Nailing a series finale isn’t an easy task. Especially when you were prematurely canceled after your second season finale featured a cliffhanger so big it couldn’t possibly be satisfyingly resolved in a 90-minute film. But that’s exactly what the cast and crew of NBC’s Timeless have managed to do with their 90-minute series finale The Miracle of Christmas. This movie-length finale manages to deliver most of the answers fans are craving while also providing an extremely entertaining and well-written two-hours of television. (Note: This review will be SPOILER-FREE!)
Episodes 211 and 212: The Miracle of Christmas (Part 1 written by Lauren Greer, Part 2 written by Arika Lisanne Mittman; directed by John F. Showalter)
As Christmas arrives in the Bunker, the Time Team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to try to save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett). But when the Mothership jumps to 1848 California, they’re forced to put those plans on hold and chase Rittenhouse back to the Gold Rush, where they encounter one of the era’s most dangerous villains. Then chasing the Mothership to Korea in the winter of 1950, our team helps a stranded, pregnant refugee attempt to escape a tragic fate. Stuck with no way out, our team faces its toughest challenge yet, and in the process, come to terms with their feelings for each other. Also starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Goran Višnjic, Sakina Jaffrey, Paterson Joseph and Claudia Doumit.
I’m extremely happy to report that the Timeless finale is every bit as good as fans want it to be. Promotional material promised lots of answers, lots of satisfaction, and one last adventure through time with our Time Team and that’s exactly what the show delivered. Very little time is wasted in picking up where the season two finale left off (aside from a really clever “previously on” sequence) with the show quickly establishing how the future incarnations of Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) have visited their past selves, what they want, and how our team can go about doing it. To say anything more would venture into some pretty major spoilers. It’s safe to say that our remaining teammates – Lucy, Wyatt, Flynn (Goran Višnjic), and Jiya (Claudia Doumit) – end up chasing the Mothership back to 1848 California and a whole lot of stuff happens. Later, they end up chasing the Mothership to Korea in 1950 and even more stuff happens there. The nice thing about this finale is how both of these missions feel central to the plot. Without the context of the episodes, it’s hard to see how these two missions could possibly fit into a finale that has so much other stuff to deal with, but these two missions really do fit in perfectly.
In fact, it’s genuinely impressive how well writers Lauren Greer and Arika Lisanne Mittman are able to juggle all of the elements that are in play during this episode. There is a lot that happens in this episode, both in terms of character arcs and in terms of the actual overarching plotline of the series, but these two writers manage to give everything a time to shine, including giving each member of our core cast – including Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) and Connor Mason (Paterson Jefferson) – a chance to really shine. There are plenty of surprises in store for fans of the show and fans of these characters. I honestly didn’t see a number of the things that happened in the finale coming and it was so satisfying watching everything play out. I really adore these characters and it was so nice getting to see them all in action one last time. You can tell that everyone involved with the show truly loves it and that element of passion really comes through on the screen.
Last week, I posted a list of things I wanted the Timeless finale to address, and the finale addressed pretty much all of them. They weren’t necessarily addressed in the way I’d have wanted them to be, but they were addressed in ways that felt narratively earned and satisfying and they worked perfectly within the context of the episode. The future incarnations of Lucy and Wyatt are explained. Everything with Rufus is done in a really interesting, clever, and deeply satisfying way. All the various romance subplots are dealt with. We get some explanation as to what Emma’s plans for Rittenhouse are (though I would’ve liked just a bit more information about what she was up to, it worked for what the episode was trying to do). And, most of all, this episode brings a huge sense of resolution to the show. The main storyline is most definitely wrapped up and we get a lot of nice moments with the main characters that wrap up their ongoing character arcs as well. The whole episode really brings the show to a nice close. Things that were mentioned all the way back in season 1 are brought up again, and everything really ends very neatly but also very satisfyingly. Many interviews mentioned that the episode would end with a bit of an opening for the show to come back in the future. This is definitely true, but it’s not in any way frustrating. All of the main storylines are wrapped up and this finale serves as a perfect conclusion to this show. But the writers have left themselves an open window through which they can return to this world. It’s really clever and works really well.
All in all, The Miracle of Christmas is a terrific finale to Timeless. It’s brilliantly written as it juggles so many different moving elements and manages to tie them all together in a bow that doesn’t feel even a little forced. The acting from all of the actors is as top-notch as always. The pacing is surprisingly good; you never actually notice that this is technically two episodes of the show, it all just feels like one movie-length episode that builds to a perfect climax and leaves some time for a lot of good resolution. My only issues with the episode are mostly nit-picky (mostly related to Rittenhouse and its plans) and I’ll discuss them more fully in my spoiler review later this week. The only other issue I have is that the show’s lack of budget shows a bit during the Korea sequences. They had to use some color correction to make things look like a Korean winter and it doesn’t totally work. Director John F. Showalter clearly did the best with what was available to him and I commend him for it, but it was something I noticed. Neither of those come anywhere close to derailing what is, ultimately, an immensely satisfying, deeply emotional, and truly entertaining two-hours of television. This finale will perfectly satisfy fans of Timeless. It’s really that good.
4.5 out of 5 wands.