Travelers Season 1 Episode 8: Donner Recap


All three male members of the team are talking to prostitutes online and I am very confused. McLaren, in particular, has both a wife and a girlfriend. The man must be insatiable. Ooooh, it’s a mission. And the sex workers end up dead, because that’s what always happens on TV. Wouldn’t want to appear to condone prostitution. It has nothing to do with misogyny at all.

So, anyway, all three male members of the team are chatting up online prostitutes for purely platonic purposes. Philip is giving the prostitute a hard time about intimacy, but she just asks if he’s hard. Maybe Ray was on the right track when he asked if Philip had a boyfriend. Or maybe Philip isn’t interested in cybersex with a girl who’s about to die. McLaren gets told he’s “dad hot,” just to yank McLaren’s (and Eric MacCormack’s) chain a bit. Trevor gets lost in listening to his assignment’s happiest memory. Once again I wonder just how old a soul Trevor is.

The death countdown clock hits zero and the travelers enter the prostitutes without a hitch, but a minute later their feed is lost. The bomb that killed them wasn’t defused by a fourth traveler, Donner, like it was supposed to be, so the three women are all dead. Once again, I wonder why the director cuts these transitions so close.

The FBI arrives to investigate the scene. Forbes tells McLaren that the bomber has left the scene, which disagrees with the travelers historical record. He should be dead or have defused the bomb. If the transition was successful, but Donner failed to defuse the bomb, he should have reached out to McLaren’s team. McLaren goes to search for Donner. A fourth sex worker arrives at the crime scene and explains that Donner was obsessed with her. He’d been threatening the company she worked for since they discouraged employees from having relationships with clients.

Trevor gets called into his guidance counselor’s office at school. One of his teachers has accused Trevor of cheating on the midterm because Trevor did too well on the test. They are going to let Trevor retake the test, and the counselor, Grace, offers to help him study. I wish I could blame this convoluted logic on bad writing, but it’s all too common in public schools. How can a kid like original Trevor turn his life around when no one will give him the benefit of the doubt? Kids can, and do, realize that they are on the wrong track, and decide to make drastic changes from one day to the next. Trevor and Grace grow closer as they study together. They exchange books that are meaningful to them. Trevor ends up having to miss the test because of traveler business, which is not going to look good. He and Grace look like they’re developing feelings for each other. I don’t want to see Trevor get his heart broken by a younger/older woman, poor baby.

Carly has a hearing scheduled in her CPS case. Marcy tells her she should let baby daddy Jeff have custody of Jeffrey Jr since it would make going on missions easier. I can only hope that Marcy doesn’t know Jeff’s history of abuse. Otherwise, that was way out of character for sensitive soul Marcy. Carly goes to the hearing without a lawyer, but Philip arrives to speak for her. All that memorization probably includes a law degree. Jeff publicly accuses Carly of assaulting him and earning money through prostitution. He goads her into exploding at him in front of the judge, then sits back with a smug look of satisfaction that I’m sure we’d all like to punch off his face, no matter how non-violent we usually are. Philip finds a ticket on his car when he comes out of the hearing, undoubtedly from Jeff or one of his cronies. Jeff has been very busy destroying as many lives as possible this week. The CPS case worker shows up at Carly’s house a 2nd time, this time with a warrant. Carly explains to her that Jeff is abusive, but no one will help because he’s a cop. The case worker comes to Carly’s house a third time, off the books, to tell Carly that she’s on her side. The case worker will help Carly get a job and combat Jeff’s allegations, because she’s seen the system fail too many women like Carly. That was a fast turnaround on the case worker’s part, for no apparent reason. Nothing in Carly’s situation changed, and the case worker has had these facts all along. I’m not sure what to make of it. Hopefully she’s on the level.

ETA: The case worker saw Carly’s bruises when she visited the second time, granted, but it shouldn’t have taken that for her to believe that Carly is being abused, and she should have noticed the other signs. There are other ways Carly could have gotten the bruises. Why believe her word on that when the caseworker didn’t believe her before, after watching Jeff in the courtroom, etc? It’s part of the case worker’s job to be watching for signs that Carly and/or Jeff jr are being abused, and the signs were there. Needing proof in the form of injuries and being able to prove in court how the injuries were received, instead of believing the woman, is how women like Carly end up dead, which was her original fate.

McLaren finds Donner, but Donner doesn’t seem to know about travelers. He knocks out McLaren’s com and runs away. McLaren eventually tracks him down again as Donner is packing a bag to go on the run long-term. Back at FBI headquarters, McLaren turns off the surveillance devices in the interrogation room, and tries to get through to Donner. Donner still plays dumb, even though McLaren is understanding of his mistakes and offering help. Donner sticks to original Donner’s story of being an obsessive religious fanatic until his lawyer shows up, then he tries to betray McLaren and the travelers. He’s traveler 4022, and he’s ready to tell them everything, in order to get to live in a world above ground (called it).

