This episode ends another season of Travelers, and mirrors season 1 episode 5, Room 101, with the team’s friends and loved ones being held hostage and abused this time. The companions receive more humane physical treatment from Vincent/001 than the travelers did, but he’s out to destroy their relationships and peace of mind. That way he can make a quick escape while the travelers are distracted with the crisis he’s created. We’ll have to wait for season 3 to find out if 001/Vincent’s plan allows him to get away with hiding in plain sight, and if the companions can forgive the travelers for lying to them.
The cold open consists of a videotape recorded by MacLaren at ops in which he confesses to being a traveler:
“Seven months ago my consciousness was sent from the distant future into the body of Special Agent Grant MacLaren, moments before he would historically have died in the line of duty. Since then I have assumed his life, his work, his marriage, pretending to be a man very different than myself. In truth, I am traveler 3468, one of thousands of travelers around the world who have come from a time when life is all but wiped out, to save humanity. To change the path. I know how that must sound, especially to you, Kat, but it’s true.”
Cut to the new opening credits that we’ve been seeing for the last few episodes, now including images of Marcy, with her traveler number tattooed on the back of her neck.
MacLaren meets Vincent and the goon brothers out in the middle of nowhere so that Vincent can present his terms. MacLaren demands that Vincent release Perrow, and refuses to negotiate, based on Vincent’s past crimes. Vincent explains that his serial murders were reasonable, because he needed to know if the Director was still after him, and that suspicion was confirmed. Note, though, that Jacob said his team was sent to investigate Vincent, not to kill him. That’s all Vincent’s paranoia talking.
Also, wave to the nice satellite cameras, Vincent, as you stand in that open field.
Vincent rants on about how he was condemned to death because he outlived his mission and committed a crime against the Grand Plan. Is that fair? MacLaren says it’s not up to him.
Vincent: No, it’s up to the Director, who has no understanding, no forgiveness, no soul, because it is a machine.
Except that we saw the Director be forgiving and understanding with Grace, and we’ve seen it let other huge mistakes go that were made by our team.
Vincent is tired of running and of becoming more and more boxed in by the digital age. He wants MacLaren’s word that he’ll be left alone while he settles his affairs and prepares to face the Director. He stole 16 years and created a child. He doesn’t want his son to pay for his mistakes.
Vincent asks if he has MacLaren’s word that MacLaren won’t interfere. MacLaren, always sure that he has all of the power in a situation, tells Vincent that he doesn’t have MacLaren’s anything. Vincent says that’s not actually true, and shows Mac a tablet with a video of Kat being held hostage. Vincent says that Mac will get Kat back, he just has to stay out of Vincent’s way.
I am firmly antihostage taking, obviously, but I do like to see Mac occasionally reminded that he’s not a god.
Mac rushes back to ops, calling his team along the way to tell them about the situation, and to check on their loved ones. Trevor’s parents are safe, and Phillip’s turtle Poppy is safe, but David and Jeff aren’t answering their phones.
Vincent cuts Dr Perrow free from her wrist bindings, and let’s her speak to her daughter on the phone for a moment. He promises that “Ava is going to see her mother shortly.” Not “you”, but “her mother”. He worded that promise carefully. Then he whispers in her ear that there’s just one more thing that he needs her to do.
No doubt he just wants her to lie down in this perfectly harmless but totally ominous looking device that he’s just finished building.
Carly finds her house empty and ransacked. Marcy finds David’s house empty, and the symbolic tea pot has been dropped on the floor and broken, with the tea spilled all over. What kind of monsters are these people? And what will it mean if David’s teapot survives season 3 intact? Will the series have to end?
Mac goes to Kat’s house and finds it empty, as expected. He sees the symbolic adoption brochure on the counter, and knows that this child is in jeopardy as well. Whatever. Kat would be better off if he let her go find someone who could honor their marriage vows instead of lying to her while having his life run by a machine from hundreds of years in the future.
Vincent/001 sits down in his office to prepare for his confrontation with the Director by watching videos of his son on his computer monitors.
