In this episode, Marcy takes drastic steps to bring back the memories she lost in the reset, and the show does a drastic retcon of her origin story. While Marcy is taking her ice bath through memory lane, the rest of the team is charged with helping to protect future POTUS 53, currently a sweet little girl under attack by the Faction. When you’re an evil death cult, it’s never to early to assassinate a president.
Marcy begins her ice bath ritual with a quasi suicide note for David, because this show loves to torture him. Not that I mind all that much, since David’s happiness is frequently based on guilting people into doing what he wants. He’s one of those guys whose excessive sensitivity makes every situation about him, and Marcy’s need to recover her past is, of course, actually about his needs instead of hers.
Next Marcy sends a text: “Carly, undergoing a medical procedure today. Can u come by David Mailer’s apt. at 4 pm sharp? It’s important.”
Notice that Carly’s the friend she can depend on in a crisis, not David, even though she’s in his apartment because he’s the one with the bathtub. She also just prefers his place for all of her dangerous, self-performed medical procedures.
Carly replies that she’ll be there, so Marcy begins her procedure. She sticks heart monitor thingies on, injects herself with something that’s probably crucial to the procedure, and immerses herself almost completely into an ice cold bath. Marcy is as hardcore as ever when it comes to performing medicine on herself. These producers owe the character and the actress a condition that requires a lot of time in a spa next season.
Kat and Mac continue to grieve their baby.
Four young girls walk home from school together, chatting about normal things, when three of the four freeze in place. Hall, Luca, and Kyle, my new favorite traveler team, pull up next to the girls, and order the fourth, Anna Hamilton, to get into the car with them. Hall even flashes an FBI badge. Anna is an intelligent child, so she doesn’t buy the act. Kyle jumps out of the car, grabs her, and hops back into the car with her. They drive away. Hall’s team are barely more than thugs with hearts of gold, the Director’s pirates. Kyle softens up the other two a lot.
Marcy’s memories begin to unfold as she soaks in the ice bath. First, she’s the original, developmentally disabled Marcy that we met in the pilot, sitting in an institutional setting, reading a picture book to one of the orderlies. He enthusiastically encourages her, but she wants to stop reading. Another, less friendly, orderly enters the room, saying it’s time for Marcy’s treatment. She becomes anxious and upset, and has to be carried out screaming that she doesn’t want the treatment.
She’s taken to a small room with a treatment chair, machines, and computer banks that looks similar to the ones at ops. The orderly straps her into the chair. Vincent appears, dressed like a doctor, and tells her that he doesn’t want to hurt her, he only wants to make her whole again.
After her treatment, Marcy huddles on the floor between chairs. The nice orderly, James, brings her ice cream and tells her he needs his job. Another patient, Simon, sits near her and asks if it worked this time? She shakes her head no. Simon says that he knew the information transfer was way too slow. He’ll keep trying to fix the problem so that they can get her back in, but squib transistors barely exist in the here and now.
Drake, the abusive orderly, force feeds Marcy and provokes James into a fight, ending up with James getting fired. Marcy insists that she wants to go home, but the orderly tells her that the hospital is her home now. She says that she remembers that she only works there.
Marcy slips into memories that are deeper in her past, before Vincent did his procedures on her. She was an orderly at the hospital, with normal intelligence and abilities. We see her delivering meds to Simon, who is drawing someone named 0092, who he says won’t be born for hundreds of years. Simon is a traveler.
Marcy: What’s her name?
Simon: 0092. She’s not born for another 2- no hundreds of years from now.
Marcy: That’s a very long time.
Simon: Yes, it is. Home, sweet home. The ozone layer is gone by then, but that’s just one problem. In 100 years it’s way worse. We live under the ice. That’s not that complicated. You have two people that want the same thing, The two people fight over the one, then there’s none.
Marcy: I have two pills for 1 person.
Simon: I’m not supposed to take anything before treatment.
Vincent: Marcy, isn’t it? I was hoping to catch you. Simon is corect. I prefer that he not be medicated during the treatment.
Marcy: There’s a daily schedule, Mr Ingram.
Simon: Maintenance of the yeast vats first and foremost is your responsibility to the community.
Vincent sends Simon ahead of him to the treatment room, while he continues to work on Marcy. Marcy is concerned because some of the patients that Vincent has worked on have disappeared from the ward. Vincent assures her that they’ve been transferred to other hospitals for further research. His research is for the greater good, so she doesn’t need to worry. In fact, perhaps she’d like to help with his work.
Vincent has Marcy sign a pages long document filled with legalese. He explains that the technology scans the brain and records specific patterns, “not dissimilar to something like an MRI.” He promises her a large amount of money for participation in the research.
When Marcy enters the treatment room for the first time, Simon is there working on the technology. She asks what he’s doing there, and he replies that he helped build the first one in the future, too. She changes her mind about participating, but Vincent forces her to have the procedure anyway, since she signed the papers and has seen the technology. Drake drags her into the chair, screaming. Simon cowers in the background with wires still in hand. Did her first procedure go wrong and permanently mess up her brain because Simon was too flustered to set up the technology properly?
