OH MY GOD. ALL OF MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE. MY CONSPIRACY THEORIES AREN’T JUST PARANOID DELUSIONS. THERE IS A RIVAL FACTION TRYING TO TOPPLE THE DIRECTOR. 014 AND 027 SAID SO AND THEY HAVE SUPER LOW NUMBERS AND ARE SUPER IMPORTANT SO IT MUST BE TRUE.
But they killed Grace, and Trevor hates them, so what does that mean? But Trevor might be the inside man, so maybe he was stopping the transition into Grace not just because he cared about her (please don’t take that away from me, show), but because he was trying to stop 027 from escaping from the rival faction in the future. Or, maybe 027 and 014 are the rival faction. My head is starting to hurt. Conspiracy theories are complicated. Also, I might still be a little paranoid.
Hold on to your hats, fellow travelers, we got a lot to unpack in this episode.
We start with Marcy and David in bed, Trevor checking the stitches from his organ donor surgery, and the travelers’ wet dream, a farmer working his farm. The farmer gets into trouble using his giant drilling tractor (?) and promptly becomes a traveler. Farming machinery is more dangerous than people realize. The traveler is elated to be outdoors surrounded by plants and animals.
Marcy starts having seizures and passes out. (The farmer’s countdown clock starts out over Marcy, but doesn’t appear to have actually been for her.) David takes her to the hospital, but Marcy can’t stay there because the traveler technology that allows her personality to inhabit original Marcy’s damaged brain also skews MRI results. She tells McLaren that her host’s brain was congenitally underdeveloped, and the treatment she developed has stopped working. Mclaren promises to keep fighting for a cure.
School counselor Grace heads to her car. As she slides into the driver’s seat, Trevor empties a syringe into her neck. Grace has a countdown clock, but she wakes up later in the deep woods with Trevor, hands and feet bound, still having her own personality. It turns out that the name Trevor saw on Philip’s Wall of Death was Grace’s. He’s taken her away from all technology so that the director can’t track her and place a traveler in her.
McLaren has decided to make things up to Kathryn. He’s making her early morning coffee. She’s not impressed. He gets called out to help Marcy after a few minutes. Mission failure on making nice with the host’s wife, which is just as well. He’s confusing his own memories with original McLaren’s.
When Grace wakes up, Trevor tells her EVERYTHING. The location of Grace’s original death had traffic cameras which would have allowed the director to take her no matter how Trevor tried to intervene. He had to get Grace away from any technology the director could use to find her until another host was found for the traveler. Trevor explains that he was sent by the director from the future to perform missions in hopes of saving the world.
Carly gets a call from the CPS case worker, who switches sides again. Because Carly left Jeffrey Jr with baby daddy Jeff for 2 days, the case worker has now decided that Jeff deserves full custody. So, Jeff can come and go as he pleases in the baby’s life, but Carly can’t need a little time and space occasionally. I can’t help but wonder, again, if the case worker has been on Jeff’s side all along, and the push to get a job was a set up. She only needed the job for appearances sake, and the only ones who cared about how things appeared were Jeff and the case worker, who showed up after he filed a complaint. It’s kept Carly busy and distracted from whatever else might be going on in the traveler world, and less effective at taking care of her team and on missions. It’s starting to cause a rift between her and McLaren, as he focusses on Kat instead of Carly, while Carly needs help and support with her custody battle. Is there some divide and conquer happening? Or is McLaren just being a jerk?
McLaren gets a message to greet arriving traveler 0014, no coordinates or time of arrival given. The director, or whoever sent the message, has stooped to exploiting sick children now. Philip and McLaren try to figure out where and when the new traveler will arrive, then split up to wait at the candidates’ death sites. When Philip hears the new traveler’s number, he says, “That’s a low number. Why is the director sending someone so important?” McLaren replies that he’s hoping it’s to help Marcy.
Trevor gives us a minimalist explanation of time travel theory and how the mission to save the future works. He tells Grace that he just wanted her to understand why he saved her life because she’s a good person, and the director will just have to understand and find another candidate. He doesn’t look her in the eye as he says it. Grace asks why they don’t go back to stop World War 2. Trevor replies that they need the host’s precise time and location of death, so only the modern computer era will work.
The traveler doesn’t arrive at either site. Philip realizes Trevor probably intervened.
Philip scrubs Marcy’s MRI result, while McLaren harasses Boyd some more, even trying to go around her to her team’s medic. Turn’s out Boyd is both medic and leader. She agrees to take a look at Marcy. McLaren calls David to bring him in on the plan to sneak Marcy out of the hospital. Boyd gives Marcy a neurotransmitter stimulator that she’d developed for another mission, but it will only help for a short period of time.
Grace convinces Trevor to let her walk back to the car. On the way back, she makes a run for it, reaches the car first, and begins to drive away. As she’s driving, she makes a phone call. That’s enough to get her location into the historical record, and the traveler enters her body, killing Grace anyway. The traveler comes out of the car yelling at 0115 for trying to change history on his own.
