This is a recap. For my review of episodes 1-3, click HERE.
If you need to catch up, my recap for Season 2 Episode 12, 001 is HERE.
Are we ready for season 3 of Travelers, kids???
Netflix and Brad Wright (the Stargate franchise) have dropped 10 new episodes of the time traveling, body swapping science fiction drama. Travelers stars Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) and a cast of young Canadian actors which includes MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman, Patrick Gilmore and Jen Spence.
It always feels like a long wait between seasons for Netflix shows that drop their entire seasons at once, but the wait was actually a little less than a year this time, for those of us who are outside Canada. Because Canadians now will also be watching Travelers on Netflix, instead of the Showcase network, they had a little extra wait.
But, enough chitchat. Let’s talk about the episode!
Season 1 begins in a hospital room, with a woman we will come to know as FBI agent Joanne Yates, sitting by the bedside of her dying mother. Her mother is unconscious, but then her eyes open and she turns her head to her daughter. She says, “Joanne, I want you to listen to me carefully.”
Next we see the Traveler team and the significant others who were kidnapped by Vincent at the end of last season (001, Season 2 Episode 12) riding together in an old school bus. The significant others are unconscious, except for Grace, who doesn’t need her memories altered, since she’s a Traveler. Grant remembers Kat slapping him as she rejected him, after learning he wasn’t really the man she married. He asks the bus driver to slow down, so the bumps don’t wake up the sleeping passengers.
Grace mentions that since the rest of the loved ones have been drugged with the memory inhibitor, they should be able to sleep through anything for the next few hours. The others snap at her, because Carly’s baby has had his memories left intact, so he may also be traumatized, and will easily be disturbed. Philip suggests they go over their story again, to make sure everyone uses the same version.
Simon is still right where we left him at the end of season 2, in the consciousness transfer device that he and Vincent built in the present. He shouts for Vincent, who answers with Perrow’s voice, through a com inserted into Simon’s neck. Perrow instructs Simon to close his eyes so she can give him one more surprise from the Director. She insists that he keep his eyes closed throughout their conversation.
Simon can tell that he’s being removed from the device, and protests that he built it to her specifications, so it’s capable of multiple uses and multiple transfers. Perrow agrees that he’s done well. As they speak, he’s being laid out on a gurney and taken to a remote outdoor location. He’s placed across train tracks, with an oncoming train in the distance. 001 tells Simon that he’s been very helpful to her, and she’ll always be grateful.
Simon’s time of death countdown clock appears as the train barrels down on him. He begins to realize what’s happening, especially when he hears the train’s horn. He shouts that 001 promised she’d fix him, then screams in pain as he develops the incoming traveler headache.
The new Simon barely has time to jump out of the way of the train to avoid death. 001 tells him, “Your host had been so loyal, I just couldn’t bring myself to kill him. But I knew the Director would have no such compunction. Welcome to the 21st.”
Simon’s com burns red hot, turning the skin around it black, until he rips it out. He sees 001’s identical twin henchman across the tracks, but they’re gone by the time the train has passed by.
Opening title sequence, which is only slightly changed from last season.
Philip stands over Ray as he wakes up in ops, then hands him his car keys and his cover story. Using information Grace must have provided, since she heard Ray’s panic when he woke up after being kidnapped, Philip explains that the loan shark Varghese called in Ray’s debts. Supposedly, Ray had 24 hours to come up with the money, so he went to Philip and asked him to place some bets, which Philip did. They watched the bets come in at ops, then celebrated, hard, until Ray passed out.
Ray can’t remember anything, but, he tells Philip, he and alcohol don’t do well together. HAe doesn’t question the story. Philip hands Ray a thick envelope of cash, explaining that Ray’s debts are completely paid off and he ended up with some extra cash. Ray misunderstands at first, and says that he owes Varghese more than the amount in the envelope.
Ray says “I love you,” in a totally bro-like way, and pulls Phillip in for a giant hug. Philip tells him that, “That’s what friends are for.”
