This episode is a big one for the season and the series, with the trial and vindication of Grace/0027, the rushed discovery of the real traitor programmer, the dismantling of the quantum frame (for real this time, it appears), and our first peek at
the face of God the Director, through the almost forgotten super secret two-way communication that Ellis made possible.
It’s a lot to pack into one episode, so let’s get started.
The episode begins with the Faction on vacation in the country, taking full advantage of the opportunities now available to them in the 21st century. The team is observing the rebels and their lakeside cabin hideout, while Phillip uses some fancy new software to establish TELLs for the two guards who are easily visible. As they’re overwritten to become travelers, a third rebel comes around the corner, ready to shoot, so that one has to be killed instead of overwritten. MacLaren sends the two new travelers into the cabin, where they force the three rebels who are eating lunch to surrender. Why fight when it would make you spill your delicious 21st century soup?
Back at ops, Trevor and Phillip prepare to analyze whatever data they can get from the rebels’ coms while the leader still makes half-hearted noises about how weak the travelers are and how loyal she is. She’s played by Tasya Teles, otherwise known as Echo from The 100, superior Ice Nation assassin. I’ve come to expect her to put up more of a fight than this. Her king would be so disappointed.
She does keep her mouth shut about the location of the quantum frame, but Mac figures she doesn’t know where it is, anyway. The new guards inform Mac, Marcy and Trevor that the Director requires them and the prisoners to attend a secret trial the next day, coordinates to be provided in the morning.
Mac and Kat celebrate the sale of their big house. She asks him to stay the night. In the morning, they giggle together over how fantastic their night was. As he’s leaving for work, Kat tells Grant she loves him.
Phillip has spent the entire night working on the rebel coms, but they’ve been wiped of any useful data. On top of that, the timeline has changed so much that he’s becoming useless as a historian. Carly reassures him that he’s still essential as a team member and friend.
The trial is held in a local church. In addition to Marcy, MacLaren and Trevor, Grace and the three rebel prisoners are there, plus various and assorted extras. No one knows whose trial it is. As the trial is about to begin, the prisoners are overwritten by three important programmers– the leader is now 009/the Speaker, and she’s joined by 0017 and 0029. They’ve been sent by the Director.
Grace/0027 is charged with conspiracy against the Director and the high crime of interrupting the Grand Plan.
MacLaren testifies first, with 0017 asking leading questions. He tells the tribunal that he met Grace when she came to the 21st saying she was on a mission to save Marcy’s life. He only found out later that her mission also included the Director. He didn’t suspect that she was a member of the Faction because, due to protocol 2, they didn’t know anything about the Faction at that point.
0017 asks who wrote protocol 2, as if that was a crime. Grace jumps in.
Grace: Oh come on, you know I did. Teams in the 21st should not be made aware of every change in the future because completion rates of our missions would drop exponentially. Operatives would be paralyzed by the fear of how their actions could negatively affect the people they left behind.
The Speaker: Enough.
Grace: I agree. If I hadn’t reset the Director, the Faction would have corrupted it, which means the Faction would have control of the past. What I did was the only way to save Marcy and the Director.
The Speaker: It was the Director who ordered this hearing. Not any one of us.
Grace: Why? It knows what really happened. It knows what I sacrificed. This makes no sense.
The Speaker: And yet here we are.
She calls a brief recess to let Grace think about just how screwed she is.
Trevor is the next to testify. He tells the story of how and why he tried to stop original Grace Day from dying and becoming a host, because he cared about her and didn’t want her to die. 0027 stopped all traveler transfers for four hours while she waited for Grace Day to come back on the grid, because she didn’t want just any host. Dozens of missions were cancelled. During that time a train derailed in Germany and there was a terrorist attack in England. Neither were prevented because the traveler teams couldn’t transit.
Trevor accepts responsibility for the disruption of the Grand Plan, since he was the one who tried to change Grace Day’s fate, but the tribunal is relentlessly determined to pin the blame on 0027. The next witness, 2103, testifies off camera, but Grace thinks he hates her.
Carly gets her paycheck from her landscaping job, and is disappointed to see how small it is. She wonders how anyone lives on minimum wage. She asks Phillip for some extra financial help, but when he checks their financial portfolio, he’s shocked to find that their investments have tanked overnight.
Phillip runs a series of tests to see if he has any useful knowledge left at all, and he’s wrong about 90% of the time.
David has Marcy over for dinner and tells her a funny story about his boss. It’s lost on Marcy because she becomes more humorless with every episode, and less able to be anything other than completely literal.
