The travelers move on from the machinations of the Faction in this episode, once again settling into the business of long term life in the 21st century, with all of its risks and rewards. Phillip is given his first historical update, restoring his function as the team’s historian. Trevor and MacLaren face personal tragedies. Marcy and Carly help Phillip rebuild the team’s investments.
Phillip picks up his swag bag as he enters a mostly empty movie theatre and finds the seat labeled with his traveler number. A young woman sitting a couple of seats away asks him if it’s his first time, to which he replies, yes. She tells him it’s her second, and points out a man who’s there for the third time. The man’s face is filled with dread. Being a historian is not for the faint of heart, but we already knew that.
A man comes out on stage to provide welcoming comments and instructions:
“Good evening, Historians. Welcome to Regional Update 4. I’m Traveler A-26 of the archivist program. If this is your first time, please take a moment to look inside the bag you were provided on the way in. The two green pills are to be taken immediately following the update. It’s important that we restore any chemical imbalances in the brain. The yellow pills you will need going forward. From time to time, you may perceive what we call “projections”, visual manifestations of one or more alternate timelines, an unavoidable side-effect of memory not acquired by conventional means. The yellow pills will help to focus your sensory perception on one timeline at a time. When you run out, call this number to arrange for more.” (A phone number flashes briefly on the screen.)
“Next, Protocol 2H: the update is not to be discussed with anyone. Ever. Do not break this protocol. This update will include historical information relevant to your team’s role in the Grand Plan, including potential candidates, investments, etc. But by its very nature, your update may also include historical information about your team members, loved ones. About you. This is a burden you will have to carry with you until the day you die, a date which, for obvious reasons, will be omitted from your update. Any questions? Let’s begin.”
A disembodied voice says, “Historians, open memory chain 1A.” Baroque music plays while the historians stare intently at the screen. Future code flashes in multiple colors, presumably one per historian, since their updates are personalized. They all get weepy as the update goes on, with the cold open ending as Phillip gives up and openly cries.
Jeff sr has made breakfast for Carly, but she’s late for work. He insists she at least eat for 5 minutes. It does look delicious. Jeff gets some credit for making an effort.
Kat is excited because she’s won a big design contract for a local restaurant, but she worries that the baby’s birth will interfere with fulfilling it. Grant reassures her that he’ll help with the baby and they’ll make it work.
Phillip puts his new knowledge from the update right to use, as he calls in Carly and Marcy to act as his frontwomen for lottery winnings. Carly just needs to turn in her ticket for $86k, while Marcy needs to buy one for tonight’s lottery to win $62. He leaves off the “thousand”, and Marcy gets confused, thinking he wants her to win $62.00. Is this a deficit from the reset, or is she just that spacey in the morning?
Phillip covers protocol 2H by explaining that he had a messenger with a very detailed message, allowing him to use these winnings for seed money to rebuild their financial investments. He says that the Director saw the trouble they were in and stepped up. Technically, not exactly lies.
Marcy and David do Tai Chi in the park, then stop by a store for water, where Marcy buys her lottery ticket. David decides to buy one, too, and copies her numbers.
After school, Trevor runs into his friend Kyle watching the football team practice. He asks why Kyle quit the team, and Kyle replies that it was for the same reason that Trevor quit. Not because of concussions. That other, darker reason that none of them talk about.
Just then, Hall and Luca drive up in a shiny black vintage convertible muscle car. They are happy to meet Kyle, but otherwise are just letting the team know that they’re out of prison early, and being smart *sses about it, as always. Trevor informs MacLaren, who checks the FBI data, finding that the charges against them have been dropped. He suddenly has a headache.
Carly drops by ops with her lottery winnings, minus some money for a new van transmission and baby things. Philip will make it work without the missing cash. He asks how things are going at home with Jeff, probably because Jeff is going to get frustrated that his attempts to win her back don’t work and then he’ll get violent again, but Carly doesn’t know that.
She asks if he’s developing a thing for her, which leads to one of those adorably awkward rom-com conversations where he denies it but tries not to hurt her feelings but you know he’d be interested if she’d just say the word, but he’s too honorable to go after a married woman. Carly stands there and takes it all in, then decides things are weird and leaves.
Trevor and Kyle spar in the boxing ring while Trevor coaxes more about their sexual abuse by the football coach out of Kyle. The coach promised them scholarships and more in exchange for sexual favors. Trevor wants to report the coach to the school and the police, but Kyle is afraid he’ll be seen as a victim for the rest of his life. Trevor convinces him that they should go in together.
Trevor goes to Grace to ask for help with the situation. She’s read up on her job, and is ready to approach it with enthusiam.
Kat is suddenly bleeding substantially. The pregnancy is in trouble. They rush her to the hospital. The doctors get the bleeding under control and keep the baby safe, but the situation is still high risk.
Luca approaches Marcy, but she doesn’t remember him or their potential sibling connection. She only has her team’s warnings to go by. She and Luca talk, but this version of Marcy isn’t interested in making connections.
Their conversation is interrupted by MacLaren announcing to the team that Kat is in the hospital, and asking Marcy to check on her. Marcy tells Mac that there’s nothing that she can do that the hospital doctors aren’t already doing.
David wins half of Marcy’s lottery money. He spends the day giving cash to his clients to make their lives easier in specific ways, in order to ease his guilt over copying her numbers and taking half of what should have been her winnings. He briefly considers giving her the money, but admits he’s too greedy for that.
Phillip struggles with the burden that his new knowledge puts on him. He fantasizes about confessing during one of his Narc Anon meetings.