MacLaren goes to Wakefield at the FBI office asking to use FBI resources and more to hunt for the missing loved ones. Wakefield refuses, on the grounds that 001 is planning to turn himself in to the Director anyway, they can just wait him out. Indeed, all that 001 has asked for as ransom for the hostages is noninterference until he turns himself in. A cowboy like MacLaren can’t handle the thought of watchful waiting, though, which is, in fact, a huge part of hostage situations. So let’s continue and watch him make it worse.
Mac yells at Wakefield that 001 would have killed Mac’s team, the same way that he’s killed teams all over the world, if Mac hadn’t gotten NSA resources involved. Wakefield interrupts to say that the government probably became suspicious of travelers because of MacLaren’s overuse of government resources for traveler business. Worldwide, security agencies are watching them, have labelled them a terrorist organization, and are terrified of them. That’s the only reason they haven’t moved on the travelers.
Kat is brought in to talk one on one with Dr Perrow, who explains that they are both there against their will, and if Kat cooperates by answering the list of questions that Perrow has to ask her, they’ll both get out safe and alive. Her first question is, when did you notice changes in your husband?
“It has all been for the greater good. The lives lost when Van Heusen exploded ensured the survival of millions who would have died just over a year from now. Millions of people who have no idea how close they came to the end. And they were saved by travelers. That’s what we do. Carly Shannon historically died at the hand of her drunk abusive boyfriend. And now, instead of her child being raised by a deadbeat father, he’s surrounded by love. My love. Jeffrey Conniker jr will grow up to be a good man. And millions of people around the world won’t suffer from the Helios catastrophe. Do you know what I have to say about coming here, and taking this body, and doing our work? You’re welcome.”
Phillip finds the GPS signal from the loved ones’ phones, so the rest of the team goes to the location. They find the phones laid out on a table, and a message from 001: You broke our agreement. Trevor recognizes Grace’s phone with the others.
Simon is working on 001’s consciousness transfer machine, with Vincent watching him. They are worried that there isn’t enough time. Simon says he knows, that he has a clock in his head. The interface has overheated, and Simon needs more coolant. Vincent tells him that everything he needs is already in the room.
Vincent: Remember, we’re doing this for you.
Simon: You said multiple uses, multiple transfers.
Vincent: Yes, and then we’ll take care of you.
David talks with Dr Perrow next. She asks him questions about the changes in Marcy over the time that he’s known her, and tells him about the traveler program, and Marcy’s history as a traveler in the 21st. It’s all information that Vincent could have gotten by monitoring the communications back channel. She does seem surprised that Marcy is a doctor, which is interesting. Vincent should have gotten that from his surveillance of ops and David’s apartment, at the very least. That means there are significant gaps in his knowledge, and the Director can keep secrets from him when it wants to.
David argues with her that Marcy is an undercover agent, working for MacLaren at the FBI. She tells him no, Marcy is a time traveler, and he asks what she’s been smoking. She looks very insulted at this, instead of telling him that she’s just reading what she’s told, as you’d expect. She seemed nervous and afraid when speaking with Kat, but that’s no longer the case. Now she’s bitter and cynical, like a certain traveling billionaire.
David is brought to a holding room, with 5 armchairs. Kat is crouched in the corner, and Jeff sr, Phillip’s lawyer Ray, and Grace are all slouched, unconscious, in the chairs. Gradually, Jeff and Grace wake up, as they all try to figure why they’re there and if they have any connections to each other. Kat yells a lot, since David insists on connecting everyone, including her husband, to Marcy, and Jeff immediately recognizes her as the wife of the man who was sleeping with his girlfriend. She doesn’t remember her original conversation with him because it was during the time period erased by the memory serum after the plane crash in season 1.
Grace tells them that she’s a high school guidance counselor, and tries to lay low. Jeff pounds on the door and yells that they’ve taken a police officer hostage, which is a class A felony. The goons come back and take Kat again, shoving David and Jeff out of the way as they go.
Phillip is working the computers when a message comes in from 001: I told you to stay out of my way. It’s followed by a video from a crying Kat, telling MacLaren that he needs to make a video confessing to being a traveler and upload it to that IP within the next hour, or they’ll kill her. Another message from Vincent flashes on the screen, saying, It’s time the world learns who you truly are.