David’s ex-girlfriend Blair has gone to a rave to celebrate her birthday, and has been sending him selfies all night, trying to get him to join her. He’s been ignoring them. Blair and her friend step into the ladies room just in time for the quantum frame, which is lurking on the edge of the room, to activate and turn everyone else into a rebel traveler. When Blair and her friend emerge from the bathroom, the new Faction travelers turn on them like a horde of zombies. Good times.
While Marcy goes to the bathroom, David checks his phone and discovers Blair’s frantic calls for help. He and Marcy go to the site of the rave and find Blair, plus two other girls, left alone there, ODing on fentanyl (synthetic heroin). David pulls a dose of Narcan from his bag and uses it on Blair.
Marcy listens to Blair’s description of what happened, then looks at the selfies more closely. She realizes that the quantum frame was at the party, but has since been removed, and coms in to the rest of the team to inform them. Phillip is able to pull up more selfies from the party. They assume that all of those people are Faction, but have no way to prove it.
Back at the trial, it’s Marcy’s turn to testify. 0029 questions her, and inserts biased information.
Marcy: She showed me a code. Something that Ellis created. A backdoor hack. Which, during the repackaging process, somehow managed to reset the Director.
The Speaker: Admittedly, a brilliant piece of work.
Grace: Thank you.
0029: And how has that worked out for you Marcy, this reset of your consciousness?
Grace: How is this relevant? I restored her.
0029: Do you feel restored, Marcy?
Marcy: I no longer have seizures.
0029: But do you feel as you did before?
Marcy: No. But that’s partly because I have no memory of my time spent in the 21st prior-
0029: There are missing pieces, then.
0029: Marcy, I’ve studied your MRIs. She had to have taken out more than just a few months of memories.
Marcy (to Grace): What else did you take out?
Grace: I told you. Redundancies, useless things.
0029: Such as what? Empathy? Emotions you lack?
Grace: Oh shut up 29. You’re practically a sociopath yourself.
Marcy: How could you do that to me? (Do what??? Grace has held to her conviction that she didn’t take anything important. The rest is coming from rivals who don’t like her, one of whom is a traitor.)
Grace: You would have died.
Marcy: That would have been my choice to make. You used me.
Grace: Yes, I did. I prevented your suicide. Life is precious, and so are skilled operatives in the field.
Marcy: I was just a means to an end.
Grace: Marcy, you’re still you. I swear to you, I didn’t take your soul.
Marcy: How would you know?
And we finally come down to the root of Marcy’s problem, which is not whatever Grace may or may not have removed from her brain, but a serious level of depression that’s leaving her numb to everything in her life. The rest of the team has found ways to cope with the massive disruption to their lives that coming to the 21st caused, and Marcy had, too, but the reset took that away from her and made her the odd woman out, even within her own team. She’s dealt with it by shutting down emotionally and blaming Grace, instead of finding ways to reach out and find new common ground.
They’ve touched on mental illness within the travelers before, but haven’t really pursued it. Maybe with Marcy they will. These are people who come from a terrible place, but leave everyone and everything behind to come here, where their lives are full of materials goods, but getting close to people can be difficult, if not impossible. No one but another traveler will have shared life experience, and they are expected to leave that behind. I keep waiting for Phillip to actually be sitting in a travelers group therapy session, instead of Narc Anon.
Then there’s the issue of the host brain, which may well be prone to depression, but no one noticed when original Marcy had so many other issues. Grace may have made it so that Marcy can survive using that brain, but it’s still a brain with issues, and a genetic predisposition for depression or other mental illnesses may be one of them.
During the break in the trial, Trevor brings Grace French Fries. 😍 Trevor knows that Grace isn’t contagious, and he knows that she has feelings. And he’s brought her French food, so that if she goes down, at least she’ll have had 21st century French cuisine. My OTP Lives, people!!
Trevor wants Grace to know that he knows that they wouldn’t even be there if she hadn’t reset the Director. He’s sure the tribunal will figure that out. Grace isn’t, but it doesn’t matter, BECAUSE TREVOR GOES IN FOR THE HUG! Grace is touch-starved, so it takes her a moment to understand the wonderfulness that’s just happened to her. Then she asks Trevor if he has a regular sex partner. That’s my girl!
Back in court, Grace makes a final statement: “I’ve given it a great deal of thought, gone through the events over and over in my mind a thousand times, and to be honest, you should all be thanking me. Like my very dear friend just pointed out, if I hadn’t have reset the Director, none of you would be here right now. The Director would be gone, the Faction would have won, and billions of people would be dead from a horrible plague, so… You’re welcome.”