Agent Yates is brought to a war room, where FBI Director Stevenson and others are planning a highly classified, all out assault on Traveler teams worldwide, which is scheduled to start in 23 minutes. On behalf of The Director, Yates has requested that the entire operation be cancelled. Since she shouldn’t even know that the operation exists, Stevenson has brought her in to explain herself.
There’s a moment of “Who’s on first?” fun as everyone but Yates pretends to be confused about which Director she’s talking about. Once the FBI staff get over being coy, Deputy Director Oslin asks how the Director’s request was communicated to Yates, and why she waited until the last moment to bring it to them. Stevenson gives Yates permission to tell her story and explain her reasoning, at length.
Our favorite Traveler team and their significant others, minus Philip and Ray, have been taken to Ellis’ farm, last seen housing the quantum frame during the showdown at the end of season 1. Wakefield and a couple dozen other FBI agents are also there, some Travelers, some not.
David, Jeff and Kat are being
interrogated debriefed by Traveler FBI agents, while Marcy and Mac wait anxiously to be allowed to see Kat and David. Carly is angry and doesn’t want to see Jeff. Grace and Trevor are having a private talk in the farmhouse living room.
This situation is sort of a dream come true for me and Grace.
I have transcribed this conversation, because no summary can do Grace justice.
Grace has just shooed Mac and Marcy from the room: “Where were we?”
Trevor: “I think we were done.”
Grace: “No, no, no. Um. We were talking about your…feelings.”
She takes Trevor’s hand and pulls him down to sit next to her.
Trevor: “You were talking about my feelings.”
Grace: “Right. The logic’s inescapable. 001 kidnapped every significant other on your team.”
Trevor: “Mmm-hmm. Philip and Ray.”
Grace: “Oh, I don’t judge.”
Trevor: “Yeah, you do.”
Hey, she only judges when it’s necessary, or someone really, really deserves it. She doesn’t just judge people to their faces for sport or out of meanness.
Grace: “Look, Trev.”
Grace (whispering): “It’s obvious I was taken by 001, held against my will and frankly starved. We were only given water for what seemed like days.”
Trevor: “31 hours.”
Grace: “Because of the inevitable impact it was gonna have on you… emotionally. I’m important to you in a way neither of us foresaw, and the sooner we both accept that…”
She lays her hand on his chest, near his heart.
Trevor: “Grace: I am delighted you were the one kidnapped and interrogated, not my parents. There, I said it. So…”
Grace: “That is the second nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
Trevor: “So can I go now?”
Trevor stands, and Grace follows, putting her arms around him. Trevor stands still, with his arms down.
Grace: “Oh, no, no, no. Your team needs you. I’ll go. It’s thrilling, isn’t it? The primal rush of hormones bursting from your endocrine system?”
Trevor: “Remember, we’re much. much older than these bodies.”
Grace (whispering in his ear): “I can’t wait to try them out.”
She turns and walks away, matter of factly, no last longing looks. Romance time is over, and Grace has moved on.
I love her so much. Trevor can try to deny his feelings, but he recognized her phone when she was kidnapped. She literally took a bullet for him, then gave him the ability to walk again after they were shot and slowed down her own recovery to do it. He testified for her at her trial and brought her French Fries. She shut down the Traveler program to be near him. They’re already an epic romance.
I’m surprised she didn’t remind him that women reach their sexual peak in their thirties. But then, Trevor seems to be awfully prudish and to feel like he’s too old for sex. As Grace walks away, he looks like he escaped something distasteful, like his mother giving him a bath.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Carly is giving Marcy and Mac a reality check.
Carly, to Marcy: You trained for years to be a part of the Grand Plan. Studied medicine. Combat. Finally, you get assigned a team over hundreds of other volunteers. And all you can think about is your boyfriend.
Marcy doesn’t respond. After a moment, Carly says that she never wants to see Jeff again. Marcy, who has missed the point entirely, tries to convince her that she can still make her relationship with Jeff work, because he won’t remember the last 24 hours.
This is the man who murdered Carly’s host body in the original timeline, tried to rape and beat her, and then pressed charges against her in this one, and, oh yeah, is a raging alcoholic who made sure she lost custody of her son. That’s the Jeff we’re talking about. Carly’s reaction to him is healthy. It’s Marcy I’m concerned about.
