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Recap / Timeless S2E8 "The Day Reagan Was Shot"

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Lucy, Wyatt, Jiya, and Rufus travel to Washington, D.C., on March 30, 1981, on the day Reagan was shot. However, they are mistaken in their belief that Reagan is the target. Rather, a young D.C. cop named Denise Christopher is.

While Lucy and Jiya follow Denise to the hospital, Rufus and Wyatt apprehend the Rittenhouse sleeper agent, a man named Owen. Owen admits that he had no choice, that his family was bailed out by Rittenhouse, who then recruited him and his brother. While his brother became a true believer, Owen did not, but he agreed to become a sleeper in order to keep his family safe. Wyatt and Rufus are able to stop Owen's brother, but Owen hangs himself in order to avoid retribution against his loved ones.


Meanwhile, Denise is pressured by her mother to accept an Arranged Marriage. Given her recent brush with death, Denise accepts, something that threatens the existence of her future family. Lucy and Jiya are forced to admit where and when they came from. Lucy shows Denise the flash drive her future self has given her and photos of her wife and children. Denise breaks off the engagement and comes out to her mother, something she never did originally. In the present, Denise thanks the team for everything they have done for her all those years ago. As a bonus, her mother is now a loving part of the family, whereas the two barely spoke in the original timeline.



  • Arranged Marriage: As is typical in Indian culture, Denise's mother insists that her daughter agree to marry a man whom she has chosen for her. In the original timeline, Denise managed to successfully avoid agreeing to it, but after her brush with death, she decides that maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The flash drive given to Lucy by Christopher turns out to be invaluable in convincing the 1981 Christopher to break off her engagement and stay in law enforcement. Lucy then leaves the flash drive with Denise as a reminder, even though it's useless until the invention of USB ports. At the end of the episode, Christopher hands the flash drive back to Lucy.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: The team succeeds in restoring the historical events, such as having the police capture John Hinckley, Jr., and Denise surviving and going on to have a wife and two kids. However, in the new timeline, Denise came out to her mother and now the two are close rather than distant.
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  • Coming-Out Story: At Lucy and Jiya's urging, Denise comes out to her mother and breaks off her Arranged Marriage. Her mother slaps her for that. However, by 2018, her mother has come around and accepted her daughter for who she is. This never happened originally, resulting in Denise distancing herself from her mother and keeping her family a secret from her.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Wyatt and Rufus fight Owen in a hospital elevator, after an old lady steps out.
  • Exact Words: Although taking place - as per the title - on the day Reagan was shot, the Rittenhouse plot has nothing to do with it (except maybe hoping to take advantage of the confusion).
  • The Fatalist: Rufus becomes resigned to his fate, trying to distance himself from Jiya and stating that she needs to practice her piloting skills in order to take over after his death.
  • Forced into Evil: Owen didn't want to become a Rittenhouse sleeper agent, but he wasn't really given a choice. After saving his family from financial ruin, Rittenhouse recruited him and his brother and demanded obedience. While Owen's brother bought into their philosophy, Owen remained skeptical, although he kept his opinions to himself. The only reason he agreed to become a sleeper agent is because Rittenhouse threatened to kill his wife and kids back in 2018. He not only gives up his brother to Wyatt and Rufus, but also hangs himself in order to keep his family safe.
  • Future Badass: Lucy and Jiya try to convince Denise to stay in law enforcement and join the FBI by revealing that she will become a badass Homeland Security agent. When Denise asks what Homeland Security is (it won't exist until 2002), Lucy starts to explain, but then realizes that telling Denise about 9/11 may result in unpredictable changes to history.
  • Laser Sight: Wyatt notices a red dot on the back of a female cop and tackles her to stop Owen from killing her. Owen is shown with a laser sight attached to his pistol.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Presumably one of the reasons Rittenhouse has chosen to kill Christopher that day is to make it look like John Hinckley, Jr. shot her.
  • Meaningful Rename: Dhriti Sirivastava became Denise Christopher partly to honor Officer Christopher, the female cop who comforted her after her father's murder and inspired her to become a cop, and partly to avoid having to try to spell her name out to everyone.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Lucy and Jiya's clumsy attempts at getting Denise to admit that she's a lesbian cause Denise to think that Lucy is hitting on her. In response, Lucy and Jiya claim they're lovers. Later on, Lucy doesn't help her case when she openly compliments Denise in her sari.
  • Motive Misidentification: Rittenhouse isn't in 1981 to kill President Reagan. The assassin wants to kill young Agent Christopher to keep her from assembling the team.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Apparently, the flash drive Lucy leaves behind in 1981 still works after 37 years and none of the information has degraded, even though no modern flash drive can possibly last more than 10 years, even if unused (flash drives degrade even more with use).
  • Ret-Gone: Rittenhouse wants to kill Christopher in 1981 in order to keep her from assembling the team and hiding them in the secret bunker, as well as arresting nearly 200 Rittenhouse members. Ironically, had Lucy and Jiya not intervened, the sleeper's failure would still have resulted in Denise having a completely different life, such as becoming a housewife instead of a Homeland Security agent. When Christopher realizes this in the present, she tells Mason and Flynn the possible consequences. Flynn, however, points out that, in that case, he wouldn't have been caught and jailed.
  • The Reveal:
    • Agent Denise Christopher's birth name is Dhriti Sirivastava. She changed it partly to keep people from having to try to spell her Indian name, and partly in honor of the female cop who comforted her on the day her father was murdered.
    • Flynn reveals that, in the year 2023, Lucy showed up two weeks after his family's murder and handed him her diary. While Lucy claims that it's impossible, as one cannot travel to within one's own lifetime (the reason neither Flynn nor Mason went to 1981 with them), Flynn assumes that Rufus and Jiya will find a way.
    • Jiya's parents immigrated from Lebanon.
    • Wyatt finds out that Jessica is pregnant and that her brother, who in the original timeline died at the age of three, is still alive and is good friends with Wyatt thanks to a miraculous treatment for his leukemia.
  • Screw Destiny: Jiya and Rufus agree to find a way to keep Jiya's vision of his death from coming true.
  • Stalker with a Crush: John Hinckley, Jr., who tries to kill Ronald Reagan in order to impress Jodie Foster. Thanks to Wyatt's interference, Hinckley isn't captured immediately but instead gets the chance to try again, although he's eventually apprehended by the Secret Service.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Being a traditionalist, Denise's mother keeps trying to get her to stop risking her life as a cop and settle down with the husband she has chosen for her. After her brush with death, Denise starts to seriously consider this option, especially since her future husband's family is even more traditionalist. Plus, her future husband is going to be a doctor, so money won't be an issue.

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