Travelers Season 1 Episode 5: Room 101 Recap


This episode is largely a bottle episode that turns out to be mostly filler. We do learn more about the traveler mythology though, and gain a little insight into the characters.

The episode starts with a family of four careening through a parking garage in the family car. Dad’s driving is out of control, but it wasn’t clear to me if he was attempting a murder-suicide, or if he was having a medical issue of some kind. The daughter in the back seat is screaming and flailing, begging her dad to stop. At the last second before he drives off the roof, he swerves to the side and hits the brakes. Three of the four family members are now travelers. The little girl was a misfire, as McLaren’s team tells the family when they greet the newly arrived travelers. From the sound of it, because she was moving so much, the director couldn’t get a stable lock on her and the transfer failed. The traveler who would have entered her body is dead, if I understood correctly. It’s a one way trip that fails a significant percentage of the time. In the early days, the failure rate was 30% or more. McLaren will take the little girl to stay with a relative, while rest of her team prepares for their mission.

As they drive away, Philip, Carly, Marcy, and Trevor discuss the high rate of misfires. Trevor seems to have firsthand knowledge of the first wave of transfers. This is the second hint we’ve had that Trevor is very old, even though he’s in a young body. In the episode Hall, when Rick Hall questioned letting a kid repair the damaged device, one of the team members told him that the “kid” was older than everyone in the room combined. There were several people in the room at the time.

Just as Carly is saying that she felt she’ d have no other choice than to volunteer, even with a 30+% misfire rate, their car is blindsided by a tractor-trailer. They wake up hours later, coms removed, strapped to wheel chairs, with IV drips and catheters inserted. They are side by side in separate cages. One by one they are wheeled out to be questioned by a flashing TV screen. The questioners know, or at least suspect, they are travelers, asking them questions like “When are you from?” “Who have you told?” and “What is your mission?” When none of the team gives in, the kidnappers resort to mild forms of mental and physical torture. Philip is injected with a drug that affects his brain because he was modified to be a historian. It forces his memories to flood to the surface too quickly, overloading his system. Carly is shown a fake video of her baby being held hostage. She tells us the baby is with his father. Marly sees a fake video of Philip being shot and has another absence seizure. It leaves her unconscious for several more hours. Trevor proves to handle the crisis best, staying calm and aware. He tries to distract the man who takes them to and from questioning, and is unruffled by the TV questions. It doesn’t matter in the end though, there’s no escape, and no indication of who the kidnappers are.

After a few days of being held, Carly’s had enough. She grabs the guard’s wrist in her teeth, and bites down hard. She keeps biting and chewing until he bleeds to death, falling to the ground and taking her wheelchair with him. She’s knocked unconscious on the way down. No more questions or torture, but no escape either. Carly is a hardcore warrior goddess, it’s sad there wasn’t more of a reward for that act of bravery.

McLaren apparently doesn’t notice when the coms go quiet for a day and a half. David does notice when Marcy doesn’t show up for dinner or to sleep. This would be why she’s been staying at his house. David takes McLaren’s card and goes to find out if he knows where Marcy is. McLaren rudely gives David the brush off when he realizes his team has been missing and he didn’t notice. Way to be grateful to the guy who just saved your ass and possibly your team’s lives. Also not the way the FBI actually treats family members of kidnapping victims, which, legally, is about what David is.

McLaren uses every FBI and traveler resource he can to find the team, but with no results. He breaks Protocol 6 again and goes to see traveler Officer Boyd. She tells him that it’s most likely the mission is cancelled, his team has been terminated, and he’s next on the list. This director person/entity sure is fickle. One minute micromanaging, the next incommunicative and making everyone guess what they want. If there are factions within the future people, the director might be involved with an evil faction. (Hydra goes all the way to the top.) Or, the director might be incompetent and prone to plot holes. It’s a tough call until we get further into the season.

After Carly kills the guard, the team’s location pops up on the traveler deep web chat room page that McLaren has spent the night staring at. He and Officer Boyd go rescue the team. It’s been 3 days. Carly asks if he completed the mission. When McLaren says “No,” she replies, “What if that was the test?”

I can’t help but agree this was a test. When the girl from the second team didn’t make it, the director decided to test the flaws of McLaren’s team. McLaren’s perseverance and loyalty were tested. Carly’s emotional resilience in the face of her host’s family being threatened was tested, to see if she was getting too attached. Philip’s ability to follow protocol and withstand questioning on heroin and when he needed a hit was tested. Marcy’s general health. I’m not sure what they were testing with Trevor, perhaps his ability to withstand being ignored, but I suspect he passed. Marcy is the only one I’m concerned about. She had a seizure, but she didn’t reveal any information, either.

Clues and observations:

-Philip is given the correct dose of heroine, plus a dose of another drug that causes memory floods in those modified to be historians. Whoever kidnapped the team has detailed inside knowledge. Trevor was disturbingly untouched, if we’re looking for an inside man.

