This episode brings the plague and Faction civil war arcs to a close with a giant hand wave from the Director and a whisper from Grace. It’s all very Deus Ex
Director Machina. As with episode 6 in season 1, Helios 685, the team spends the episode doing Very Important Things that mostly don’t matter, because the Director will eventually manage to pull off the save.
The episode picks up back at headquarters, with Jenny being moved onto a gurney. They toss her on it instead of placing her gently, then start questioning her again. Carly brilliantly holds her at gunpoint. I don’t know what happened to her IQ this season. Jenny tells her to go ahead and shoot, she wants to die anyway (They brought her back from a suicide attempt 5 minutes ago in their time, FFS.)
Jenny won’t tell them where the frame is or how many Faction members are in the 21st. Grace reminds them that there could be thousands more in the frame. Trevor says it could be anybody they meet.
Jenny notes the irony that they were the ones who built the quantum frame to begin with, proving that they’ll do anything they think the Director tells them to. They follow it blindly, unlike the Faction. MacLaren says the difference between them and the Faction is that the Faction overwrites innocent people.
Marcy tells Jenny that what the Faction does is murder. Jenny says that what the loyalists do is opportunism. She doesn’t think it’s ethical to take people’s bodies just before they die. She also doesn’t think 21st century lives matter anyway, because we’re all already dead in her time.
MacLaren goes all FBI macho bad cop to threaten Jenny. He says that they’re going to find every member of the Faction and kill them. She practically laughs at him, noting that most of his team will be dead in two weeks, and the director is shut down.
Dr Derek takes blood and tissue samples to use in the process of working toward a cure. Phillip wants to get on the deep web and share all of the information they have with other teams. That’s a lot of independent decision-making and sharing between teams all at once, all breaking protocol, since they don’t have orders.
Grace finally finds a quiet moment to get the group to listen to her:
Grace: Okay, this is not that complicated. I’m saying, the Director can fix this. We need to fix the Director.
Phillip: The Director exists in the future.
Marcy: And it’s reactor is already shut down.
Trevor: Those are big problems, Grace.
Grace: The plan’s already in place. When it became apparent that the Grand Plan would take longer than our initial projections, the Director sent a team to refine uranium as fuel to extend its operational life. A few kilos would be enough. All we have to do is take the fuel to the location where the Director will eventually be built, and it’ll be there when the time comes.
MacLaren: Without the Faction knowing.
Carly: How are we going to do that?
Grace: Oh, they outsmarted us! Whoop-dee-doo! Get over it! They can’t outsmart the Director. Even if we can just get it back online for a few seconds, that’s all the time it’ll need to take back control.
MacLaren: And you know where this uranium is?
Grace: Pull up a map.
Despite being time travelers, the team is stuck in three dimensional thinking, other than possibly Trevor. They aren’t used to being the ones who create plans that span centuries, and tend to think of the future as a fixed point that they can’t effect as individuals. They can’t think in time loops. That’s why MacLaren doesn’t think his baby is an issue, and why he can’t be creative about getting rid of the Faction. Grace is the only one with that kind of predictive, independent expertise.
Meanwhile, over at the uranium refinery, the Faction already knows about their latest plan. Forbes and the faux National Guard show up and pretend that they had a messenger telling them to provide back up. Once they’re inside, they kill the travelers who work there and steal the 2.4 kilos of uranium.
Jeff and the baby are both getting sicker. Jeff is called back into work, but he can’t go until Carly is home to watch Jeff jr.
Kat is also getting sicker. She’s following the epidemic on the TV news. The announcer says the yet to be named virus has infected thousands of people around the world. People are flooding hospitals, so they’re now full. Authorities suggest people stay in their homes.
Phillip handcuffs Jenny to her bed. She asks him if he understands what she did. He says no, she used him. She tells him she was on a mission, the same as him, and but unlike them, she forgets about protocols, the Director, and unnecessary limitations. Her people just do what needs to be done, and what’s right. Like Calloway, and Aleksander. Phillip replies that those examples are very different from murdering almost a third of the population.
Jenny reminds him that those deaths are meant to save everyone else. Phillip says it’s not a bargain he can make. She tells him that his people won’t be able to stop the pandemic, and there’s nothing a historian can do. She wants him to leave ops with her so that they can enjoy whatever time they have left, together.
Phillip asks her why she took the pills? Guilt? Jenny says that she feels no guilt, she just didn’t want to go through the entire course of the virus, which is designed to keep people alive and suffering so that it can spread, and fool authorities into thinking it’s not serious. When the deaths start to add up, it’ll be too late to prevent them. Phillip tells her she’s going to suffer through every minute of the illness.
Jenny is still on a mission. The overdose was designed to get her into headquarters. She’s demoralizing the team, trying to get them to give up instead of looking for a cure. The Faction is especially worried about Phillip. He must come up with a good idea.
