The opening scene of this episode might be one of the best scenes of the entire series. Secretary Hayes and his wife are jogging through the woods when he gets a phone call. As he takes the call, he stops to sit on a wall overlooking a steep drop down to a bay. He’s boasting about pushing a pipeline through despite ethical and environmental objections. When Hayes hangs up the phone, he complains that he’s sweating, and that the exercise is going to kill him. Mrs. Hayes pulls a towel out of her waist pack that’s way too big for the size of the pack (traveler magic? 😉 probably an extremely tight fold) and replies, “Oh, honey, don’t be silly. That isn’t going to be what kills you.” Hayes looks confused as she shoves him off the wall, down the steep drop, to his death. She looks around to double-check that she wasn’t observed, then starts crying and calling for help. Well-played, Mrs. Hayes, well-played. Who of us hasn’t had that fantasy about someone?
Cut to Marcy and David enjoying a cup of relaxing, snobby, organic morning coffee. They are in Seattle, after all. The sexual tension has finally gotten to David, so he asks Marcy to find her own place. But he feels really, really terrible about it. Marcy must have lost her subsidized apartment when Ken found out the truth about her, because she had her own place when we met her.
Baby daddy Jeff is continuing his hobby of harassing travelers. This morning it’s McLaren’s turn. Jeff shows up at the FBI office to warn McLaren off his woman. The guy’s got some balls for a beat cop. Aren’t law enforcement agencies a bit territorial, and prone to pulling rank on each other? Showing up on McLaren’s home turf is nervy, either way. Next he’ll go straight to peeing on Carly to mark his territory. Great guy.
Carly is at a landscaping center for a job interview. She gets the job and is told to report for work the next morning. The CPS case worker must have come through for her. It’s good that Carly has someone in her corner besides the team, who aren’t allowed to do much for her. When Carly arrives at work the next day, her job offer is rescinded. The boss did a background check and discovered that Jeff filed charges against her for assaulting a police officer. He has a strange way of showing affection. That’s not the way you win a woman back where I come from, but, of course, he wants power and control, not a true relationship. What’s really sick is how often this story plays out in real life, and how difficult it is for the women to find people who believe them. Women are considered less trustworthy than men, from Adam and Eve to Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton.
Trevor’s dad sits him down for a serious talk. Trevor’s school issues have worsened, so his parents have decided to send Trevor to a military boarding school in Idaho. Maybe they should try talking to him like a human being occasionally, that always worked with my kids. Or maybe it’s time for Trevor to look into becoming an emancipated minor, since military boarding school would significantly affect his ability to participate in missions. Shouldn’t the director help him out with this situation?
The director’s busy micromanaging McLaren this episode, instead. He finds a mysterious package in his car, which I was sure was a bomb or something from Jeff (my paranoia keeps me alive, okay?), but I was wrong. It’s a black case the size of a paperback book that’s sealed up so tight that none of Philip’s high tech attempts to figure out what’s inside are successful. No intel for you, McLaren, you’re being punished for all of that improvisation. The package comes with a note to keep the case with him at all times. Later, as McLaren is driving through the city, Mrs Hayes, who turns out to be traveler 3112, remotely unlocks his car doors and gets in. She’s there to brief him on his mission. He has a flight to catch that afternoon, where he’ll be seated next to his target, Congressman Bishop. The case will open mid-flight, at which point McLaren will be made aware of its purpose. McLaren drops her off at Secretary Hayes’ funeral. The director is playing with US politics.
Jeff continues his life-ruining spree by going to McLaren’s HOUSE, and telling Kathryn about Carly and McLaren’s affair. He embellishes the facts to make it look worse than it is (in this time period). He’s all charm and sincerity, so of course she believes him when he confirms her suspicions. When Kathryn calls her husband and discovers he’s taking a last minute flight, she assumes it’s because of his affair. She hops on the flight herself, because she’s forgotten he’s an FBI agent, lost all self-respect, and given over her life to stalking her cheating husband. As one does when one is a mature professional woman with a life of one’s own. Be that as it may, she’s on the plane to give McLaren a good reason to screw up the director’s plan when the plane gets into trouble.
McLaren is nervous about flying, but gets on the flight anyway. Bishop sits next to him, having come straight from Hayes’ funeral. Bishop is talking on the phone about the pipeline bill, and says that Hayes’ death shouldn’t affect it.
Moment of respect for everything flight attendants have to put up with.
Marcy slept at headquarters after David asked her to find somewhere else to stay. Philip has taken over doing her spinal taps, but his hands are shaky since he’s trying to stay off the heroin again. He’s continued going to support groups with Ray. Philip apologizes to her for not helping her with her medical condition more. She says that David’s been helping her draw the Cerebral Spinal Fluid she needs to make the serum she’s using to buy herself some time. She goes back to David’s later to pick up her things, and he feels so bad about making her leave that he starts trying to give her his stuff, too. He says he feels like he’s dying inside, he misses her so much already. She responds by telling him she’s literally dying. The seizures are a symptom of a larger illness, which the show still won’t identify. Whatever it is, Marcy has a relatively short, but unspecified, amount of time. David gets upset that she was going to leave without telling him. They finally kiss for real. Marcy gets the message that McLaren is in trouble mid-kiss. Nice timing, Philip and director.