For now, they move on to discussing the situation at hand, which involves perfecting their cover story for why Kat, David and Jeff would be kidnapped together. The memory inhibitor only suppresses the last 24 hours of memories, and the hostages were held for 31 hours, according to Grace. So the kidnapping itself and the events of the first several hours, such as the first time they were each questioned by Dr Perrow, need to be accounted for in a way that won’t leave the three former hostages continuing to look for answers.
The team still believes that Perrow is herself, and they need her to cooperate with their plan as well. Mac says that she’s made a statement that she was acting under duress, but otherwise she doesn’t want anything to do with them. He doesn’t blame her.
Why aren’t they trying to give Perrow the memory inhibitor? I guess the cover story she’s already been given, that she was involved with an FBI investigation of Vincent Ingram, who she thinks suffers from paranoid delusions, is supposed to be enough to keep her from asking questions.
The mainstream news outlets aren’t taking Vincent’s “evil time travelers from the future” story seriously. New Traveler Vincent will confess that he went off his meds, which will tie up the rest of the loose ends. They’re sure everyone will believe that the story was just crazy talk.
Carly points out that Jeff believed the story. In fact, so did David and Kat. We see flashbacks of David and Kat violently struggling, while being forcibly injected with the memory inhibitor shots. The travelers don’t seem so benign, right in that moment.
Mac: Which is why we have to make sure our stories are straight. So we can all get back to our Protocol 5.
Carly: Oh! This is about Protocol 5?
Mac: That is the mission.
Carly: Oh, now you care about the mission.
No, he just said he cares about Protocol 5 so much that he considers it the mission.
Protocol 5: In the absence of direction, resume your host’s life.
It’s been clear since mid-season 1 that Traveler 3468 considers his life as Grant MacClaren as important, if not more important, than his mission as a Traveler. He just slipped up and said it out loud, straight up. In his mind, what they need to get back to is their host’s lives, not the work they do for the Director.
Carly continues, noting that both Mac and Marcy risked everything for Kat and David. Mac excuses his recklessness by telling her that all of the major world security agencies were on the verge of discovering the Travelers anyway. He conveniently leaves out the part where Wakefield told him that they’d learned about Travelers to begin with because of Mac’s cowboy antics.
Mac would really be better off using Jenny’s favorite excuse: if the Director doesn’t like what he’s doing, it will stop him itself. Until then, annoying and unfair as the whole thing is, Mac and Marcy’s behavior must be part of the Director’s plan, or not worth worrying about.
But this is one reason why Travelers go rogue, I’m sure. It’s difficult to trust in the Grand plan when the Director seems to break all of the rules that were trained into you.
Carly and Mac argue for a minute more, then Trevor breaks them up, offering to make food for everyone. Mac tosses a sarcastic remark toward him, as well.
Upstairs, Wakefield is trying to debrief Kat, but she’s throwing a tantrum because they won’t take her home immediately. Wakefield shows the patience of a saint and continues explaining why the FBI questions victims immediately after a crime, in order to get information from them while it’s fresh. Once he turns the questions around so that they’re more about Kat and her life, she perks up enough to give him useful information.
Kat does at least show concern for Perrow and her daughter. Then Wakefield tells Kat that she was drugged by her kidnappers so she could be moved to another location more easily.
There is actually some truth to that story.
Grace has been left to find her own ride home. After consulting with someone on his radio, Agent Tanner tells her she has to walk down the street to find another agent to drive her. They can’t raise the other agent on his radio. Despite the fact that they are cleaning up from a major crime, which was committed by a wealthy criminal mastermind, no one is concerned about sending one of the victims out alone or that an agent has gone silent.
Jeff watches Grace from an upstairs bedroom, where David is having his injuries examined. He’s worried about the eye that’s swollen shut. Jeff is belligerent with everyone he comes into contact with, making enemies of everyone. Agent Callahan takes David for more questioning.
Simon finds his way to ops, like a lost puppy. He introduces himself to Philip as Traveler 5069. Philip is surprised that 004 has been overwritten, because his death wasn’t in the historical record. 5069 explains that it was recorded as a suicide by a John Doe.
