This episode’s so well-paced when the surprise guest star appears, I thought it was the end of the episode cliffhanger. Nope, there’s time for another action beat and setting up for next time.
The team goes back to June 28, 1914, intending to save Franz Ferdinand from the assassin, throwing the time line into turmoil so their evil doppelgängers have to fix it. That fixing will require the ship be temporarily without a crew and able to be taken back. Except when Caity Lotz tries to stop the assassins, a mysterious stranger (a well-cast Timothy Webber) takes her aside and explains she’s got to get in line.
Webber’s got a bar for time travelers who are all out to prevent WWI. You get a ticket to try, then everyone watches on a constantly changing news reel. Most people who attempt it die immediately; Lotz has got her alien recovery powers so presumably she’ll be able to survive a failed attempt. But, they still need her to succeed eventually.
That part of the episode is kind of Groundhog Day in 1914 Sarajevo, with Lotz trying and having to repeat after making corrections. They make a great Edge of Tomorrow reference, with Shayan Sobhian telling Olivia Swann they’ll have to watch it. Sobhian and Swann are in the episode a bunch but without anything to do but flirt. They’re not dating yet, they’re just romantically friendly.
Their pairing off leaves Tala Ashe and Lisseth Chavez needing a new bestie to spend the episode with. The Ashe and Chavez subplot starts funny and ends profoundly touching. Similarly, Jes Macallan and Matt Ryan have an arc where Macallan’s trying to get Ryan to see past his religiosity and religiously fueled self-loathing (he’s gay). Ashe and Chavez have the better plot, but it’s less ambitious. The one with Ryan and Macallan forces the issue, with Macallan unrelenting. It’s real good.
The episode also allows Amy Louise Pemberton and Adam Tsekhman to be cute together, when appropriate (they don’t have a lot to do throughout). And Nick Zano gets a number of good comedy scenes.
Former series star Maisie Richardson-Sellers is directing (again) and does a good job with it, especially after there’s a plot twist revealing how the time travel snafus have been occurring.
It’s also a good lead episode for Lotz. There’s a balance between the cast, but it’s another outing where she’s very obviously the star of the show, ensemble or not.
And presumably, next time, the show will be done with bridging episodes and they can get back to the season’s A-plot.
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