It all comes down to this. Timeless is airing its season finale Monday night, and with the team’s new fugitive status, the stakes have never been higher–which is saying a lot about a show that deals with stopping a villain from irrevocably changing America’s history.
After last week’s shocking blow, poor Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) was left suffering a gunshot wound to the gut. With their pilot in serious trouble, how will Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) stop Flynn (Goran Visnjic) from fulfilling his mission? We spoke with Barrett on the show’s timely themes (no pun intended), the #RenewTimeless fan campaign, and what to expect in the finale.
The TV Junkies: Now that the season is coming to a close, what are some of the more surprising and interesting facts about history you’ve learned while filming?
Malcolm Barrett: Honestly, there’s so many surprising facts I’ve learned over the course of the filming the show. Bass Reeves was a brother, that the Lone Ranger was based off him. I learned that the Lincoln conspiracy was a larger conspiracy to kill four other people, learned Al Capone had a brother. I’m learning all sorts of things, so it’s been a fun ride discovering all these little—not necessarily secrets, but lesser known facts of history.
TTVJ: The last time we spoke, you mentioned how Timeless would continue to address racial issues in history, but never be heavy-handed, which really has held true. We’ve seen moments like when Leslie Jones gave the show a shout-out during Saturday Night Live, but overall what kind of response have you gotten from viewers about it?
MB: Everyone has loved it. I think they’ve all had a similar attitude where they’ve really enjoyed discovering all these things. Black folks are happy to see themselves and see the contributions they’ve made in this country in so many ways, and I think folks also appreciate that the whole episode isn’t necessarily about that factor, about African-Americans being overlooked in time. We handle it the way most people do, and the way most black Americans do, which is that this is a part of our life, but not the entirety of our life.
I think we have that sort of theme working with the show, and we work on making sure it’s not too heavy-handed. The writers are really good about that, even in discussing the dialogue and certain aspects of how we want to handle this. We try and be very savvy because it’s a family show and we want to keep the fun of it, but that it’s not without learning all this interesting things and overlooked facts, and I think people are very appreciate of us dancing on that line.
TTVJ: On the flip side of that, the unraveling mystery of Rittenhouse feels very timely, with this secret organization of rich, white men in power doing corrupt things to stay in power. Was that something you noticed when you were filming?
MB: Yeah, I think anyone who has a knowledge of this country recognizes the history of rich, white men in power who want to keep their power. This show winds up being oddly apropos because of the universal themes of history that we deal with. By complete coincidence, or kismet, whatever you want to call it, our next episode is on McCarthyism, which is a period of time when the government was actively going after American individuals for having different views and going after people guilty or not guilty of these things. So I think that’ll have some amount of resonance when it airs.
TTVJ: What can you tease about the upcoming finale? Obviously Rufus has been shot, and we’ll have to deal with that. Overall, will it offer up some answers or lead to even more questions?
MB: It does what any good finale should do, which is that we solve a bunch of things and ask a couple new things to keep you interested. In the finale, I think… it’s hard for Rufus to have a good day. [laughs] It really is. So you’ll see what happens with him, and you’ll have a good resolution, and also, I think Jiya (Claudia Doumet) will step up in ways that we haven’t seen her, and you’ll see a culmination of that relationship happening here.
TTVJ: The fans of Timeless have been really vigilant in their campaign for a Season 2, I’m constantly seeing #RenewTimeless on Twitter. How does it feel to have that kind of support for the show?
MB: It is amazing. This is probably the most veracious fanbase I’ve ever had, and usually sci-fi fans are, but I haven’t been on the inside of experiencing that. I have now, and it’s been amazing. We’ve done the Comic-Cons, we did the West Coast one, the East Coast one. We’ve got little [Funko] Pop dolls made out of Rufus and we’ve got people making fan art. To see the enthusiasm is really fulfilling.
Are you tuning in for the Timeless finale? How do you think it will all go down? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Timeless‘ season finale airs Monday, Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC and Global.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.