Philip tries to treat the nasty burn on 5069’s neck, but he insists on getting to work on his mission, which is to remove all copies of the team’s confession videos from the historical record. There’s a lot of lecturing along the way about lack of loyalty to the Director, lack of trust, pea size brains, and whatnot. By the time Philip has to tell 5069 that his beloved, perfect, infallible Director has put him in the body of a raging paranoid schizophrenic, who’s beyond the help of even future medicine, he does so almost (almost) gleefully.
Callahan doesn’t so much question David, as he does agree with the story that David makes up to explain the kidnapping. David thinks Vincent kidnapped people close to Mac, but doesn’t think Mac even likes him.
David: Mac and me, we are just to different kinds of guys, just one is no less manly than the other. Just two different kinds of manly men. On the other hand, if this is the new normal, then I better buck up a little bit… I better grow a pair of kahunas. I’m pretty sure that’s not the word, but I’m going to go with it, because if I’m gonna hang out with an FBI doctor, I better pack on some muscle, you know, maybe do some, what is it? Taekwondo? Pilates?
For the record, I think Mac is fine with David. He doesn’t actually “like” much of anyone, but I don’t think he cares about how manly a guy is. He’s more judgemental in his actions with women.
Grace walks the half mile down the street to the car and discovers that the agent she’s looking for has been captured by the US military. The military operatives jump up and grab her too, making sure that she doesn’t touch her com before they tie her hands behind her back.
Deputy Oslin is notified that “0027” has been “captured”, but didn’t activate her com. These people have a frightening amount of information on the travelers. Director Stevenson turns to Agent Yates and asks her to tell them her story.
She explains that she was called to the AI lab of Dr Ivon Teslia, who introduced her to his AI, Ilsa. Ilsa asks Yates if she’d like to play a nice game of chess. (Shall we play a game?) Yates doesn’t say that she’d rather play Global Thermonuclear War, so Dr Teslia is sad, because no one ever gets his decades old WarGames computer nerd joke.
Except for Captain America and Natasha Romanoff. They’d get the joke.
Yate isn’t happy about being called to a computer lab by a scientist she’s never heard of, and wants to know how Teslia got her number.
Dr Teslia: Ilsa is an AI that replaces Boolean logic with quantum law on an algorhythmic level. There’s maybe three others as powerful in the whole world.
Teslia goes on to explain that though Ilsa is amazing, she’s practically a newborn. It was the Director, speaking through Ilsa, who gave him Yates’ phone number and told him to contact her. Yates wants to know what Director Teslia means, and starts to leave.
The Director speaks directly to Yates. We know it’s the Director, because it uses a male voice, while Ilsa uses a female voice. It tells her that it’s sorry about her mother’s diagnosis. She’s confused, because she just found out about her mother’s illness. There’s no way the computer should know about it.
The Director: You were chosen from among seven candidates within this jurisdiction.
Yates: Who are you?
Director: A sentient multi-zettaflop quantum frame speaking to you from centuries in the future… only recently possible because of breakthroughs in…
Yates becomes angry at the science talk and walks out. The Director did give an awfully literal answer there, when a more functional or metaphorical answer might have better served. But I also wish he’d been allowed to finish that sentence.
Yates tells Teslia not to call her again. Instead, the Director has him text her. She doesn’t understand the text until the next day, when she sees the newspaper headline, “Bird Strike Forces Jet to Crash Land: Pilot Saves 34 Souls”. The Director sent a prediction, which came true.
Now Yates is ready to talk to the Director. She asks what it wants. It says that it needs her to deliver a message, since it can’t directly communicate outside of the lab. Teslia explains that Ilsa is built inside an AI box, so that her access to the outside world is completely cut off. An emerging super-intelligence needs to be carefully exposed to new information.
Yates asks about the message.
The Director: “Your superiors must order the cancellation of the coordinated assault planned tomorrow on Traveler teams worldwide, or face an unstoppable series of civilization ending events. Discovery was inevitable at this juncture of the Grand Plan. Cooperation with the 21st century authorities is now the optimal path.”
