Travelers Season 2: Review, Analysis and Speculation

Trav212Team&Copter

Updated 7/18/18- What/Who Is the Director, Really?

We made it through another season! Season 2 of Travelers had its ups and downs. Whereas I would have given season 1 an A+, I’d only give this season a B+. There were improvements in some areas. The female characters weren’t treated with as much misogyny, and the show had some stellar cinematography. The cast continued to be amazing, and the new additions kept up the quality. The production values of the show look and sound great, especially considering the size of their budget. It’s the writing that needs to be given more attention next season.

We learned intriguing new aspects of the mythology, but we also went around in circles, repeating the same kernels of information over and over, rather than continuing to reveal more about life in the future and how time travel works. The showrunners say that they don’t intend to have the series physically go to the future because the travelers are trapped in the 21st, but that’s a cop out.

They can still give us a clear picture of the environment and culture that the characters are coming from, explain the Director clearly, and give sensible explanations for their theories of time travel and consciousness transfer, then stick to those rules. Otherwise, the show runs the risk of retconning and contradicting itself every time they think up a new storyline, which is death to serious science fiction.

We’re already seeing that start to happen with the retcon of Marcy’s past, which appears to disagree with what we’d been told up until episode 8, 21C, about the physical condition of her brain. We weren’t given any explanation for how the supposed congenital deformities of her brain could be caused by a botched consciousness transfer, and it’s hard to understand how her doctors could mistake one for the other. And what was the big deal about her getting an MRI in season 1, then? People can and do overcome brain damage, given time. It just doesn’t quite add up.

The pacing of the show was uneven, with some episodes packed full of plot and new information being spit out at us at high speed, as if the writers would actually prefer it if we didn’t understand what the characters were talking about. Then other episodes would meander and not really accomplish much, sometimes even lacking much of a plot. The writing in general was often lazy, with dry, fast-paced exposition telling us what we needed to know rather than well written dramatic scenes showing new information in interesting ways.

The characters tended to get bogged down in obsessing about their personal lives, and had too few missions. Even when they had missions, too much of the season was spent using deus ex machina plot devices to resolve the crisis, negating everything that had happened earlier in the episode. It doesn’t feel like there’s much point to watching an episode full of struggle when you know that the Director is going to jump in and save them every time anyway, no matter what’s come before. Especially when the characters themselves would clearly prefer to stand around and wait for the Director to save them.

There also doesn’t seem to be much point to having them get so overly attached to their host’s loved ones. It’s kind of creepy and gross, and probably a good idea to explore the violation that the loved ones feel next season. It’s a much better idea to have them form relationships with other travelers, who they can be honest with (unless they’re a historian, who I guess can only be honest with other historians), or at least with new people who never knew the original host. Phillip and Jenny’s relationship was one of the best of the season, yet it was between two travelers. Trevor’s mild flirtation with Abby (Paloma Kwiatkowski) ended tragically, but I’ll always wonder where it might have gone. She was a much better fit for him than his host’s girlfriend, Renee. (But not better than Grace, once he’s legal. 😘 )

The host was going to be removed from their loved ones’ lives anyway, so the travelers shouldn’t feel any more guilt over leaving those connections than they do over taking their bodies. If we are going to have an extended focus on their personal lives, it should directly impact the science fiction elements of the story, the way Phillip and Jenny’s relationship did. I never need to hear Kat complain that Mac is ignoring her because he’s doing his job again. Or hear David decide that Marcy’s medical procedures are self-destructive, so that he can be her male saviour.

When the season did focus on the series long story and got going with it, it was as amazing as ever, especially with the plague storyline and the final three episodes. Some of the new characters were fantastic additions, such as Simon (Chad Krowchuk) and Jenny (Stephanie Bennett), and it was great to get to know other recurring characters better, such as Derek (Matthew Kevin Anderson), Boyd (Kristine Cofsky), and Grace (Jennifer Spence). 001, as both Vincent and Perrow, is a powerful new presence, a complex villain with mysterious motives that kept the audience guessing. Enrico Colantoni and frequent director Amanda Tapping are both welcome additions to the cast.


 

The Team Comes into Its Own

Most importantly, we got to know the main traveler team much better, and each character came into their own as they settled into the 21st century. MacLaren and Marcy emerged as the writers’ favorites, and were given the A story the most often. Unfortunately, both got mired in annoying personal relationships left over from their hosts. Those relationships probably aren’t going anywhere, since many fans love them, but I’d be happy to see both relationships end and have those two end up either with each other or less selfish partners. If you think David is actually a pure, selfless being in his dealings with Marcy, you aren’t really paying attention.

Phillip

Phillip (Reilly Dolman) seems to have moved past his heroin and eye drop addictions. Now he’s having difficulty staying in the right timeline, and needs to take drugs to focus properly. It’s not clear yet if we’re sometimes watching his hallucinations of the wrong timeline, though too much of that would be another cop out in a series with such short seasons.

If they had 16 or 22 episodes a season, I’d love to spend an episode in an alternate timeline. As it is, we already wasted an episode this season doing essentially that while the team was murdered over and over. It conveniently didn’t tickle Phillip’s historian senses.

He and Carly have become close, so maybe she’ll notice that something’s wrong and try to help him. He and Trevor are also good friends, and Trevor is very perceptive, though he does tend to live and let live.

Ray was taken by 001 as Phillip’s closest friend, because he’s not close to anyone who isn’t a traveler. That’s not a bad thing, in my opinion. It means that he’s not living any more of a lie than he has to as a historian, which is already significant. He doesn’t have much that can be used as leverage against him.

001 didn’t want to take team members, because he wanted to coerce them into exposing themselves with the videos, so that left Ray, or the members of Phillip’s support group. I think 001 actually made his hostage choices based on potential host candidates for 004/Simon, as much as how close they were to the team, so he must have thought Ray was the best potential candidate of Phillip’s acquaintance.

In Reilly Dolman’s hands, Phillip is always sympathetic and believable, whether he’s having an addiction relapse and inadvertently betraying the team, breaking protocol to save a teammate, being the consummate professional on or off the computer, or in the middle of a tragic crisis. He’s the heart of the team, who quietly keeps an eye on everyone.

Trav207Team&Boat

Carly

Carly (Nesta Cooper) has forgotten that she was ever involved with MacLaren as more than a colleague, which is probably for the best, but is confusing as a viewer. Their relationship had much more dramatic storyline potential than Kat and Mac’s, so I’m surprised that it was so thoroughly tossed aside. But I like her and Phillip together a lot, and Mac is an *ss when it comes to relationships, so I’ll go along with the retcon without complaint this once.

Now that’s she’s done with Mac, she’s blossomed into the confident warrior that she was meant to be, developing friendships with Marcy and Phillip, keeping Jeff sr in line, and standing alongside Mac as his second in command and tactician. She, Phillip and Trevor are the backbone of the team, generally avoiding getting bogged down in personal crises, solving issues themselves when they do, always mission ready, and professional on the job.

Nesta Cooper looks and feels like a warrior when she’s behind the scope of her rifle or barking out tactical orders, something she was given the opportunity to do frequently this season. But Nesta is also believable as a dedicated, caring mother and friend who’s good in a crisis and struggling to juggle a child, a fake relationship and two jobs. Carly is the unacknowledged superwoman of the team.

Carly is the most no nonsense member of the team in every area of her life, the most goal-oriented and determined. Her relationship with Jeff sr (J Alex Brinson) is interesting, because he has grown to respect her and appreciate her toughness. He’s more complicated than an alcoholic wife abuser is usually portrayed. He really does love and want his son, and I believe that he cares about Carly. He’s shown determination of his own, and a willingness to stick with the family even when things are rough.

But he also has some terrible attitudes and can’t seem to stop drinking, which turns him into a monster. What will the revelation that he really did kill Carly in another timeline do to him? Carly’s told him that before, but he didn’t believe her. Jeff, of all of the loved ones, noticed the odd things that were happening when the travelers arrived, and used his position as a police officer to investigate them.

He’s the most likely to believe the time travel story, and keep believing it. He knows Carly suddenly became able to beat him up. Carly and Jeff’s is the one relationship that I want to watch go through the time traveler revelation. Carly, rightfully, hasn’t been willing to give him a chance so far, but he’s been there for her many times, despite also being abusive. The question is, will the truth end up bringing out the best in both of them, or will it bring out the worst in Jeff, once he gets past the initial shock?

The show reminded us twice at the end of the season that Jeff knows Carly slept with Mac while they were broken up, and he’s still very jealous about it. He’s very possessive of her, but he does also have real feelings for her.