After the procedure, Drake wheels an unconscious Marcy down the corridor, while Vincent tells him that the technology malfunctioned and information was lost. Simon is trying to fix the machine so that Marcy can be fixed. Until then, Marcy is to be considered a patient at the facility. Drake balks, but Vincent tells Drake that he can make Drake very wealthy, very easily. Drake agrees to bribe or get rid of any staff who might remember that Marcy used to work there.
Marcy begins to remember her time as traveler Marcy before the reset. She recalls treating Phillip for his heroin addiction.
She switches to original Marcy’s memory of the first time that she met David, when the institution dumped her on the street. Some men were about to attack her in an alley when David saw her and began walking with her. He takes her on as a client, and gets her a place to stay, plus other benefits. They become friends. Marcy wants him to become her boyfriend, but he has to tell her that it would be inappropriate. They’ll be BFFs instead.
Carly gets a messenger telling her that they need to provide tactical support to another team in less than an hour. She, Phillip and Trevor are ready, but Mac isn’t answering his com. They’ll do the mission without Marcy because of her procedure, so the goal is to not get shot.
Phillip goes to Kathryn’s door to get Mac, and Kathryn recognizes him as the CI who stole Mac’s car once (when the plane crashed and Phillip retrieved the car from the airport). Phillip has a story ready to tell Kat, but Mac hurries him along. Someday, I want to hear the CI version of events, as sanitized for Kathryn’s delicate ears.
Hall’s team has taken Anna to a restaurant, where Mac’s team has been told to meet them. Hall explains that Anna is the future 53rd President of the United States. She’s not, in the timeline Mac remembers, but the timeline has changed, and now the close election will be won by Anna. Mac and Hall are starting their usual sparring for dominance when the Faction begins its attack. Luca gets Anna safely behind furniture, and everyone else takes part in the shootout (except Phillip, who’s watching the cameras). Carly gets in some great sniper shots. The Director steps in and kills the last Faction attacker by message.
Mac decides that they need to get Anna to an isolated safehouse until the attack window closes at 4:00. Hall can’t resist arguing, but Luca steps in and agrees with Mac, so they drive out to a farm house that was seized by the FBI from some meth cookers.
Once there, Carly has them set up Claymores on the road. Hall is surprised that Mac takes orders from his tactician, but Mac says that Hall should, too. That sets Hall off on another lecture about the Director frequently pairing up their teams, so they have to learn to get along. Of course, the irony is that Hall’s the one who’s always trying to take over and won’t take suggestions.
While they’re arguing, a Faction drone flies overhead. Now it’s just a matter of time before the Faction attacks.
Trevor wonders if the Director sent Mac to keep a child alive to help him with grieving his lost baby. Mac snaps at Trevor that neither Trevor nor the Director are licensed therapists and they have no idea what he’s going through.
Why is MacLaren such a terrible person?
Trevor reminds Mac that he’s old enough to have watched two of his own sons die of old age. Mac still doesn’t think it’s the same, and Trevor says of course it isn’t, Mac’s grieving the loss of potential. He leaves unspoken the fact that he grieved the loss of two fully formed human beings who he’d known for decades, but shouldn’t have outlived. Grief isn’t a contest, but it’s Mac who turned it into one by deciding that no one else could ever understand his man pain.
Just as the Faction army is arriving at the Farmhouse, the Director uses Anna as a messenger to inform the travelers that protocol three has been suspended for the afternoon. They are to protect Anna Hamilton at all costs. Let’s hope that using kids as messengers is really as safe long term as the Director thinks it is, cause I sure wouldn’t want that done to my kid’s brain, or the future president’s.
The Faction army arrives, but the Director doesn’t intervene, and the travelers are forced into a shootout. They realize that the Faction has a space-time attenuator, which blocks the Director from being able to see into the area. Mac hands Trevor a grenade and sends him out to use his quarterback skills to throw it on the STA, which is in the back of a pick up truck.
Things are getting dire when Trevor gets the grenade into the truck and disables the STA. The Director immediately intervenes, killing many of the Faction travelers, and overwriting a few. As soon as they’re sure that the battle is over, Carly races out to go meet Marcy at David’s apartment. She’s already a few minutes late.
Anna’s parents arrive to pick her up, and it turns out that they are now travelers. Her original parents died trying to defend her in the timeline where the Faction was successful. The traveler parents promise Mac and Hall that Anna will never realize that they aren’t her original parents, and they’ll keep her safe. Anna gives Hall and Mac a big hug, then her parents take her home.
Agent MacLaren and “Agent” Hall shake hands, having developed a grudging amount of respect for each other.
