Season 2: Timeless Episode 4
Salem Town, Massachusetts September 22nd, 1692 – the bloodiest day of the Salem Witch Trials.
As someone with a connection to the Trials, I was very hesitant to watch this episode. It took me days of mental preparation to finally sit down and screen it. Even then I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it through. When Lucy name dropped Rev. Samuel Willard I had to pause it and walk away. I wasn’t sure if I could walk back, but I told myself it was set after John Willard’s execution therefore I can power through. So I did, and I’m glad for it.
While difficult for me to watch, “The Salem Witch Trials” is still a great episode of Timeless. Set during a dark period of history it handles the subject matter with grace and respect and I thank the writers for that.
With Wyatt preoccupied, Flynn takes his seat on the Lifeboat, much to Rufus’ discomfort. In Salem we’re introduced to Abiah Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s mother, who is in Salem opposing the Trials and the executions scheduled for that day. Abi is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to hang with the others. Rittenhouse is making a play for Benjamin Franklin by ensuring he is never even born.
As the team scrambles to save her they get even more caught up in history with Lucy being accused of witchcraft as well. Her accuser being the same Rittenhouse agent who accused Abi; Carol. Mommy dearest strikes again. While saving herself and Abi, Lucy makes the decision to change history in a big way. They decide to save all 8 people who were supposed to die that night, effectively changing the Salem Witch Trials to the Salem Witch Revolt. I much prefer this new history personally.
Sofia Vassilieva is perfection in her guest role this episode. You feel Abi’s anger and inner strength just emanating off her every time she’s on screen. Sofia’s performance is easily one of the cornerstones of this episode.
The Lucy-Rufus-Flynn dynamic was SO fun to watch. No one but Lucy trusts Flynn yet, and even that trust is flimsy as best. Throwing Flynn into the field leaves everyone else no choice but to start down the road of trust. Rufus takes the biggest leap this episode and I’m excited to see what type awkward partnership can develop between these two as the season progresses.
So last week we learned that Wyatt’s dead wife is, well, not so dead. Somehow Jessica is alive and it’s news to Jiya, Agent Christopher, and Connor that she was ever dead to begin with. Someone changed history to bring her back. That someone, of course, is Rittenhouse. Whether they saved Jessica to recruit her or to throw a wrench between Wyatt and the team, especially Lucy, remains to be seen.
I personally think (hope) it’s the former. Jessica as Rittenhouse would make it that much easier for Wyatt to walk away from her and back to Lucy. It also makes the most sense. Rittenhouse knows Wyatt would never walk away from Jessica now that he has her back, even when presented with divorce papers (ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS SIGN WYATT!!) The knowledge that the last 6 years that Jessica remembers has him as a bad husband only ensures that. Rittenhouse knows that Wyatt will do whatever it takes for his second chance with Jessica, including bringing her to the bunker and telling her everything. BOOM. Rittenhouse agent on the inside. If true, it’s a brilliant play by the bad guys.
With Jessica now part of the bunker family and Lucy the only one really trusting Flynn, I foresee a bond growing between the two. Lucy needs someone to lean on and Flynn needs a friend. Match made in bunker heaven. Flucy anyone?
I NEED AN ENTIRE EPISODE DEDICATED TO JIYA AND I NEED IT NOW PLEASE!!
She finally shared the fact that she’s having visions of his future with Rufus, who didn’t take her seriously at first. Can you really blame him? Then he gets to Salem and sees the man she warns him he will kill. Using her vision as a guide the team assumes he is the sleeper agent and target him. It’s these actions and the ones Rufus takes to not shoot him as Jiya foresaw that ultimately lead to his death anyway. Rufus is shaken to the core and part of him even blames Jiya for what happened. He asks her to keep the visions to herself from now on.
I love Rufus, I do but I don’t think he was particularly fair to Jiya. She’s struggling with something completely terrifying right now and rather than helping her he closes himself off from it. I sympathize with him and his guilt over the man in Salem and his fear that it could happen again, but he needs to sympathize with Jiya. Here’s hoping he realizes that and helps her figure out what is happening to her. One of my ships has already imploded this season, I don’t need this to implode another one.
Blood is Thicker Than Water
Many people don’t know that this is paraphrased from the longer “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” What it means is that the family we choose has stronger bonds than the one we are born into. Boy did Nicholas Keynes prove this to be true this week when he puts Rittenhouse above his own blood.
He seems to be settling in to the 21st century fairly well. From the brief scenes we get this episode it looks as though Emma has been catering to his whims. (Nimma? Emmolas?) She’s certainly been giving him the dirt on Lucy, leading Nicholas to decide that Lucy needs to be eliminated. So much for family. I will give it to Carol, she’s not okay with this decision and fights for her daughter; which is what leads us all to Salem to begin with. Since Carol failed, Nicholas hands the Lucy situation over to Emma. Knowing that Emma won’t hesitate to kill her daughter, I can’t help but wonder if this is set up to get Carol to switch sides. Nicholas makes the offhand comment that Carol is “just a mother.” Possible foreshadowing to him learning how far a mother will go to protect her child? I think so.
That’s a big theme in this show. Lucy was willing to sacrifice her mother in season 1 if it meant getting her sister back. Carol was willing to sacrifice her second daughter for Rittenhouse’s plans. Flynn is willing to sacrifice whomever he deems necessary to stop Rittenhouse. Connor sacrificed his fortune and company. Rittenhouse agents are willing to sacrifice their lives. There are countless other examples.
It’s a theme that carries over heavily into this episode. Abi Franklin is willing to sacrifice herself to stand up for the innocents at Salem. Lucy is willing to sacrifice herself rather than return to Rittenhouse with her mother. She’s also willing to sacrifice her happiness with Wyatt for his with Jessica. (That phone call was heartbreaking.) And great-grandpa Nicholas is willing to sacrifice Lucy if it means achieving his vision of a perfect future.
Thus far the Time Team and Rittenhouse have been playing a game of cat and mouse. That game is going to have to come to a head soon and when it does the theme of sacrifice will be in play in a big way. I don’t see everyone we care about coming through this fight without losing something, possibly even their own lives. We’re in for some feels Clockblockers. Be ready for them.
I want to say a special thank-you to the Timeless writing team for the way they handled this episode. It was only matter of time before they took us to Salem and they took us there with grace and respect. The scene in the jailcell, Lucy’s speech in particular, was incredibly powerful. It moved me to tears. None of those executed at Salem were guilty of what they were accused and I thank the writers for making sure that was stated in this episode. And thank-you for righting the wrong that was done all those centuries ago, even if just in fiction.
I’d also like to take a moment to remember the 19 innocent souls who were hanged; Bridget Bishop (June 10th, 1692), Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe, Sarah Wildes (July 19th, 1692), Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, George Jacobs Sr, John Proctor (August 19th, 1692), Mary Eastey, Martha Corey, Ann Pudeator, Samuel Wardwell, Mary Parker, Alice Parker, Wilmot Redd, Margaret Scott (September 22nd, 1692), and John Willard (August 19th, 1692). May their legacies live on and their souls rest easy.
I’ll be reviewing new episodes of Timeless each week. You can find my review of episode 3 here. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss anything. You can follow my personal twitter @brynn5xox