The team is ordered to take part in not one, but two terrorist attacks this episode, occurring simultaneously, against a thinly veiled version of agribusiness conglomerate Monsanto and MacLaren’s old friend Congressman Bishop. They are forced to improvise, as always, with the usual mixed results, but this time the Director is watching them closely.
Carly buys a bomb from a guy at a preagreed spot next to a dumpster in an alley, using codewords and a text conversation on her phone to identify herself. She tells the guy they shouldn’t have any more contact, now that their business is concluded.
Trevor delivers a bomb to a woman using the same code words and text conversation as identification. The package is a different size than the one Carly received. The team has inserted themselves as a middle man in this transaction to make sure that the woman (Abby) is successful with her bomb.
She asks Trevor questions about the safety parameters of the bomb, and he gives her some very specific warnings, including telling her she shouldn’t take it through a metal detector, or blow herself up trying to get through security. Guess we know what went wrong the first time.
She walks away, and Trevor starts to follow. Phillip and Marcy, who are watching from the van through a surveillance camera, stop him, warning that he could spook her if he pushes too hard. Trevor is just trying to carry out the mission that the Director gave them. Phillip says they’ll try again.
Congressman Bishop gets in the back seat of MacLaren’s car, informing him that they have a new mission together. MacLaren’s team gets to assassinate Bishop. But first Bishop excessively harangues Mac for saving Kat and leaving him to be taken care of by another team. Oh the horror. I haven’t mentioned the potential of host bleed through yet this season, but there it is. That’s original Bishop’s entitled attitude talking.
Phillip drops by his girlfriend/dealer Jenny’s house to get more eye drops. She says that he’s burning through them fast, but he thinks they both are. She agrees. How much does she use them when he’s not around?
Mac stops by to visit Kat, who’s moving furniture, despite her high risk pregnancy. He takes the chair away. She agreed to redecorate in exchange for living there. Mac notes that she loves the new place, and suggests that they buy the unit that’s for sale in the building. She can’t believe he’d be willing to give up the high status suburban house for a high status urban loft, but he’s willing to make the sacrifice for her happiness.
Kat feels the baby kick and puts his hand on her belly so that he can feel it too. They share a moment, and he gets hopeful, but she tells him not to get too excited, he’s not moving in with her. He wants to put the house on the market anyway. Traveler 3468 isn’t into big houses.
Trevor hangs out in an internet cafe that Abby frequents. Before long, she comes in and accuses him of following her, but he’s been there for two hours. She must be following him. Stalker logic.
Trevor just happens to be reading about a company named Galston, based on Monsanto, He makes sure Abby notices. They start chatting. Trevor tells Abby that he dislikes Galston, and she says that it’s even worse than he knows. She pulls up a screen on the Galston corporate site showing upcoming projects. At the bottom is listed Seed C589: scheduled for limited release and production.
Abby: It’s an experimental crop that’s able to extract more nutrients from the soil in order to yield a larger harvest by 20-30%.
Trevor: What’s wrong with that?
Abby: It’s never been tested in the field. They don’t know the limits of how many nutrients C589 will pull from the soil. It’s not about sustainability, it’s about profit. And for the sake of a few years of record harvests, this crop could decimate all the farmland that it grows in. A farm isn’t just some biblical event.
Trevor: Yeah, I know.
Abby: They already have a prototype strain, ready to go.
Abby: This week.
Trevor: It would have to pass FDA regulations.
Abby: Not if Bill C589 is passed, which allows companies to bypas the regulatory process for safety testing (?). They want to get it to market ahead of the competition.
Abby has an internship at Galston, which she tried to use to take them down from the inside by reporting all of their violations and illegal offenses. She even tried blackmailing one of their private investors. All she got was moved down to the basement.
Trevor brings Abby to meet Phillip, his hacker friend, so that they can help her. The vote on Bill C589 is tomorrow, so they need to act fast. The lab that the seeds are stored in is empty every day between 11 and 1 for lunch. That’s their window of opportunity.
Mac takes Kat for an ultrasound. The baby looks healthy, but there’s a dark spot behind the placenta. It could be the early signs of placental abruption, in which the placenta separates from the uterus, or it could be nothing.
Mac tells Marcy about the pregnancy and how it happened. Marcy is unsympathetic and insists that they terminate the 20 week pregnancy. He refuses to consider getting rid of the baby and wants her to use future medicine to help Kat. She tells him that she can’t do that.
As she walks away, she makes a dinner date with cute Dr Barker for right now. If everyone else is going to break the rules, Marcy’s going to date a freakin’ doctor. They go to a nice restaurant and have awkward conversation, then she brings him home with her. They have sex, and he leaves soon after, while Marcy is sad that he wasn’t David.
