Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) is a history professor - even though she has not gotten tenure yet. Yes, this show has the same approach to academic rules as How I Met Your Mother. In real life, a college professor is the head of a department ... not a first-year lecturer who does not have tenure.
Our heroine's academic career is not going so well. Luckily she gets a better job offer. The US Government teams her up with a scientist and a soldier, and makes them travel back in time. Their mission is to prevent an enigmatic criminal named Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) from disrupting America's past with a time machine stolen from Connor Mason (Patterson Joseph - Neverwhere ).
Their first stop is at a great transatlantic disaster in the first half of the Twentieth Century. No, not the Titanic - yes, this is one of the few time-travel stories that does not mention it. Instead, the villain targets the Hindenberg. However, his mission is to save lives (like Belthazar in Supernatural ). He must put right what once went wrong (yes, straight out of Quantum Leap ). Our heroes are meant to stop him and maintain the timeline. They are not very good at this - the soldier's first move is an attempt to save a beautiful woman who is destined to die in the crash.
Worst of all, the scientist chosen to pilot the heroes' time-vessel is an African-American man. It turns out that every single white man in America's history is a racist bigot.
The good news is that there is a lot going on under the surface. Each of the three main characters has a backstory. Also, it turns out that changing the past actually has an effect on the characters' lives.
Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) has experienced changes in her own personal history. However, despite having learned how bad it is to alter the timeline she still gives serious consideration to saving Abe Lincoln from his date with destiny.
The token black guy has another race-oriented episode. This time he meets some Buffalo soldiers, who expect to get free land once Lincoln enforces Reconstruction. It is implied that Lincoln's death itself is what prevented the posthumous success of his policies.
Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) and her friends are sent back in time. They go to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1962. JFK is in town, as is Sam Giancana of the Cosa Nostra.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) and his team took a hostage, Anthony (Matt Frewer - Eureka ). The Feds now suspect that he might be a defector. This is the focus of the Token Black Guy's storyline this week.
The story focuses on a woman who looks like Lorelei the seductress from Agents of SHIELD . Is she an innocent victim or a Mata Hari type seductress? After all, she has complete access to the office of the President, the head of the Mafia, and other VIPs. Worse, before modern-day clear-desk security policies they probably did not even bother to lock their desk drawers.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) goes back to 1944. The trio follow him to a Nazi-held castle, where he meets with Werner Von Braun.
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) would rather kill Von Braun than risk him falling into enemy hands. In fact, since he is currently engaged in the V2 program then he is regarded as a legitimate target.
There is a British secret agent in the area, an unlawful combatant not dressed in a British uniform, and he helps out. His name is Fleming - Ian Fleming. In reality Ian was a desk man, and his brother Peter did the field work. When the trio get home they discover Fleming wrote a book about their adventure, and it was filmed instead of Goldfinger . Ironically, in real life Otto Skorzeny and the V2 rockets inspired the book Moonraker !
Token Black Guy speaks with both Fleming and Von Braun about their decisions. They are both cold-blooded and ruthless about achieving their objectives. Unfortunately he is not capable of doing what they do.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) goes back to help Santa Ana capture the Alamo. If he can prevent the Texans from rising up, he will do serious damage to the Manifest Destiny expansion westward.
Token Black Guy bonds with Davy Crockett (Jeff Kober - Tank Girl ). They do not have much in common, but that is the point. Crockett is a teller of tall tales, while TBG has problems telling an everyday lie to save his family.
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) is a Texan, and he has a natural affinity with the Texican libertarians. Also, as an employee of the Federal Government he spent a lot of time fighting wars in foreign deserts. Now he has PTSD flashbacks to a time when he and his unit were besieged by a superior force. Typical of the US Military-Industrial complex, to portray the most powerful army in the world as being victims.
Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) must re-write Colonel Travis' famous letter that inspired the Texans to revolt. She cannot manage his manly prose, but will a politically correct version be equally inspirational?
Token Black Guy is carrying the idiot ball this week. His job is to be clueless about the Watergate scandal, so Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) the historian can lay exposition on him.
The theme of the episode is secrets being uncovered. Flynn gets the missing 18 minutes of audio tape, and it substantiates his claim of the existence of Rittenhouse. How long before Token Black Guy's secret is revealed?
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) is abducted by Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ). The other two have a choice - find Nixon's missing Doc, or Flynn will kill Logan. Of course, Flynn has the advantage because he has the historian's future journal.
This starts with the mission already underway. Yes, all the pointless technobabble and soap opera bickering has been avoided, and we go straight to the heroes running for their lives from historical characters.