The two sides of Jeff are hard to reconcile. In real life, abusers can become decent partners when they give up drinking and find a partner who demands respect. I’ve seen it happen. I’m hesitant to wish that on Carly, but it wouldn’t be the worst outcome, either, since he appreciates her personality and has tried hard to get her to take him back. J Alex Brinson plays all of the sides of Jeff Conniker equally well, whether he’s being handsome and charming, a violent drunk, or a beat cop on the job. Of the men, he and Phillip/Reilly Dolman have the parts that require the most range of their actors, and both nail it.

 

Trevor

Trevor (Jared Abrahamson) has an agreement with his host’s parents that allows him to live in the garage with Phillip most of the time. His girlfriend Renee was away for a long time, maybe in a student exchange program. Now that she’s back, he was able to gently break it off with her, so he’s not troubled by non-traveler attachments. His best friends seem to be Phillip and Grace.

Much was made this season of his old age and his participation in the early consciousness transfer program. That will probably come up again next season as they need to find 001’s device or build one of their own, and figure out what’s even technologically possible in the 21st. The youngsters on the team never want to think about the early days of consciousness transfer, especially Mac, because that would remind them that the Director was created and isn’t actually a god.

Jared Abrahamson plays Trevor as an old soul with a new lease on life, which he greets with timeless wisdom and joie de vivre. There’s a mystery and stillness to Trevor that’s interesting and hard to pull off in an athletic teenage boy, but Jared manages it. Trevor is laid back and loveable, slow to anger, but he defends his people fiercely. He’s the dependable, calming influence of the group, who breaks up fights and shares his experiences when someone needs help coping, the caretaker who’s always available for a friend.

They kept Trevor weirdly out of the loop of Simon’s arc, since you would think that those two would already know each other, but sometimes it seems like Trevor is in hiding in the 21st, at least from certain people. His knowledge of the past will allow him to ask 0027 questions if she needs to prove that it’s really her in Simon’s body. Hopefully we’ll get more of Trevor’s background next season, instead of the repetition of the same bits that aren’t really new.

So far, we know that he’s the longest lived human consciousness in history, which may be why he’s in semihiding. The general populace might have a problem with one person’s overuse of resources. We know that he had two sons that died of old age and that he’s a brilliant engineer. He was very old and dying the first time his consciousness was transferred to a new body, but it not clear if it was completely voluntary. He’s cheated death many times. 0027 and Blue are the only travelers who’ve shown any recognition of him outside of his own team. His team members tend to forget how old he actually is. That means he’s not famous for any major accomplishments, or someone they grew up admiring, or notorious in any way.

He’s lived quietly, under the radar, switching bodies as needed. He’s talked with the Director a few times, but isn’t one of its favorites. The Director hasn’t sent medical nanites to help him out any of the times he’s been injured or in pain, the way it did with MacLaren and Grace. So why and how has he been kept alive? Is he valuable to one of the other long lived programmers or engineers, like 0027 or Blue, who was happy to see him? Does he have valuable skills that they want to preserve? Was he instrumental in the creation of the consciousness transfer or time travel technology? Has he had his consciousness reset, and is he missing pieces of his memory?

0115 and 0027 are the key to something, I just know it, whether the writers ever show us what it is or not. At the rate they’re giving us information, they’ll be cancelled long before any big mysteries are solved. Instead we’ll waste some more time watching MacKenzie Porter in her bra trying to get David to condescend to love her again. [insert retching noises here]

If Simon isn’t in Grace Day’s body, then 001 said something to her that threw her off her game, which we’ve almost never seen happen before, no matter how bad things have gotten. Not during her trial, not when she was dying of the plague, not when Charlotte the child assassin was after her, not when Ellis shot her. She’s only been flustered when she thought the Director thought she’d betrayed it.

Jen Spence has been delightful as both Grace Day and 0027. Grace was calm, kind, and sensible, while 0027 is plucky, brash and outspoken. It’s no secret that I love them both, but especially 0027. Spence is hilarious when comic relief is called for, and maintains 0027’s strength when scenes turn dramatic. One of my biggest wishes for the show is that she becomes a regular. The actress and the character are too valuable to waste.

001 picked 0027 specifically as Trevor’s loved one, instead of his father, the person Trevor thought would be taken. So, 001 senses or knows of the same connection between them that I’ve seen all along. 001/Perrow must have threatened Trevor for Grace to be so upset. If Perrow knows who Trevor really is and why he’s in semihiding, she could be very dangerous to Trevor and Grace. Perrow/001 also clearly hates 0027, since she’s one of the programmers who were part of the program when he traveled back to the 21st.

Trav208Trev&Grace
You can feel the chemistry and closeness. Plus, he knew she was a hostage because he recognized her phone. That’s practically a modern glass slipper.

Marcy

Marcy (MacKaenzie Porter) spent most of the season in a deep depression, as a result of the various events of season 1. Her depression made her feel numb and like less than a full human, which she took to mean that Grace had left out essential parts of her consciousness when Grace reset Marcy. That wasn’t true, but Marcy hasn’t acknowledged it. Marcy took out her anger and depression on Grace whenever they were in the same place, going so far as to testify against her at her trial, and threatening to let Grace die when she had the plague.

She was also snappish with Phillip and Trevor, though not to the extent that she was with Grace. She became manipulative, and used people in ways that season 1 Marcy wouldn’t have considered. It was an ugly, ugly period of time for a supposedly caring doctor.

Marcy did become friends with Carly, though Carly spent more time with Phillip. The only person Marcy actually cared much about was David (Patrick Gilmore), because she felt that she owed him a relationship. She was also pleasant to her boss, MacLaren.

Marcy eventually regained her lost memories and emotions by putting herself through extended hypothermia, keeping herself near death, and then briefly dying. She injected herself with something before she began the procedure that could have been leftover medical nanites, but wasn’t explained. She got the idea from Mac, who told her about recovering his host’s memories while he was near death and being repaired by nanites.

After that experience, she’s spent most of her free time trying to win David back. When she made her video for 001, all she cared about was David, and how she’d gotten him in trouble, which she decided made her a horrible person.

I sincerely wish that Marcy would realize that she’s too good for oversensitive nice guy and whiny baby David Mailer, and move on to a new boyfriend in season 3. Dr Barker at the hospital was cute, decent, and didn’t put unreasonable expectations on her or act like he owned her because he’d helped her in the past.

Or maybe she can go without a boyfriend and instead work on developing a stable personality and some self-esteem of her own. That way, she won’t think that she’s responsible for her boyfriend’s every flicker of emotion, next time around. And maybe she could consider some solidarity with other women, starting with an apology to Grace, who did nothing to her except save her life.

Given that we’ve seen David be controlling and disapproving with his ex-girlfriend Blair over her eating disorder and lifestyle, it’s safe to say that this is a pattern for him and he isn’t going to change. He likes to pick needy women that he can take care of and feel superior to, while he makes sure they realize how much they owe him for saving them from themselves. He always comes out looking like a saint to outside observers, and the women look crazy, desperate or ungrateful.

Marcy won’t move on, though. She’ll spend season 3 trying to win back David’s love, now that’s she’s looked deep inside herself and rediscovered how much she truly loves him. [insert retching noises here]

Seriously, though, Marcy- Dr Barker is a cute doctor who comes with no baggage and helped you out during a crisis, no questions asked, no compensation required, after one awkward date. That’s a keeper, not the guy that you instinctively know won’t support your important decisions about your own health and autonomy. RUN AWAY.

Patrick Gilmore does a great job playing David, who wasn’t this annoying in season 1. I’ve just known too many guys like him to enjoy the character, guys who think they’re nicer guys than all of the others, and thus deserve a pat on the back and to be the center of your attention at all times.

MacKenzie Porter has played five iterations of Marcy across the two seasons by my count, nimbly hopping between them. The differences can be subtle and must be hard to keep track of, but they’re all distinguishable from each other. She’s played original original Marcy, who was an orderly at Simon’s hospital; brain damaged original Marcy, who was institutionalized and then helped by David; original traveler Marcy, who was dying because her brain couldn’t hold her consciousness; original reset Marcy, who was missing the memories of her early days in the 21st century and severely depressed, blaming Grace for leaving out essential parts of her; and reset Marcy with all of her memories, who appears to feel whole and have gotten over her depression. I’m not sure that’s true, because she’s still very dependent and fixated on David, no matter how he treats her. He’s her compass for if she’s okay or not, which is very codependent.

MacKenzie Porter plays all of Marcy’s iterations equally well, whether she’s stuttering and severely brain damaged, or a super competent, impatient doctor. She’s asked to show an incredible range as an actress, and she does it without breaking a sweat, in addition to being the character who seemingly goes through a different crisis every week.

