Behind the Screens with @JoshuaMaloni
Warning: This article contains “Timeless” season two spoilers.
As the second season of “Timeless” approached the finish line, Rittenhouse was on the ropes, having lost its leaders; Emma was running for cover, narrowly escaping the unexpected tag-team of Lucy and Flynn; with the timeline altered and his wife brought back to life, Wyatt learned he was about to be a father; and despite Jiya’s best efforts, Rufus was killed – but then – wait! – a future Lucy and Wyatt appeared in a new “lifeboat” with a plan to right that wrong.
In short, things were getting good.
However, as the storylines raced to a climax, the ratings were stuck in neutral. The series was cancelled, and the fate of the era-jumpers seemed lost in time.
But the “Clockblockers” would not be denied.
“Timeless” fans came out in force with their #SaveTimeless campaign to tell NBC how much they valued the sci-fi action-adventure show, and the Peacock Network took notice. In July, a two-hour series finale was booked for the holiday season. It will air Thursday, Dec. 20.
Among the questions to be answered: What is the fate of Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), and will he be reunited with Jiya (Claudia Doumit)? Will Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) end up together? As the two drew close, Emma (Annie Wersching) and Rittenhouse resurrected Jessica (Tonya Glanz), who, as it turns out, is a sleeper agent in this revised timeline. Can Rittenhouse be stopped, once and for all – and, if so, can Lucy bring back her sister, Amy (Bailey Noble), who disappeared after the events of the pilot episode? And what will happen to season one baddie-turned season two bestie, Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic)?
Spencer recently spoke with BTS and acknowledged the “Timeless” writers are working to resolve an epoch’s worth of loose ends.
The actress, who was a standout guest as Harvey’s love interest on “Suits,” has come into her own with this role.
Imagine working as an acclaimed history professor and hearing a time machine was built – and had fallen into evil hands; taking a second time machine back to 1937 to ensure the Hindenburg disaster occurs (protecting the timeline, even at the expense of civilian lives); returning to 2016 to find your sister was erased – and your sick mother was now well; learning you were engaged – to a man you’d never met; discovering your parents were instrumental in creating your enemy agency; falling in love with a co-worker – and then losing him to a wife who unexpectedly returned into existence.
Such is Lucy’s struggle.
Though “Timeless” has had less than 30 episodes to tell this tale, Spencer has taken advantage of the, well, time. In limited action, she's shined as her character deals with a full gamut of emotions – not to mention fending for her life on a weekly basis, in who knows what year will be next.
Spencer’s Lucy has fought to protect the past and preserve a future – maybe not the one she wants, but the one in which Rittenhouse doesn’t win.
A Q&A with Spencer follows.
“Timeless” (NBCUniversal photo)
Q: How bittersweet was the opportunity to return to this role and to this cast for the finale?
Abigail Spencer: Yeah, I mean, look, we've been on quite a ride. And it's so funny, because it feels like it's such a mirror to the ride the characters have been on.
And I think we came to the movie as just an opportunity to really enjoy being together. Because we just were like this might really be the last time, you know? And I think we just felt grateful – grateful to return.
The show is for the fans, so it's coming from a really pure place. It's got a holiday through-line – so, it’s got a very touching underscore. And I think we're all fulfilling each of our – I don't want to speak for everyone else – but I get a sense that we're all fulfilling all of our dreams to be in a Christmas movie. We're like, “Oh, guys, we're in a Christmas movie!” … That hopefully people watch again and again; and maybe makes them go back and watch all of seasons one and two.
So, it really was just a lovely opportunity to have an elegant goodbye to a really amazing journey.
Q: It's funny that you say that, because I did just rewatch the second season, which was a lot better than the first season – and that's no disrespect to the first season. But you guys really ramped it up in the second season. And when you talk about it being amazing, the finale just knocked people off their seats. And I'm wondering for you – it's my understanding this picks up right where we left off in that finale – if that's the case, tell me about getting back into character. Like you said, it's a holiday movie, and that's enjoyable; it's for the fans, which is awesome. But you're obviously serious about your craft. You're very good at your craft. So, to finish that second season, and to not know if you're going to get picked up for a third season, and then have the announcement NBC is going to do this – I mean, obviously there's a period of time; there's a lot of things that happen in your life. So, what was the challenge of getting back into not just one character, but two characters – and that particular storyline and moment?
Abigail Spencer: Well, always the challenge, I think, in series work, and I think film and television in general, is that you jump around. It’s part of the craft. Part of the art is creating that seamlessness, and you have to work with everybody. I mean, it takes a village – from hair and makeup, to consumes, you know, looking at continuity photos; making sure everything is stored correctly, so you have all of the proper elements that you need to pick up where you left off.
I think the challenge for me, this go, was just emotionally. I was just working so much on other projects – like I literally wrapped something else the night before having to come back to start “Timeless.” And I was doing two other projects that I look completely different in.
We were very fortunate to be working in LA for the movie, and just had a great crew and a great team making it. So, that was the challenge. And just to kind of remember – months and months and months had passed to kind of where we were emotionally. I get so much support from my fellow actors.
It came together. I think people will feel it’s pretty seamless.
Q: Do you go back and rewatch episodes on the way over to the set? Or is there a particular thing that helps you in that process?
Abigail Spencer: No, I don't. I mean, that's an interesting concept. I don't really watch things – and I don't rewatch things to get myself in the space. I just remember the feeling on the inside.
I remember it from my point of view. Because I've been acting for almost 20 years and don't know how to do anything else – literally – I have this weird memory when it comes to everything on set. I remember what everybody else is wearing. I remember where everyone's standing.
I just remember it. I don't have to see it. I have a really strange memory for what I do (laughs).
