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7 of the Best Timeless Episodes to Watch Before the Series Finale

It’s a race against time.

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  • Photo Credit: NBC

There’s nothing like the loyal love of fans, and the clockblockers—fans of the show Timeless—are no exception. Timeless follows a beloved trio: Rufus, a scientist; Wyatt, a soldier; and Lucy, a history professor. When an experimental time machine is stolen, the three are tasked with capturing the culprit, season one nemesis Flynn Garcia. However, the plan is much more complicated than the time team expected. A deadly organization—known as Rittenhouse—funded the machine's development, and is now attempting to change history and reshape reality. The team must prevent the destruction of the world before it’s too late.

Filled with action, romance, mystery, and the exhilarating battle of good vs. evil, Timeless is a fun way to learn about history. The show also does a great job of showcasing unsung American heroes, especially in the second season when the focus shifts to women and people of color, members of marginalized communities whose contributions to society are often forgotten or prescribed to someone else. The second season performed better among critics than the first (it even received an 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). But alas, it was announced in June 2018 that the time travel series was cancelled. Now what? 

Don’t fret, because we have some exciting news! Call it a Christmas miracle, because Sony Entertainment and NBC came to an agreement: a two-hour series finale. The special has a confirmed air date: December 20 at 8:00 EST. As we await the much-anticipated finale, we have compiled a list of the best—in no particular order—Timeless episodes. Is there a great episode that we missed? Sound off in the comments! 

Spoilers for Timeless to follow. 

1. Season 2, Episode 7: ”Mrs. Sherlock Holmes”

best Timeless episodes
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This episode transports viewers to 1919 New York during the women’s suffrage movement, where we meet the one and only Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. Although the episode is filled with great action sequences and Rufus one-liners, it contains something missing from previous episodes… a good ol’ mystery! The time team arrives just a few months before the momentous passing of the 19th Amendment which will give women the right to vote. History as we know it has leading advocate and suffragette Alice Paul give a speech during the protest that convinces President Woodrow Wilson to support women’s suffrage. However, Rittenhouse has a different agenda. 

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Rittenhouse decides to alter history in order to abolish the amendment,  thus stripping women the right to vote. Their plan involves using a sleeper to murder a senator and frame Alice Paul. Now the trio—at this point a quartet with the addition of Flynn—must prove Paul’s innocence in time for her historic speech. A mystery always calls for a good investigator … enter Mary Grace Quackenbos Humiston, A.K.A Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. Her remarkable powers of deduction and insight into human behavior brings to life Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous hero. We get to see Mrs. Sherlock Holmes at work, Lucy and Wyatt’s relationship on the tightrope, and the murderous Emma switching teams! It’s invigorating to see the fight for a cause and a collective group of badass women challenge the patriarchy. 

2. Season 1, Episode 8: “Space Race”

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If Rufus is around there are guaranteed to be laughs, but this episode has a great mixture of drama and humor. The time team is taken back to 1969, specifically the NASA HQ during the Moon landing. This time Rittenhouse meddles the mission by infecting the computers at NASA with an advanced virus that would take Rufus years to deworm—they only have six hours to restore the mainframe or the Moon landing is doomed. In order to ensure that the U.S. doesn’t lose the Cold War, Rufus and Lucy enlist the help of real-life African-American physicist Katherine Johnson (she was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures).  

Eventually, Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt are able to reboot NASA’s computer system and save the space program with the aid of Katherine Johnson. This episode does a great job of portraying 1960s America—retro costuming, male chauvinism, and the tensions of the Cold War. It’s also pretty entertaining to watch Rufus be both a hero and a complete geek, especially when he’s seeing all his heroes. We also finally discover what is the deal between Flynn and the Maria woman. Even though Flynn is the villain we love to hate—well before Emma is introduced—it’s pretty interesting to gain insight into Flynn’s backstory. 

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3. Season 1, Episode 9: ”Last Ride of Bonnie and Clyde”

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New day, new era! The time team must follow Flynn back to 1930s Arkansas, where they meet the infamous pair Bonnie and Clyde. This episode has a simple mission for our favorite trio: they must retrieve the Rittenhouse key around Bonnie Parker’s neck. As soon as they arrive, Lucy and Wyatt are caught in the midst of Bonnie and Clyde’s latest bank heist. They help the pair escape and fake a relationship in order to gain their trust. As soon as Bonnie and Clyde’s suspicions are negated, a shootout occurs where Lucy and Wyatt barely escape and Flynn gains the key. At the end, Bonnie and Clyde face their inevitable death and Agent Christopher draws the connection between Rittenhouse and Connor Mason.  

Romance is at the forefront in this episode, especially with our fugitive pair. The show opens up with a voice-over reading “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde,” not only reminding us that Bonnie Parker was a poet but also encapsulating the recurring romantic theme throughout the episode. This episode also showcases the budding relationship between Jiya and Rufus, the mysterious engagement between Lucy and Noah, and … the intense chemistry between Lucy and Wyatt (often referred to as Lyatt)! Their affinity is through the roof, and left viewers on the edge of their seats, screaming “Wyatt, just kiss her already.” Guess what? They finally kiss! No, we are not condoning lovers go on a bank heist in the name of love. But we sure do love our Lyatt moments, especially this early in the show.  

4. Season 2, Episode 2: “The Darlington 500”

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The Lifeboat takes the time-traveling trio to South Carolina in 1955, during the rise of NASCAR. The time team plans to get to race car driver Ryan Millerson before Rittenhouse does. What they don’t realize is that Millerson is the sleeper agent that spent years working his way up the ranks in order to qualify in the historic Darlington 500. Rittenhouse assigns Millerson to drive a car filled with explosives during the race in order to kill Detroit’s car executives. Millerson’s success in the mission is crucial, because Rittenhouse could gain access to the American car industry — meaning America would be under the control of Rittenhouse.   