Mac and Carly do a walk through of Bishop’s assassination with him. He’s been publicly fighting Galston, so the plan is for Carly to shoot him from a rooftop hours before the vote, while he’s giving a speech condemning them, turning him into a martyr for the cause. He was supposed to be on a longer term mission, but his host has a heart condition, so he’s going out this way instead. He’s totally bitter.
Carly will fire the shot at 11:27 AM, the same time that Abby’s bomb will explode, serving to mask the sound of Carly’s shot. That will give Carly time to escape before anyone figures out where the shot came from.
Abby writes her mission statement out the night before so that people will know why she bombed the lab. Phillip tells Abby and Trevor that he’s researched the seeds.
Phillip: There are properties in the genetic mutation of the seed that are monophyletic. It means that the organisms descend from the same common ancestor, in this case kudzu, a weed known for taking over an entire territory.
Abby: So if farmers start using C589…
Phillip: Not only will it deprive the soil of nutrients, it will spread, rapidly.
Trevor: With its genetic resistance to pesticides C589 could become impossible to contain.
Phillip: He’s right. All arable land could be choked out in decades.
That explains a lot about the future. This particular seed might not have been the invasive weed to crowd out everything else in their future, but some genetically engineered super plant colonized all of the land that wasn’t destroyed by war.
While Marcy’s having sad sex, Phillip and Trevor arm the bomb, and Carly goes over her weapons and shot angles. Mac is sad about his baby. It’s an intense night in traveler ville.
Trevor goes outside to find Abby smoking. She offers him some, but he says no thanks. He spent many, many years very close to an old person who had to fight for every breath he took. Probably himself. They look at the star(s) instead.
They talk about spirituality and beliefs. Trevor believes it’s important to believe in something. Abby says she doesn’t believe in anything, but Trevor tells her she does. She believes in humanity and that our future is at stake. For a minute, it seems like they might kiss, but the moment passes. Later Trevor and Phillip agree that they wish she didn’t have to die.
The next morning, Bishop is still complaining bitterly about the waste of his life, even saying that he wishes he’d never volunteered. He’s not on board with the Director’s plans any more, but he’ll go through with this. He seems to be forgetting his host’s incurable heart condition, which caused the change in plans.
Trevor and Phillip drop Abby off outside the Galston facility, and she goes inside to make her way through security. But she’s back at the van a few minutes later, saying she doesn’t want to go through with it, since they’ve opened her eyes to other possibilities.
Before she can finish the sentence, she becomes a messenger: “Traveler 0115 complete the mission in place of Abigail Paris immediately.” Then she dies, of course, while Trevor punches the van and yells no.
Trevor takes Abby’s bomb backpack and goes to fulfill her mission. Phillip is hysterical at the thought of Trevor dying. He tries to get Mac to call a halt to it, or Trevor to turn back. Trevor sets up the bomb and waits to die.
The bomb doesn’t detonate. Phillip remotely deactivated it, and Trevor can’t get it to explode.
Bishop begins to have a heart attack during his speech. He won’t be a martyr if he isn’t assassinated, so Carly shoots him, even though she might not get out safely without the distraction of the bomb. But when she gets down to the ground, Boyd pulls up in a police car and safely gets her out of the area.
Phillip and Trevor dispose of Abby’s body, then return to headquarters, where the others are waiting. Phillip owns up to deactivating the bomb. He couldn’t let Trevor die for nothing, and he could see that this was a bad plan. Bishop won’t inspire a movement, and Galston’s competition is weeks away from catching up to them. There was no need to rush the job so much.
Carly and Mac are upset that he could have compromised her escape, and he undermined a direct order. Phillip argues that she escaped fine, and he’s not the first to ignore an order. Like the order Carly got to kill MacLaren. He demands that they look him in the eye and try to tell him that he’s the only one who’s improvised, the only one who’s broken the rules.
No one says anything for very long moment, even though they all had to be thinking about Kat and the plane crash. Marcy also had to be deciding whether to stay out of it or bring up the baby. But the current version of Marcy doesn’t have the interpersonal skills that the first traveler version did, so this version stays silent, as do the rest.
Phillip tells Mac that he can wipe all of Galston’s files on the seed. They can get another bomb into the lab. There are many other, better options that won’t kill anyone they care about.
Mac replies that they’ll do those things, if that’s what the Director orders. For now, it’s out of their hands. Protocol 5 until further notice.
He is, however, glad that Trevor is still alive. Trevor is glad that Carly didn’t shoot MacLaren.
Marcy stops Mac on his way out and tells him to get her one of Kat’s folic acid pills. Marcy will make Kat the future medicine she needs to save the pregnancy, and disguise it as one of her vitamins. Selective rule following and enforcement, while pretending to be perfect, are what these two are all about. I miss old Marcy.
