A more well-rounded portrait of Flynn emerges as he travels back to 1969 to sabotage the American lunar landing.
While still blowing away nameless people in the past, Flynn actually helps out a couple of his loved ones on Timeless Season 1 Episode 8.
The urge to save loved ones is something to which both Lucy and Wyatt could relate.
It's obvious from the look on his face that Maria is someone special to Flynn. And it's easy to forgive Flynn for wanting to save his half-brother Gabriel so that his mother wouldn't be so sad in future years.
But Flynn's plan to change the whole direction of the Cold War, well, not so much. Callously killing a guidance officer for his ID card and a plumber for his uniform isn't so simple to dismiss as mere collateral damage,
Flynn seems to see himself as meaning well, but with the body count he's creating and the history he's trying to change, how could he be?
For that matter, why is Anthony, a man Rufus described as his brother, working with Flynn? He seems to be a grudging co-conspirator at best.
Rufus: Go to hell, Anthony.
Anthony: I'd say that's a foregone conclusion at this point.
Anthony admits that he's only doing what he's doing to foil Rittenouse's plans. But Lucy's question about what those plans are is left hanging. Supposedly Lucy switches sides in the future.
But how can the trio's efforts to save history be bad while Flynn's attempts to change history be good? That's one of the most frustrating elements of the series that continues to be left hanging. I'm afraid too many former viewers' patience has been maxed out on that front.
Rufus continues to be the show's most evolved character, going from a code monkey afraid of his own shadow to someone able to kill to defend those for whom he cares. Which scares him.
Lucy, what am I becoming?Rufus
The scientist in Rufus loves being at Mission Control, surrounded by his heroes. These include Katherine Johnson, who, while confused by statements of Anthony and Rufus, still helps out in order to save Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
But the '60s weren't an ideal time to be a black man, as Rufus had little choice but to be a janitor for his cover. Also, he was frustrated as technology was light years behind what he is accustomed to.
I feel like a race car driver behind the wheel of a Yugo. There's more computing power in my toaster than there is in all this crap,.Rufus
The '60s also weren't a great time for a smart woman such as Lucy, who gets to be a secretary. It's funny to see her strike a blow for equality.
My name is not doll or sweetheart or anything else that sounds like a baby. The women here have actual names. I'm sure you can learn their names. It's not that hard, kind of like making coffee for yourself. You're a rocket scientist. Figure it out.Lucy
There was precious little of Wyatt as FBI Agent Mulder (another great pop-culture shout-out). He stuck to questioning instead of shooting people, a marked improvement when it comes to preserving history.
So, at least there was little damage to history this episode. For single-handedly saving the Apollo 11 mission, Katherine Johnson's profile got elevated. Not a bad thing to set up a role model for future black, female STEM students.
Yes, Flynn saved his half-brother, who I suspect will somehow enter the picture again in the near future. Maybe he could shed some light on what Flynn is up to.
Agent Christopher seemed to be coming around to the side of the trio, as shown by her supplying them with Flynn's un-redacted file. Too bad she didn't give it to them before the mission, so they could have laid a trap for Flynn. But she's suspicious of Mason and his backers, which is a good thing.
While Timeless has broken out of its pattern somewhat, there's still way more questions than answers. Time to accelerate the mythology before too many viewers give up.
To navigate its twisted chronology, watch Timeless online.
What do you think of Rufus's evolution? Do you enjoy the sociological history lessons? Who's on the right side — Flynn or Rittenhouse? Or is it way too early to tell? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.