Marcy has been getting closer and closer to hyperthemia and to flatlining, and she reaches that point just as Carly finds her in the tub. She’s still having random memories of her time with David before the reset. Carly pulls her from the tub and begins chest compressions. David gets home from work and races in to help Carly. She uses Marcy’s portable defibrillator and gets Marcy’s heart started again.
Carly sits with Marcy while they try to get her body temperature back up to normal. David finds the note that Marcy left him, which he was only supposed to read if she died. The note says that she isn’t doing this to leave him, but to fill in the void that she knows isn’t supposed to be there, so that she can be whole again. She feels it was worth trying, even though it would hurt him.
Even when she’s trying to recover the missing pieces of herself, she has to make sure that David’s precious feelings are taken care of. He becomes angry with her, because he might have been the one to find her body. Never mind that she clearly made sure that he wouldn’t be the one, Carly would be. He doesn’t even ask her if she was successful. It’s all about him and his feelings, not Marcy and her body, her experiences, her needs.
David is still pouting, like the child that he is, the next morning, and leaves early for work before Marcy wakes up. She goes after him, finding him on the street and kissing him into submission. As they’re talking, she sees chalk sidewalk art over David’s shoulder, and asks if David knows who created it. He does, a homeless man who lives in the neighborhood. It’s a picture of the dome where the travelers live in the future.
Normally I’d be upset about the way Kyle grabbed Anna like a sack of potatoes and kidnapped her, but time was of the essence and there was no way a smart kid like her was going to be convinced to go with three strange men, unless they had a parent with them, or on the phone, so I’ll concede the necessity this time.
Contrast that with the horrific treatment Marcy received, though, from being abused, tortured and having her identity stolen by a man who was allowed into a hospital to pose as a doctor, to being abused by one staff member, to another one allowing it because he needed the job, to dumping her on the streets where she was about to be attacked if it weren’t for David’s intervention, to all the ways David finds to be controlling once Marcy doesn’t actively need him any more. He was a great case worker, but he’s very, very afraid of losing traveler Marcy, and he can be very manipulative in subtle ways because of it.
Luca is a caring brother and asks after Marcy. Mac mentions her procedure. I wish the Director would assign Luca to be Marcy’s permanent big brother and bodyguard, because that body seems to attract violence and trouble.
Based on everything we’ve been told before, a botched consciousness transfer shouldn’t have shrunk Marcy’s brain or have caused it to become malformed, which are both conditions that have been implied about original Marcy. We’ve never been told anything before that would imply physical brain damage from attempts at consciousness transfer, though that would make more sense, since we know the Director can easily kill people by causing brain damage (through sending a message to an adult). There’s some definite handwaving going on with Marcy’s brain and consciousness transfer in this episode .
Then there’s the information we were very pointedly given in episode 7, about the meteorite being the only source of an element that’s necessary for consciousness transfer and room temperature superconductors. Did Vincent end up with a piece of the element after all? Or is he trying to create a workaround? What does he want consciousness transfer for?
I believe this is the first time that we’ve seen the Director do the obvious and kill people by message, rather than just overwrite them. The Director bends its rules for Faction travelers.
Simon, who we definitely should keep forever, reveals that the ozone layer will be gone in 100 years, but it hardly matters, because the new ice age will have been brought on by a war over resources. The resources will end up destroyed by the fighting, and people build the underice domes. That sounds like a nuclear winter, but anything that throws too much debris into the atmosphere and blocks sunlight for very long could bring back glaciers, which would take a long time to melt once they’re frozen. There’s also the possibility of the earth being thrown slightly off of its axis and becoming colder permanently.
The gruel future people live on is yeast grown in vats, which sounds at least slightly more palatable than the cockroaches they live on in Snowpiercer. But, why no hydroponic gardens growing seaweed or algae, at the very least?
It’s very weird going back and forth between loving Eric McCormack as Will on Will and Grace, and being constantly frustrated with his character on this show. I want to like MacLaren, but he’s such an entitled jerk, married to such a lightweight of an entitled jerk, that sometimes I’m ready to transfer into Hall’s body and lecture them right along with him.
This show is really getting into glorifying the man-child stereotype. All of the alpha males act like children who need their egos propped up by the people around them, especially, but not only, the women. MacLaren, Hall, David, Coach Perry, Vincent- they all have underlings trying to keep them happy so that they don’t turn cruel and threatening. There’s not much difference between the ones who are supposedly good guys, and the ones who are supposedly bad guys, either.
ETA: After thinking about this for a couple of days, I realized that Marcy’s reasoning for the ice bath must have been to put her into a prolonged near death experience, similar to what MacLaren told her brought out his host’s memory remnants in episode 7. I don’t know if I would have gotten that more quickly if I wasn’t watching the second half of the season while going through the flu, but it seems like something they could have added in a quick line about, even if it was just in Marcy’s note to David to help him understand her motivations. She could have told him that she had a friend who recovered lost memories during a near death experience, so she wanted to try that, too. It might have helped David understand and whine a little less, too.
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.