So, I think I’m in the right business, for now anyway. So yeah, I just – I don't know. I just feel it all intrinsically. And I can remember just the strangest things. It's like, not only do I remember all of my space and all the stuff for my character, but I remember everyone else's, too. And it's just a fun, interesting challenge.
“Timeless” "The Salem Witch Hunt”: Jiya (Claudia Doumit) had visions of how Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) would be killed. (NBC photo by Chris Haston)
"King of Delta Blues": Goran Visnjic's Garcia Flynn got chummy with Abigail Spencer's Lucy Preston last season on "Timeless." (NBC photo by Justin Lubin)
Q: I feel like there's a Flynn or an Emma watching over all of you guys right now, with what you can and can't say. So, I want to kind of do like a round-robin of active storylines, and let's see where we can go with this.
Abigail Spencer: OK.
Q: So, the first thing – and the freshest thing – is Matt, your costar, retweeted a photo of Lucy and Wyatt – or “Lyatt,” as we like to say – holding hands. What can you tell me about that?
Abigail Spencer: Hmm. I can confirm that Lucy and Wyatt were holding hands.
Q: OK, fair enough. Fair enough. How about our buddy Rufus? What can you tell me about the quest to save Rufus?
Abigail Spencer: I can confirm that Malcolm Barrett, who plays the role of Rufus, is in the finale of “Timeless” (laughs).
Q: All right. I like where this is headed.
Abigail Spencer: I can confirm that the journey and the finale is not necessarily that we save Rufus, but how we save Rufus.
Q: Are we going to learn anything more about Lucy's backstory with Flynn?
Abigail Spencer: I can confirm that the “Garcy” fans will get their due.
Q: All right. How about Lucy and her Rittenhouse heritage and her parents? Are we going to learn anything more about her parents and her family connection?
Abigail Spencer: I can confirm that her family background with Rittenhouse will play a part in the finale.
Q: How about Lucy's sister, Amy? Have we heard the last from Amy? Or might we be revisiting that plot point?
Abigail Spencer: I can confirm that the plight for Lucy to get her sister back is addressed, and explored, and it's a real “Sophie's Choice” for Lucy in the finale.
Q: Have you ever thought about a career in politics?
Abigail Spencer: (Laughs) Oh my gosh! I can neither confirm nor deny. (Laughs) I never thought about a career in politics.
Q: That’s fair. … Well, let me ask you about this – and I'm guessing that you can probably give me some more details. Like you said, you've been at this for 20 years; you've been on a number of popular TV shows. What are the “Timeless” fans like, relative to the reaction that you've gotten from your other roles?
Abigail Spencer: You know, I think – I mean, every show has its own following.
Being on “Mad men,” the fans from “Mad Men” were a very unique breed of humans in the way that they were obsessed with all of the details. You know, every single detail, and so much respect for the time period.
And, you know, different people watch things in different cities. That's what's always interesting, too, is where I get known for what – depending on where I'm at in the world.
“Suits” fans – I was shooting this movie in Boston, and because “Suits,” all the characters went to Harvard on the show, except for one of the main ones – you know, the whole thing is that they’re lying about him going to Harvard. But when I was in Boston, I was so famous. I’ve never been more famous than I was in Boston, because of “Suits.” But then they may not have known other things that I've done.
You know, “Timeless,” what's really interesting is the age range. I get stopped by 8-year-olds; I get stopped by 80-year-olds; a lot of teachers; a lot of families, or father/daughters, mother/son combos. It really runs the gamut.
And then with “Rectify,” that's a really unique, niche kind of group of people; a lot of people who are in the entertainment industry or maybe are finding it later; people are just finding “Rectify” because of Netflix.
I think that the one through-line I could say is that I’m so fortunate; it seems like everyone's been pretty lovely. I would say that's the through-line is everyone's just really lovely and supportive. And I feel very lucky in that regard.
“Timeless” "The Day Reagan Was Shot”: Pictured, from left, are Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Claudia Doumit as Jiya, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin and Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan. (NBC photo by Ron Batzdorff)
“Timeless” Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston and Claudia Doumit as Jiya. (NBC photo by Ron Batzdorff)
Q: What does it mean to you that “Timeless” fans really went all-out to convince NBC to give you guys this two-part concluding chapter?
Abigail Spencer: It renders me speechless, at times. Matt and I talk about this a lot; it’s just people's hard-earned money and time. What that means to me is that the show has really brought people together, that they would invest. Two of the most rare things we have on the planet is time and money. It's fleeting. So, the fact that people would dedicate that means that they have a real personal connection to it, in that I think it brought people together within the family. That family sat down and watched it together. Or maybe it opened up new communication between people or cross-generational communication.
I feel like that's a reflection of what the show did intrinsically. And I think what the show has done for minority storylines (is great). People are finding themselves on television where maybe they haven't seen themselves before – for women, for LGBTQ communities. I feel like it's a reflection of that, is that people just want more of it, because they're finding themselves in the story.
I will wrap that up with I think people really have a yearning to learn. And “Timeless” is a really digestible, highly energetic way to learn more about our past. You get a history lesson every week – and it's a fun way to learn.
So, I think that's kind of what's been really resonating with people. And it's just been showing up - again, back to the first thing I said - by them putting their mouth and their money where their hearts are.
The special “Timeless” two-part finale airs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, on NBC (WGRZ-TV Channel 2). For more information, or to catch up on past episodes, visit https://www.nbc.com/timeless. “Timeless” also streams on Hulu.
“Timeless” "A History of San Fran": Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Lucy (Abigail Spencer) recall the events of season two. (NBC photo by Patrick Wymore)