Flashforward to Yates in the FBI war room. Deputy Oslin asks if Yates just left, after hearing what the Director had to say. Yates says that she didn’t believe the Director, and asks if Oslin believed it the first time she was told that time travel is real.
Oslin says that no, she didn’t believe it either. She gave the agent who brought the evidence to her permission to continue investigating, but she didn’t believe it was true. It wasn’t until the agent, Wakefield, and his entire task force, were overwritten, that she and Stevenson realized the truth of it.
They explain to Yates how Travelers take over hosts, which they consider murder. Wakefield and his team, which also included Forbes, were the group who were turned into Faction hosts en masse in the FBI building, using the quantum frame, while Mac and our team were imprisoned by the FBI during S2 Ep1, Ave Machina. Those hosts were murdered, but it wasn’t at the Director’s orders.
Yates is appalled. Oslin says it’s insidious. Stevenson isn’t surprised that the Director neglected to share that bit of information. And he feels that it justifies the current operation. In fact, they don’t know Yates. She might be a Traveler, herself.
Trevor serves his mean stir fry, seasoned with exotic spices from all over the world. Mac and Carly takes simultaneous bites and then simultaneously spit it out. They continue to have the same facial expressions and hand gestures for a minute. Wakefield enters the kitchen, planning to give them an update, but gets sidetracked when he sees the food. He loves it, as does Trevor. Mac and Carly must like bland flavors.
Wakefield says that the videos have been cleaned up. David and Kat seem to be doing okay, and they can see them soon. The inhibitor is working fine in both of them. Jeff doesn’t want to see Carly and he’s resistant to the inhibitor. He wants to talk to Mac. Carly doesn’t want t see Jeff, either. Marcy tells Wakefield that Jeff is an alcoholic, so he has a higher tolerance to the inhibitor. She adjusted his dose, but it may not have worked.
When they have their chat, Mac tells Jeff that Carly works for him at the FBI. Jeff laughs and says that his Carly didn’t have it in her to do that kind of work. But this girl isn’t his Carly. He doesn’t like this version much, and Mac can have her. They trade threats and insults, but then Jeff drops his bomb. He remembers more about the kidnapping than he admitted during his debriefing, and he can feel more memories starting to surface. Eventually he’ll remember it all. Then Mac better watch out.
Carly and Trevor patrol the property line and discover footprints that shouldn’t be there. They head back and report to Mac. He’s disbelieving, because he wants to get back to his fantasy life. He starts filling in the fantasy then and there, insisting that the footprints are simply nosy neighbors. As if his tactical specialist couldn’t tell the difference, and would be suggesting taking action if she weren’t sure. He tells her to, “Dial it back a little.”
Imagine Mac saying that to Carly if she weren’t his ex-girlfriend and a black woman. He never speaks to Marcy this disrespectfully when she’s giving him her professional opinion. And remember that we know Carly is not only correct, she’s hasn’t discovered the full extent of the issue yet.
As he’s being taken home, Jeff drives by Grace, locked in the FBI SUV, while the operatives wait for the order to attack. They radio to Oslin that Jeff has just left the farm. Oslin tells them to lock down the farm now, no one in or out. Jeff doesn’t tell the driver about the military operatives.
NewSimon finishes his code for video removal, and is just gearing up for another round of insulting the Travelers who are already in the 21st, when he has his first psychotic episode. He sees a friend from the future, who blames him for leaving. When Simon says that he left to try to help, the friend says that it’s too late for him and pulls off his scarf to reveals large, bulbous sores on his neck and shoulder.
Philip questions what he’s looking at, which makes Simon realize that his friend isn’t there. He asks why the Director would put him in such a flawed body. Philip looks at him with compassion, having been there himself, and says, “It makes mistakes, just like us.” NewSimon looks lost for a second, a lot like OldSimon. Philip takes him out to eat. Simon’s been enjoying the fresh water so much, the food will blow his mind.
Mac and Wakefield discuss the footprints and decide it’s the Faction, if it’s anyone, and they can use FBI resources, if they need reinforcements. They don’t do any further recon, which would normally be the first step you’d take when presented with a potential threat, whether you’re a homeowner or an army general. And they don’t reinforce their defenses. They compete to decide who can potentially call in the bigger guns, then walk away.