Traveler Grace has Trevor get in touch with the team. She tells them to look up host candidates from earlier in the day. There was one, on a farm. They all head out to meet there. Traveler Grace says she’s also there to help Marcy.
At the farm, Grace pounds on the front door to get 014 to open it, telling him he’s safe. He asks who Trevor is, and she says Trevor’s nobody, which is interesting. 014 asks why he should trust Grace and she says, “Cause without me you’d still be writing shitty script prompts in a leaky dome like the grumpy, no imagination, old bastard you are. He lets them in, and says, “027, I’d recognize that tone in any century. You here to hide, too?” She tells him to call her Grace. Yes, she’s there to hide, and yes, he got the defenses up right away.
Grace, Trevor and Ellis/0014 discuss why Grace and Ellis need to hide. They are programmers who are close to the director. Ellis invented some important code, and has been sent back to keep it out of the hands of a faction that’s trying to topple the director. I need to point out that the director is never referred to using pronouns of any kind, and has a job that requires crunching amounts of data beyond human capability. Now it has favorite programmers. The director may have been human once, but it’s a computer now. It might be a computer mind in a human body or many human minds combined to make decisions in a computer, or a single human mind inside a supercomputer, but it’s not a single human living a normal life span.
0014 meets and greets the team. He doesn’t have a mission for them. They are confused. Shouldn’t he tell them he’s in hiding and they’re his reinforcements? Why is he so cagey with everyone about everything? I still think something is off here.
When Marcy arrives, Grace shows her the computer code she’s been working on as they chat. The whole thing starts out seemingly innocent, but it does something to Marcy’s brain and she’s can’t look away. Grace leads Marcy in to dinner when the screen goes dark.
Grace holds court at dinner. She intends to fix Marcy by repackaging the original consciousness upload in order to bypass the damaged areas in her host’s brain. The process will cause her to lose some information, including all of her memories of the 21st century. This means she’ll forget David and her relationship with him. Marcy isn’t sure she wants to go through with the procedure if it means losing that. Grace refuses to consider allowing Marcy the option of refusing the treatment, but she does allow her to go home to talk to David.
Once they get to the apartment, Trevor tells Marcy, “I have a unique perspective on this. In the early days of the technology, my much younger consciousness was transferred out of my body and back in again.”
He tells her that he didn’t feel any different. He was still himself. Philip tells Marcy he just doesn’t want to lose her. They discuss the issue for a few more minutes, when Marcy gets a countdown clock. She was going to die in 10 minutes, but Grace’s transfer happens immediately. Marcy comes back to herself confused, expecting to be in a fight outside the library. The rest of the team welcome her to the 21st and explain the situation in detail off camera. David arrives home, and Marcy introduces herself to him. He’s shocked.
The thing is, they act like losing a few months of memories would be harder to explain than suddenly overcoming her developmental disabilities, and that losing memories is a worse outcome than death. Honey, if you’re alive you can make new memories. Surely as a doctor Marcy would get that basic fact. She would also know that they could use a version of the truth to explain the memory loss. They found a last minute experimental treatment that worked, but resulted in some permanent memory loss. Now we get to fall in love all over again, David! There are real life treatments, like EST, that result in memory loss, and as a social worker David would know that, so no big deal. No need to make the doctor ruled by her emotions and take away her right to make her own medical decisions. As someone who’s already given up her whole life to come to a different time, it shouldn’t be that hard for her to consider starting over with the people she already knows, in a familiar place.
Grace and Ellis discuss their safety one more time. Something’s coming for them, the question is, who or what? And which side will all of our characters turn out to be on? Let’s go find out!
-Did the director really send the message telling McLaren to greet 0014? Doesn’t the director always send the message before the traveler, with the time and coordinates of arrival included? Either it was someone else, possibly another faction, or things are so bad in the future the director was prevented from sending the message when they normally would, and didn’t have all of the usual information.
-“It’s a calculation, really. The director studies the historical record, then assesses which actions to take, some big, some not so big, that will best mitigate the conditions we left behind.”
That’s a lot of power to put in the hands of one person/entity. How long has the director been in charge? How unhappy are people, or are most people still blindly following? Does the director run the whole society, or just the save-the-future-through-the-past wing?
-“For some pretty complicated reasons having to do with ripples in space-time we can only go as far back as the arrival point of the most recent traveler. There’s no do-overs.”
-That answers that question. Does it mean that future time and our time are running in lock step with each other, and they can only send travelers back to whatever time currently corresponds to their present time? Or does it mean what it sounds like? They started with free choice of times, but can never send someone to a previous time to one they’ve already used, again? That second one is very hand wavey and hard to even explain.