-Philip talks about the helios tidal wave causing large floods. Helios was the event the woman who accepted the tech in Hall said was coming.

-Marcy is shown a surveillance video of David inside his apartment. The hidden camera is in a spot that Jeff could have reached without David noticing.

-Philip remembers the taste of metal in the air, the taste of water that’s been recycled so many times it’ll never be pure again, and the stink of 20k souls crammed into a shelter designed for half that number. The world is crowded and polluted in the future. It sounds like the people might be living someplace enclosed, like underground.

-Carly is shown photos of Rick Hall, Luka, and abusive, police officer, baby daddy Jeff on her TV. Baby Jeff Jr is supposed to be with baby daddy Jeff, but appears to be in the arms of the guard in a video. I can’t help but notice that either one of those things is not like the others in the group of three photos Carly was shown, or Jeff has a traveler inside him.

-Philip gives a number instead of a name for his mother (2144). Does everyone get a number, no name, or is she a traveler too?

-Philip says the Reveille bell rang at the exact moment the dome collapsed in Shelter 41, exactly at 0600, almost like cause and effect (it could have been, if it was a real bell). The bell rang, and woke everyone up a split second before they died. He remembers thinking as a boy that it was so unfair. (Meaning it happened sometime in the past in the travelers time.) ETA: Reveille is usually associated with military organizations and prisons. Is future society militaristic and oppressive, or was Shelter 41 used to house prisoners or the military?


Travelers Protocols:

Protocol 1: The mission comes first.

Protocol 2: Leave the future in the past. Don’t jeopardize your cover.

Protocol 3: Don’t take a life. Don’t save a life. Unless otherwise directed.

Protocol 4: Do not reproduce.

Protocol 5: In the absence of direction, resume your host’s life.

Protocol 6: Traveler teams should stay apart unless instructed otherwise.

14 thoughts on “Travelers Season 1 Episode 5: Room 101 Recap

  1. You’re completely off-base. Carla’s last line: “What is this is what it was all about!” The mission was cancelled due to the team being abducted and THAT was what was accomplished. Many people are going to die now.


  2. Why torture and question them if the goal was simply to force the mission to be cancelled? Granted, the kidnappers could have had multiple goals. If you’re referring to things that are said in the season finale, I’d rather wait and discuss that when I post my recap of episode 12 in a couple of days. I don’t want to bring up spoilers here.


  3. Rewatch the scene with the family in the car in the parking garage. The mom and son look zoned out and only the daughter is freaking out while dad is driving like a maniac. Also, the car has two cameras, one mounted in the center of the front windscreen and one in the back on the daughter’s side. It looks like the rest of the family was brainwashed into silenty committing suicide together while the daughter screemed in terror and it was all recorded for some very sick purpose. This is Saw/Hostel level psychotic horror-show stuff! I was very distracted that there was such a bizzare setup that had no explanation. Any thoughts on what the heck was going on?


    1. Thanks, I’ve been puzzled by that. I don’t understand how the other passengers in the “misfire” car became inhabited by travelers without dying in the process…? Had they become travelers previously? Did the car actually crash and I didn’t notice? What am I missing?

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      1. Somehow the Traveler that took “dad’s” body managed to stay in control and hit the brakes and the last second before they crashed. But normally they show five to ten seconds of screaming and head-grabbing as the Traveler takes over. Doesn’t seem like you can stay in control of a speeding vehicle that long. So, dramatic license I guess.


      2. They were on a straight section of the parking garage for a few seconds before the dad swerved and hit the brakes, weren’t they? I don’t have time to go check it right now. We know from Donner that they practice difficult transitions hundreds of times so that the motions the traveler will need to make at the moment of transference are instinctual. And, yeah, dramatic license, sensationalism. They can only show us so many old ladies laying peacefully on hospital beds.


  4. The mother and son’s behavior is bizarre. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the dad drugged their food or drinks so that they wouldn’t react during the murder/suicide, and the daughter didn’t get enough of it into her system. They may have had autopsies done which showed the drug, but didn’t show that she had too little to be effective, so the Director didn’t realize she’d be reacting so strongly. It was so creepy and distracting! It was one of the times I was shocked that the team just stood there calmly while the family almost drove over the edge. Why does the director always cut things so close? I didn’t notice the cameras before you pointed them out. That is extra weird, and weird that it was never explained. Maybe the dad was broadcasting it as a sick suicide note? It could have been a suicide pact between the mom and dad, or everyone but Charlotte. I wonder if they’ll come back to it in season 2? They’ve shown some other strange deaths and suicides over the course of the season. The producers trying to keep things interesting, or mankind spiraling toward self-destruction?


    1. “Mankind spiraling towards self destruction” – I like that explanation. But it seems too small to come back to next season, unfortunately. Maybe there was a deleted scene cut for time/pacing?