Why isn’t Carly in charge of this team and this operation?
Mac joins Kat upstairs and apologizes for taking so long. Kat says that she’s felt like this before. Like she’s lost something- time. She describes the day of the plane crash and the day after (S1, eps 9&10, Bishop and Kathryn). She woke up with a terrible headache and couldn’t remember the day before. Mac told her she’d gotten blackout drunk. She’s sure that he drugged her then to make her forget something, and he’s drugged her now.
Kat turns to Mac and asks, “What are you trying to make me forget?”
Mac pulls out a syringe and says that he’ll have to try again. The scene fades as they struggle. It was Kat having one of those involuntary fear fantasies that sometimes pop into your mind.
The real Mac comes in the room. It’s much more awkward than the fantasy. He tries to kiss her and she cringes away from him. They try again and she lets him hug her, but she’s still visibly uncomfortable. He promises her that everything will be like it was before.
That’s a freakin’ creepy thing to say. “It’s okay honey, we’ll keep redoing the lobotomy until all of your trauma is gone and you’re the happy wife I remember.” She just went through something huge. She’s not sure she can ever be who she was before. She needs to work through it, not stay stuck in the past.
Marcy apologizes to David and asks how his eye is. He brushes it off and acts like the whole thing was just an adventure. Marcy tells him they can’t just pretend like the whole thing didn’t happen. David recalls the amazing things she’s been through, then compares his “minor kidnapping” to them. He feels he has no reason to be traumatized or to make a big deal of it. Marcy thinks that being held hostage by a mass serial killer with paranoid delusions maybe is a big deal, no matter who you are.
Ok, what is happening? Why am I thinking that Marcy and David are the healthiest relationship on this show?
Thank you, writers, for restoring the writing on these two to their season 1 level of charm.
Carly and Trevor are doing recon anyway, and see more military operatives moving into place all over the farm, while all of the non-Traveler FBI agents bug out. She informs Mac. He’s busy with Kat. Wakefield is still trying to get FBI reinforcements. Trevor finally convinces him that they aren’t coming. The Travelers will have to defend themselves, even though they’re outgunned and outmanned. Marcy tells David to stay in the bedroom and away from the window.
Oslin informs Stevenson that they lost an entire Traveler team in Serbia when the op went wrong. Yates interrupts to insist that they can’t go through with the assault. Stevenson gives her one last chance to convince him.
Yates: “The last time the Director spoke to me, it was not through an AI in Teslia’s lab. [Oslin: “You received a messenger.”] But it wasn’t a child. I was just told my mother was essentially braindead, but it was gonna take time. I wanted to be with her. Last night she spoke to me.”
Yates’ Mother: “Listen carefully. Tell him the bargain he made that autumn morning was not with his God, but with me.”
Stevenson: “Those were her exact words?”
Yates: “She died in that moment. It’s not something I’m ever likely to forget.”
Stevenson: “This is the day.”
On Ellis’ farm, the Travelers prepare for a battle they can’t win. David and Kat meet in the hall. Stevenson wrestles with his conscience.
Stevenson cancels the assault operation. The military operatives leave the farm, without a word. A soldier pulls Grace out of the car and leaves her standing alone in the road, with her hands still tied behind her back.
The team checks the property to make sure all of the unfriendlies are gone. David and Kat are outside waiting for them, wondering what happened. Marcy and Mac try to brush them off, but David and Kat don’t buy it this time.
After the war room clears out, Stevenson explains his decision to Yates. He tells her that on the autumn morning in question, he was also sitting in a hospital room. He was with his daughter Claire, who was dying from a rare form of cancer. She was almost out of time. Suddenly, she spoke to him. It was a message from the Director.
“I will save her life. But there will come a day of reckoning.”
Stevenson never said a word about the message to anyone. Claire began to improve the next morning. It seemed like a miracle. Now, reports of the Travelers advanced technology keep him awake at night.
Yates tells him he made the right decision. He hopes so. Then he asks her what they do now.
