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Timeless's Matt Lanter teases the life and death stakes of the season finale

Contributed by
May 6, 2018

On a weekly basis, the Time Team trio — Wyatt [Matt Lanter], Lucy [Abigail Spencer] and Rufus [Malcolm Barrett] — travel through time to prevent the nefarious Rittenhouse organization from rewriting history. For the most part, the heroes of Timeless have been successful, but there have been a few hiccups. In Wyatt’s case, his deceased wife Jessica [Tonya Glanz] inexplicably popped up alive again. Not only did that put the kibosh on Wyatt’s blossoming romance with Lucy, but it also has evidently has Rittenhouse's fingerprints all over it. To make things even more complicated, the resurrected Jessica is about to throw another major curveball at Wyatt.

With only three episodes remaining, Lanter spoke with SYFY WIRE about Wyatt’s conflicted emotions, Jessica’s massive bombshells, the life and death stakes in the finale, as well as the possibility of a third season.  

Wyatt finally moved on and hooked up with Lucy, only to have his wife Jessica show up alive. How torn is he over what to do?

The base of his thinking is always, “What does he have to do to do the right thing? What’s the right thing to do?” You see him struggling with that right now. Clearly, he has a love for Lucy that he can’t ignore. In the past episode [Mrs. Sherlock Holmes] that just aired, they had a heart-to-heart conversation about, “Where does this leave us? What do we do now?”

I think it’s hard for him to ignore that side because that’s where his heart lies. But, I think his mind lies with his wife and his heart lies with Lucy. It’s his wife and she’s back from the dead. Technically, he’s still married. The right thing to do is to play that out. Wyatt is different than he was six years ago. I think his wife is probably different than he even remembers her to be. He probably thinks of her as the ultimate human, as a goddess, and just everything good. I don’t think she was. Jessica is very normal. Like most people, she’s got a lot of flaws.

Of course, there are some stranger things going on with her than what we even know. Those are also about to come to light. Does she have some sort of a tie to Rittenhouse? We don’t know, yet, but that’s all going to come out.

Wyatt was brought onto the team as the military muscle. What’s it been like shifting from the go-to-action guy to the romantic lead in a love triangle?

I like it. Last season, I was asking the question to our creators, “Why is Wyatt here?” Sure, he’s the military-tactile adversary. He’s muscle, but why not any of the other 200 Delta Force guys? Why Wyatt? Last season, we got to know a little bit about Lucy and her ties into the story as far as Rittenhouse family members. For Rufus, we got to see he was the pilot. We couldn’t really do anything without him. But, there’s always been that question for Wyatt. Why do we need him?

They tried to touch on it last season when they brought in that Baumgardner character, but he died that episode [The Alamo]. It was like, “Well, no one can do it like Wyatt can.” Next episode, we’re going to find out Wyatt is destined to be a part of this time team. But, it’s been great. It gives Wyatt more layers. It gives him more depth, just to know who he is better. It allows us to explore his character in more than just finding the bad guy, taking him out, or planning a mission. Wyatt shows his heart and we get to know him on a deeper, personal level.

Jessica drops a huge bombshell, and it also turns out that Rittenhouse has a picture of her. How does Wyatt handle that one-two punch?

Wyatt tries to do the right thing. He tries to do right by the people he loves and cares about. When things start to become a little fishier, Wyatt is going to be very careful in getting questions answered. But, he wants to give his wife the benefit of the doubt as well. You are going to see him strategically ask certain questions, but, again, at the end of the day, it’s his wife. If your wife comes back and tells you she loves you, you probably are going to think, “She’s my wife and she loves me.” For the time being, she’s innocent until proven guilty.

With only a handful of episodes left to air, the stakes continue to escalate. What can you tease about the Time Team’s final battle against Rittenhouse?

The very ending scene of the finale is awesome. It’s going to open a lot of new doors for people. Everything we knew about time travel so far is going to change in those final moments. There is life and death happening with certain characters. We’re going to see new stuff we haven’t seen before. I’m really excited to find out how people react to that.

What can you preview about the penultimate episode, "The General?"

We run into Harriet Tubman. We see her resiliency. Unlike a lot of historical figures we meet, we really get a sense of who she was and how she operates and her tenacity for helping or fighting. It’s a Civil War episode. We see Wyatt put in a bit of an uncomfortable position. He has to go to a party to find out information – a party of people he doesn’t really want to be around. Nonetheless, they have to do it. But, Harriet Tubman is going to be one of our great episodes this year, just because of who she was and what she meant and what she means to present day. It’s a big one.

Everyone has someone or something to lose. In what way with that cloud their judgment or strengthen their resolve?

Things like that can always cloud judgment. If these characters can make it through those moments, they will come out stronger and on top, with more knowledge. They will come out more of a fighter. They will come out with more of a resiliency. I think we will see some of this happening. Everyone has something to lose – there is life and death going on here – if they can get through it, it will ultimately make them stronger.\

You’re the show's ratings cruncher. How are you feeling about a third season renewal at this point?

I don’t know. I was really optimistic last season. With our huge DVR numbers last year, I felt pretty optimistic and then we were canceled. So, I really don’t know. It’s one of those things where we’ll find out the day before we have to fly to New York like last time. I just don’t know.

Our live ratings are not stellar. I believe our DVR ratings are solid or good. But, the fan passion is so high and there’s such a prestige built around the show. Timeless gets reviewed so well by mostly everyone. We have the Smithsonian Magazine doing recaps of us. For a network television show, I feel like we are different. Especially in the later years, with all these quality, really great cable television streaming programming, I feel it’s harder for networks to keep up, at least in the quality and critical acclaim. And, Timeless is really doing that. I feel that is something special.