      1. Maybe they cut something in order to make the opening so exciting. I agree, given what happened at the end of the season it’s a long shot for that family to be discussed again. I do feel like they’ve gone out of their way to show us characters who seem to be picking up on an atmosphere of doom and acting on it. There have been very few random accidents involving good, happy people. It’s all abusers, suicides, cultists, stalkers, addicts, however you want to categorize original Trevor…sociopath? The director may just be inclined toward picking those types. But it also feels like something’s building in both time periods. I think the issue of the culture that the director and the protocols create and how callous it is toward human life will come up. That may reflect back onto our time period, and how people were the ones who started being callous toward human life, and the director was originally supposed to correct that situation.


        1. Well the options are limited. While they’ve stated clearly that the time of death must be know they haven’t directly stated other presumed conditions required. The death must be easily avoidable (except in the case of an important congressman who is worth going throught the extra effort), the host must be healthy enough to complete missions, and the host must not be incarcerated/wanted. Most people in the modern world die of disease or old age, not accidents or foul play. People that are killed resisting arrest aren’t good candidates because they’d just be in jail if they surrendered instead. That mostly leaves victims, unhinged people (suicide dad, cultists, sex bomber), and cops (assuming the Director knows when they should duck). Avoidable farm accidents and the like are pretty rare. I think this natural limitation of showing us believable hosts results in us seeing a darker trend but all of these deaths are necessarily outside the norm.


  5. I can see we’ve both thought about this a lot! I agree, the number of youngish, healthy host candidates is limited, but they were willing to use Gower by getting him treatment for his heart attack, and McLaren was actually saved from an accident, even though it was in the line of duty. There should be a certain number of people they could save from chronic disease, like Gower: asthmatics and Type 1 diabetics occasionally die because they don’t get treated in time, and that’s entirely preventable. Those are the two most common diseases that affect young people, but there are probably others, like burst appendixes, that sometimes don’t get treated quickly enough. I found a chart (link below) which shows that young people die most frequently from intentional injuries and transport accidents, followed by unintentional injuries. Non-communicable diseases are also significant. So you stop the drunk driver from getting in their car and swerving off the road, or worse; stop the mountain climber from putting their foot in the wrong place; stop the construction worker from making a fatal mistake. Those everyday mistakes that lead to avoidable death have to be as common as being kidnapped and murdered, but they don’t differentiate suicide from murders in the chart. Heck, avoidable medical mistakes are a common cause of death. Stop the hospital nurse from giving the patient the wrong medication or dosage.

    But what I’m waiting to see is if they’re showing us certain kinds of deaths as a plot point, or as sensationalism. It would cost extra money to show us a mountain climber, but not necessarily a drowning. It’s harder to make a nurse giving the wrong medication or a guy falling off a ladder look dramatic. So, maybe they give us a mundane example like Gower every once in a while, but show us more exciting deaths most of the time.

    I also tend to write more complicated stories in my head than TV writers put up on the screen, so I kind of expect to be wrong. It’s exciting as hell when a TV show occasionally turns out to have been laying the groundwork for a long term story line all along.

    I also have to say, the sound of the car accident in this episode was so realistic that it was triggering for me. Maybe it’s okay that they don’t show more of them, even though those would be the healthiest hosts with the easiest to avoid deaths.



    1. Neat chart! I’m guessing sensationalism because the writers probably each have their own preventable death they want to write.

      On the drunk drivers, I would think that traveler would suffer the effects of intoxication too so there would be a very low chance of avoiding the accident. It seems that there is normally an ethical restraint against taking hosts more than a minute before death. If you take the drunk driver before they get in the car and just sleep it off in the back seat that wouldn’t make for good TV (nor would taking the drunk driver’s victims who are just driving along not even having an accident), but it seems like it’s more than that. I could see them explaining the need to be very close to the time of death – especially vis-a-vis Grace’s apparent exception to the rule (everything about her arrival is exceptional) – in future episodes.


  6. I’ve wondered how much the travelers can overwrite the conditions they find in the brains they transfer into. Marcy wasn’t developmentally disabled any more, but it cost her. Philip didn’t seem high any more (if he was already high-I wasn’t clear on that), at least in the moment, but he was still addicted. Suicide dad and Donner weren’t supposed to be mentally ill any more, though Donner didn’t act like a normal traveler. Trevor completely lacks original Trevor’s violent tendencies and whatever personality/behavior disorder/ impulse control issue he had. So maybe they could overwrite intoxication? As far as the victims go, the director hasn’t had any problem with letting innocent victims die so far, if it serves the director’s purposes. I think they cut it close because that’s the only way to be sure of where the host is going to be, and it makes for more dramatic TV.

    I agree, Grace was an exception. 027 wanted Grace’s body in particular as her host and was going to wait as long as she possibly could to get it. I’m dying to know why she wanted someone close to Trevor, because I really think he’s the key to something, somehow. Those two, combined, have a huge amount of stored knowledge.


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