[Timeless] Recap • 103 Atomic City

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By Devan Coggan for ew.com

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So far, our time-traveling trio has witnessed two pretty horrific events: the Hindenburg disaster and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. For their third outing, however, they finally get to have a little fun — on the Vegas strip in the 1960s.

That’s right: Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are headed to Vegas, baby.

After literally watching Lincoln get shot in the head, our historian heroes don’t have much time to rest. Lucy barely even has time to get acquainted with her extremely attractive and extremely mysterious fiancé. She pages through an old scrapbook filled with pictures of the two of them, but all she learns is that his name is Noah and he likes to walk around shirtless. Which isn’t exactly a bad thing. I know you don’t even know his last name, Lucy, but you may want to consider sticking around.

Wyatt, on the other hand, is doing some scrapbooking of his own, obsessing over old articles about his dead wife. While we’ve seen quite a bit of Lucy’s home life, all we really know about Wyatt is that he likes to drink alone and mope about his wife. And we know even less about Rufus’ story. Does he even leave Mason Industries?

But there’s no time to explore backstories! Flynn has taken out the Mothership again, this time to September 1962. There are no major historical events around that time, but Jiya conveniently manages to pinpoint Flynn’s location to a 50-mile radius, near Las Vegas. A little quick Googling reveals that then-president John F. Kennedy was in town at the time, raising money for a democratic fundraising event, so, Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus don their fanciest ‘60s garb and set out for the Strip.

It turns out that there’s a lot going on in Vegas in 1962. Frank Sinatra is there with the Rat Pack, and although we only see the back of his head, Old Blue Eyes gives one hell of a performance, singing standards like “Come Fly With Me.” Also, the government is testing atomic bombs just a few miles away in the Nevada desert. Oh, and JFK is there, sleeping with a woman named Judith Campbell. Even though he is, at this point, the president of the United States of America, he doesn’t do a very good job of keeping his affair with Judith under wraps, and the two are more than happy to do some half-naked canoodling at a hotel window, where Garcia Flynn snaps some incriminating photos.

Those photos soon come into play, as Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt track Flynn to a Sinatra concert. (They sneak in after Rufus steals some waiter uniforms. “Because in ’62, Im’ pretty much invisible,” he tells Lucy and Wyatt.) Is Flynn there to kill JFK a year early? Is he there to take out Sinatra? No, apparently he’s there for Judith — a real-life historical figure who claims to have been mistress to JFK, Sinatra, and a notorious mobster named Sam Giancana. She was an incredibly powerful figure in 1960s Vegas, and while not everyone knows her name, Flynn sure does. He tells her about the incriminating photos, but before she can respond, Wyatt chases him away.

Before long, however, Rufus runs into his kidnapped boss, Anthony. Remember the sweet old guy who tried to get Rufus to take Jiya out for tacos? And who got kidnapped by Flynn and forced to pilot the Mothership? Mason is starting to wonder whether Flynn had some help getting into Mason Industries, and the fact that Anthony made a mysterious call to an unknown number only 30 minutes before Flynn broke in isn’t exactly a good sign.

It doesn’t take a lot to figure out that Flynn and Anthony are on the same side, although they have different ideas about how to best achieve their goals. Flynn starts wondering if their best plan of action would be to take out Rufus, the trio’s pilot, much to Anthony’s horror. “If that’s what it takes to wipe Rittenhouse from history, then that’s what we do,” Flynn says. So we’re finally getting a sense of what Flynn’s overall plan is (besides just messing up American history in general).

As for Judith, she decides that it’s in her best interest to get those photos from Flynn, consequences be damned, so she seduces a general, steals some keys, and accidentally helps Flynn steal the core of an atomic bomb. Oops. Even though Wyatt, Lucy, and Rufus track Flynn down and have an epic shootout in the middle of the Las Vegas desert, Flynn and Anthony still manage to pull one over on them, escaping with the stolen core. Between that and Wyatt’s desperate attempt to send a future telegram to his wife to prevent her death — “It worked in Back to the Future II,” he says — and things aren’t looking so great for our heroes.

At least Rufus knows how to lighten the moment: “On the upside, we’re finally starting to gel as a team.” Cheers to that.

As for the episode overall, I get that there’s an international terrorist on the loose with a stolen time machine, but c’mon, guys! You’re in 1960s Vegas! Loosen up, crack some jokes, and have a little more fun. It doesn’t have to be doom and gloom, fate of the world stuff all the time.

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