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Look of the Week: adventures in style across centuries in the Timeless series finale

Contributed by
Dec 30, 2018

Welcome back to Look of the Week, celebrating the best in TV and film sartorial excellence, past and present across sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other genre classics!

The ghosts of past, present, and future visited the Timeless series finale in a satisfying conclusion to the sadly short-lived time-traveling adventure. The little show that could was canceled twice, resurrected, and then given a feature-length episode to wrap up events set in motion at the end of Season 2.

Future Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) stopped by looking like they had stepped off the set of The Terminator: world-weary, but battle-ready in military garb. Their goal? They had to save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) in order to stop Rittenhouse and save history. “The Miracle of Christmas” wastes no time (pun intended), diving straight back into this future-meets-present moment. What follows is an adventure across three different centuries and a glimpse into what comes next.

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Credit: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

As this is likely the last ever episode, the scope is bigger than your typical Timeless outing, but this has always been an ambitious show, managing to find personal stories in historical events of significance. References to previous adventures are littered throughout the finale, culminating in a montage flipping through the many different years the gang has traveled to over the course of the last two seasons.

In doing so, this not only emphasizes the bonds formed as a result of this unique experience, but it also points to just how many different costumes Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus, Gia (Claudia Doumit), and Flynn (Goran Višnjić) have worn in a relatively short run, everything from 19th-century hoop skirts to Katharine Hepburn’s gown in 1940s Hollywood. There are also the present-day outfits to take into account, as it isn’t all playing dress-up in the past.

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Credit: NBC

Week after week, costume designer Mari-An Ceo and her team have delivered a wide range of looks across a vast array of time periods for both the principal and background actors — considering the fast pace of a television production schedule, this is quite the feat. And because this is the last ever episode (*sob*), Ceo has a lot of fun costume tricks up her sleeve as the team travels across centuries and continents in order to save history and their friend.

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Credit: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

The first stop is California during the Gold Rush, not a great time to be a woman in a big poofy skirt. In Season 2 it was established that without racks of period-specific clothing at their disposal they would steal what they needed upon arrival so as not to draw attention to their contemporary garb. But Lucy and Gia have to ditch their cumbersome frocks for something a little more incognito as a result of Emma's (Annie Wersching) "Wanted" posters, which will have everyone on the hunt for two men and two women.

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A group of four people dressed in men’s attire will draw less attention, plus it also makes for better horse riding clothing. Both Gia and Lucy look great in cowboy getup, proving this pair can work whatever decade or century is thrown at them.

Layering is key here, but so is the pattern clashing, with Claudia Doumit as Gia perfecting the pinstripe pants, leaf print vest, check shirt and tie ensemble. None of these pieces look like they should go together — pointing to the "grabbing what clothes they can" aspect — but it proves to be quite the funky ensemble. Rufus doesn’t look too bad either.

This isn’t the first time the gang have traveled to the Wild West. Back in Season 1, they headed to this lawless land and encountered Jesse James and Bass Reeves, the man behind the Lone Ranger legend. Lucy also ditched the frock for menswear on that occasion; the cowboy hat, vest, and long coat aesthetic is just as good on her now as it was then.

It seems actress Abigail Spencer loved this style so much that she put her own contemporary sartorial spin on it in New York City last month. This is both a great advert for cowboy-meets-Town-and-Country attire and wearing more hats.

The sheer variety of costumes is unsurprisingly one of my favorite aspects of Timeless. Another is how much I have learned and been inspired to read up on the historical events covered — I read The Devil in the White City after the H.H. Holmes Season 1 episode — and "The Miracle of Christmas" continues with this tradition. You could easily start a book club based on each episode, covering everything from well-known incidents such as the Salem witch trials to sadly mostly forgotten figures such as Grace Humiston, aka Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.

After Rufus is saved and then has to save Wyatt, Lucy, and Gia in turn, there is still the little matter of Rittenhouse. This takes them to North Korea in 1950 and the Christmas miracle referenced in the title. This military operation transported approximately 100,000 refugees, and in true Timeless fashion they manage to deliver a baby and reunite a family before it is too late.

The group swaps out cowboy clothes for army fatigues, but they really should have packed some warm headgear — only Rufus seemed to think ahead — to combat the chilly weather conditions. This utilitarian look unites them visually; again, Lucy and Gia don’t have to concern themselves with impractical attire to blend in.

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Credit: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

The group bonds and dynamic are unbreakable at this point, and while the matching clothing is part of their cover it also visually reinforces this notion of unity. The family we make is at the heart of Timeless, right down to the small details, and this includes the costuming.

If you follow Abigail Spencer on Instagram you will already know that she delivers on a range of behind-the-scenes content, including a lot of lip-syncing clips. This one features those big poofy skirts from the finale.

She is also a Style Queen both in and out of character. Lucy featured in the Top 10 Best Dressed Genre Characters of 2018, but Abigail Spencer also had her own fashion triumph at one of the events of the year.

In May, Spencer attended the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. She wore a retro polka-dot Alessandra Rich frock which Kate Middleton later chose to wear for the official photograph celebrating Prince Charles’ 70th birthday. Maybe Spencer's dress caught Middleton's eye across the church and she knew this polka-dot dream dress would look perfect for this other big royal photo occasion. It also looks like something Lucy would wear when traveling back to the 1940s, which is why it stands out for their last mission. Lucy’s long-sleeved burgundy polka dots reads like a contemporary spin on this garment. They only have to go back to 2014, so there is no need to acquire new clothes for this trip.

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Credit: Darren Michaels/Sony/NBC

The final shot of the gang: Rufus in a hoodie and blazer, Wyatt in denim, and Lucy straddling the doorway of the Lifeboat in a polka-dot frock and knee-high boots is emotionally satisfying. Time after time they have saved the day, history, and each other in style.

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