MacLaren

Mac (Eric McCormack) wandered through the season largely untouched by his many bad decisions. He ignored his team unless forced to interact with them, yelling protocol 5 the moment there was even a pause in a mission, and racing out the door. While the rest of the team was bonding with each other, he didn’t spend time with any of them. As a result, the team largely took care of themselves and each other, while he was a hypocrite who got angry with anyone who broke protocol, even as he was having a baby, and breaking protocol 4, with his host’s wife.

Marcy is the only one he’ll give the time of day to outside of a mission, or shows any personal interest in. She gets leeway the others don’t. I’m not sure if that’s because he finds her attractive or because he feels that as a doctor she’s his social equal, but it’s as offensive in season 2 as it was in season 1.

Kat (Leah Cairns) , who had almost died when she lost a previous pregnancy, barely escaped with her life again, and lost the baby. She only survived because of the intervention of the Director, who made sure she survived, but let the baby die. Both parents were devastated.

Leah Cairns has been great as Kat has gone from a successful but self-absorbed designer to a fragile, needy shrew. Her pregnancy and its loss was going to have an affect on Kat’s mental health, but the show took it way too far. It was as if her female hormones took over her brain and made her the worst kind of demanding, jealous stereotype.

Did Mac and Kat’s baby actually survive the premature birth but get taken, either by Vincent or the Director, for research purposes? There could have been medical nanites or a drug in the injection that Hall (Louis Ferreira) gave Kat, which prepared the baby for birth, and a drug to make it briefly appear stillborn, while a traveler planted in the delivery room whisked the baby away. Especially with Hall involved, who is all about shady operations and minimizing 21st century attachments. We never saw Kat and Mac holding the baby, we never saw a funeral for the baby. No body= No death.

Someone is raising that baby to find out what the effect of time travel is on travelers children. The future women are all so sick that they probably have a hard time carrying babies to term, so delivering early and using medical interventions to get the baby ready to survive outside the womb are probably the norm. Derek is doctor D13, so there are at least 12 other doctors who could have slipped into the hospital and helped with the delivery, then taken the baby.

It might take the show a few seasons to reveal that the baby is alive, or they might reveal it next season as a way to bring Mac and Kat back together. Having MacLaren drop his warrior girlfriend for the delicate waif his host was married to is one of the most misogynist things this show has ever done, and I’ll never be okay with it, or like Kat, unless she gets a personality transplant (lol- that’s actually plausible on this show). But I accept that they are a fan favorite couple and will likely go back and forth for the duration of the series. Searching for the baby together and falling in love again while they do would make sense for them.

Mac spent his time while at the FBI running around like a cowboy, making rash decisions and making himself too obvious as a traveler. As a result, by the end of the season he’d basically outed the travelers to the global intelligence community, even without 001’s intervention.

I’m not really sure what the narrative wants us to think of him, because he’s so clearly in the wrong so much of the time, but as the star and team leader he’s also clearly supposed to be the dashing, handsome hero. I basically take him both ways, myself. I can’t hate Eric McCormack, but the character can sure get on my nerves. It goes without saying that he’s a talented, charismatic actor with tons of chemistry with the rest of the cast.


 

The Elephant in the Room- Where Do We Go From Here?

The wild card and elephant in the room at the end of episode 12 is that the traveler program has been made public, the team’s videos have been widely broadcast, and governments around the world are realizing that this information fills in a lot of gaps in their investigations. The question is, will the show take this threat seriously, or will they hand wave it away, the way they have with so many other threats? Either way, the extreme secrecy that the travelers were depending on is gone, because some people will be suspicious and continue to watch them, no matter what the US government decides.

Trav212Carly'sVideo

The videos are the easiest to dismiss, since they were obviously made under coercion. The travelers are in control of Vincent’s body and can have him say that he had a psychotic lapse to dismiss the material he and Perrow released. He unfortunately was able to dupe poor innocent Dr Perrow/ she was acting under coercion, because of his psychotic lapse as well.

The travelers who work for security agencies and governments around the world can do their best to clean up that situation, but maybe it’s time for parts of the present day upper echelon to learn the truth and work with the travelers. Maybe that’s one of the Director’s reasons for allowing Vincent to go public.

Or, will there be riots, and trials, and medical examinations? Will we find out if the consciousness transfer process changes the brain or the body in any way? Will there be a witch hunt for travelers? I doubt that it will go to that extreme, unless the Director wants it to for some reason. Whether or not the consciousness within a brain has time traveled would be too hard to prove.

The whole mess was just meant to distract the Director and the traveler community while Vincent and Simon switched into new bodies, and the angry loved ones are meant to keep the team distracted long enough for the two to settle into their new lives. Everyone thinks that Vincent committed suicide by overwrite, so he just has to blend in tolerably well as Perrow.

Simon has to recover from years of living as a schizophrenic and develop a normal persona again, which could be harder than it sounds. He’s been deeply traumatized for years. It’s going to take a while for him to get over his habitual paranoia and figure out what’s real and what isn’t, plus there’s the guilt of taking a body someone else was using. Then he has to figure out the new life he’s jumped into.

Assuming he’s now in one of the hostages, which I think is a pretty safe bet, Simon will give himself away to the team/Marcy long before he gets over his trauma and settles in. Those interviews seemed like they were for 001 to decide which body was right for Simon, not just for him to stir up trouble for the team. Otherwise there’s no reason to interview them alone.

Simon’s situation answers the question about whether the host’s mental illness originates in the body or the consciousness, and whether the traveler will inherit it.

Marcy’s ice bath memory recovery method could potentially come in very handy. For example, they could use it on traveler 5692 to find out as much as possible about 001’s activities. It would be useful for any traveler to have their host’s important memories as they’re settling into the host’s life.

Between Simon’s schizophrenia, Mac’s reclaimed host memories, and Marcy’s extensive reclaimed memories, it seems that much more survives in the host’s brain than anyone previously realized. Or, maybe not, since the Faction traitor said his team was doing research on that subject. Obviously he was lying, but someone might actually be doing that research.

Another big change from season 1 to season 2 is that consciousness storage is seemingly now routine. In the beginning of season 1, it seemed impossible, and misfired travelers were simply lost. Then Grace came to the 21st and did the unheard of procedure of using a stored version of Marcy to reset her. By the end of S1 Ep12/ S2 Ep1, that process became so standard that the Faction was able to send literally thousands of travelers back to be stored in the quantum frame, which was meant to house the Director.

Consciousness storage is therefore most likely an adaptation of the Director’s technology. The Director is a hive mind which is at least partially in human bodies, but must also partially be in machines. It would make sense for the Director to have a presence in the actual time travel machine, since those calculations are so precise and intense, with the timelines always changing. The consciousness separation and transfer technology, which would involve quantum entanglement, must have been adapted to send the consciousness to fuse with a machine.

 

Team&Frame

Trav212VincentSimonDevice2
Side by side, you can see how much the two devices have in common, as if the frame was simply reconfigured.

We ended last season with the quantum frame, built to house the director, which we eventually found out had been coopted by the Faction to house thousands of stored consciousnesses. The frame was able to send a mass wave through the air which could overwrite dozens of people at a time. I’m not sure who in the Faction was operating it or how. Someone in the present, or the future? Someone in the room, or outside with a remote? What about the TELLs? The quantum frame apparently became portable, traveling from hotel to hotel, and even to a rave, as tourists were lured into time share presentations, not realizing that it was their brains that would be doing the time-sharing.

Vincent eventually gained access to the quantum frame. We don’t know at this point exactly what he took. Blueprints? Essential, hard to find or make parts? The storage unit with the Faction travelers? I’d take all of the above, if it were me.

We ended the season with a new device that has lighted spires with grids that look like the two spires from the quantum frame. But on this machine, the two spires point down and inward, toward where the subject lies, instead of straight up to send out a mass wave.

This machine is meant for one subject at a time. Where the quantum frame was only capable of receiving traveling consciousnesses from the future and storing them until they were ready to insert into bodies, then sending out a wave to insert them, this machine can do the actual separation of a consciousness from the body. That’s never been available in the 21st century before.

The Faction also has its own method of receiving messages from the future. We haven’t been told how the future is sending them. They were sending them while the Director was shut down, so they aren’t using the Director. Have they cracked the secrets of the Director’s technology?

Much of this season revolved around the upgrades in technology, we just didn’t know it until after the fact, just the way much of season 1 revolved around changes in the timeline, but we didn’t know it until the end. The Director was shut down for the entire first half of season 2 and the travelers were working for the Faction. They were chasing Vincent and the Faction and trying to cure the deadly plague.

