As they travel through history and save the world, the Timeless characters have plenty of quotable lines.
Though Timeless only aired for a short period of time – facing two cancellations in its two seasons – the series left a mark on its fans. As the central characters tried to stop a nefarious group plotting to change history, the audience got to see well known historical figures like Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln, but they also were introduced to some they might not have heard of, like Bass Reeves and Abiah Franklin.
With less than 30 episodes of television produced, Timeless has a lot of great dialogue. In fact, it’s hard to narrow the speeches and exchanges down to just a handful of memorable lines, but these are some of the best.
“My Only Desire Is To Live Free. The Rest Will Work Itself Out.”
Harriet Tubman only appears in a single episode, “The General.” Rittenhouse has agents in the past trying to help the South win the Civil War, and that puts them at odds with the woman leading escaped slaves to their freedom.
When she and Rufus have a bit of a heart-to-heart about the difficulties in her life, she leaves him with this gem. Harriet knows that life is going to be hard for her and the people following her lead, but she also knows that if they can’t live free, nothing else matters. She has faith that freedom will lead to better opportunities for them.
“I Promise Not To Kill You This Trip. Feel Better?”
Flynn doesn’t exactly make the members of the “time team” warm and fuzzy. After all, he does spend the entire first season at odds with them, putting their lives in danger repeatedly in his quest to stop Rittenhouse when they don’t know what’s going on.
In the second season, they’re all fugitives and all trying to stop Rittenhouse together, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting along. Rufus in particular is worried in their first few trips to the past that Flynn is going to get him killed. That’s not really Flynn’s intention, and his delivery of this line while they prepare for a trip definitely gets a laugh out of the audience.
“Fanboys Don’t Save The World, Rufus.”
Connor Mason has a difficult time adjusting to his life once Rittenhouse tries to blow up his business and he is forced to live in a bunker with the only people who know about the time traveling trips to change history. He drinks heavily and inserts himself into situations when he doesn’t understand the full extent of what’s going on.
When he finally joins the team on a mission, he and Rufus get to have a frank discussion about the state of their lives. They both are pop culture junkies who have a soft spot for science fiction – and now they’re living the lives their favorite characters could have lived. Connor laments that, “fanboys don’t save the world,” but the audience knows that isn’t entirely true. After all, Rufus leaves Jiya a message with nods to Star Wars in it when the team is stuck in the past, she leaves him a message written in Klingon when she is, Lucy regularly “fangirls” over her favorite women in history when she meets them, and Wyatt is a James Bond fanboy. They all save the world.
“Nobody Decides Our Future But Us.”
Lucy Preston is pretty good at giving pep talks. She gets Wyatt to leave the Alamo instead of dying defending it, convinces her own grandfather to spy on Rittenhouse for her, and regularly gets historical figures to step into the shoes of someone Rittenhouse eliminates. In this case, she’s giving Charles Lindbergh a confidence boost.
Like Lucy, Lindbergh is born into a Rittenhouse family and doesn’t want to follow the path designed for him. Lucy, still reeling from the idea that Rittenhouse is changing the world without anyone knowing, tells him that, “nobody decides our future but us.” While Lindbergh doesn’t change his own path, it only further fuels Lucy to fight what Rittenhouse is doing.
“If We Do Not Hang Together, We Will All Hang Separately.”
Sometimes, the figures in history that the team gets to meet aren’t the ones plastered all over the pages of history books. In this case, it’s the mother of one of those figures.
Abiah “Abby” Franklin, soon to be mother of Benjamin Franklin, is present in Salem when two women are found guilty of witchcraft. When she tries to defend them, she’s also accused of being a witch. Abby talks of unity, wanting people to understand they’re stronger together than they are apart. While not everyone in Salem agrees with her, she and the other accused women are able to move on and start a new life thanks to Lucy’s help.
“Do You Mind? We’re Trying To Stop The Apocalypse.”
Jiya doesn’t sugar coat things. She also isn’t afraid to stand up to the man who gave her the job with Mason Industries, no matter how serious the situation gets.
When Connor Mason stops being a help because he’s too busy drinking, or when he’s too concerned with getting on Rittenhouse’s bad side. Jiya doesn’t have time for that when she’s trying to help the people she’s become closest to prevent the end of the world. When she tosses this line at Connor, the audience agrees.
“Someone Who’s Willing To Die Fighting Against Us Will Never Fight For Us.”
Emma does a lot of horrible things throughout the series. She wants to survive, and usually, she doesn’t care who gets hurt along the way. Despite being an antagonist, Emma is usually right.
She spends a lot of her time in Lucy’s shadow. Emma works her way up the Rittenhouse ladder, even stranding herself in the past and working with Garcia Flynn in order to steal the mothership from him. She very much resents that the leaders in Rittenhouse want to hand Lucy a spot in the organization simply because of who her parents are. Emma recognizes that Lucy will never be okay with Rittenhouse’s mission even as Lucy’s parents keep trying to bring her into the fold.
“Everyone’s The Hero Of Their Own Story.”
Flynn starts off as the villain in the eyes of the audience. Once the full story of what happens to his family unfolds, however, it’s clear that he’s not necessarily the bad guy even though he’s done bad things.
Flynn’s assertion that, “everyone’s the hero of their own story,” to Joseph McCarthy is made when the audience is still on the fence about him being a villain in the first season, and he’s not wrong about it. Flynn sees himself as the hero, out to stop the bad guys and save his family. Rittenhouse see themselves as the heroes because they think they’re making the world a better place as they travel through time. Lucy, trying to preserve history, is seen as the hero by the audience as well.
“Takeovers Don’t Have To Be Hostile.”
Wyatt and Denise are the only two members of the time team who have experience working for the government, but they do it in very different ways. Since Wyatt is a soldier, he brings a perspective to Denise that she hasn’t considered.
When Denise’s authority over Mason Industries and the time machine is challenged by another government agent, she visits Wyatt in custody to talk about it after he briefly stole the time machine. Wyatt sees what Denise doesn’t, that the government agents taking over her post are actually in Rittenhouse. They’re in place under the guise of helping, but they’re looking to steal the machine right out from under her.
“Could Be Worse. Could Be The French And Indian War.”
Jiya and Lucy bond a lot over the course of the series, but Jiya doesn’t understand what the team has been through in the past until she’s able to go on a trip herself. When she voices concerns about a situation to Lucy, this quote is Lucy’s response.
Jiya, having not been present for the time team’s trip to be caught in the middle of the French And Indian War, is a little confused by Lucy’s response, but she rolls with it. Lucy’s line is the perfect example of just how much the people around Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus are left out of their events in the past.
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Timeless Complete Series