The rest of the team drive to the refinery to pick up the uranium, but Trevor figures out that the guys who are manning the place are Faction. Carly asks where they took the uranium. The Faction traveler says that even if he told her, the Faction would know and they’d move it to a safe place, suggesting they either have capabilities to change things from the future, or their operatives have open coms so that all important information is instantly shared, or both.
Derek leaves to go back to his team, but hands off some medical nanites to Marcy first. They’re programmed to help if Boyd goes into organ failure. With the Director down, Derek has put himself in charge of nanite distribution. Boyd is a good medic, so he feels she’s worth saving.
Jenny quickly says that she’ll trade information for nanites. There’s no point in her dying if there’s a cure. Marcy says that Jenny is the control, so she won’t get any treatment.
The rest of the team get back from the refinery, accusing Grace of screwing them over as they walk in the door. It never occurs to them that they keep talking in front of Jenny and her com.
They start working on another plan that involves the plutonium from a nuclear weapon stored at a nearby military base. They’re aware that the Faction has probably thought of the same idea, but they don’t have much choice. Jenny is listening and turns her head so that her com can pick up as much of the conversation as possible.
MacLaren brings Kat groceries. She asks if it’s really an epidemic, because she lives in a magical world where nothing affects her directly. He gets her calmed down from a moment of anxiety, sets her up to last a few days, and then leaves Kat to her little cocoon of denial again.
When he returns to headquarters, Phillip, Trevor, and Grace have built a mysterious device. Grace and Phillip explain that the Director is programmed to broadcast an emergency signal if it’s ever powered down, which should trigger the new device and activate it. What happens then, we aren’t told. The Faction travelers are so ignorant that they probably have no idea about the emergency signal.
Most of the team prepares for a road trip with the device. Boyd is stable, but not improving. Marcy’s afraid that the nanites will makes the virus worse, since the Faction probably created the virus with them in mind. Mac leaves Marcy in charge of Grace.
Jeff is trying to cope with a very sick baby, despite how sick he is himself. He leaves multiple messages looking for Carly.
Grace wants to program the medical nanites and use them to save Boyd. Marcy refuses. She has more faith in the antiserum she’s developing, based on her and Mac’s immunity, and Boyd is her patient, so she doesn’t have to even give Grace’s ideas a fair hearing. Grace is worried that Boyd won’t last long enough for the antiserum to work. Besides, medical nanites have basically replaced doctors in the future. Marcy tells Grace to check on the progress that the CDC and the WHO are making. It gets ugly from there.
Grace gives up on Marcy and sneaks a tablet into the bathroom so that she can program the nanites on her own. When she comes out, she uses the nanites on Jenny as a test case.
David has been caring for people at the homeless shelter for the entire outbreak. One of his clients coughed in his face, then collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. David’s boss eventually makes him go home. As he walks home, the streets are entirely empty.
Mac, Trevor, Carly and Phillip gain entrance to the naval base after a bit of a tense stand off. The officer who’s been ordered to deliver the warhead isn’t happy about it, but she follows the orders she was given by Vice Admiral Donahue.
Once they have the warhead and start driving again, the team has time to let their guilt and regret rise to the surface. Mac wishes he’d swung the axe, but then Forbes would have shot him. Phillip is guilty about being the carrier for the pathogen formula, but he was drugged, again. Trevor, always the philosopher, tells them that you can’t predict the unthinkable. That’s why it’s called the unthinkable. It’s done now anyway. Carly says she’s been thinking about that:
Carly: Maybe the Director can undo this.
Carly: The future can only send a consciousness back as far as the most recent traveler, right? And, travelers are arriving all the time, all over the world, as part of the Grand Plan. But the last one had to have been months ago, before the Director went down, before all of this happened.
Phillip: The Faction might not be able to send a consciousness back, or establish a TELL, but messengers count. It’s still a transfer of information from the future.
Trevor: He’s right. Messengers cause the same ripples in space-time as travelers.
Phillip: And we know the Faction has sent messengers recently.
Carly: They thought of everything.
They drive the device and the warhead across the Canadian border to… the site of the future home of humanity!
Carly: Hard to believe what we’re walking on gets covered in a kilometer of ice in a few hundred years.
Trevor: The domes get built right over there.
Phillip: I’ve only ever seen the shelters from the inside.
Gorgeous scenery surrounds the abandoned mines that will apparently become the shelters.
Jenny goes into respiratory distress. Marcy is confused, because this isn’t a typical symptom at this point in the illness. Grace says that Marcy left her with no choice but to act alone. She programmed the nanites to pull the virus into red blood cells where it can’t survive. Jenny should be getting better.
Marcy tells Grace that the Faction predicted that countermeasure. The virus blocks red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen. Jenny is suffocating. Grace needs to turn them off. Grace hesitates, because they can’t be turned back on, so turning them off makes them useless. Marcy says they’re useless now anyway.