The tribunal is unmoved. They adjourn until morning to deliberate.
Phillip and Carly track down one of the new Faction travelers from the rave and confront her at her house, but she calls the police on them.
Marcy brings David Chinese food for dinner. Blair will survive, but has to spend a few more days in the hospital. Marcy stops eating mid-dinner and kisses David. He stops her, telling her that he doesn’t want to be her experiment. He remembers what it was like when they made love and were close. It’s not something you can force. Marcy tries to leave, but he wants her to stay.
The next morning, the tribunal reconvenes, and questions Grace. They want to know who corrupted the Director in the first place. Grace answers that it could only have been a programmer of the highest caliber. The Speaker says that it could only have been the best among them, then, and who is that? Grace replies that it’s obviously her, but she was the one sounding the alarm while the other three were lining up at the yeast vats. They find her guilty and have her escorted to the sentencing room.
Grace calls for MacLaren to help her, but he refuses, and tells Trevor that it’s in the hands of the Director now, with a meaningful nod. Marcy and Mac walk outside together, as he tells her that Grace might be overwritten. Marcy says that she’ll walk home, just as 0029 walks behind her. He gets into a black limo and drives next to her.
After half a block, 0029 gets out of the limo and offers Marcy an apology for 0027’s criminal actions. He tells her that his team has been doing research on preserving host memories, in her case her first iteration. Her most powerful, most defining memories may still be there, and he may be able to get them back for her. Marcy hops right into the limo to go let him work on her brain, no further questions asked. He coms back to his ops to let them know he’s coming. The woman who answers is the one who just called the police on Phillip and Carly. 0029 is the traitor.
Grace is taken to a futuristic glass booth in an isolated room and left alone. The booth has 3 panels, and older people in hospital gowns, hooked up to machinery, lying on hospital beds, appear, one person per panel. They speak for the Director, one line per person, with their images changing continuously.
Grace asks the Director, “Are you here?” and tells it she didn’t betray it. The Director responds that it’s there, and she’s one of four candidates, though the odds of her involvement are negligible. She needs to be patient while they flush out the real traitor.
When 0029 brings Marcy into his team’s ops, the quantum frame is there, but dormant, and all of the Faction travelers are dead. He claims that he can still help her, but Marcy says that they both know he doesn’t want to help her, he just wants to get Ellis’ backdoor code out of her head. Just then, MacLaren, the team, and back up travelers run in to stop the Faction, but Marcy has already taken down 0029 by the time they cross the room.
MacLaren asks what happened to the Faction travelers, but no one knows. He orders the quantum frame dismantled into unrecognizable pieces.
The Director tells Grace that the situation has been resolved and the traitor will be sentenced. Grace realizes that she was publicly used and humiliated. The Director says it had hoped she’d understand that the process was necessary. Grace asks if she’s still going to be punished, even though she’s already sacrificed so much. The Director agrees that she’s already been punished enough. Grace cries through this scene, proving she’s a human being with normal feelings, in case anyone doubted it.
The Director: “I owe you my life. Thank you for saving me Grace. I shall miss you.”
Just to be clear: Grace has been unjustly persecuted since she arrived in the 21st century. She’s saved the Director twice, Trevor twice, and Marcy once, plus she was instrumental in stopping the plague. She’s the true hero of this show. She sacrificed everything to save the world and has gotten nothing in return, not even acknowledgement.
Even now, the Director acknowledged her privately, so it’s unlikely that the team will change their attitude toward her. They’ll still treat her as if she opportunistically used Marcy for her own gain somehow. Having Marcy hate Grace for saving her, instead of thanking her and then having them work together to finish the fix, is probably the most misogynistic part of this season, with the continued slide into bored 50s socialite by Kat coming in at #2.
The Director sentences 0029 to death by overwrite. The team stands in a circle around him and holds up their phones, which let out a high-pitched whine. He’s overwritten. MacLaren welcomes the new traveler to the 21st.
As the quantum frame is being torn apart, Carly asks Mac if it’s all over. He says he’s not sure. They don’t know who killed all of the Faction travelers before they got there. The screen shifts to one covered in future code, with an image of the quantum frame. Vincent’s face can be seen reflected on the screen.
Did he kill them because he’s a rival third party, because he runs the Faction and knew they were about to get caught, or as part of some deal with the Director?
Sometimes I think Grace and Trevor should run away to the moon together and leave the rest of the ungrateful humans to die of the plague.
