This series is one of my favourite time travel series, and season 2 did not change that. The series is absolutely breathtaking, and I ended up not sleeping until 7 am because I just had to finish the whole season in one night.
The season 2 continues with the story from season 1, and thus we are still following the same gang trying to stop notorious Rittenhouse to conquer the world. The difference is that in season 1 Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić) was trying to erase Rittenhouse from history, while in season 2 Rittenhouse is attacking history trying to enforce tyranny and an absolute rule of their organisation. In addition, we find out that Rittenhouse has been affecting history for a very long time because there is a large number of sleepers in every historical period waiting to be activated.
For example, in episode 1 Rittenhouse is trying to prevent Citizen Kane from ever being broadcast and in return, they are trying to get a regular column in influential newspapers whose owner is the protagonist of Citizen Kane. In episode 2, on the other hand, Rittenhouse is trying to kill Abby, the mother of Benjamin Franklin, US president responsible for American Enlightenment by accusing her to be a witch, which would prevent Franklin from ever being born.
Other episodes also bring interesting moments from history, for example, an attempt to assassinate young John F. Kennedy to stop development of civil liberties and liberal policies towards immigration, prevent cultural revolution that eventually resulted with emancipation, increased human rights and calls for equality, etc.
What I thought was very interesting, due to my research and personal interests, is episode 5 which addresses Suffragettes. In this episode, Rittenhouse attempts to stop women from getting the right to vote, however, this is not because the organisation as a whole is misogynistic but because its ideologist from WWI period, who got saved through time travel and is now leading the organisation, is trying to ‘put women in their place’, even though it is Rittenhouse women that saved him and put his plan in force. In this case, an interesting turn of events occurs and Emma (the only pilot in Rittenhouse camp and the biggest villain in the organisation despite her non-family status) turns against the organisation, this one time, and helps Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) find a sleeper agent and help Suffragettes win the vote, as it was originally written in history. In this episode, we also meet Grace Humiston, also known as Mrs Sherlock Holmes, who is at first against Suffragettes but then ends up giving the crucial speech that changed president’s views on women’s vote, as a replacement for Suffragette who was murdered in prison, after a sleeper set her up for a murder charge. This turn of events is followed by an interesting conflict between Lucy and Grace in which Lucy is advocating that Suffragettes are fighting for ‘all of us’ while Grace at first states she will rather earn respect than grovel for it, thus enforcing and supporting patriarchal view according to which men belong to the public sphere whereas women do not, or at least not unless men give them approval.
Other episodes bring other historical events, and the series is a both enjoyable as a time travel story, as well as a learning tool for studying history. I knew some of the stuff but ended up googling and reading the others. I generally think extensive history education should be mandatory throughout all education, and this series perfectly proves and supports that view. The series also beautifully shows why historians are needed and how understanding history can change the world for the better. The series also shows that some will always try to abuse history and rewrite it, which happens all too often.
In this season, lots of emphases have also been given to Lucy’s family and her links to Rittenhouse. The season also portrays her mother who speaks about Rittenhouse being blood and family. In addition, there is an interesting story behind the whole process of fighting Rittenhouse. The diary Garcia had and kept mentioning throughout season 1 and 2 is apparently something that Lucy gave him in Latin America, which is how the fight started. In other words, it was not Garcia who started it, it was Lucy that recruited him. This remains unexplored in season 2, and the relationship between Garcia and Lucy remains unexplored, even though Garcia almost explains this to Lucy but only to be interrupted by jealous Wyatt.
Lucy’s relationship with Wyatt is the only point of criticism from my side. I predicted that Rittenhouse may want to send Jessica back and recruit her, and I thought it would be natural for Wyatt’s character to go back to her. However, this did not have to happen after he and Lucy started a relationship and his jealousy against Garcia is inappropriate, i.e. he is, at the same time, sleeping with his wife in the same shelter where rejected Lucy lives and also expresses jealousy. I did not like this bit of the story, but everything else remains perfect for a time travel and history lover such as myself.
Thank you for reading.