Grace turns them off and Jenny quickly stabilizes. Marcy harangues Grace for interfering. Grace protests that Marcy should have trusted her to help.
It does seem like collaboration would give the patients a better chance.
Marcy asks why she should trust Grace? Grace says, “You’re alive because of me, and perfectly healthy.” Marcy asks what Grace left out when she reset Marcy. Grace says, “This is what you want to talk about, when we’re all dying?” Marcy answers, “I’m not dying. You are.”
Okay then. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one monster in that room. Marcy, a doctor, just implicitly threatened to withhold treatment from a dying patient until she got the information she wants. Wow.
Grace doesn’t answer her.
Kat is sitting on her bathroom floor. Her TV says that the death rate continues to rise in London, Paris and Rome. She tries to call Grant, but he doesn’t answer.
Carly, Phillip and Mac carry the warhead down into the mines, while Phillip scoots off in a different direction with a backpack. Forbes and his faux National Guard meet them at a spot where several tunnels come together and steal the warhead. They carry it down one of the tunnels, while Forbes villain monologues.
They’re taking it somewhere where it can’t power the Director, which had its chance and failed. Phillip recalls the good old days when Shelter 41 was collapsed and its inhabitants were dead, but Forbes doesn’t think that future was ever real.
He turns to leave and thanks them for the plutonium. Oops, did they say plutonium? There was a slight typo in Phillip’s email communications with Admiral Donahue. That’s the warhead from a Mark 46 Torpedo, not a mark 45, meaning it’s got a conventional payload, which they’re about to find out. Carly uses a remote to set off the warhead.
Gunfire breaks out amongst the remaining faction operatives. Trevor is planting the device that the team built in a different part of the tunnels, and switching it on. Forbes makes a run for it, and Mac follows him outside to the edge of a cliff.
Forbes makes his next villain mistake, assuming the good guys won’t kill the bad guy. But first, it’s his turn to explain the ending that we didn’t see.
Marcy’s computer monitor lights up with a message from the Director to synthesize and administer the cure. Forbes and Jenny are overwritten by new travelers. New Forbes starts talking fast, since he has a cliff to his back and a gun pointed at his front.
Forbes: I’m traveler 4991. It worked. The Director’s back up and running. The cure has been sent to the 21st. The encrypted beacon on the device was activated almost the moment power to the Director was cut off. It took some time for us to find it and recover it, but we got to it without them knowing. Even when we broke through, the energy source was only capable of powering the Director for 3 seconds– enough time for the Director to reroute the power to itself through the network, cut off the Faction’s access to the reactor, design the cure, to win the war.
Carly: How many Faction are still here?
Forbes: It’s impossible to know how many were sent through the quantum frame. The Director won’t have a TELL for all of them.
Forbes wipes at his nose, which is bleeding. Did this transfer damage him?
Grace is miffed because Jenny and Boyd are getting the cure first. Sometimes she just likes to argue.
MacLaren brings the cure to Kat, and stays to rest with her for a while.
Marcy brings it to David. It turns out that David is immune to the pathogen. Marcy tells him she’ll come back later, but not to wait up. You know he’ll spend the rest of the night waiting.
Carly brings Jeff and the baby the cure. Jeff was so scared when she didn’t come home. He’s confused about where she got the cure. She takes Jeff jr and sends big Jeff to bed.
Marcy returns to ops to check on her patients. Boyd is awake, and starting to say that she hasn’t heard from her other two teammates, when a messenger pounds on the door. Marcy answers, and Trevor watches from behind.
Travelers has become a fully immersive experience for me, as I have caught a virus-like plague myself. Thankfully, bleeding from the eyeballs doesn’t appear to be one of the symptoms.
Jenny specifically blames the 21st century for making the planet uninhabitable.
Kat’s worried about the baby. She should be. Apparently the Director didn’t know that MacLaren was in the process of reproducing and breaking Protocol 4 before now.
David says he feels like a minor character in a movie that doesn’t end well. Probably accurate.
We have confirmation that the future is in an ice age, between the refinery workers remarking that they never thought they’d complain about heat, Carly noting that the domes are under a kilometer of ice, and Phillip saying he’s never seen the shelters from the outside.
The Faction probably has a dual purpose in stealing the uranium. It keeps the fuel away from the Director, but it will also fuel their own reactor, which is currently only powerful enough to send messengers.
Trevor loves road trips.
If I understood correctly, the device that Grace, Trevor and Phillip made was a messenger beacon set to activate when the Director was shut down, alerting the travelers loyal to the Director and/or the Director to the existence of the stolen uranium. Since everyone is trapped inside the shelters in the future, the Faction would only have so many hiding places, all of them in Shelter 41. The loyalists just had to fight their way to the uranium.
The first conversation about the naval base, when they all blamed Grace, was for Jenny’s benefit, so she could pass on false information.
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.
T.E.L.L.: The Time, Elevation, Latitude, and Longitude of what would have been the historical death of a Traveler’s host body.