The team have chased Flynn back to 1754. Since Rittenhouse was founded in 1798, this seems a bit premature. The natural target in the area would be George Washington, then serving as a British officer. As always in this kind of show, the role of the British Empire in securing the safety of the American colonies is ignored.
Token Black Guy complains about being a slave. Well, he complains about everything, especially his cover jobs in historical times. Somehow the White hetero male patriarchy is responsible for the fact that there were no rocket scientists (black, lesbian or cripple) in the 1750s. They could always do a Princess Caraboo , dress him as Ali Baba and pretend he is the Prince of Kaffiristan. Given the lack of geographical knowledge of the average American in any given era, up to and including the present, they could easily get away with it.
The team get trapped in 1754. The time machine is damaged, and TBG has to repair it with 1750s technology. The nearest settlement is a French-occupied fort, but luckily Lucy can speak fluent French. They also run into some native americans who hate white people. Luckily, TBG can pass himself off as a black slave.
Token Black Guy complains that his only possible cover in NASA is as a janitor. This outdated view of the organisation was disproven by Hidden Faces , the film about a black woman mathematician named Katherine Johnston. Ironically, TBG gets Katherine to help debug the NASA mainframe computer. She is still portrayed as being the only African-American woman in the building, which was most likely not the case. There are certainly lots of white women, although their job description seems to be making coffee. This was probably changed when the automatic coffee dispenser was invented. Lucy complains about the Mad Men culture of men calling women affectionate terms (baby, sweetheart) instead of "Hey, you!" ...
TBG is angry at Anthony for helping Flynn maroon the team in 1754 last week. In all fairness, this was more humane than the team's policy of just shooting dead anyone who gets in their way. Someone with a modern education, along with centuries of fore-knowledge, could be incredibly successful in previous centuries. However, TBG might actually end up murdering his old friend in revenge.
In a subplot, Flynn befriends a mysterious woman at a US military-industrial contractor. She is just a coffee-making secretary, but much like Katherine's Hidden Figures and the Mad Women she is talented and oppressed. Will Flynn be merciful or sadistic in his endgame? And will the team side with him or Rittenhouse?
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) goes back to Depression-era USA. He poses as a bounty-hunter, and helps the cops chase Bonnie ( Katie McGrath ) and Clyde. Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) and Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) get caught in the crossfire, and team up with the desperados so they can work out what is going on.
Naturally, Bonnie and Clyde are not members of Rittenhouse. However, somehow Flynn found out that they had a special key. It was originally the property of Henry Ford, and was a Rittenhouse heirloom.
Back in the future, the FBI woman overheard a conversation that Connor Mason (Patterson Joseph - Neverwhere ) had on his mobile phone. She decides to put him under surveillance, and discovers that he is meeting with the creepy old man.
Just like in an episode of rival Time Travel show Legends of Tomorrow , the villains go back in time to the colonial rebellion of 1776.
Back in the modern day, our heroine Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) has not spent any time with her own family. Instead she spends time with the FBI woman and her lesbian wife. Yes, despite being part of the US Government the Fed is also an outsider, not part of the stale male pale conspiracy.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) goes back to kidnap Benedict Arnold. While in real life Arnold was a hero who tried to defend the colonies from enemies both foreign (the French) and domestic (the revolting), here he is one of the original twelve in the USA's shadow government.
The protagonists come face to face with the original Rittenhouse (Armin Shimmerman - Star Trek: DS9 ). He is a slave-owner, just like Washington and Jefferson. As well as his wealth, presumably inherited, he has the skills of a clock-maker. This has given him a certain perspective - he views people as cogs in a machine,
The team get back home. Well, most of them, anyway. Despite a historical figure's death in the previous episode, there does not appear to be any change in the timeline.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) still has one henchman alive. The two of them take Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) to the World's Faire in Chicago, 1893. She convinces them to press-gang the young Harry Houdini into their escapade.
A couple of episodes ago we learned that Henry Ford was a member of Rittenhouse. It turns out that he has a meeting in 1893 with his boss Thomas Edison and his financier JP Morgan. Flynn's plan is to kill all three of them with a bomb. This would probably put a noticeable dent in the timeline, although in this show it does not matter. Well, not as long as the character is deemed to be villainous in nature.
The men in the team follow Flynn's henchman to a hotel. John Hensley ( Witchblade ) lurks around in the background. Naturally the place turns out to be the Murder Castle, built by America's first known serial killer - H.H. Holmes.
The two men in the team are a world-class soldier and engineer. Surely they must have some idea of how to overcome physical obstacles. Or will they need a woman to do all the thinking for them? Luckily there is MIT's first female architect to help them, as well as Lucy herself.