Vincent subtly manipulated them into doing what he wanted more than once, ending with them playing right into his hands for the last three episodes. Those episodes were really about Vincent’s plan to switch bodies, as was his season long arc. He was grooming Dr Perrow for the entire season so that he could take over her body.

Episode 7, 17 Minutes, existed because Vincent was after the meteorite so that he could build his consciousness transfer machine. Episode 8, 0027, introduced two way verbal and visual communication between the Director in the future and Grace in the present. Episode 9, Update, showed Phillip using his historian modifications to receive an update to his knowledge of the future. It also showed him seeing multiple timelines at once, just like the Director, and Kat’s life being saved by future medicine.

These should all come into play next season, as they all contain huge revelations. For season 3 I’m hoping for more emphasis on the science fiction elements, with the interpersonal stories flowing from there. I want to be able to tell that I’m watching a science fiction show, not a show that could be Grey’s Anatomy.

 


Cell Phones Are Dangerous

We saw it over and over again this season. Cell phones are the Director’s favorite weapon. They have cameras that it can use as eyes, microphones for voice pattern recognition, and GPS for TELLs and other location services. The Director also monitors social media, another use for phones. All the Director needs is one person with a phone in their hand, and it can take over a situation.

We saw the beginnings of this last season, when Grace Day escaped from Trevor and dialed her phone. That was enough for 0027 to establish a TELL and use her as a host. The Director used phones to send texts when there were no children to transmit messages.

Season 2 starts out with Vincent claiming that the Director used cell phones twice to find him, leading to the deaths of his wife and partner. While I’m skeptical of the details of Vincent’s stories, his description of the Director’s methodology is accurate. Vincent refused to allow cell phones in his presence for the rest of the season, but he used the hostages’ cell phones to confirm who he’d taken.

Once the Director came back online midseason, it had Carrie the skydiver attempt to call MacLaren midair, as soon as she became a traveler. When that failed, she called Wakefield. When 0029 was sentenced, the entire team stood in a circle around him and held their cell phones up to allow the Director a good view, possibly because they were in a basement with a weak signal and it couldn’t establish the TELL. Possibly because it looked cool for an execution.

Trav208CellPhoneSentencing

When a cell phone isn’t available, the Director will use a camera or a computer as weapons, but it prefers phones for their portability and versatility, just like the rest of us.


The Missing Travelers

We’ve still never met a traveler with a number between 1000 and 2000, or in the high 100s. Did they all die in Shelter 41 in the original timeline, and now they’re all Faction? Or did they all die of age and illness, with none of them being important enough to save by giving them new bodies, the way 0027 and 0115 have been kept alive? Were they the travelers during the era of the program when there were so many misfires and disasters that they’re rare now? Or are they all in Europe and Asia?

This has now gone on for two seasons, making it more likely that it will become relevant eventually.

 


 

Where’s Simon?

Simon/004, is, as always, a wild card. We didn’t see his body again after the machine was turned on with him in it, presumably to switch his consciousness to a new body, though he might have thought it was to repair the schizophrenia. He thinks that Marcy’s brain was fixed, but there’s no evidence that Vincent ever accomplished that with any of his research subjects. 001 knows that Marcy’s fix was to be overwritten by 3569, then overwritten again with another version of 3569.

The damage Vincent and Simon’s original machine did to original Marcy’s brain apparently permanently took away much of original Marcy’s consciousness, and didn’t leave enough functional brain tissue to host a traveler. Grace made the repackaged Marcy’s consciousness more streamlined and efficient, while leaving her personality and everything that made her “her” intact. Because it was a controlled process, this time it worked.

Since the schizophrenia is integrated with Simon’s brain, isn’t part his consciousness, and there’s no cure, apparently not even in the future, it’s doubtful that anything could be done to make Simon’s body a viable host. Properly treating his illness would help, but very few people with the diagnosis go on to recover full function in every aspect of their lives. Though leading a productive life with minimal symptoms is possible, schizophrenics also die younger than the general population and have much higher rates of homelessness. Since Simon was hospitalized and medicated when we met him, but continuing to hallucinate, chances are medications are of limited benefit to him.

Trav212SimonVincentDevice

So now Simon/004 is likely in someone else’s body, surprised to be there, and possibly feeling betrayed. He’s used to dealing with psychosis and having a hard time distinguishing delusion from reality, so it might take him a while to realize that he’s mentally healthy now, just traumatized. He’s generally a good, moral person who’s naive and easily manipulated. He’s used to feeling powerless, but will take control of a situation when he feels that he has expertise. He felt guilty over what they did to original Marcy, and wanted to make things right, even years later.

Simon and Vincent both said over and over that they were going to “fix” Simon, but they probably meant different things by that word. We haven’t seen anything so far that would lead me to believe that Simon would be able to or even want to pull off pretending to be someone else, especially someone’s lover. The most likely candidates for Simon’s new hosts are the hostages, with 001/Perrow’s interviews helping her determine which host to use. Katherine, Ray, and Jeff were all reacting as expected at the end of episode 12, leaving Grace and David as the likely replacement hosts for 004.

Grace and David both have jobs that don’t require any special technical knowledge or physical abilities, so it wouldn’t take Simon long to learn either. They don’t have any particular enemies, like Ray, or a spouse who would notice the switch, like Katherine and Jeff. Marcy and Trevor are both nice, understanding people who are just close enough to Grace and David to help them through a tough time, especially Marcy. She has the added benefit of knowing Simon already, so 004 is comfortable with her, which is one of the reasons why I think David is the most likely host.

Both David and Grace started acting strangely after their interviews with Perrow. David was beaten, when none of the others were, not even Jeff, who was angry and is prone to violence. We’re meant to think that David was beaten because he refused to read the message on the video, but that seems unlikely. It’s more likely that he refused to get into the scary looking machine, or the beating was meant to help hide that he’s acting strangely.

Original David’s personality is also closest to 004’s personality, so he’d find it easiest to blend in as David. David’s plea to Marcy at the end of the video that he wanted to go home sounded more like Simon than David. David has no problem expressing his emotions, but he has his pride. I put the odds at 75% that David and Simon/004 have body swapped.

Grace seemed dazed and confused when Perrow brought her back from their interview, which is completely unlike the normally unflappable 0027. She was still in a weird state at the end, when Trevor asked her how she was, saying she didn’t know. Either 004 didn’t expect to be in a new body, especially a woman, or Perrow said something terrible, probably threatening, to 0027. I think the odds are even on which one it was.

Like Trevor, Grace prefers to be called by her host’s name and doesn’t give her traveler number unless there’s no other option, meaning she’s probably in semihiding too. Finding out that 001 is alive and has some supersecret blackmail knowledge against her, Trevor, and/or the Director might be enough to ruin her composure for a while, as she thought through the implications.

If Grace and Simon are switched, it’s partly to fix Simon, partly for 001 to get revenge on 0027 by putting her in a schizophrenic mind. They’ve made a big deal over how picky 0027 was about which body she went into, so it makes sense to then put her into a compromised host. Torturing 0027, the Director’s favorite programmer, by making her schizophrenic, would be something that would appeal to Vincent as the closest he might get to revenge on the Director in the near future, plus it preserves both her programming abilities and 004’s, in case 001 needs them.

One way or the other, we’ll have a Prelude to a Kiss situation going on next year, as either 0027 or David in Simon’s body has to convince the team of who they really are, then they have to get whoever back in the correct body, but still help 004. The body swap will make them aware of the consciousness switching device. 004’s guilt over using a body that wasn’t a host candidate might even cause him to be the one who comes forward. Using someone who’s currently hosting a Faction traveler could be a solution to finding 004 a healthy body, or having the Director give them permission to use the next available host candidate.

There is, of course, the off chance that 004 is still in his own body, is in the body of a stranger or that his new host has been overwritten rather than put into a new body or storage, but where’s the fun in that?

(I know my odds don’t add up to 100%. There’s time travel involved, they don’t have to.)


 

Traveler 001/Vincent Ingram/Katrina Perrow

Vincent is the most unreliable of unreliable narrators. He’s paranoid, psychotic, a psychopath, and lies as easily as he tells the truth. It’s hard to tell which parts of his history are delusions, but chances are that the Director hasn’t been hunting him since the first few years. Once the traveler program was fully operational, and there were thousands of travelers in the 21st, why would the Director care more about Vincent than any of its other orphans, like 004? It would be a massive waste of resources to hunt down every lost traveler and kill them.

