Time for Love: Lucy/Wyatt/Jessica on Timeless

Familiar to any regular television watcher (or any YA novel reader), the love triangle trope has a long history and will probably never go away. Few use it well, however. The device itself lends to drama, so often that becomes the purpose of the storyline instead of furthering the relationships and character development. Timeless is a recent example of a love triangle done well on television. The Lucy/Wyatt/Jessica plotline is that rare thing—a love triangle well-executed for a vast majority of its screen time.

Timeless is an hour-long drama that debuted on NBC in October 2016, created by Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan. It stars Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, and Goran Visnjic. In the first episode, a thief steals a secret time machine. A historian, Lucy (Spencer), a soldier, Wyatt (Lanter), and the machine’s pilot, Rufus (Barrett) must use a time machine prototype, the Lifeboat, to stop the criminal, Flynn (Visnjic) and preserve history. As the missions go on, they learn an evil organization called Rittenhouse commissioned the machine to shape history to its own benefit. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus therefore ally with Flynn to stop Rittenhouse. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

The first season establishes the Lucy/Wyatt interaction as one of the main subplots. The pilot presents the attraction between them. The audience also learns Wyatt had a wife, Jessica, who died. He blames himself for it. The missions put Lucy and Wyatt in danger together and they get to know each other. The trust and respect they build is one of my favorite aspects of this couple. Also, the show hints that Wyatt and Jessica’s relationship wasn’t as perfect as he thinks.

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Late in the first season, Wyatt steals the Lifeboat to stop Jessica’s killer from being born and save her. It doesn’t work. After that, Wyatt faces his feelings for Lucy. We also see the effect they have on each other in terms of their outlook on things. Wyatt encourages Lucy to make her own choices while Lucy’s influence prompts Wyatt to believe in fate when he didn’t before. Wyatt sometimes disagrees with the way Lucy wants to protect history but he follows along with her because he trusts her. This is a healthy relationship even before they get together, and the chemistry between Spencer and Lanter is remarkable.

Season two begins with Lucy and Wyatt separated because Rittenhouse captured her. This time apart speeds up the progress of their bond. Two missions after being reunited, they act on their feelings and make love. What do you guess happens then, at the worst moment? YEP, Rittenhouse brings the dead wife back! Now, the true triangle kicks in. Wyatt follows his head and tries to stay married to Jessica; Lucy does what she thinks he wants and supports that. Then Jessica turns out to be working for Rittenhouse, putting the entire team in danger.

When Wyatt comes to grips with this and a painful loss (which I won’t spoil), he admits to Lucy that he loves her. One of the best things the writers did with this triangle was to focus on moments where Lucy and Wyatt still support each other even though they feel anguish over being apart. The character of Wyatt learns a lot in these episodes. It makes him feel real as he tries but sometimes does not handle this situation well.

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That’s where things stand going into the two-hour finale. Wyatt has no romantic interest in Jessica anymore and focuses on making everything up to the team, especially Lucy. Wyatt intends to take Jessica out of the timeline for good because if she lives then, indirectly, Rittenhouse flourishes. Flynn beats him to it, however, in a sequence that shows Wyatt and Jessica’s marriage was not a good one.

Now, Wyatt just needs to convince Lucy he loves her. He reiterates that he was just trying to do the right thing. Rufus helps by telling Lucy things that prove Wyatt’s feelings for her she didn’t know about. Then, for a moment, Lucy thinks Wyatt may be dead. That is all the prompting the historian needs to admit her feelings for the soldier. This conversation proves how Lucy has evolved as a character and how these two have impacted each other. They talk about fate again and show that each inspires the other to reach for their best self. It’s a stunning love story.

The triangle develops the characters and deepens the romance between Lucy and Wyatt. The main plot supports the Lucy/Wyatt pairing while providing growth for them both, especially Wyatt. The fans of Timeless campaigned to save it from cancellation not once, but twice. First, they got a second season and then this wrap-up movie. Who knows if the story of Lucy and Wyatt is over?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Sexton is from Ohio. She loves her parents and her dog Lily. She has to have acting, film, reading, and dance in her life. Her hobby is editing fan videos.

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