Photo: Jordan Althaus/Fox

Following last week’s episode, which saw Daniel and Deborah traveling to present-day Boston only to realize that they left Chris in the past to die the very next day, the trio of time hoppers must finally set off the events that precipitate the Battle of Lexington, starting the American Revolutionary War. Daniel and Deborah turn their time traveling duffel bag right back around to save Chris, whom Daniel insists was going to die not heroically in battle, but by choking on a walnut (how he knows this is not totally clear).

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Chris, unaware of his impending doom, has obtained a puffy white wig (so as to be taken seriously) and announces to a crowd of colonists that the British have killed Paul Revere’s daughter and are planning to steal all their guns. They’re ready to revolt until Deborah, very much alive, waltzes in with Daniel from the future. Paul, angered by Chris’s lie, decides he won’t be making his historic ride after all, and orders Deborah to do his laundry. She, however, has seen the future (albeit briefly) and with it, the possibility of freedom—the joke is that she saw a York Peppermint Patty wrapper on the campus lawn, and is mesmerized both by the silver and the mixing of chocolate and mint. It doesn’t really land, perhaps because last week Deborah was an adept and almost ruthless hunter/gatherer, and this week she’s, well, a bit dimmer.

Deborah ignores her father’s orders and decides that she will ride in his place—and his clothes, so the town thinks she’s him. Meanwhile, Chris and Daniel infiltrate the British camp, posing as “spies for the Crown” when they’re captured by the very chipper Davy. My first laugh (and as it turned out, my only laugh) came when Daniel, asked to identify himself by the British general, growls “Jason Bourne.” While this episode relies less heavily on the nostalgic pop reference joke, which so thoroughly dominated the pilot, it’s also considerably less funny because of it, leaving most of the legwork to the strangely self-aware colonists.

Most of the episode also serves as an extended play on the modern American gun rights debate. To get the colonists sufficiently riled up to revolt, Chris and Deborah (as Paul) tell the town that the British want to take away their guns. The British wonder why the Americans love guns so much anyway, and the Americans insist on their need for “self-defense” to the point of paranoia—in the lead-up to “the shot heard round the world,” the two groups are shouting their respective stances at each other across a field: the British suggest a waiting period, or a restriction on access to those persons with mental disabilities, which makes the colonists scoff. After a while it’s sort of like, We get it. Finally Chris (and Daniel) fire the inciting shot, but quickly realize the British appear to be winning the fight. Daniel convinces the colonists to retreat while Chris gets his pal Davy to lead the Brits into the barn. In the end, the battle is won by blowing up the British in a barn full of stockpiled guns and ammunition.

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Once more, the group returns to the present, believing they’ve sorted history out when they see a beefy dude in a Patriots T-shirt who gets angry when they ask what he thinks of the British. But either they’ve landed in an especially seedy part of Boston, or else things haven’t worked out quite as well as they intended, and next week there will be something else to sort out.

Stray observations:

  • “A musket fires a bullet a minute! It’s a mass killing machine!!”
  • Daniel asking the British to start their siege closer to noon was great
  • Chris and Davy’s fast friendship (“Milk first forever!”) was weirdly cute, and I’m sorry to see it end so soon
  • Why does anyone believe Deborah is Paul by her voice, let alone her entire face, in broad daylight…?
  • Deborah’s request to go “cloud walking” once in the present: I feel you, girl

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