Trevor and Grace wait for Kyle to meet them so that they can report Coach Perry when the Coach and one of the younger players find them. The coach wants Trevor back on the team, but Trevor refuses. Coach Perry looks to Grace for support, but she doesn’t understand sportsball and won’t get involved.
Kyle is getting drunk in his car because he can’t face the prospect of admitting that he’s a sexual abuse victim. He begins driving recklessly after talking with Trevor on the phone. Eventually he comes to a stop at an intersection, apparently waiting for the right moment to drive out into traffic, because he gets a countdown clock. Luca pulls up behind him, and is waiting to greet him after his transition. Trevor has to watch another of his friends become a traveler.
Kat gets a countdown clock as she rests in the hospital. A man in a mask and scrubs enters her room and injects something into her IV line. MacLaren tries to ask the nurse a question on his way into the room, and is horrified to discover that it’s Hall. He asks what Hall did, but Hall will only say that it was for their own good, and that Mac should go be with Kat.
A code blue is called as Mac is on his way to the room, and the doctors rush to save Kat. They shut Mac out of the room.
Trevor asks Phillip if his football coach will ever be caught. Phillip responds that he will, but not for a long time. Trevor tells Phillip about Kyle, but Phillip already knows, since he was a host candidate. Trevor wants to go after the coach, but Phillip warns him not to assign himself another vigilante mission. Trevor feels it’s part of his protocol 5, since original Trevor and Kyle were both abused by the coach.
When Katherine comes out of surgery, the doctor tells MacLaren that “It was Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, or APS. She developed an arterial thrombosis which then caused a coronary embolism, which is a clot in the heart. Kathryn went into cardiac arrest. Mr MacLaren, in our efforts to save Kathryn’s life… (Mac: We lost the baby.) Yes. And all I can say is that it’s extremely fortunate that the clot passed on its own or this would be an even more difficult conversation for both of us to have.”
MacLaren immediately blames Hall. Phillip tells him that Hall is at ops so Mac rushes there on the attack and has to be held back. Hall tells Mac that he was on a mission from the Director to save Kathryn’s life, otherwise both she and the baby would have been lost. Marcy agrees that there was no way to save the baby. The medication that he put in Kat’s IV was a future synthesized drug that dissolved the clot before it could kill her, because she wasn’t supposed to die.
Hall, of course, has to rub in that they were in this situation because MacLaren broke protocol 4. Mac replies that Kat wanted a baby more than anything, but Hall won’t accept that excuse. Hall drones on about how he keeps trying to teach them not to get too caught up in their 21st century lives. Mac throws back at him that the Director allowed them to put him in jail, so it must agree with him to some extent. Hall has the grace to back down and admit that everyone has to learn a lesson at some point.
That was an ugly conversation. Let’s face it, Kat was saved because MacLaren is the Director’s favorite, and it likes to keep him happy. We watch the Director allow people to die all the time as a result of traveler actions. The only reason Kat was different was because she’s MacLaren’s wife.
Carly goes home for the night and asks Jeff sr to tell her the story of Jeff jr’s birth. He says it’s not her favorite story, but begins to tell it anyway.
MacLaren and Kat hold each other and mourn their baby girl.
Trevor pays a visit to Coach Perry to force the abuse issue. Either the coach turns himself in, or Trevor will come forward. Perry threatens Trevor, and pretty much admits to the abuse, but refuses to stop or turn himself in. As he’s leaving Perry’s office, Trevor tells Phillip to release the incriminating materials they’ve gathered. Within moments, the coach is receiving calls and emails about his sexual abuse of boys and child pornography collection.
Marcy’s stops by David’s house when he’s done with his giving spree. He got carried away and gave away his bike, so she decides to spend some of her money on a new bike for him.
Hall and Luca wait for Kyle to join them, then drive out of town. As they leave, Hall asks for their new mission instructions. Kyle is their new team member.
Phillip watches the news and is once again able to predict the announcer’s words. When he looks up, the rest of the team is suddenly across the room consoling MacLaren. As he moves toward them, they fade away. He’s seeing a scene from an alternate timeline, just as the archivist warned. Phillip quickly takes some of the yellow pills. This could become a problem.
It seems odd that Phillip had no clue about the Historian updates until he was called to one himself, but the Director does love its secrecy. It has a lot of control issues that really should be gone over in therapy. 😉
At this point, both David and Marcy would be better off if she cut him out of her life. He could stop pining for someone who existed only briefly and because of an accident, and most likely isn’t coming back. Marcy could stop feeling like she’s a failure as a human being every time he looks at her with disappointed eyes. David is like an anchor around Marcy’s neck, feeding her depression and making her feel guilty because her new version doesn’t love him the way the old one did.
She’d be free of her host’s life and able to go on to create her own new life, which is what’s worked for Phillip. No one suggested that he had to stay in touch with the heroin addict’s contacts. Why does Marcy have to pretend that she was once developmentally disabled or make David’s happiness her responsibility? MacLaren’s solution won’t be right for everyone, as Hall keeps trying to impress upon them.
We need a pharmacist’s warning label for those historian’s little helpers. Are there side effects with normal usage? Can you take too many? Are they addictive? Do they become more or less effective over time? Can they be combined with other medications? I don’t trust the Director or Marcy to have made sure that these pills are safe for him.
The sexual abuse storyline felt shoehorned into this episode as an elaborate way to give Hall and Luca a new team member.
Protocol 1: The mission comes first.
Protocol 2: Leave the future in the past. Don’t jeopardize your cover.
Protocol 2H: Historian updates are not to be discussed with anyone. Ever.
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.