Timeless S1xE13 Recap: “Karma Chameleon”


“How many opportunities does a girl get to save the world?”

– Lucy Preston

spoilers ahead…

Why do we choose not to heed the warning signs? Do we think we are immune to danger, still riding high on youth’s shroud of invincibility? Perhaps it’s more about the cosmic odds of being affected. How could I be special enough to warrant that kind of attention? Or maybe we feel that others will suffer because they didn’t try hard enough to avoid the pitfalls those warnings so clearly identified. No matter; the predicted event happens regardless of your hubris or your good intentions. It was never about you to begin with.


Wyatt and Rufus travel back to Toledo, Ohio, circa 1983 with the sole intent of keeping Jessica’s killer’s parents, Stewardess Claire and Bartender Joel, from ever meeting. He promises Rufus that no one will get hurt, but things go wrong from the outset. They miss Claire at the airport. The couple has already met at the bar where Joel works by the time Rufus and Wyatt arrive. A tornado hits town. A cop is even on the premises.


Things look up as Wyatt decides to divert Claire’s attention to himself, until a rude passenger from her flight horns in on their moment. Then Claire’s stewardess friends show up and ruin Wyatt’s cover story, setting off everyone’s alarm bells. Wyatt’s getting desperate and his ideas become riskier; kidnapping and assault are now justifiable as long as the fated couple never hook up that night.

He is almost too late by the time he busts into Claire’s room and forcibly removes Joel at gunpoint. Wyatt wants to take Joel for a drive (in a tornado) just to keep them apart, but Joel makes a break for it, tripping head-first into a concrete curb, and dying within seconds. Wyatt is shocked at how quickly things got out of hand, insisting that Joel didn’t deserve to die, but taking small comfort in the thought that he’s saved three lives.


Wyatt shows up at Lucy’s door, letting her know that he and Rufus are going back in time to make sure Jessica’s killer is never conceived. Per instruction, she gives Wyatt a 20-minute head start before calling Agent Christopher, who is furious. Lucy’s right back in her face though, saying she doesn’t blame Wyatt at all and accusing the agent of doing nothing to help get her sister back.

Thanks to Emma’s intel, Rittenhouse’s end game is now on the table: fund a time machine to attack key moments in time and change the past, molding America into a homogenous, safe, uniform society. Anthony Bruhl, Flynn’s reluctant partner, realizes that what he and Flynn are doing is no better, and that as long as there’s a Mothership, there’s a possibility that Rittenhouse will get what it wants. So when Anthony can’t convince Flynn to destroy the Mothership, he reaches out to Rufus. But with Rufus gone, he settles for Lucy instead.

As Jiya gets Lucy ready for her meeting with Anthony, she vents her frustrations about Rufus keeping her in the dark. Jiya’s opinion has Lucy wondering if Wyatt might care for her more deeply than he even realizes. Through some cool spy moves that would make Jason Bourne smile, Anthony gets Lucy alone and tells her Rittenhouse’s intentions, that he plans to blow the Mothership up, and that he hopes she will do the same to the lifeboat. He warns her not to trust Mason. Lucy debriefs with Agent Christopher and passes on Anthony’s warning and plan. That’s when Lucy finally sees pictures of her father (a.k.a. Rittenhouse puppet master Benjamin Cahill) with Mason.

Unbelievably, when Rufus and Wyatt do return, Jessica is still dead even though the other two women Wes Gilliam killed are not. Wyatt goes nuts, refusing to accept the news and its implications – that he was responsible for the needless death of an innocent man and a victim to Garcia Flynn’s mind games. Wyatt’s still yelling as he’s hauled off.

Agent Christopher and Rufus investigate a huge explosion in Oakland. They find no Mothership debris and Anthony’s dead body. Lucy confronts her father, but Cahill is unrepentant. He says he’s glad she knows and that Rittenhouse is in her blood. It’s her legacy.

…and Future.

Does Lucy hold the key in taking down Rittenhouse? Whatever’s in her blood (if that’s a literal statement) might be what gives the trio the ammunition to finally cut the head off the Rittenhouse snake for good. What about Wyatt? Who really killed Jessica?

Time to Talk

This time around, as much action takes place in the present as in the past. I think that nothing went Wyatt’s way until everything went from bad to horrible because of the whole “don’t cross the streams” laws of time travel. There was no way this mission could have ended well. They had been forewarned so many times before.

I was heartbroken for Wyatt. His ever-increasing desperation drove him to make unplanned, rash decisions that culminated in Bartender Joel’s death. Wyatt appeared truly shaken and remorseful about being the cause of it, admitting that his dead wife Jessica would be horrified by what happened. Interestingly, what seemed to be a relatively Flynn-less plot line is anything but; the bad boy’s influence is everywhere, from killing Anthony to tricking Wyatt into losing yet another piece of himself. When it comes to Garcia Flynn, misery does indeed love company.

What was most jarring was seeing the trio on their next mission in the upcoming episode promo. I fully expected Wyatt to be in jail and replaced, as was threatened earlier in the series. Regardless, no one gets better lines than Rufus. My favorite had to be, “If we can escape the Alamo, then we damn sure can ball block Rick Springfield over there.”

Next week, it’s a trifecta of 1920s legends.

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.