Marcy says that she took the Hippocratic Oath before the traveler’s oath, so she’s putting saving a life first. Mac says that isn’t how it works, so she just says she’s improvising. He accepts that, because actual moral standards are taken out of the equation.
Trevor finds Abby’s mission statement and publishes it online as “A manifesto by our fallen compatriot, Sandstorm”. That seems more likely to start a movement than Bishop’s death.
Marcy doesn’t want to go home, so Carly takes her to a rooftop with a view that she knows about. They talk about boys. Carly insists that she’s only with Jeff for Jeff jr. They see a bomb go off in the direction of the Galston lab. Someone just completed their mission.
Phillip seeks comfort from Jenny. They go to her bedroom, where she puts seven drops in each of his eyes. (One drop was the original dose.) After Galston is bombed, Jenny’s little sister, Chloe, comes into the bedroom with a message from the Director for Phillip. He is to open a memory chain and store a long biosynthesis formula, which she recites out loud. Phillip is frozen in place as he listens, as if this isn’t part of his conscious mind.
Okay, I need to get this out. Skip these 2 paragraphs if the pregnancy bores you. That loft is gorgeous, but it’s a terrible space for a pregnant woman or a baby. The stairs alone will kill one or both or them, since there’s no rail for her to hold onto when she gets big and unstable on her feet, never mind if her blood pressure drops and she has a moment of dizziness. I hope I don’t need to explain why they are a literal death trap for a crawling baby or a toddler.
The cupboards are all open shelving, so there’s no way to baby proof without remodeling. Then there’s the glass walls, especially in the upstairs bedroom. My son would have been able to bust through those by the time he was two. I wouldn’t even have a dog in that place. Someone needs to take these people to a daycare center to observe what babies and toddlers are like, then buy them some parenting books.
Trevor, describing Galston: They stomp out the competition, they stall unions, file nuisance claims, fund anti-environmental lobbyists. Other than that, they’re model corporate citizens.
Who is the private investor that Abby blackmailed? Vincent?
Trevor mentions that he still has a room at his parents, but he spends most of time at Phillip’s place. Truth, or cover story? Have Gary and Patricia loosened up that much?
The last time I saw Lee Majdoub, the actor who plays Dr Barker, he was dating a guy with pastel pink hair on BBCAmerica’s Dirk Gently. The switch is hard to get used to. After Panto, he shouldn’t mind Marcy’s extracurricular activities, anyway.
Why does the Director need a historian to store the formula for a seed they just destroyed? Why can’t the Director store it? It sounds like it should be a secret, why is the message being delivered in front of Jenny, who may be passed out, or may be listening?
Good to know that MacLaren’s character has stayed consistent from season to season. He’s still a hypocrite, as Phillip thankfully points out. And, wow, I’ve always defended Carly, but that was cold. They could get her out of prison if she was arrested, but a dead Trevor is unsalvageable. Their situations really weren’t comparable.
Marcy and Carly are becoming close friends this season, which is good to see for both of them. Carly needs support from a friend who’s not an ex-boyfriend, and so does Marcy.
Phillip and Trevor have been close since season 1 and have obviously grown closer.
MacLaren spends as little time with all of them as possible, yelling “Protocol 5 until further notice,” and racing out the door the moment each mission ends. He follows the rules, then goes back to his host’s life, so he’s the last one to realize things are going wrong.
It doesn’t make sense for the Director to sacrifice people the way that it does. Bishop was dying anyway, so I can live with that. But it should be trying to preserve its most experienced operatives, and having them train new travelers, not tossing talented engineers aside at a moment’s notice to plant a bomb that anyone could carry.
Trevor’s age has become a major plot point this season. It’s become more clear that he was very old and sick the first time that he body swapped. Body swapping experiments started before time travel, possibly long before. Just how old is he? Could he be an older version of someone alive today, perhaps one of the kids? Does he remember who he was as a child?
Wild, out there theory: Trevor is either Taylor or, even better, MacLaren’s unborn son. Something about the way MacLaren was so angry that Phillip had kept Trevor alive, then they said to each other that they were glad they were both still alive, made me wonder. That would explain why he was one of the first test subjects, and why it feels like he was a prisoner of some sort when he talks about his past. He was one of the first children of a time traveler, and someone captured and experimented on him. Vincent keeps Taylor very sheltered, but even Carly’s son may end up in hiding and having been used as a messenger by the time we’re done.
Trevor disagreed with MacLaren’s decision to attack Vincent in episode 3. Was that because the decision didn’t come from the director, Trevor is naturally peaceful, or Trevor has a personal connection to Vincent that he hasn’t revealed?
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.