Trav2010019:11

The reality is that a billionaire can’t actually hide. His name is all over official documents, and he’ll show up on satellite feeds entering and exiting buildings. They found Osama Bin Laden because of his pattern of never leaving his house, staying hidden from satellites and burning all trash, and obviously trying to stay completely hidden from 21st century surveillance methods of all kinds. That kind of black hole becomes noticeable and can be tracked, which Forbes actually told us when he got to Ellis’ farm last season, also a technological black hole.

But Vincent isn’t actually hiding. He didn’t bother to change his name, have plastic surgery, and/or leave the country. He has properties and businesses in his name, he presumably signs paychecks. All the director would have to do is monitor satellite feeds and paycheck records for Vincent’s properties and the men likely to be his bodyguards, then station traveler teams in hiding near entrances and exits or along likely routes.

Or, keep watching Vincent’s personnel until a suitable host shows up and have them assassinate him. Vincent may remember general stock trends from the 21st century, but he can’t know every single host candidate, especially as the timeline changes. This season, we even saw the Director engineer situations so that host candidates were created where it needed them. In 17 minutes, for example, it could have taken Vincent’s goon as a host right then.

It’s not hunting him, at least not for the reason he thinks it is. If anything, it’s monitoring him and his son and manipulating 001 into doing what it wants, like allowing him and Simon to build the consciousness transfer machine. That was probably its real plan for the quantum frame all along: use Simon’s expertise and Vincent’s fortune to build the machine secretly, just the way it had Ellis and other teams build the original frame secretly. It doesn’t particularly care about collateral damage, like Dr Perrow, that doesn’t affect the timeline.

Vincent nabbed all or parts of the quantum frame, the directions for it, and probably a piece of the meteor. We’ve seen how easy it is for him to buy off virtually anyone, and there were members of others teams at the end of episode 8 helping disassemble the Frame, plus the Faction travelers still stored inside. That’s how he was able to get his device up and running so quickly once he also had Simon.

The Director had other teams build all of the necessary parts that Simon and Vincent had been missing in the hospital, just like Simon suggested, and the meteor finally fell. Vincent probably had divers waiting underwater to recover a piece of the meteor before the team could get across the lake. If they just broke a small piece off and stayed underwater, MacLaren’s team would never notice.

So part of the team’s mission next season will be to get the device back from Vincent. With that device in the 21st, the Director can do all sorts of things, like rescue travelers who accidentally end up in compromised hosts, or placing travelers in new hosts when their original mission is complete, rather than always needing to send a new traveler. The downside is what I predicted in my season 1 speculation post: in the wrong hands the device can be misused to the point of creating an apocalyptic, chaotic society.

Vincent killing Dr Perrow and taking her body, and putting 004 in Grace or David’s body, could be just the beginning. He could create an army of loyal former Faction travelers from the quantum frame storage unit who can change bodies at will. If he has a piece of the meteorite, or can get one, he can presumably resume bringing Faction members to the 21st from the future.

Obviously he can jump bodies at will, making him harder to track. His son is the key to finding him, though. As long as he keeps his son with him and tries to give him a normal life, he’s vulnerable, and can be tracked. His consuming love for his son is fascinating, since he has no biological connection to the child, and he’s such a sociopath otherwise. He must love his son as the symbol and legacy of his relationship with his wife, and the normalcy that he wants to have in this time period and couldn’t have in the future. He’s a romantically tragic figure, in a sense, if only he weren’t also a serial killer.

Trav212001Per&Vin

There’s a chance Dr Perrow might not be dead. Her consciousness could be stored in the device, waiting to be put back in her body when 001 is done with it. That would be the best way to cover up which bodies 001 is using. Leaving a trail of dead hosts behind him is kind of obvious, but Vincent is a very heavy-handed serial killer, so he might do that. He does have an occasional soft spot for women.

001 seems to have a relatively limited set of basic moves, and we’ve seen them all: lie, threaten and intimidate, pay people off, create distractions, use brute force when lying and bribes don’t work. He’s not actually creative or original, he just has a limited knowledge of the future, can read people and has amassed a fortune. The problem is that MacLaren is so predictable himself that he continuously walks into 001’s traps. The director has its own reasons for allowing 001 to continue to operate, and accepts a certain amount of collateral damage in the service of its plan, including letting Vincent think he’s operating independently.

001 is able to watch several screens at once, which could be a hint that he was a historian. That would explain his detailed knowledge of the past and computer abilities. Phillip has said multiple times that they have similar skills, but Vincent is better. Vincent was an upper echelon specialist, just like Simon/004, and got more advanced training than Phillip. He was dying, so he volunteered to be the first time traveler. At first the Director wanted him to complete the mission as planned by self-terminating, because the Director can get obsessive like that. For the last few years its been manipulating him as part of its Grand Plan, herding him toward a certain direction from the outside, making his paranoia work for it.

Vincent/001 is suffering from severe mental illness just as surely as Simon is. It’ll be interesting to see if 001 gradually becomes less paranoid now that he’s in Perrow’s mentally healthy brain, or if the paranoid delusions were all coming from his own consciousness.

My speculation as to why 001 is so disturbed is because s/he lives in multiple timelines and time periods at once, like the Director. S/he doesn’t have the resources of a hive mind to withstand the onslaught of information and variables, and doesn’t take the drugs that the historians do to stop the time drift. 001/Vincent/Perrow can predict people’s responses, and use that for manipulation, but her views are always slanted by not being able to filter out the worst case scenario.

Maybe 001 was modified to be a historian and computer specialist as a child, and without regular maintenance this paranoia, time drift and obsessiveness are a normal result. Maybe he tried to modify himself after he got to the 21st and the process isn’t optimal in an adult, or he made mistakes, like he did with his early consciousness switching device.

However it happened, he gets as lost in his own delusions as 004 does, and his are all time-related nightmares. The modification allowed him to make his fortune by predicting the near future of the stock market in minute detail and still allows him to make complex plans and know that they’ll be successful. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually find out that it was his own paranoia and delusions from thinking he was in a different timeline that led to the deaths of his wife and partner, not the Director. Or if he eventually becomes a danger to his own son, especially when Taylor discovers the truth.

 


What/Who Is the Director, Really? [Updated]

Vincent: No, it’s up to the Director, who has no understanding, no forgiveness, no soul, because it is a machine.

The Director: I owe you my life. Thank you for saving me Grace. I shall miss you.

While the Director can be ruthless, it certainly doesn’t sound like a machine when we see it for ourselves during its conversation with Grace. It looks like a hive mind, and sounds like a king, who has court favorites, but ultimately has to do what’s best for himself and the kingdom. Kings can be fickle, and make mistakes, and play favorites, but they can also be wise, generous, and forward thinking. The Director is programmed to play the long game and keep its cards close to the vest, so its motives are frequently hard to guess. Grace is best at figuring it out, since she wrote many of its parameters, but it’s evolved since then, and timeline changes will move it further away from her version of the Director now that she’s in the 21st and isolated from direct contact.

The question is, why does everyone think of the Director as a machine when what we were shown in season 2, episode 8: Traveler 0027 was a large group of people sharing a hive mind?

[ETA/Correction: Okay, so I misinterpreted the visuals of the Director in Grace’s sentencing scene, and the elderly people are being used as messengers. 🤦🏻‍♀️The stupid killer flu that I was getting over while reviewing the second half of the season strikes again. I’m still going to leave my speculation here, but modify it, because, while the elderly people we saw weren’t part of a hive mind, all of the other evidence I presented still stands: The Director doesn’t talk to Grace like a cold machine. It plays favorites. The only evidence we have for seeing multiple timelines is historians who have been modified too many times. Very few people have had direct contact with the Director in the secretive future society, so only a few know the whole truth. Nothing 001 says can be trusted. There’s a good chance that a human mind (or minds) is involved in the Director’s consciousness.]

Trav208Grace&Director3

Phillip’s Experiences as a Historian Give Us Some Clues:

Phillip (S2 Ep12 “001”): 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.

Traveler A-26 (s2 Ep9, Update): 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.

Announcer on video in Update, S2 Ep9: Historians, open memory chain 1A.

Chloe, as messenger from the Faction (11:27, S2 Ep4): Traveler 3326, open memory chain 71985VX and store the following sequence: Biosynthesis of the glyco protein… (Phillip is very high, but acts like he’s in a trance during this.)

Jenny (S2 Ep5 “Jenny”): 3326, access memory chain 71985VX. Write it down. (Phillip writes a long formula across a few whiteboards, while in a trance. He remains in the trance even when Jenny and Derek speak to him and have a conversation around him. Derek doesn’t notice anything unusual about Phillip’s state.)