Donner is given a meeting with an assistant district attorney to discuss his evidence of a widespread conspiracy made up of travelers from the future. It turns out that everyone in the meeting is a traveler who is loyal to the director. After hearing Donner’s full confession, and holding an immediate trial, all of the travelers in the room and watching an online stream vote on his punishment. 4022 is found guilty of treason, for which the punishment is death by immediate overwrite. Another traveler takes over Donner’s body within moments. The director isn’t fooling around on this one, they shut Donner up quick. Traveler 4024 is just happy to be here, despite the fact that “here” will soon be a federal prison. At least it’s not underground.

During his trial, Donner says he practiced defusing the bomb a thousand times before the mission, but it didn’t work when it came to the real thing. He claims the director didn’t give him enough time. The director does cut things very close, as I often point out. For a good reason, or, occasionally, to sabotage a mission like this one? Or, has watching Mr Robot made me too paranoid?

David’s boss Ken tells him slimy police officer/baby daddy Jeff has turned David in for having an inappropriate relationship with Marcy, since he’s still her case worker. David invites Ken over for dinner so that he can see how normal Marcy is. Marcy impresses Ken with her normalcy. Then McLaren shows up, in need of a new com, and Ken wants to know what Marcy does for the FBI. Special Agent McLaren tells him it’s none of his business and leaves (the FBI is touchy like that). Ken fires David the next day, pissed off that Marcy has clearly committed social benefits fraud. David has no good explanation, so he leaves. Marcy eventually uses some of Philip’s gambling winnings to buy Ken off. She tells him to hire David back, saying that David’s doing some important work for the FBI, and he needs the cover job.

Philip bets on several horse races to get Marcy the money she needs, but loses his bets on two of the five races. The future timeline is changing.

McLaren escorts Donner to his prison transport. Donner lets it slip to McLaren that things are getting worse in the future, not better. McLaren asks if they’ve at least found more fuel for the reactor, but Donner refuses to answer because of protocol 2. As Donner stares out of the prison window, he is approached by Luka, traveler 2587. Luka assumes that Donner has also been abandoned by the director, but Donner explains that he is on a mission. Luka is unimpressed.



-Trevor’s traveler number is 0115, 2 digits lower than chief engineer Blue’s, which was 0117. If traveler number indicates age, Trevor is the oldest traveler we’ve seen. I don’t recall hearing any other number below 2000, does anyone else?

-4022 and 4024 would be very young, then, and easier for the director to fool if they were putting those 2 on missions that were going to be sabotaged. Most traveler numbers seem to be in the 3,000s, though I haven’t kept a tally.

-Trevor must be important, if he’s been kept alive so long, which could explain why the director puts up with the team’s improvisation. You’d want a creative team to protect a valuable asset, and you’d put a valuable asset on an elite team that was allowed to bend the rules. You might not advertise any of that, because you wouldn’t want to leave your team open to kidnappers and assassins. That may be why Mclaren gives out his number freely, but the others almost never do.

-They’ve made a point of showing us travelers are everywhere and can be anyone. The other travelers may or may not know that they are travelers until they reveal themselves. There’s nothing in their appearance or manner that let’s other travelers recognize each other for sure. THEY CAN HIDE FROM EACH OTHER IN PLAIN SIGHT.

-They’ve also made a point of showing us that not all travelers are happy or loyal. They go rogue and betray the director’s plans, the director abandons them, they screw up and decide to survive any way they can. A conspiracy against the director isn’t that big a leap, is it? Or a conspiracy against the master plan to change history. Especially if the director’s making the future worse instead of better.

-Which brings me to time travel speculation. They’ve given us very little time travel theory. We don’t know how the travelers are transferred, how many times a soul can transfer, if there is a limit, and, most importantly, does the director get a do over? If they fail to prevent a death on the first try, can they send another traveler back to try again in a different host? The helios event was presumably too complicated to recreate the solution again, but could they redo these smaller missions as many times as they want until they get them right?


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.


Traveler numbers:






3 thoughts on “Travelers Season 1 Episode 8: Donner Recap

  1. It’s not for “no apparent reason” that the caseworker changes her mind. It’s because she sees bruises on Carly’s arm. Re-watch the episode.


  2. Please… like most anything else in the entertainment industry this show supports if not advocates sex workers while pretending they don’t. That unnecessary “supportive” comment from the social worker to Carly said it all.

    Also, I agree with JenG. That social worker saw the bruise and Carly finally reigned in her temper to get her on side.


  3. I was being facetious in my first two paragraphs. Of course they used prostitutes so that they could show some T&A. Travelers is one of the better shows on TV as far as treatment of women goes, but that’s not saying much.

    Yes, I know that the social worker saw the bruises. I think I’ll edit that in. There were numerous signs that Carly was being abused before that, but the social worker ignored them. She sees bruises and does a complete 180 degree turnaround? It was nonsensical and infuriating, as if the social worker only believed Carly when a man vouched for her testimony.

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