This episode is a race against time, as more travelers who have been tortured while bound to wheelchairs are discovered, and the team realizes they have a serious problem on their hands. These travelers died instead of escaping, but their team leader was spared, so Mac and the gang race to find him and the man responsible for the abductions. There is also a significant time jump, allowing the team to become old hands at living in the 21st, and the spring flowers to become dreary fall clouds.
We open with Mac watching Kat through his rainy car window as she approaches. She’s all out of focus and flowing, idealized and soft. Here we go again. He gets so annoying when he decides to be the perfect husband to his perfect 21st century model wife. Future girls never looked like that.
She gets in the car and asks if he’s told Walt about the baby. He replies that he hasn’t told anybody. They share a soft, secret smile. Ha, he’s not keeping it from people solely for the reason she thinks.
Cut to an abandoned building with bloody, tortured travelers bound to wheelchairs, being asked familiar questions by the screen in front of them. What is your mission? When are you from? The sound of a gunshot can be heard as the screen goes dark.
Three months later, a construction crew discovers the bodies, still in their wheelchairs. Boyd, MacLaren and Forbes meet at the crime scene. Mac’s glad Boyd’s bullet proof vest worked when he shot her in the chest in S1 Ep12, while she thinks one shot would have been enough. He claims it was professional instinct to shoot twice, because that’s the way they do it in the FBI, okay?
Small talk over, Boyd asks about the Faction. Forbes confirms that Shelter 41 didn’t collapse in the current future, and instead has become the home of the rebel Faction, which has been around for years in the future. Mac remembers that Boyd told him teams have been disappearing like this for a long time, so this can’t be the work of the Faction.
Boyd always assumed the Director was disappearing teams. Mac says the Director isn’t capable of what’s being done to these teams. Forbes wonders if letting these abductions and murders happen isn’t just as bad. That’s one of the big questions of the season: Why does
God the Director let bad things happen to good people? And are there an unlimited number of replacement souls in the future?
Boyd tells Mac that his team can examine the scene once the official investigators are done.
Gary drives Trevor, who is still using a cane, to a spot near a park or school, and drops him off, comforting Trevor about his injury and slow physical progress as they go. Gary is clearly the one who’s having a hard time. He loved watching Trevor play football. Trevor gets dropped off, then runs the last few blocks. The medical nanites have done their work.
Marcy now works in a hospital as an Xray technician. A cute doctor is interested in her, but hasn’t mustered up the courage to ask her out.
Trevor jogs into headquarters and straight to the computer. He checks the travelers deep web to see if they, or any other team, anywhere, have gotten a mission. Still nothing, after 2,163 hours, or 90 days.
Phillip is welding the side of a tall cabinet. There are a few large unexplained new pieces of technology running, such as servers, computers, or data storage.
Carly and Jeff are practicing some intense yoga together. He’s drenched in sweat, she’s fine. Carly is as hardcore as ever. Jeff is still trying to win her back.
The team watch the news reports on the four bodies, then investigate the scene. Carly patrols the perimeter outside. Phillip and Trevor made a new device to help search for clues which makes a high-pitched whine when it’s turned up too high. Marcy finds a lost com.
Carly sees a man getting ready to bomb the building and warns everyone to get out, then shoots him, but he still manages to detonate the bomb. The team gets out just in time, as the building collapses to the ground and buries the evidence.
Back at headquarters, Phillip analyzes the data surrounding the dead team, while Trevor works on the com. Phillip determines that traveler 2192 was part of the team, but not abducted.
David has reunited with his old girlfriend Blair. She marvels at how amazing he is now, but he insists he’s the same guy. When Blair develops severe stomach cramps, David brings her to the hospital. She doesn’t have insurance, so David asks Marcy to give her an Xray and read it herself, as a favor.
Marcy discovers a large mass in Blair’s stomach. David immediately knows that it’s cotton balls, because Blair has done this before. She eats them as a weight loss method, to fill up her stomach with something other than food. (This is a real thing. Don’t do it. It’s stupid and dangerous.)
Sylvie Ward visits FBI headquarters to see if her husband, Jacob, has any connection to the missing persons, since he went missing at the same time. MacLaren interviews her, and figures out that the missing husband is the missing traveler. He contacts the team and orders them to find out what they can about Jacob Ward. He also tells them to tap Sylvie’s phone.
Trevor realizes that Phillip is using more and more of Jenny’s eye drops. He questions Phillip’s increasing dosage, but Phillip becomes defensive and claims that the drug is Marcy approved. We never saw Marcy approve it. It’s strange that Marcy would let the issue go, when she was living at headquarters for a while, seeing Phillip use the drops. The excuse will be that she was busy finding a job and an apartment.