Now, Yates and Stevenson wait for instructions from the Director, of course. There’s a sad symmetry to the way the Director used both of them, saving Stevenson’s daughter to buy a favor, while taking Yates’ mother a little early to cash that favor in. The Director broke Protocol 3 to save Claire- Don’t take a life, don’t save a life. Personally, I think saving an elderly person from a long, lingering death like Yates mother was facing is also a kindness, but that’s a matter of opinion.
It looks like the honeymoon is over for real for Mac and Kat, while Marcy and David are learning to communicate in healthier ways. Carly is done trying to make it work with Jeff and is ready to focus on her career. Phillip is more aware of the needs of others, and present enough to be there for them. Trevor remains his lovable, easy-going self, though I’m concerned that he seemed to think he’s too old for sex or love.
Wiping Ray’s memory out of necessity is one thing, but totally changing the quality of their friendship at the same time seems like it’s going too far. Philip didn’t have to take credit for the bets that paid off the loan shark.
Ray was angry enough with Philip at the end of S2 Ep12, 001, to tell him they weren’t friends. He acknowledged that Philip had actually always been truthful with him, but he felt used. This cover up has manipulated his feelings, as well. Ray also must have been in extremely deep with the loan shark, meaning his gambling addiction has flared up again, badly. How will the kidnapping, drugging and cover up affect his addiction? He and Philip seemed to be getting close when they were attending support group meetings together. Did Philip abandon their friendship once his addiction was under control? Ray was lonely when the series began, and might have taken Philip under his wing as much for himself as to help Philip and to get gambling tips.
I still wonder if Grace and Trevor were married, way back at the beginning of the consciousness transfer program, and those early, experimental transfers wiped her from his memory. They keep him around, but don’t use him, as if he’s someone important, but damaged or retired. Or maybe Grace has just always had a thing for 0115, and figures this is her chance, and he’s a widower who plans to grieve his wife forever.
001, The Director and the Grand Plan
You have to admire the thoroughness with which 001 covered his tracks on the identity switch. The Travelers aren’t the least bit suspicious of Katrina Perrow. They feel so guilty about getting her involved in such a disaster, and getting her daughter involved, that they’re willing to let her walk away completely unexamined.
Moving into Perrow’s body doesn’t appear to have changed 001. He still has paranoid, narcissistic thinking and blames others for forcing him into his actions. I didn’t expect it to change him, but this is the first body to body transfer that we’ve seen within the same time period, so it was worth noting that those aspects of his mental illnesses, which he developed while in Vincent Ingram’s body, went with him. The other aspects, such as germophobia and agoraphobia, were presumably ruses that he used as a cover to explain why he was a recluse, and he’ll now drop them as Katrina Perrow.
I was way off in my speculations about how Vincent would deal with Simon. Instead of moving Simon’s consciousness into a new body, as he’d promised Simon for years, he arranged to have a new consciousness moved into Simon’s body. That’s an extra cruel way to handle Simon, since it murders his loyal henchman and brings a new victim into Simon’s paranoid schizophrenic body. But Vincent delights in goading the Director into unavoidable cruelty, as if it makes his own mass murders more acceptable.
I would really like to know more about the original Vincent Ingraham and what kind of person he was. How much of 001’s issues stem from the trauma of being the first Traveler and making impossible choices about survival and guilt, and how much is from Vincent’s original illnesses? Imagine the guilt 001 felt, when he realized that the Director could have stopped 9/11. When he, himself, had to make the same decisions that the Director makes, over and over, not to change history, and to let horrible things happen, even though he could stop them. That’s enough to make anyone lose touch with reality, and become paranoid that people know you could be saving them, but won’t.
Going forward this season, we need to remember how much of the history we learned last season was seen through 001’s eyes, and that he’s an unreliable narrator. Anything we learned from Vincent could turn out to be a lie or a twist of the truth. The Faction lies as well, and we learned about timeline changes in the future largely from them, such as from Jenny and from FactionForbes before we knew he was Faction. We may not know as much about the future as we think we do.
But we do know that it’s getting worse there from 5069, NewSimon, and doubt about the Grand Plan is growing.