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This is where we meet our next hero: Wendell Scott, who was among the first African American NASCAR drivers and the first to win a Grand National race. In reality, Scott faced a lot of racism and discrimination, sometimes being denied prizes. It wasn’t until 2010 that Scott posthumously received a trophy for a race he won in 1963. Nevertheless, Scott continued to drive his self-funded races, demonstrating his determination. This episode does a great job of showcasing Scott’s tenacious energy through his interactions with the time team and his persistence in helping them against Rittenhouse. 

5. Season 2, Episode 3: “Hollywoodland”

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A little bit of glamor, a sprinkle of romance, and a lot of fighting against the evil Rittenhouse. In this episode the time team find themselves back in 1941 Hollywood with the mission to save Citizen Kane. Rittenhouse’s plan is to gain access to the original (and only) copy of the film in order to turn it over to William Randolph Hearst. In exchange, Hearst will give Rittenhouse space in his paper to print anything they want—most likely a lifetime of propaganda. The team must intercept the transfer and save the classic film. They decide to enlist the help of film actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr. With her help the team rescues Citizen Kane and takes out the sleeper agent, meaning they successfully win this battle against Rittenhouse!

There is so much to say about this episode! First of all, let’s talk about the historical figure it features: Hedy Lamarr. Did you know that this 1940s starlet was also an inventor? Lamarr and her collaborator George Antheil invented a frequency-hopping device that made radio-controlled torpedoes un-jammable. It was eventually adopted by the Navy during the Cuban missile crisis and it paved the way for Wi-Fi and modern cell phones. The episode also does a great job of adding a few historical facts like the tension between Hearst and Citizen Kane director and star Orson Welles. Hearst wasn’t too happy with the similarities between his life and the fictional newspaper mogul. He did all he could to suppress the release of the film, but was unsuccessful. For those historians out there with a love for fashion, Lucy wears a dress identical to the one worn by Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (a popular 1940 film)! On top of that, Lyatt finally have their moment and by moment I mean, MOMENT. Love is in the air until—dun dun dun—Wyatt’s wife comes back from the dead. Honestly with all these flips and turns, who needs a rollercoaster when you have a lifeboat!

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6. Season 1, Episode 12: “The Murder of Jesse James”

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Hold on to your hats everyone, because the time team is heading to the Wild West! Our favorite historian, soldier, and scientist find themselves in the lawless frontier which can only mean one thing: action-packed sequences. Flynn takes us—and the time team—to April 3rd,1882, better known as the day Jesse James died. Flynn saves James and convinces him to join him through Native American territory to retrieve ... something. Lucy decides that the best person to help them track James and Flynn is none other than Bass Reeves. Bass Reeves was one of the country’s first black deputy marshals and the inspiration behind the famous Lone Ranger. Reeves only agrees to help the trio under one condition: they bring back James alive.

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Twists and turns ensure. We find out that Flynn was actually looking for a person and not a thing. Flynn is able to track down Emma Whitmore—shockingly a stranded time traveler. Emma was one of the original pilots for Mason Industries until Rittenhouse recruited her. In order to save herself and her loved ones, she decided to fake her death and hide out in the wilderness of the West for the past 10 years. When the trio plus Reeves and his cohort — Native American cowboy Grant — arrive at Emma’s cabin, they are met with guns firing. However, James quickly runs out of bullets and Wyatt decides to fulfill history by killing James, but Reeves won’t allow it. Badass Lucy steps in to kill James—with a bullet in the back of the head, no less—and save history. The Lone Ranger ends up pretty disappointed in Lucy, but hey, you win some, you lose some. 

7. Season 2, Episode 10:  ”Chinatown”-

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This is the last episode of the second season, and it’s truly a stellar finale. This time the lifeboat lands in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1800s. Back in present day USA, Jiya is taken hostage by Jessica, who delivers her to the Rittenhouse lair. Savvy Jiya escapes from her cell and rushes into the Rittenhouse lifeboat. Jiya plans on returning safely to the time team’s homebase but instead finds herself in 1888 San Francisco. Now the time team sets out to find her, and begins extensive research into history for clues. Luckily, Jiya does just that and leaves clear clues for Rufus on the whereabouts of the lifeboat but with a clear message: “Don’t come.” Does the time team follow her warning? Absolutely not! What happens next is very intense!

They arrive to the photo studio where the photograph was taken with hopes of finding Jiya. The team is unaware that Emma, Carol, Nicholas, and—you guessed it—Jessica are all there waiting for them and prepared to destroy them. They are hiding out and armed, waiting for an opportunity to attack the time team. But Emma is impatient and jumps the gun. She also shoots both Carol and Nicholas. Flynn and Wyatt end up running after Emma and Jessica while Lucy and Rufus are left looking for Jiya. Eventually they find Jiya in a saloon, but Jiya is terrified that her vision of Rufus’ future will come true if he stays with her. Rufus refuses to leave Jiya, and it seems that maybe Jiya’s vision might’ve been wrong. Unfortunately, as the gang heads out of the saloon, gunshots fire, harming Flynn and … KILLING RUFUS! 

Now what? It doesn’t end there, folks. Once the gang returns to the present day they are shocked by the appearance of a newer lifeboat ... carrying future versions of Lucy and Wyatt. Future Lucy asks the million-dollar question: “You wanna get Rufus back or what?” 

Featured still from "Timeless" via NBC. All other photos from "Timeless" via NBC.