Phillip (Room 101, S1 Ep5). He’s just been given an injection of heroin, laced with a second drug: But the second one was something else. Something I think would only work on someone who’s been modified to be an historian. (Trevor: What is it?) Memory. Pouring in like a flood. Like the Helios title wave. I can’t stop. I’m drowning in it. (Trevor: I want you to breathe deeply.) It can’t compete with this. Do you remember the taste of metal in the air…

We’ve seen Phillip be treated like a machine several times, and he practically refers to himself as a machine in the video he made for 001. His modifications started in infancy, and he has no free will, meaning his entire life has been about functioning as the Director’s tool. If he’s given the correct command, or the correct drug, his historian functions will override everything else about him. The historian machine is programmed to be given priority over the Phillip persona. We’ve heard about memory chains, which seem to be specific, sectioned off files, numbered from 1A to 71985VX. Assuming they’re logically coded, and given the length and complexity of the sequence he stored for the Faction, that implies that he has at least 72,000 similar files available for storing large chunks of information on demand. All you need is his traveler number and an available memory chain code.

Chilling, when you think about it. His brain and memory are machines available for the use of anyone who has knowledge of the traveler program. No wonder he seems distant and depressed so much of the time.

 

Trav209PhillipatUpdate

And the memory chains are just one aspect of being a historian. He has perfect recall, the burden of knowing the future death dates for host candidates and his team, plus detailed knowledge of the general, sports and financial history of the near future, down to the exact words of newscasts. He’s also a highly trained computer specialist, apparently better than anyone in the 21st century who isn’t a traveler, and knows enough engineering to assist Trevor.

The biggest clue that Phillip’s modifications are in line with the Directors’ are the timeline projections that he takes the yellow pills to suppress. The people who make up the Director must each have similar modifications, but theirs were taken to the extreme, where their individual personas are gone, and they’re left floating between timeline projections, with their minds overlapping into one hive mind. Possibly they were all raised and modified together to achieve the hive mind, and their group consciousness is moved to new bodies whenever the old ones wear out.

[ETA: Or possibly their/his/her consciousness(es) were separated from their bodies and incorporated into a machine that’s known as The Director. We know that human consciousnesses can be stored separately from bodies indefinitely. The show has never explored whether those minds can also be active while part of a machine. We also know that Marcy’s mind was an important part of creating the quantum bridge that Grace needed to reboot the Director in season 1.

If the Director were fully a machine, wouldn’t the rest of the Traveler time travel, quantum physics and timeline technology also be based on the same machine technology? We’ve seen multiple traveler teams sent back with the knowledge to build what they need. It’s the standard plan for bringing future technology to the past. But for this one aspect of future technology, humans are modified, and the technology to modify them is recreated in the past. It would be much more efficient to build machines that do the memory work of a historian, for example, rather than altering and training them from infancy. The fact that they still use humans suggests that there’s no other choice. It suggests that surfing the time stream requires a human mind. —]

It sounds like the general public doesn’t realize that the Director is housed in human bodies. run by human mind(s) integrated within it. Very few people seem to have access to it. Someone as old as Trevor, who’s been involved since the earliest days of the program, and must be older than the Director, has only spoken to it a few times. More importantly, it’s referred to as an “it” rather than “them”, and always spoken of as a machine that’s programmed, rather than human minds who are modified and given parameters to work within.

The Director refers to itself as “I”, but it’s made up of multiple people sharing one mind, if we can trust Grace’s sentencing scene. That doesn’t sound like a fully artificial machine, or an AI that knows it’s a machine. It’s shrouded in mystery and secrecy, even amongst the travelers, who find it hard to predict, and need to remind each other about its capabilities constantly.

My theory is that all of this is for the Director’s protection. If its enemies discovered that it’s actually a bunch of frail old people on life support in hospital beds, who aren’t even aware of where they are most of the time, the attacks wouldn’t stop until the Director’s bodies were dead. The Director’s consciousness, whatever it’s made up of, is necessarily devoted to floating through time and space, assessing the options available at any given moment and changing plans accordingly. The less effort it has to put into day to day housekeeping business and protecting itself, the better.

It’s capabilities may still be evolving as it gets older, the travelers’ technology improves, and it acquires more experience. Its human consciousness may also be partially housed in a computer that it directs itself. We don’t know how many minds make up the Director, or how many bodies it’s currently using vs how many it started with.

By its very nature the Director needs to be light on its feet and constantly adapting to timeline changes. It seems to require a lot of energy, since it depends on a nuclear reactor, implying that it’s either part human and part machine, or all of that thinking and timeline jumping burns up a lot of fuel.

Sometimes it looks like the Director makes a mistake, but it’s actually part of a long range plan. I believe that 3569 was purposely put into Marcy Wharton’s body because original Marcy knew 001 and 004. The quantum’s frame’s history has turned out exactly the way that the Director expected it to, including the conversion into 004 and 001’s consciousness swapping device. 004 was given the confidence and hope to keep working on the device because he thought Marcy had been fixed. 004 will make the team aware of the consciousness swapping device in season 3, and help them find it, with Marcy again acting as his go between.

We may yet figure out why Phillip was put into the body of a heroin addict. Maybe the Director had a reason for wanting Phillip to be used by Jenny, allowing the pathogen and its cure to be made. Maybe the reason will become known during his timeline projection storyline. I think that the Director’s plans are much more nested and complex than the travelers realize most of the time.

But for all that it’s made up of an innovative hive mind, we’ve seen the Director make huge mistakes and get stuck in a rut, such as when it kept sending travelers into Carrie the skydiver, even though they had no chance of success or even survival. We’ve seen it be unnecessarily ruthless at the same time, such as when, in S1 Ep6, it let Blue die and continued using the same flawed strategy over and over until Gleason was the only living body left for it to use, thus denying Blue her dream of turning the key on the machine she’d sacrificed her life for. We’ve seen it allow Vincent and his goons to kill innocent travelers and civilians alike, presumably because the Director has some long-range goal that’s yet to be revealed.

In that sense, Vincent has a point. The Director is programmed to care about the Greater Good rather than individuals. The society of the future shares this philosophy, as can be seen by the way travelers readily volunteer for suicide missions, and the people seem to live in extreme poverty so that all available resources can be channelled into the Director and the traveler program.

The problem that 001 is upset about isn’t so much a problem with the Director, who can be understanding, forgiving, patient and even occasionally kind. It’s an issue with traveler culture, which has ceded free will and individuality in favor of saving the species and the earth. The Director is merely the symbol and culmination of those ideals.

The values of both sides are necessary and important. The goal will eventually need to be finding a balance between individuality and the greater good. As we see with the Faction, people who don’t have a reason to live tend to become dangerous terrorists. The Directors and its programmers need to find the timeline that leads to a middle ground.


Time, Time Travel, Time Communication and the Grand Plan

This season was extra time obsessed. Several episodes showed ticking clocks over and over and/or contained countdowns. There was frequently a sense of time running out: before the bomb went off in 11:27, before everyone died of the plague in Jenny and U235, before Kat lost the baby, before the new hosts were no longer viable candidates and the team was lost in 17 minutes, before Vincent went through with his various evil plans.

Trav204Trev&CountdownClocks
11:27 put the clock in the title, plus two onscreen at once.

Then there was the Alice in Wonderland sense that time is constantly shifting and can’t quite be grasped or held onto. Simon said he had a clock in his head, but his scenes were out of sync with the rest of the episode in every appearance. He always appears to be living in multiple time periods and timelines at once.

So does Phillip, who has to keep track of the present, near and distant futures. Plus he has occasionl updates that layer new timelines on top of old ones, seemingly without fully erasing the old timelines. He has to sort out which timeline is real, with the help of his new medication, but after all of his addiction issues, he’d probably rather not resort to depending on another drug. He ends up floating through the different timelines and having to pull himself back into the correct time, using the drug to anchor himself in place.

Grace and Trevor are currently firmly anchored in their bodies and in the 21st century, but it was frequently emphasized that Trevor, in particular, has been in many bodies over a long period of time in the future. By implication, Grace, with her low number and important position as one of the lead developers of the Director, is also very old, just not as old as Trevor.

But she’s old enough to predate the Grand Plan and the Director. That gives her and Trevor a completely different perspective from the other, younger members of Trevor’s team, who’ve never known life without it. Grace, in particular, manipulates time and possibilities in her head in ways that are similar to the Director’s calculations, because she wrote some of the significant pieces of the Director’s programming.

She understands how plans can be made in the present, sent to the future, and then come back to the 21st again, something MacLaren’s team never considers, other than possibly Trevor. But Trevor is mild-mannered, patient and generally doesn’t flaunt his age or wisdom, though some cracks in his patience have started to show.