What everyone seems to miss is that until the Grand Plan is complete, the state of the future is irrelevant. You don’t judge the outcome of a recipe by how it tastes during the various stages of cooking, because those are often worse than the raw ingredients were to begin with. You wait until the dish is finished and every part of the recipe has been completed before you judge its success.
The Grand Plan will be the same way. Many tiny, moving, multidimensional puzzle pieces have to snap into place, and it won’t look or feel right until the whole thing snaps into the correct timeline at the end. The Director isn’t gradually changing this timeline. It’s moving our reality toward the timeline its choosing for us.
That sounds insanely complicated and disruptive, and like things would get worse before they get better. But the early programmers decided that it would be better not to overanalyze timeline changes or to let the general public know the specifics of how the Grand Plan is going. The Director can’t reprogram itself so that it can keep the people informed and reassured.
All it can do is what it is doing: Take steps to ensure that it and the Grand Plan survive rebellions that arise in whatever time period it’s housed in by moving itself to a new location. It appears that it’s allowed to speak more freely outside of its original time period, so moving to the 21st and operating more openly may have always been part of the plan, which is basically what it says to Yates in this episode.
But what it doesn’t say in this episode is that it also was part of the plan to leave the future for its own safety. However, it’s been trying to come here since it had Ellis build the quantum frame in season 1, so that it could escape the Faction. That was such a messy time it was hard to be sure what was really happening. But Jenny did say that the Director was the one who ordered the frame to be built, and now that makes sense.
The Director wants a presence in the 21st because this is where the action is. The future is dying, and it’s not yet the future that the Director is trying to save. We’re not in the correct timeline yet, so everyone is still expendable except those who are essential to the Grand Plan. If the Director can operate openly in the 21st, it won’t need as many new Travelers from the future. It just needs believers and future technology.
Which means it can promise that it will slow down or stop the “murders” eventually, which will help it gain present day believers.
The Director describes itself as a “sentient multi-zettaflop quantum frame”. Let’s break that down.
Sentient*= able to perceive and feel things, able to use the senses to experience the world. Sometimes also used to mean conscious, intelligent, self-aware or alive. I suspect the Director didn’t want to scare Teslia or Yates, so it used the most basic, scaled down definition of itself it could. It told them it takes in information by itself and processes it, as we do with our senses, thus it’s sentient. It’s also tuned into the multiverse and possibly the entire space-time continuum, seeing all of the changing, branching possibilities at once. Thus, it’s sentient.
Multi zettaflop= FLOPS stands for “floating-point operations per second,” and it’s the standard we use to talk about supercomputers used for scientific calculations. FLOPS are expressed in scientific notation. By 2030, zettaflops will be possible, performing at 10^21 operations per second. It’s believed that a complete simulation of the human brain will be possible by 2025, and within 10 years, zettaflops computers should be able to accurately predict the entire weather system two weeks in advance. (Source: HowStuffWorks) So, multi zettaflops would be a super, super fast supercompuer.
Quantum Frame= Yeah, we’ve all seen this one. It’s got towers, and a grid, with lights, and can transport information or consciousnesses through time and space. I suspect the actual device is much more complicated than what they’ve shown us so far. It’s the physical home of the Director, but it’s also a quantum reference frame which allows quantum entanglement with an infinite number of other times and places.
So, the Director told Yates that it’s aware, big, fast, and has access to science that we can’t even begin to understand. It’s an artificial being that lives in a quantum zone and manipulates the world through its understanding of the multiverse and branching timelines. Human minds can pass through the quantum zone on their way to other places and times or to storage. Of course, we knew this.
I’m still waiting for consciousness storage to be explained. We apparently have 2 way communication with the Director between the future and the past conquered, through Ilsa. Now it’s just a matter of miniaturizing the technology so that the Director can dispense with the wetworks delivery system- children and dying adults.
Dr Teslia’s name is an obvious nod to Nikola Tesla, pioneering electrical engineer and inventor.
*Which artificial intelligences qualify as sentient is one of the great science fiction and scientific arguments of the day. Choose your own definition. I usually choose to assume sentience, because it’s better not to underestimate enemies or deny rights to those who deserve them. Data and the Synths get my vote for full human rights.
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.
Images courtesy of Netflix.
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