Timeless S1xE2 Recap: “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”


“The Lincolns owe the Booths a great debt,” Robert Lincoln

What if you could go back in time and right a monumental wrong? Yes, there would be repercussions, but wouldn’t it be worth it? To save a great man who was taken too soon, one who was making a huge difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people? The needs of the many who would benefit would far outweigh the needs of the few who might be hurt, right? Or are some tragic things just meant to happen?

Spoilers ahead…


Garcia Flynn has traveled back to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln – April 14, 1865. We know he’s out to irreparably change the present by affecting America’s past. We learn that Lincoln’s assassination was part of a bigger conspiracy to kill the four most powerful men in government that night – President Lincoln, Vice President Johnson, General Grant and Secretary of State Seward. If Flynn helps those other failed attempts succeed, the damage would be astounding – two additional presidents would never take office. The team must make sure that only Lincoln dies.

It’s a painful situation, though, as Rufus and Wyatt try to convince Lucy that they have the perfect opportunity to save Lincoln too. “Why don’t we just shoot this asshat right now?” Rufus asks as they follow John Wilkes Booth through back alleys. She’s torn. Lucy admits to having idolized Lincoln – heck, she even wrote a book about him – but she convinces the boys that their mission is to make sure that history stays intact.

We discover that Flynn is conspiring with Booth, trying to get him to take a 21st century gun to make sure he kills Lincoln and Grant, who should also be in the president’s box at Ford’s Theatre. Lucy accompanies Lincoln’s son Robert to the play, and she does her best to get Grant to leave but is unsuccessful. To her shock, it’s Flynn and not Booth who storms in and kills Lincoln, although her quick thinking protects Grant. Thankfully, Wyatt saves Seward while Rufus overcomes his fears and keeps the Vice President from being killed. The mission is a success.


Before starting their adventure, we learn that Rufus is begrudgingly secretly recording the three time travelers for Mason and Rittenhouse. When he refuses to continue, Rufus is chastised by Mason who tells him to never speak that name out loud ever again. And don’t forget that although the trio was successful, history has still changed. “Who shot Lincoln?” Lucy asks when they all return to the present. They know it’s Flynn but an unknown gunman now gets the rap. Lucy’s heroics are immortalized as at least one high school has been named after her alias. Rufus’ contribution is assumed by another white soldier and Wyatt’s efforts are unclaimed.

As far as Lucy’s timeline goes, even though she currently never had a sister, she still has a locket with Amy’s picture inside. Mason finds it very interesting that she was able to bring something from that reality to this one. The kicker is that Lucy’s father and mother never met because her father instead married a woman descended from someone who should have died on the Hindenberg. But if that’s why Amy was never born then…oh, the man Lucy thought was her father couldn’t be, and Mom has some ‘splainin to do.

Lastly, we get a peek at Lucy’s tall, dark and handsome fiancée at the engagement party she forgets all about when she stumbles back home. Hmmm, who else do we know who is tall, dark and handsome? Is there a connection?

…and Future.

When Lucy runs into Flynn in 1865, he provides answers that only beget more questions. Rittenhouse is a “they” not a “him” and Flynn is trying to save America, not destroy it. Of course that could just be the ramblings of a delusional terrorist, but he adds that one day Lucy will work with him; it’s not a threat, it’s a fact. That might be how he got his hands on her journal in the first place.

Time to Talk

Things get personal in this episode. Lucy grapples with the guilt of knowing that she could keep Lincoln from being murdered. She decides to let it happen, but in the heat of the moment calls out a warning that is ultimately too late. “It’s one thing to talk about history like this abstract thing but when a man gets shot right in front of you…” she reflects, looking down on her bloodied dress. That’s the deal. Of all the players, Lucy has been most impacted by their journeys. Her sister is worse than dead – she never even existed – yet Lucy has now become a little more torn about letting history play out without change.

Is it bravery or cowardice that keeps us from acting against our gut instincts? Would you have saved Lincoln if given the chance, knowing that the implications of your actions would reach far into the future and affect untold millions of people? Or would you have played it safe and gone with the devil you knew? Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

I’m looking forward to seeing if Lucy keeps her resolve. Plus next week, we’re going to Vegas, baby!

About the author: Liz Bowen is a long-time Doctor Who fan and first-time blogger living in Colorado Springs. She enjoys seeing her childhood recreated in cinematic excellence and will waste entire evenings waxing poetic about the technical beauty that is Transformers. She indulges in writing Supernatural fanfic and is working on her first original book.