When Mac gets to headquarters, Phillip and Trevor tell him that Jacob has been in hiding since mid-May. Someone besides them already has a tap on Sylvie’s phone. Trevor has Jacob/2192’s com working, so they contact him. He refuses to talk, since they haven’t been given this mission by the Director. Mac keeps talking, but 2192 cuts his com out of his neck. Mac has an idea about where 2192 will go next.
Mac goes to Jacob and Sylvie’s house, where she’s nervous and her phone is broken. He brushes past her into the house, causing Jacob to run out the back door, yelling that he told them to stay away. Carly pursues and catches him. Jacob tells them that the Director assigned them to investigate the disappearances and torture of traveler teams all over the world, but “they” found his team before the team could… A sniper shoots him in the chest before he finishes the sentence. The sniper only fires one bullet.
Carly and Mac rush Jacob to headquarters so that Marcy can try to save him. Carly continues to question him on the way, while putting pressure on the wound:
Jacob: They covered their tracks. We do know that the buildings, every one, that travelers were taken to, all around the world… owned by numbered companies. Shells, but under one conglomerate.
He passes out before he can give them the name of the company or owner. Marcy tries to save him, but he’s too far gone.
Beth, MacLaren’s FBI assistant, finds that the sole owner of the building the most recent four bodies were found in is Vincent Ingram. She’s set up a meeting for Mac at Ingram’s estate half an hour from downtown.
Phillip didn’t find the information first because he’s lost his eye drops and is having withdrawal symptoms. He’s torn headquarters apart looking for them, and accuses Trevor of stealing them. Trevor finds the drops under a table.
David leaves a phone message for Marcy, inviting her to dinner with him and Blair, who he keeps forgetting to mention in the message. He also makes a fish dish now, in addition to his famous chicken and his famous pasta. Yay, character growth.
Carly and Jeff meet with their social worker, having met with their counselor regularly for the last three months. They act completely happy to be together, and try to describe what counseling has done for them. The caseworker finally stops them and says that they’re putting on a good show.
She doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, since it means that they are willing to work hard to keep their son. She lets them have Jeff back. When they bring the baby back to the apartment, Jeff opens a bottle of champagne to celebrate, even though he promised he’d quit drinking.
Mac is forced to leave his cell phone and all other electronics outside before he enters Vincent’s home. Vincent is impatient and rude, trying to give as little information as possible, and get Mac back out the door quickly. Taylor comes in to hurry Vincent along so they can spend time together. Vincent tells him to take the dog outside with him.
He asks if Mac and his wife have children yet, then tells MacLaren that there’s still time. It’s not creepy and slightly threatening at all.
Vincent is sure he’s met Mac before, but Mac doesn’t remember the meeting. After they’ve spoken for a few minutes, Vincent remembers where it was. They both attended the same charity event five years ago. He also remembers Katherine very well. Mac decides that it’s time to leave.
Mac insists that Phillip break into Vincent’s computers, but Vincent has the best security in the 21st century. Phillip isn’t sure he can get through, even though he has future-level abilities. MacLaren stops being nice and ends up yelling. Phillip finally gets through the last firewall, only to discover Vincent’s files and photos of the travelers he’s abducted.
Marcy goes to David’s for dinner and asks him to tell her what she was like before the memory reboot. He tells her how she affected him, but that’s not what Marcy is looking for. His loving feelings are great, but he wants her to define herself through how he sees her, and that’s not okay. She deserves to be the person she’s meant to be, not the person David wants.
Blair comes home just as Mac calls Marcy to headquarters, so Marcy escapes from the awkward dinner.
Vincent has an extensive file on each of them, including in-home surveillance photos of the people they’re close to. No one is safe from him. They decide to assassinate him that night on a stealth mission to his house, even though the Director hasn’t sent them an order. Trevor registers his disagreement with the plan.
Vincent has also ordered the team assassinated by his personal army, who are moving into place outside headquarters while the team assembles their weapons. Vincent drinks a cup of tea while Taylor plays in the yard. Taylor runs close to the edge of the property, making Vincent nervous for his safety.
When Taylor reaches the outer edge of the backyard, he’s taken over to deliver a message: “Traveler 001, stop your pursuit of traveler 3468 and his team immediately.”
He grabs Taylor and they leave the estate as quickly as possible, telling the guards that they won’t be returning.
There is a pounding on headquarters front door. A little girl is standing outside with a message: “Traveler 3468, you are off mission. Stand down immediately or face repercussions.”
McLaren takes the little girl home, walking by several vans full of Vincent’s retreating soldiers as they go.
It’s approximately early September in universe. What was happening in the future during the three months that the Director was silent? Was the Director reconfiguring the Grand Plan, or was a civil war being fought? If so, who won?