MacLaren insists on making the video, despite the fact that it will break protocol and he’ll risk being overwritten by the Director. Phillip realizes that he can attach a root kit that he stole from the Faction which will follow the video and tell them Vincent/001’s location, thus making the video part of the mission. Mac records the video from the cold open and doesn’t get overwritten, so the Director has decided to allow it.
Ray finally wakes up, and assumes he’s been kidnapped, again, because of his gambling debts to Vargese. The goons quickly come and take him away to have his interview with Dr Perrow. Ray is surprised to discover that he’s there because he’s Phillip’s only friend.
Simon has another false start with the device, and something catches on fire. Vincent asks if he can fix it, yelling that it’s all for Simon, all for him.
Jeff is next in line for his interview. The goon pours him some whiskey, which he pushes away. He asks about the baby, and Perrow tells him that he’ll see the baby when this is over, if he cooperates.
“Those with my specialty are specifically chosen as infants in order to develop their minds to specifically serve the traveler program. Some days, I felt like an experiment. Other days, like a superhuman. Today I’m… The Director has kept watch over my entire life, knowing the outcome of every decision, crafting my path forward. But here, I see people every day who still believe in free will. They don’t know any better.”
Back in the holding room, Kat tearfully asks the room if anyone else thinks that the time travel story could be true, since it could explain the changes she noticed in Grant a few months ago. Grace interrupts her and says, “Oh, please. Like time travel is actually possible? Okay, maybe you could send information in the form of some coherent energy across space-time, but to calculate an exact position would require an impossible level of accuracy, not to mention a billion megaflops of processing power. And then to unpack it somehow? Without entropy, in a biological…” She stops talking, because the others are staring at her strangely.
The team receives a video of David, who’s been beaten so badly that his eye is swollen shut, telling them that the entire team must now make confession videos. He says, “We know that you tampered with MacLaren’s recording. Each and every one of you must record your own confessions, or we will all be killed. Marcy, I just want to go home. I just want to go home.”
In the holding room, Jeff and Ray plot to take on the goons, but get stuck on deciding which goon is taller. David is returned to the room and tossed on the floor. Kat helps him to a chair as he asks if his eye looks okay, since he can’t see out of it. As Jeff goes to get in the face of one of the goons, David puts a hand on his arm and stops him, saying, “Don’t.” Grace gets taken next.
“My purpose is to save lives, whether that’s a teammate in jeopardy, or someone that’s part of a mission ordered by the Director. But I can’t help but think that I’ve put one person’s life in more danger than they deserve. David, you’ve suffered because of me, and there’s just, there’s no excuse for that. I cared enough to leave once. I should have just stayed away.”
Simon has lowered the temperature in the room significantly. Vincent makes a speech about God and AIs.
Vincent: For 2000 years mankind believed that God was created in his image. Guiding our lives, hearing our prayers. But when those prayers weren’t answered, we just chalked it up to his divine will. But then mankind created the power to build God, a machine more powerful than any human mind could ever be. The fate of our existence just handed to an AI, with the ability to monitor each and every shifting timeline, while we blindly obey its orders, with the belief that salvation will come. The problem isn’t the fact that we believed in God…
Simon, who has been asking his hallucination to hand him a screwdriver and is getting frustrated at being ignored: It’s that we didn’t believe in ourselves. Fine. I’ll get it.
Vincent: It’s time to pull back the curtain and take control of the present. To fight for our future. (Simon successfully turns the device on.) Simon, we can finally fix you.
That sounds like Vincent’s, and probably the Faction’s, manifesto. It’s likely a speech that Vincent repeated often during their work together in the hospital, given that Simon can finish Vincent’s sentences.
Grace begins her interview with Dr Perrow by repeating each question back to her. Perrow stops Grace, saying she knows that Grace is really traveler 0027. Grace looks spooked.
Vincent has disseminated the video to major news organizations and security agencies. Phillip can’t stop or corrupt the video now that it’s been distributed. Vincent has outsmarted them again. The information will solve dozens of cases that the security agencies have been following.