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) goes back in time and saves Jesse James from being shot in the back. Not for humanitarian reasons, but because he needs some expert muscle and a guide into the Oklahoma territory. James is portayed as a one-dimensional thug who kills purely for pleasure, because this show would never dare to be sympathetic towards someone who fought for the South.
Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) and her team go back to catch Flynn. They team up with the lawman who inspired the Lone Ranger - Bass Reeves, yet another role model for the team's Token Black Guy. His motto is Bring 'em back alive - partly because Judge Parker wants to publicly hang the suspects, but mostly because if you killed a person you had to pay for their funeral.
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) is in a murderous mood. Thanks to Flynn he has confronted his wife's killer, but he still has a need for closure. His plan is to take it out on Jesse James. Remember, TBG is still feeling bad about shooting Flynn's henchman in Vegas. Have the white folk got what it takes to shoot a wounded, unarmed, defenceless prisoner in the back?
The Rittenhouse backstory takes another twist. It turns out that Anthony (Matt Frewer - Eureka ) was not the first test-pilot. His predecessor was Annie Wersching , who went missing presumed dead. Worse still, Rittenhouse has insisted on having a new pilot trained up. That way the TBG's protection will be gone. And to make certain he does not protect himself by killing his replacement, they recruit his girlfriend for the task! Luckily she is smart enough to realise when she is being manipulated, although she has absolutely no idea why.
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) takes the time machine on a joyride. He drags Rufus along to pilot the machine, and to be his wingman on the mission. The plan is to save his wife by ensuring the serial killer is never born. Rufus compares it to a reverse Back to the Future , but there is always the risk it could end up like Terminator .
Annie Wersching divulges Rittenhouse's secret plan to Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ). It turns out that they want to use it as an evil Seven Days , where they can retroactively alter the timeline so things that went against their interests can have a do-over. Anthony (Matt Frewer - Eureka ) decides the best plan is to destroy both time machines. With Rufus away on the joyride, can Anthony persuade Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ) to help?
Annie Wersching and Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) go back and abduct Charles Lindburgh. It turns out that he is a legacy member of Ritterhouse, just like Lucy Preston ( Abigail Spencer ). Flynn knows all this, as well as the identities of several other members. It should be a simple matter for him to research their geneologies, and thus identify every past and present member of the conspiracy.
Lucy and Rufus go back to save Lindburgh. They have a new henchman there to provide muscle. He has decided to use a period-authentic weapon, in this case a six-shooter. It seems his skills are insufficient to cover for the weapon's perceived inadequacies. Luckily our heroes make friends with some famous locals - Ernest Hemmingway and Josephine Baker.
Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter - Star-Crossed ) is in a supposedly secure prison cell. After all, he did take a time machine for a joyride. Unfortunately his misdeed allows Rittenhouse an excuse to move in. They have the FBI Lesbian replaced by a more senior agent, Jim Beaver ( Supernatural ).
Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic - Elektra ) is having second thoughts about his mission. After everything he has done, success seems further away than ever.
FBI agent Jim Beaver ( Supernatural ) orders the team to beat Flynn at his own game. They are to go back to the Sixties and prevent his birth. Rather than the ball-blocking exercise a couple of episodes ago, Rittenhouse has chosen the more direct method from Terminator . The team object to deliberate assassination of a civilian, although they are more than happy to allow the risk of collateral damage. Nobody invokes the concept of acceptable losses, as in the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Ironic, since their entire mission has always been one of assassination. There are only three seats in their time machine, so there is no room for any prisoners. This is not a case of Bring 'Em Back Alive!
Flynn goes back in time and teams up with Al Capone. Surely this sounds familiar. The episode title It's Deja Vu All Over Again is superfluous in a show about time travel, but this is a blatant steal from another show. Okay, this show even steals from itself - Flynn previously visited the Great Depression during Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree. But this episode is more reminiscent of rival show Legends of Tomorrow . Not too surprising, because they already both covered the American Revolution.
The good guys team up with Elliot Ness (Misha Collins - Supernatural ). Not only is this the second major recurring actor from that show to make an appearance here, the Winchesters actually travelled back in time and met Capone in their own show.
The story ends in a cliffhanger for the big Season ending next week.
Rufus manages to steer the time machine home while being unconscious by loss of blood. They cannot take him to a hospital. Luckily Lucy's pseudo-fiance is a trauma surgeon. Despite the fact she totally ignored him for the past dozen episodes, he is willing to break the law and help her out.
Our heroes go back to the 1950s. They try to compromise Joe McCarthy, but he seems quite irrelevant to the main plot. Then they go after Lucy's paternal grandfather. They find him in a secret gay bar, and assume he is deep in the closet rather than simply bi-curious.
This is the last episode of the Season. However, it is deliberately left open for the next Season. This means there are a couple of completely illogical twists.