Protocol 2 was probably put in place to help avoid travelers getting caught when they were overheard, but it’s now detrimental to the mission, because they can’t share information that would help them recognize when things have gone wrong. Mac should have interrogated Forbes to find out exactly how and why everything has changed. The way they all blindly follow orders from kids and accept new travelers without question is scary.
This is a dystopian future where free will has been given over to a machine that’s followed unquestionably. What happens when the machine is compromised? What happens when the people taking major action that affects the future don’t realize the machine is compromised? I think we’re going to find out.
What we actually see when Kat first approaches the car is her reflection in the window from the outside, as she would see herself, then it quickly switches to Mac’s perspective. Neither of them is seeing reality. She’s not seeing the real him at all, only what he wants her to see. He’s only seeing the blurry image of something he never thought he could have, not the real woman who’s in real pain, and whose pregnancy puts her life in danger.
Jeff is alone with the therapist for a few minutes, and begins to ask the therapist how much he knows about guilt, before Carly’s arrival interrupts him. Drinking out of guilt would theoretically drive him further into alcoholism, but it’s also a redeemable issue.
Last season, Grace said that the Faction was responsible for the team’s abduction in episode 5. She decided to come back to the 21st and reboot the Director because she had evidence that the Director had been corrupted, but I don’t think she was ever specific about what the evidence was, which makes her motives suspect, now that we know it was Vincent instead of the Faction. Or is Vincent the founder of the Faction?
This is what was said in S1 Ep12:
Philip: “What’s happening in the future while it’s offline?” McLaren: “Chaos, probably.” Grace: “A temporary power struggle. The Faction doesn’t believe in the Grand Plan. Even before Helios had basically no effect on the future, they had already started a mission to abandon ship. Your team knows firsthand the brutality they’re capable of.” Carly: “You mean they’re the ones who put us in those cages? Tortured us?” Grace, nodding her head Yes: “To test your loyalty, and to make sure you couldn’t complete a mission they disagreed with. That was the first real proof I had that they’d managed to implement some of their agenda. So I came back here into the 21st to stop them.”
Note that she either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, about Vincent, which means the Director is either keeping long term secrets, or also doesn’t know or care about him.
Vincent’s sniper shot Jacob, but no one else, even though they could have shot the team as well. The shot was meant to stop Jacob from revealing Vincent’s involvement.
In both teams that we’ve seen taken, the leader has been left behind. Coincidence, or purposely leaving a witness to spread the story and breed fear?
Vincent pretty clearly knows where the team, and all other travelers, are at all times and could take them out if he wanted to. He has massive access to current surveillance, but he also has access to future knowledge. He’s had 15 years to set up a network that stretches into the future, and it seems that if he did, he kept himself invisible to the historical record at the same time. That would mean handing down messages through oral histories and paper documents that stayed within families so that they were never published.
The Director (or whoever sent the two messengers) didn’t order Vincent to self-terminate, in the one message we’ve witnessed directly, rather than through 001’s paranoid eyes. The Director, or the messenger, anyway, also told 3468 to stop, rather than helping them destroy Vincent.
There was no electronic signal to alert the Director to Vincent’s whereabouts when Taylor gave Vincent the message from the future.
So Vincent isn’t actually protecting himself any more, if he ever was, the capture and torture of traveler teams isn’t about him, and traveler teams aren’t being sent to investigate him. The Director does know where and who he is.
The teams are being sent to investigate Taylor. The photo that Irene snapped and sent to her friend showed 001 sleeping with an infant in his arms. The Director is interested in the child of a traveler.
Vincent is a mass murdering serial killer with something huge to protect that’s driven him to insane levels of paranoia, which he can act on, thanks to being one of the wealthiest men on the planet. What is the most precious thing in the world to him? His son. This is all about keeping Taylor out of the hands of other travelers and the Director.
Where will Vincent and Taylor go now, and how will they get there? Does he have vehicles that circulate heavy water?
Someone is the John Connor in this situation, who passed down the information on how to prevent the collapse of Shelter 41 and use the miserable living conditions as a starting point for the rebel Faction. The candidates so far are Taylor, MacLaren’s baby, and Aleksander, who was name checked in episode 2, but has always been a dark horse. Taylor will have the resources to set up a long-lasting shadow organization.
We also don’t know how the brains of the child messengers are affected long term. Could Taylor and/or Aleksander have found other messengers after they remembered or the effects manifested, and they banded together to form the first wave of the Faction, with Vincent as the honorary Founding Father?
The Director didn’t kill or capture Taylor when it had the chance, so it doesn’t know that he’s the rebel leader, if he is. Or maybe it couldn’t get the resources in place to capture him before he and Vincent left town. Or maybe the Director is more compromised than it was before Grace’s reboot.
Children are becoming a major theme this season, with the next episode specifically about Protocol 4, Do not reproduce.
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.