MacLaren still thinks that the Director will take care of them, but Wakefield isn’t so certain. Next Vincent sends the team a list of possible coordinates where the hostages will be dropped, with the message, “Happy Hunting.” He’s making them work for it. Phillip figures out that they’ll be dropped at the same coordinates where Mac met Vincent at the beginning of the episode.
The hostages are given copies of the travelers’ videos to watch. When Perrow is done with Grace, she brings Grace back to the holding room. Perrow tells the others that if they have any questions, they can ask Grace, because she’s one of them. Grace looks overwhelmed. The hostages all look angry, including Perrow.
Perrow leaves the facility in one of Vincent’s cars, with a driver, but otherwise alone. She gets a call from her daughter, Ava, as soon as she gets into the car, and tells Ava that she’ll be home soon.
Simon is lying in the device, ready for his transfer procedure. He asks Vincent to stay with him, because he’s scared. Vincent agrees. As the camera pulls away, we can see that Simon is actually in the room alone. Whatever Vincent’s intentions were, he didn’t stick around to help fix Simon.
“I was part of the original test program for consciousness transfer, something we had to master before we could even dream of traveling back in time. And I’ve lived in many bodies, which makes me one of the oldest living people in human history. I’ll never forget what I saw the first time I woke up. My former body, glassy eyes staring back at me. There was no one in there any more. Just a husk. That image stays with me everywhere I go.”
As Trevor talks about seeing the glassy eyed husk of his original body, we see the glassy eyed husk of Vincent Ingram’s body, still sitting in his office staring at videos of his son. A henchman comes in and turns the office chair around so that it’s in front of a computer that’s hooked up to the internet, with the camera broadcasting. Within a few seconds, a new traveler enters Vincent’s body and sends a message to the Director via the internet: “Traveler 5692, arrival sucessful.” I wonder how close that is to the email Vincent was supposed to send on 9/11?
Dr Perrow watches a news video about Vincent Ingram breaking the story of the new worldwide terrorist group, and smiles. Her car pulls up in front of a park, where she and the driver get out. She tells the driver to inform her when the device has been moved. Right now, she needs to speak with her son. 001 is now living in the body of Katrina Perrow.
She finds Taylor playing in the water and asks if he remembers her. Taylor says yes, and she tells him that his father wants Taylor to live with her for a while, so that they can be free.
In voiceover, Perrow says that she been treating Vincent for four months and he’s given her permission to break doctor-patient confidentiality for this recording. Midway through, her voice transitions into Vincent’s. She says that time travelers do exist. They operate covertly in teams of five, performing missions given to them by an advanced AI known as the Director. The Director’s goal is to accomplish its Grand Plan, and the travelers are spies and terrorists in its service. They’ve infiltrated every aspect of our lives. They know our secrets and our future, and we must do whatever we can to stop them.
The hostages are loaded into a van and taken out into the country. They’re lined up on the side of the road as if they’re going to be shot, but instead their wrist ties are removed, and baby Jeff is given back to his dad. A helicopter flies over to them, bringing the traveler team. The team members each run to their respective hostages. They’re each given the cold shoulder.
Carly asks to hold the baby, and Jeff tells her to stay away from his son. Phillip tells Ray that he’s sorry Ray had to go through that. Ray says that at least Phillip was straight with him from the start, “But let’s not pretend that we’re friends.” Trevor asks Grace if she’s okay, and she says she’s not sure, sounding like she’s in a daze. Marcy tells David that they can get through this, but he says he doesn’t think so, then tells her not to touch him.
Several police cars are approaching in the distance, lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Kat, always the drama queen, asks Grant who he is. He says that he can explain who did this to her. She says that she doesn’t want to hear anything from him. “You killed my husband!” And she slaps him as hard as she can across the face. End of season.
My top two candidates for Simon’s new host body are Grace and David. Both were acting extra strange at the end. Grace was subdued and seemed dazed and confused, the way you’d expect of someone who’s suddenly not schizophrenic, and in a new body. But she’d also just been outed as a traveler, had 001 say who knows what to her, and probably felt betrayed by the Director, again. Her confusion could have been because she was trying to comprehend how those events could possibly fit into the Director’s parameters, and if this was a sign of trouble in the future.