Trevor and his father finally have a talk where they connect as people. Gary has noticed that Trevor doesn’t look up to him the same way since he stopped playing football. Trevor points out that Gary has treated him pretty badly as well. They come to some kind of understanding and agree to watch golf together later that day. Trevor is about to sit down to watch when he gets the message to come to headquarters. That’s not going to go over well.
Carly confronts Jeff outside of the police station. He keeps his cool and reminds her of all of the times she’s supposedly assaulted him, while everyone knows he’s a good family man. She tells him how original Carly was meant to die the night traveler Carly took over. He tells her she’s crazy and needs help. She replies that what she needs is a job, but he’s made it impossible for her to get one. She comes back with Jeff Jr a while later and hands the baby to baby daddy Jeff. She tells him that if he wants to make things right, he can start by spending time with his son while she goes on job interviews. She’ll just have to tell the truth about the assault allegations up front. She talks as if Jeff never spends time with his son, but we were told multiple times, early in the season, that the baby was with his father for the day or overnight. Are they retconning this? Or did the writers make a mistake?
Carly goes to headquarters instead to get help, since she hasn’t been able to raise McLaren on the phone. When she looks up his flight number to see what time it will land, Philip realizes that the flight will crash and everyone on board is meant to die. He calls the team in and they chase the flight in the van so that they will be there to offer whatever assistance they can after the crash. McLaren is out of com range for the moment.
The plane runs into trouble, as expected. There’s heavy turbulence and lithium batteries catch fire in the cargo hold. The black case opens at nearly the last moment. Philip explains that it’s a two person stasis field designed to protect McLaren and Bishop from the crash, then throw them clear on the ground. McLaren asks the team to come up with a way to save Kathryn too, since she wasn’t supposed to be on the plane. The stasis field can’t be modified, but the tail section survived the crash, so McLaren puts Kathryn in stasis and climbs into the tail section. The flight attendant relays a message from the director, who tells him to stay on mission. The director wants McLaren to survive, and doesn’t care about Kathryn. Or maybe they want to get rid of Kathryn, since she’s a distraction.
The plane crashes in a spectacular show of special effects. Bishop and Kathryn survive, but Bishop is immediately taken over by a traveler, who says he expected to be met by EMTs. Kathryn looks on as the travelers introduce themselves. McLaren is rescued by the team of EMTs as the episode ends.
-Goading Kathryn into taking the flight would have been a good way to distract McLaren from completing his mission, if that was Jeff’s mission. So would continuously harassing Carly, so that McLaren missed his flight while he was trying to help her. I realize I’m probably wrong about Jeff, but, what the heck, doesn’t hurt to notice these coincidences. Jeff is overly committed to harassing not just Carly, but also Marly, David, and McLaren. Even Philip got a parking ticket, which could be enough to get a heroin addict who has an arrest record, but no license, and who’s been flagged by the FBI, in trouble.
-The only one Jeff’s left alone is Trevor, the potential inside man for the opposition, and potentially the most valuable member of the team. Is that really a coincidence? Trevor seems so good, almost pure and innocent, but he’s also very old and has strong values. We know very little about him or his history. I desperately want some back story episodes where we learn more about the team’s past in the future, and the history and culture of the future in general. At least give us more insight into the director and the traveler program.
-Both Bishop and Hayes were working on pushing through this pipeline before they were killed. In the original timeline, Secretary Hayes lived and Bishop died. Now, Hayes is dead, meaning a new secretary will be appointed (we aren’t told what he was secretary of, likely the interior or the department of energy). Bishop is alive, but controlled by a traveler. Presumably that pipeline led to an environmental disaster in the future, and encouraged the continued use of fossil fuels long after cleaner fuel sources were available. So, the director is taking steps to make sure it’s never built this time around, avoiding the environmental degradation that goes along with fracking, oil spills, fossil fuel emissions, drilling for oil and running pipelines through unspoiled habitats and on native lands.
-The EMTS got to McLaren very quickly, as quickly as the team got to Bishop and Kathryn, which means the director knew where he was and wanted him saved. The EMTs didn’t go to Bishop, the director trusted the team with him, even though the team hadn’t been told to join the mission. The director must have known that once McLaren made the decision to help Kathryn, two emergency teams would be needed, and trusted Marcy to handle Bishop’s more minor needs. Despite all of the admonitions they get against improvising, the director is actually okay with it in the end. There weren’t bodies throwing themselves in front of McLaren to stop him from saving Kathryn, or even multiple messages from dying passengers. Just one message for form’s sake, and otherwise the team was allowed to do as they pleased.
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.