Vincent also understands how to work in multiple timelines and time periods at once, and he manipulates the Director just as surely as the Director manipulates him, suggesting that he’s also one of the early architects of the program. I don’t think Grace knew that Vincent was 001 before she went in for her interview with Perrow. Perrow could have confessed that Vincent was 001, and told Grace some other shocking secrets that 001 had been sitting on.

I still think that there’s a strong possibility that 001 has a way to communicate with the future, and/or has ties with the Faction. He might be its creator.

We also saw new Faction members talk about how different their memories of the current present in the future are from the one MacLaren’s team left. The team’s home and timeline as they knew them are gone, and they couldn’t go back, even if time travel in that direction was possible. This is Grace’s stated reason for writing protocol 2, so that travelers don’t realize that they’ve wiped their own families from existence and abandon their missions. It’s a tough call, because some of the problems the team encountered in season 2 could have easily been avoided by encouraging better communication and standard debriefings between new arrivals and established travelers.

We saw Grace and the Director engage in a real time, face to face conversation. The show and Grace acted like that was perfectly normal, but everything we’ve been told otherwise says that the communications only go in one direction, from the future to the past. The one exception was Ellis’ super secret hack, used for Grace’s reboot of Marcy/reset of the Director.

So what does that communication between Grace and the Director mean? Did the Director take Ellis’s hack and create this method during the 3 seconds it used to stop the Faction war and cure the plague? Does it require high energy consumption, so the Director is only using it for special cases? Someone had to build the components of that booth in the 21st, transport it to the church, and set it up, so it’s not a complete secret. Could that booth be used to attack the Director from the 21st? How much information can it send at once?

[ETA/Correction: The killer flu strikes again. Some of the above is based on my delirious misinterpretation of the elderly messengers. However, some of it still stands- Grace’s conversation with the Director took a lot of planning and resources, which shows how much the Director values her. Switching between the elderly messengers was timed with military precision, and that’s after they made sure they had a camera on each of them. Also we haven’t ever seen anyone have a two-way conversation with the Director before, and up until that point were told it wasn’t possible. How was Grace able to send messages back to the Director in real time? Was that the first onscreen use of Ellis’ hack from season 1? Or is this something else, and Ellis’ hack is still a dangling plot thread?]

Trav208GraceinBooth

Future people appear to be sacrificing everything for the Grand Plan. Their existence is barren, and they look like they’re barely surviving. It must take a lot of energy to keep a supercomputer/hive mind like the Director running, plus the superconductors/black hole generators/nuclear reactors or whatever it takes for the traveler program.

All of those resources could be making life better for the people who’re alive in the future, and fixing the earth in the future. Instead they’re going toward the travelers and the Grand Plan. You can see where some people would start to question the sacrifice and how long the Grand Plan is taking.

People live for the past and the potential of a better future in a different timeline. Anyone who can escape to a better life in the 21st century by becoming a traveler does, even if they draw a suicide mission. They still have the chance of being born again in the better timeline of the future.

Trav211Simon'sdrawing4

The travelers are so used to thinking in multiple timelines that they see life as both precious and disposable at the same time. The survival of the earth and the species into the future is paramount, but individual survival isn’t required by evolution, time travel or the Grand Plan. Since they can be reborn in a new timeline and a better life, they effectively believe in reincarnation.

 


Speculation Summary:

I didn’t do too badly with my speculations at the end of last season. Two way travel hasn’t been explored yet, and we’ve only seen one instance of two way communication. But I was right that the Director was no longer exclusively in charge, the quantum frame had been taken over by the Faction, the season would be dominated by civil war, and that it would take a while for the characters to figure that out. (The protocols really do need to be rewritten, Grace.)

Grace and Trevor were saved, and loyalties were tested, though not in the ways I suggested. No one voluntarily helped the Faction, but they were all used by the Faction to further its goals. Forbes did become Faction, it just took a minute. I didn’t foresee Vincent and his importance at all, but that’s what keeps a show interesting. Vincent brought body swapping with him. Maybe s/he will take us back to the future or to other interesting places next season.

For season 3, my speculation is that the public will be told that the time traveling story was all a hoax perpetrated by Vincent during a psychotic episode, and it will blow over. The companions will know or eventually believe the truth, and the world’s security/intelligence agencies and leaders will either know or continue to strongly suspect, with the beginnings of cooperation occurring.

Trav212David:Simon

If Simon isn’t in David, Marcy will spend the season soothing his ruffled masculine feathers and proving that she still needs him, even though she’s a superhero time traveling doctor from the future. He’ll come around when he discovers that she’s having seizures or bulimic or working herself to the point of exhaustion, and he can be the superior man who needs to force her to take care of herself again.

Mac and Kat’s baby might be alive, and they could be brought back together through their search for the baby. If not, then Mac will spend an entire season on traditional wooing, complete with romantic getaways and expensive gifts, proving that his love is real and he’s a better husband than the real Mac ever was, prompting Kat to remember that she did fall in love with him, 3468.

Jeff sr will engage in angry self-reflection, finally facing the fact that he killed original Carly in the original timeline, and is an abusive alcoholic. He’ll shut Carly out of his and the baby’s lives while he’s doing it, because he’s still a vindictive SOB.

Eventually, he’ll realize that she saved him from himself and has been good for him and the baby, and will grudgingly let her back into their lives, while he gets himself into AA and a program for former abusers. They’ll become better friends and co-parents. Carly, Phillip and Jeff will continue in some sort of low key love triangle, which may or may not come to a head by the end of season 3.

I want more of Jenny, Officer Boyd, and Dr Derek. I don’t care how the show incorporates them into storylines. It goes without saying that I want Grace to be a regular and have major storylines and be besties with Trevor. A girl group made up of Carly, Marcy, Jenny, Boyd and Grace also needs to hang out on a regular basis. Enough of protocol 6. It’s ultimately detrimental to the success of the Grand Plan.

Phillip’s timeline control will continue to deteriorate, and he’ll run out of pills, causing him to have the historian version of a psychotic break, possibly causing a heroin addiction relapse. I’m not sure he actually got that phone number when it flashed. It was too obvious as a set up for him to run out of pills and not be able to get more, along with protocol 2H keeping him isolated.

Trevor’s age may or may not finally have some relevance to the story. Maybe he had more children than the two sons who died, and one of them will show up as a traveler, or one of his grandchildren will. There aren’t that many people in the future, so it makes sense for close friends and relations to show up among the travelers, like Marcy’s lost brother. It makes sense for travelers to want to foster those connections, protocol 6 or not. We haven’t seen Trevor have any emotional challenges beyond the loss of original Grace. It’s time for him to fall in love or find someone from his past.

Perrow/001 will get away with the body switch for much of the season. If Simon/004 could run the machine himself, so could 001. It makes sense for 001 to keep his new identity from Simon/004, since 004 is unreliable and 001 is paranoid. 001 will continue his/her machinations from her new position as Dr Perrow, having moved much of Vincent’s fortunes into accounts she has access to, under the guise of wanting her to have the resources for Taylor. Some of the travelers might even begin to see her as a therapist, where she will subtly undermine them.

Trav212Perrow

It will eventually be revealed that 001 helped create the Faction, who cut most of their ties with him at some point because of his paranoia and need for total control, making him even more paranoid. 001 has his own version of the Grand Plan, which sometimes coincides with the Faction’s, so they still cooperate at times, but s/he’s mostly vengeful and ruthless with them. He has the storage component of the quantum frame, so he can release new Faction travelers, now loyal to him, at will. One of the hostages could now be a Faction member turned loyal to 001.

The Faction and 001/Perrow will continue to be antagonists for the travelers. The team will be distracted from 001’s machinations by the mess 001 made for them, especially the body swap situation. Grace will reveal something terrible that needs to be dealt with, and she’ll struggle to be listened to, because that’s the story of Grace’s life. Technological advances will continue to change the travelers’ playing field.

 

Grade for the season= B+


Travelers Protocols:

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.

 

Traveler numbers:

MacLaren-3468

Marcy-3569

Trevor-0115

Carly-3465

Phillip-3326

Grace-0027

Forbes-4991

Vincent-001 5692

Katrina Perrow-001

Simon-004 ??