David started acting strange during his video to the team, where he told Marcy twice that he just wanted to go home, which is very similar to what Simon said to the team, and especially Marcy, in episode 11 when he wanted to leave ops. He was more subdued and seemed bitter after that, but he’d also been beaten, so it’s hard to tell if he was acting quiet and stand offish because of the unusual treatment he’d received, or because he was Simon in Marcy’s boyfriend’s body, and that freaked him out a bit.
Plus, if Simon is in David’s body he’s likely feeling a little betrayed by 001, since David’s body is currently damaged and in pain. Perrow did perk up a lot when she heard that Marcy is a doctor, and David was very strange about Marcy touching him at the end. David was the only one who was beaten. That could have been because he wouldn’t get into the machine. Recovering from trauma and a beating would be good camouflage for Simon’s strange behavior in David’s body. 001 might have also felt that Simon would feel comfortable being close to Marcy, and Marcy, as a doctor, would be equipped to take care of him.
Does the broken teapot mean that David and Marcy’s love is shattered forever? Or that David’s mind is broken and gone because Simon transferred into his body? They could have put David into Simon’s body, but I don’t know that David could handle the switch. Grace is much tougher and better in a crisis. David as a schizophrenic would just whine that someone was mean to him, and no one would ever figure out what’s going on. Grace would pummel Trevor until he listened to her and believed that the switch happened.
They did spend a lot of time this season showing us how close David is to the street people in Seattle though, and how much he helps them. That could be a set up for them being there for David in Simon’s body next season. Only David would know exactly what he did for each person when he won the lottery and when the plague was going on, so he has a way to convince them that he’s really David.
Vincent may or may not have been in the room with Simon the first time we saw them together. When we see Dr Perrow directly after, it seems clear that she’s already been overwritten by Vincent/001, since she now has his speaking style and mannerisms, which are very different from the Dr Perrow we saw with Kat.
The device’s interface may have overheated during Vincent’s transfer, or it may have overheated while testing in preparation for Vincent’s transfer. Either way, the switch is made by the time Perrow interviews David, and Vincent is definitely a hallucination after that, if not before.
This episode plays with time, including showing Simon’s scenes according to the clock in his head, not according to what’s going on in the real world and the rest of the show. They showed Simon’s transfer at the end, but that doesn’t mean that it happened when the hostages were released. The teams’ videos are also shown out of order and at times other than when they made them, reminding us that time is a very relative thing in this world.
The device needed to be modified and possibly repaired for Simon’s transfer, which, if I’m right, would have been a two way body switch. 001’s procedure was either a simple overwrite or possibly the removal Perrow from her body and putting her consciousness in storage, then moving 001 into her body. That would account for them discussing multiple transfers, since it would be four altogether.
They could have also done a test transfer using someone else and the loved ones, meaning one or more of the former hostages isn’t who they’re supposed to be, besides whoever Simon became. Vincent had access to the consciousnesses stored in the framework, so he could have started by turning Ray, Grace, David or Jeff sr into Faction members who are now loyal to him. He likes Kat, so I don’t think he’d use her.
I can’t take the relationships between Marcy and David or Kat and Mac seriously. Both are based on profound lies, so they were never going to last the way they were anyway. If they become healthy relationships because of these events, great. If they continue being creepy and full of lies and selfishness, then I’m not going to care when someone interferes.
Since the root kit came from the Faction, and Vincent was watching the Faction just as closely as he was watching the travelers, he probably already had the root kit himself and recognized it as soon as the video came through. The team continuously underestimates him, no matter how much evidence they get that he’s way ahead of them.
All that information in MacLaren’s video, and all that Kat hears is that her husband died, so this guy must have killed him. There’s a lot that it would be reasonable for her to be angry about, but she was going to lose her husband either way. The traveler program allowed her to keep a version of him for a while longer, but I can see where she’d rather that he’d just left her. Between that reaction, and her endless crying in this episode, I was trying to figure out if I could overwrite her myself.
Season 2 Speculation and Analysis coming soon!
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.