-Grace: “014 needs protection. He wrote a backdoor hack that a faction in the future is desperate to get their hands on.” Trevor: “What faction?” Ellis: “A group that’s trying to topple the director and they want to use my code to do it. I came here to hide it so it’s useless.” Grace: “Not useless.” Ellis: “How’s it going to help you in the 21st?” Grace: “I’m trying to save somebody’s life. Is that so hard to believe?” Trevor: “Definitely.” Grace: “I made a mistake and it needs to be corrected.” Ellis: “A hacker with a heart of gold.” Trevor: “You’re programmers!” Ellis: (Pointing to Grace) “This one’s the director’s favorite.” Grace: “When you’re not around.” Ellis: “So, how’s my code going to save a life?” Grace: “You’ll see. I’ll destroy it as soon as I’m done.”
-Trevor is old, but not as old as Grace and Ellis. He was young in the early days of the traveler program, and they created it. He talks about the experiment when he was removed from his body and put back in as if it was forced on him, and Grace refers to him as “nobody”, even though he’s a respected engineer. He talked about the 30+% misfire rate in the early days. How many of those misfires were people he cared about? We saw how callous traveler Grace was about original Grace. How did she act when she was young, zealous, and thought she was the one who could save the world?
-Trevor is very quick to ask “What faction?” like it matters to him. Like there’s one in particular he belongs to and is helping. He looks very upset that he’s failed to save Grace through the entire rest of the episode, even though he hardly knew her, and has watched many people die. He embraced meat-eating, which means killing animals, and never had Philip’s issues with guilt over the host candidates they couldn’t save. He left his friend Blue to her death without a second thought. Why is he so upset about Grace? Was he in love, or, more likely, was it his mission to stop the transfer of 027?
-Grace: “How conversant are you with the theory of quantum entanglement?” Marcy: “I know it’s the basis of how we transfer consciousness.” Grace: “And in order for that to happen, an alignment has to occur. Unforgiving precision. A misfire will kill the incoming consciousness. We need to be 100% locked in.” Marcy: “What was that?” Grace: “Oh, just a calibration test of sorts.”
-What did Grace just do to Marcy? It prepped her for the overwrite that’s forced on her later, but was there something more added in?
-In this week’s episode of What Happens to the Female Character’s Without Their Consent, Grace is kidnapped and drugged, and Marcy is overwritten, with her right to choose her own medical treatment, ot refuse treatment, taken away. Both have these actions forced on them for their own good, of course. Marcy’s have the added layer of supposedly being necessary for the mission, because her individual rights are not as important as the director’s, or 027’s, needs. Trevor doesn’t try to lure Grace away from technolgy with a convincing story. He chooses what’s most expedient for him. IT’S NOT OK TO JUST DO SHIT TO WOMEN’S BODIES PEOPLE, EVEN IF YOU’VE DECIDED IT’S IN THEIR BEST INTEREST. Unless someone is incapacitated and you have medical power of attorney, back off. Women who are in danger, women who are ill, and women who are dying are still adults with the right to make decisions for themselves.
-On the plus side, I forgot Officer Boyd in my list of recurring female characters last episode. She’s physically okay, at least, but McLaren is reaching the level of a stalker with her. He breaks protocol and risks her safety by approaching her in public and at her workplace whenever he wants, no matter how many times she tells him to stop. She is the senior officer, yet McLaren walks all over her. He did the same thing to Delaney, commandeering her lab and ordering her around. The male characters are treated with more respect, even when they are adversaries. Rick Hall, Luka and Donner were taken care of according to protocol. Gleason was left alive, armed, and doing whatever he pleased, until the director needed to use his body. When Hall suggested they take Forbes out of the equation, McLaren took Hall out instead, in a by-the-book arrest. No stalking, drugs, kidnapping, or memory erasure required. Trevor has been talking to his father to try to mend their relationship, and no one has ever even suggested touching baby daddy Jeff (other than a few idle threats from Carly), when a nice drugging and memory erasure would do wonders for either of them. The team lies to and works around Forbes and David, even asking those two for help when needed, rather than kidnapping and drugging them. Yet Kathryn, Grace, Marcy, Delaney, and Boyd, who have been nothing but allies, do not get the same respect.
-As a matter of fact, Jeff turned the tables on Carly again this episode, and threatened her with a restraining order. Is she incapable of hiring her own lawyer, say, Ray, and a private detective to get dirt on Jeff? Doesn’t she know a hacker who could plant blackmail evidence? Oh wait. Carly is turning into a helpless victim in her personal life, unable to do simple research to figure out how to fight back. Yes, it’s a tough situation to get out of. But she could at least hire a lawyer, look into women’s shelters, demand a law guardian to advocate for the baby. She’s supposed to be a trained operative, and her team should be watching out for her as well. Yet she’s being written as a typical female character who’s physically a badass but easily overwhelmed by her emotions in her personal life. Eventually one of the male characters will step in and save her from Jeff, because only the men get to be strong and heroic on this show. Women get to be heroic while overcoming their emotions and challenges, if they get to be heroic at all.
-Sadly, the misogyny is just something I need to point out, not something that would make me stop watching the show at this time. It exists in almost every show, and is so deeply rooted in our culture the showrunners probably don’t realize how much of it there is in their show. The only way to make things better is to shine a light on them.
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.