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Travelers Season 2: Review, Analysis and Speculation

  1. Just wanted to say, I’ve really enjoyed your reviews of this season! I feel like I understand the episodes a lot better after your analyses, and you’ve convinced me of the underlying problems with David/Marcy, which I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint otherwise. There is one thing I think you may have misinterpreted—the scene of Grace talking to the Director after her trial. I don’t think the images of the old, sick people were meant to show a hive mind—I think the Director was using old people very close to death as Messengers. Notice how they only deliver one line each, and you never see the same old person speak twice…implying they die after speaking their line. I don’t know how the other end of the two-way communication (Grace speaking to the Director) is supposed to work, based on Ellis’ program, but it seemed like the communications coming from the future were coming the same way they usually did, just using old people instead of kids. Why not use kids? I don’t know…maybe there’s some truth to your idea that Messages can actually damage the juvenile brain in some way, and it’s unethical to use kids repeatedly.
    Also, I’d put it at even odds that Simon has been put into a new body at all, versus just left hanging. He was sitting in the machine at the end, but there was no one there to turn it on, given that Vincent was a hallucination. It seemed like maybe he just got hung out to dry by Vincent/Perrow after their consciousness transfer. True, it would make for better drama if he’d been put into one of the hostages, and if he was, you’re right that it has to be either David or Grace. But I don’t think the writers would use David (the more likely candidate based on his behavior in the last episode), because then they’d lose all the awesome (awful) recriminations he can hurl at Marcy for lying to him. They would gain a subplot of Marcy trying to get his consciousness switched back, however, which might make up for it. And I just really hope it isn’t Grace because I ship Grace and Trevor as much as you do, and I don’t want Season 3 to lose time on that front, trying to sort Grace back into her original body.
    Here’s hoping for more, better-explained sci-fi next season, and less unreasonable, antiquated behavior from Mac/Kat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s good to hear that my analysis is helpful.

      Your theory about the Director using the elderly people as messengers is interesting. It’s very plausible. I guess the TVs in each hospital would have cameras that the Director would be using? I still like my hive mind theory too, just because it’s more fun, but I’m wrong as often as I’m right, so…Wakefield did refer to the Director as “he” at one point after they showed the conversation with Grace, which made me think a new revelation is in the works.

      I agree, Simon could still be in the same body, especially if the writers are done with his storyline. It’s more interesting to put him somewhere else, and most interesting to switch him with someone we know, but that doesn’t mean they’ll do it. I’d love to see David in Simon’s body berating Marcy for lying as the schizophrenia is causing paranoia and hallucinations. It would be like watching Legion.

      The team has to find out that Vincent is now Perrow somehow, and that there is a device that can separate consciousness and reinsert it into another body. Simon makes the most sense to facilitate that, one way or another, but it probably won’t happen quickly. He did try to cut out his tongue the last time he revealed one of Vincent’s secrets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, when you put it that way, the Simon/David switch could be very entertaining, and might improve David as a character. Now I hope they do it! Instead of switching two of the hostages or something.

        Like

        1. If David is the same old David this Marcy relationship and his obviousness to everything is getting old. I like the guy but needs more depth. Maybe Simons prescene also needs to be kept a secret for some reason and Marcy may do that on loyalty to orginal David. I don’t see any value of putting Simon into anyone elses body….

          Like

          1. Well, a sane Simon could be a really useful guy to the Director and to Vincent/001. Vincent/001 had been promising to fix him for years, not that I think Vincent/001 can be trusted. But I also just like the comedy potential.

            Like

  2. That’s what I thought! But the writers hardly ever use my wildest ideas. I just really need the fun of watching someone else we know put into Simon’s body, and the travelers being put into the same situation they put everyone else into- realizing that someone they know suddenly has a completely different personality.

    Like

  3. Again love the analysis. I actually went back and rewatched bits of the finale to see the small details I’ve missed.
    I’m glad to see a 3rd season because I do love a show that makes me want to ask questions and read analysis.

    Would do you think the Director meant by saying “I’ll miss you” to Grace. That he’s going away? That she is? Maybe he knew she’ll be overwritten by 004? David saying I just want to go home didn’t seem that out of character.

    I like the speculation about Kat and Macs unborn child but she did not seem very pregnant when this happened and maybe 4 or 5 months? Seems too premature to keep viable unless future medicne helps… That would be a great story line for next time.

    Like

    1. I think the Director just meant that it wouldn’t have a close relationship with Grace any more because she couldn’t be its lead programmer now that she lives in the 21st century. They were used to having regular long philosophical talks, and that won’t be possible any more, either.

      I think the baby was more like 5 or 6 months, but I could be wrong. It was something that’s on the edge of viable with current medicine. There are already medications that are given to premature babies before and after birth to help their lungs develop. Take that type of research and advance it 500 years, and a 16-20 week fetus could become viable. We know that Hall injected medication into Kat’s IV, and we know he’s not always completely open and honest. He told Mac one thing that was in the injection, but maybe not everything.

      Like

  4. Just finished season 2 and your analysis. Upon first watch i though Simon went into Vinces body and Vince/001 in Dr Perrot. Then read Simon actually went into David or Grace. So if that’s so who went into Vince? Traveler 5247 or something like that? So a new traveler? And Simon’s body is just a husk now? All this switching is too confusing… and where did Grace/0027 go? … I refuse to believe Simon is in David’s body… then where is 0027?? If you can shed any light on just this topic, that’d be great!
    Ps- any clues about when season 3 comes out?
    Pss-thank you for the recaps and analyses, they help me make sense of some confusion

    Like

    1. I’m happy that my recaps help you understand the show. Watching each episode closely 3 times while I write helps me figure it out, too. Otherwise, I’d miss so much!

      Travelers hasn’t been renewed for season 3 yet. It wasn’t renewed until mid February last year. If it’s renewed, I imagine Canada will get the episodes weekly starting in the Fall, and the rest of the world will get them all at once at the end of the year, just like the last two years.

      Okay, here’s what I think is going on with travelers and bodies. Traveler 001, formerly in Vincent, is now in Dr Perrow. Vincent’s body has a new traveler, #5692. The real Dr Perrow is MIA. She could be dead, or her consciousness could be in storage. That’s all we know for sure.

      The episode teased that Simon was going to have something done to him using the machine he’d built with Vincent, but we never saw it actually turn on and activate, and the end of the episode revealed that he was hallucinating. That means that he might have imagined the whole thing. So he may still be the same, he may be in the same body and fixed, or he may be in a new body. If he’s in a new body, he may have switched bodies with someone, like Freaky Friday, or he may have overwritten them and they’re dead. His new body could be literally anyone, but for plot purposes and easy availability, it seems like the hostages are the most likely candidates.

      The machine definitely exists and works, because 001/Vincent is now in Dr Perrow. That was one of the major story arcs of the season. There have been suggestions on other sites that Vincent might have tested the machine on someone else before he used it on himself. We don’t have direct evidence of that, but it makes a lot of sense, given the damage he’d done to previous test subjects, and how cautious we’ve seen Vincent be with his own life.

      The episode also showed scenes out of chronological order and generally played with time. That’s part of why you’re confused. It was on purpose. We’re supposed to feel like the hostages do at the end. They purposely don’t show Simon after he asks Vincent to stay with him, leaving his fate a mystery, and leaving his placement in the episode’s timeline a mystery.

      Was Simon the test subject? Was there a second test subject? Did Vincent put himself in Dr Perrow first, causing the machine to burn out, then Vincent left Simon to fix it and use it on himself, as the episode implied? Or were they still trying to get the machine to work at all? How was Simon going to use it on himself? Who was going to operate it? We don’t know. Those are questions for season 3, and speculation.

      We did see one of Vincent’s goons turn his empty husk/body from staring at photos of Taylor to looking at a computer connected to the internet, at which point Vincent Ingram’s body was taken over by a traveler sent by the Director, who quickly checked in. That goon had some knowledge of what was going on. Dr Perrow/001 also had a goon with her that she gave detailed instructions to, after she’d left her house. At that point, the device was being moved, so whatever happened to Simon, happened before the hostages were released and Perrow left. Either of those goons could have operated the device for Simon before it was disassembled.

      Or Perrow could have. I think that 001 would want to keep her new identity a secret from everyone, especially Simon, who tends to babble. But she could have pretended to be original Perrow, and said she’d been given instructions on how to operate the machine.

      I think, based on clues and behaviors we saw at the end of the episode, that Simon is in either David or Grace, and David or Grace will be in Simon’s body. But that’s mostly my own opinion.

      So, to summarize, 001 is now in Perrow, Vincent is traveler 5692, and we don’t know what happened to Simon.

      Like

        1. I did a few episodes of Sense8, then got sidetracked and never got back to it. If you or others are interested in reading them, I’m still interested in writing about it, I just keep pushing it to the bottom of the list.

          I’m open to suggestions for what to write about, as long as it’s within my general character driven scifi/superhero/occasional musical or film wheelhouse. And not too creepy! I think Black Mirror scarred me for life.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s