It's not a loop, it's the creation of a separate branch.

    One of the big logic holes in Timeless from the first place is that it tried to have it both ways, to pretend that there was still some kind of time loop with the future diary even though the timeline kept getting changed farther and farther away from that version of the future. It's always been a self-contradiction, and the finale just doubled down on the sheer stupidity of that.
     
  6. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe I'm the one not remembering, but even with Rittenhouse embedded in history, that's the natural course of events. Time travel was added later. Good or bad, Rittenhouse was part of the original timeline and helped shape world history. Flynn stopping that changes things, including Lucy's sister.
     
  7. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

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    Voyager was a show for kids and never pretended to be anything else. I loved it as a tween- today I'd find it unwatchable. While not much more sophisticated than anything else on TV for kids at the time, it did have the redeeming quality of trying to get kids interested in history.

    I remember building an 'Omni' out of Legos, and my little sister and I would fly around the house, correcting history. :p
     
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  8. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes, Wyatt and Lucy are living in a timeline that seems to be Rittenhouse free. But that could still change around them depending on the actions of other future time travelers. Giving Flynn the journal and sending him on his not-so-merry way may, emphasize may, have been necessary to cement the changes that they have made. Although, I did thought for a second that they (Wyatt and Lucy) were going to prevent the murder of Flynn's family.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I was 14 when it came out. I still thought it was dumb as hell. I watched it, but the nonsensical concept annoyed me from the start.


    Yeah, but only the deeply flawed, mythologized, Western- and white-biased version of history traditionally taught in American schools. For all its nonsense, at least Timeless had the virtue of challenging the traditional historical narratives that Voyagers! uncritically embraced.
     
  10. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

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    Wow- there goes the neighborhood. And on that note, the conversation takes a turn towards the stuff I don't do on the internet anymore. See you in the next thread, and Merry Christmas!
     
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  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This show is not about creating new timelines.

    It does seem like that because of everything said in every fricking script, except one.

    When Young JFK was partying in the present, we saw isolated items change, and the rest of the universe around those isolated items/moments stay the same.

    It's the same consistent timeline, or they tried to show that it's always been the same consistent timeline, that gets shaken up a little from time to time, using bad fake science, so they did have to go back and see Flynn, even if the them who go back is always different, depending on what the "present" looks like, someone has to go back.
     
  12. KennyB

    KennyB Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Just finished it. Wish it had gotten a few more seasons. I was just happy that NBC included it as part of the Season 2 Pass and didn't try to get another few dollars out of me. #bonus
     
  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The BTS Trailer had Abigail screaming (cackling) to the camera "WE ARE UNCANCELLABLE! You can try to cancel us, but it's not going to stick, this show is going to go forever!"

    :)
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What do you mean? This is a thread about Timeless, a show whose primary virtue was its consistent rejection of the old-school, white- and male-centric version of history that went unquestioned in the generation when Voyagers! was made -- its willingness to challenge the conventional narrative and tell the untold stories, whereas Voyagers! merely treated the grade-school textbook version of history as the cosmically determined "correct" version of reality. So the conversation was already there to begin with -- it's been there since the show started two years ago. I don't know what you think has suddenly changed.
     
  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Lucy better take her flu shots, and be sure that she writes the final exams for that history class she taught.

    If a sub writes a more rounded final exam covering all the topics that Lucy excluded, then her entire class is going to wash out.
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Since Rittenhouse controlled Mason Industries' time machine, Garcia Flynn had to be set upon the path to attacking the time machine. That's why Lucy had to take a diary back to him. In her timeline, the one she decided to accept, the whole sequence of events leading to Rittenhouse's defeat hinged on Flynn' taking out Rittenhouse's Mother Ship, and Christopher taking over the Lifeboat. That timeline wasn't preserved until it included her taking the diary back.

    If and only if it's supposedly exactly the same diary that she got from him does it count as a paradox, when no one in the current timeline wrote it. The snatch of dialogue where she tells Wyatt that was how she was keeping track of their expeditions suggests that she had started the diary in her mother's fresh gift. The changes in the timeline are precisely why the diary was still unreliable, as Flynn noted.

    Personally I think changing the past is nonsense, that it's all a paradox, but for a time travel story that does insist on the possiblity of changing the past, Timeless does hold up about as well as any do. Alice Paul is not restored to her place in history. Jessica was only remembered by the people who left the timeline "before" it was changed. The thing is, all time travel shows with changing pasts still have a before and after within the episode. If a character leaves the present at minute 12 of the episode, and the past is changed at minute 43, when the character returns to the present at minute 57, then they remember the changes. That doesn't really make any sense, but it's the way it's done.

    Lucy's reluctance to accept being second choice? But it finally being acceptable because in the end Wyatt chose to kill Jessica? And Flynn's redemption being the willingness to save Wyatt for Lucy? I liked Lucy very much, but this was bold.

    Still think this was much more fun than Legends of Tomorrow could ever be. Legends does have women fighters and lesbian chic, which strikes me as much more about appealing to male audiences. Lucy's romantic misadventures don't strike me as meant to stereotype her at all. But then, I thought Lucy was as strongly characterized by her relationship to her mother and offstage sister.
     
  17. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't Flynn already give Lucy the diary quite a while back?
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Her mother gave Lucy the diary. Lucy put stuff in the diary. In the finale, she gave the diary to Flynn at the bar. Eventually Flynn gave the diary back to Lucy. But it was Lucy who filled in the blank pages her mother gave her. Lucy should have the diary Flynn returned to her. The history of the diary then becomes 1) gift to Lucy from Mother 2) Lucy fills it out over a period of time 3) Lucy takes it to Flynn in the past 4) Flynn returns the complete diary 5) Lucy keeps completed diary indefinitely, even as she is completing the one she got from her mother. For a period of time, she seems to have two diaries, one already completed and one she is working on. (By the way, this kind of violates the law of conservation of matter, which is one thing that makes me feel like this kind of time travel is nonsense.)

    But as I said, if there is only always just one diary, the question becomes "Who filled it out?" If the answer is, a Lucy from a vanished timeline, this is a paradox. I think the popular term for an artifact without an origin is called a "djinn." Plans for a time machine have been favorite djinns in the past.
     
  19. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    And maybe people remember stuff because being inside the time machine they are in the eye of the storm and protected so to speak.


    BTW that time machine prop was wicked cool.
     
  20. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Well, the Timeless finale delivered everything it needed to. It wrapped up the Rittenhouse storyline (with a nice little twist), resolved several personal storylines (mostly by killing relatives or leaving them dead), brought Flynn's arc full circle, gave us a look at the lives of the main characters four or five years hence, left the door open for further adventures-- and, of course, brought back Rufus.

    It also maintained the historical adventures angle of the series by contriving to bring the characters to the Old West in the first hour and the Korean War in the second. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the finale were adapted from a couple of existing scripts, which is fine. It gave the fans of the show what they wanted to see, rather than trying to be shocking or game changing or controversial or otherwise stupid. Just the regular old stupid that originally endeared us to the show. I'm not going to complain about, or even contemplate, the wonky time travel physics involved, since that's beside the point. Timeless is essentially The Time Tunnel for the 21st century-- we get to see some characters that we like escape peril in various historical settings.

    Now hopefully they'll release the director's cut on DVD.