Grace didn’t leave Marcy’s early memories of the 21st out, as they kept suggesting during the trial. The version of Marcy’s consciousness that Grace had available to her to use for the reset was the one that existed prior to Marcy’s initial transfer to the 21st, so those memories hadn’t been formed yet. That’s why Marcy lost them.
It wasn’t because Grace was being cruel or uncaring, it was an unavoidable side effect of saving her life, just as memory loss is an unavoidable side effect of ECT, which is an unpopular treatment, as well, but can be the only one that is effective in certain cases. The fact that Marcy, a doctor, doesn’t understand this, makes me crazy, and makes me think she needs some ECT for treatment of major depression, herself.
Trevor is enjoying his 21st century English classes, and will practice his SAT definitions on you to prove it.
Carly and Phillip are developing quite an adorable partnership while the rest are off doing other things. I could be convinced to ship them, which is unexpected, but makes sense when you remember that they both started out with serious host issues. They’ve both tried being friends with Marcy, but she tends to freeze people out after a while, and they’ve both been in bad 21st century relationships with other travelers.
0029: “The Grand Plan is fluid. It’s constantly shifting. The Director is constantly analyzing a myriad of outcomes and course correcting to within a fraction of a second.”
0027: “Are you trying to school me in the matrix of algorithms the Director uses to oversee the Traveler program?”
Given that 0029 ultimately turns out to be the traitor, everything he says to Marcy about her condition has to be treated as suspect. Given that Grace ends up completely exonerated, everything that she says should be given the benefit of the doubt. 0029’s comments about Marcy’s MRIs are especially suspect, because Grace was using a new technique with new code. There wouldn’t necessarily be a 1:1 correspondence with older techniques.
It’s frustrating that we’re shown so little of the hunt for the traitor, and no denouement. How much of Marcy’s testimony and time alone with 0029 was an act for his benefit, and how much was the truth, or was all of it the truth as she saw it? When was MacLaren brought in on the case? I assume Marcy took her walk specifically to act as bait, but did they know it was 0029 at that point?
Marcy’s so OTT bitter toward Grace, and yet, it would be easy to undertake psychological testing on herself and figure out for herself what’s missing from her brain, if indeed there is anything substantial. The fact that she hasn’t suggests that she knows that the problem is her, not Grace’s fix.
When the images of the Director fade away, we’re left looking at a cross in the background, and Grace with a reflection of herself in the glass.
The Director’s words of thanks to Grace echo the words she’s been longing to hear to make her sacrifice worth it. The only person who’s said those words to her is Trevor, and he’s said them in multiple episodes, in both words and actions. I still feel like there’s more to Trevor than we’ve been told, and there’s a Trevor/Grace/Director connection that hasn’t been revealed yet.
What did Grace mean when she said she waited for Grace Day to be available as a host because she couldn’t use just anyone? There was a second host available, albeit a man, at roughly the same time as Grace, that she could have used. She was already breaking multiple rules. She could have broken more to get a host, like overwriting a Faction traveler. It seems clear that she wanted Grace because of her proximity to Trevor.
Is it me, or could this season use better pacing? I never complain about pacing, but this season seems to bounce between doing nothing, then doing everything possible at once, then doing nothing again. Couldn’t this episode and episode 7 have been combined, with the original episode 7 taking up only about a quarter or a third of an episode (then we could overwrite it 😉)?
The capture of the traitor and the quantum frame really should have been an episode of its own, separate from Grace’s trial. We don’t even know who the character of 0029 is, or why we should care about him. His reasoning for kidnapping Marcy, because he wanted Ellis’ backdoor code, was mentioned so briefly many viewers probably missed it, or didn’t understand it’s significance if they heard. That needed to be reintroduced more clearly and dramatically.
Once the time loop was done acting as an extended opening to episode 7, showing how serious the threat of the Faction was, then they could have moved on to the trial and the rave, ending with David and Marcy finding Blair and Grace waiting for her verdict. In the second episode, the Director could have given Grace and MacLaren the mission instructions for flushing the traitor out from the three new programmers, instead of having almost that entire sting operation happen off screen. Meanwhile, Marcy, David and the team also deal with Blair’s poisoning and finding the new location of the frame, with everyone converging in the same place at the end. Interspersed with them all getting distracted by obsessing about their personal lives and Kat stalking Mac because he forgot to buy pickles at the store, of course.
Couldn’t we have kept Jenny, who at least had a hobby (eye drop drugs) and a career (ending the world) outside of her boyfriend, instead of Kat?
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.