Find my other Travelers posts HERE.
Now that the worst of 001’s mess is cleaned up, the team moves on to a more normal mission and Mac gets a new partner, FBI Agent Yates. Neither is thrilled with the situation. They are ordered to protect a TV pundit who spreads fake news and has latched onto the Travelers as a good source of inflammatory rumors to keep his fanbase riled up. Some fans take the rumors too seriously and pull off a tragic attack on a candidate for Congress and his wife.
The Travelers and their significant others continue to deal with the fall out from the kidnapping. David, Kat and Jeff have been through multiple traumatic experiences, some at the hands of people they trusted and care about. The memory inhibitor might work for a mind wipe, but, as we were already seeing with David and Kat in episode 1, the physical, muscular memories of fighting back during an assault are still carried by the body. And, as Carly tried to point out, for David and Kat, the erased 24 hours is just the tip of the iceberg, as far as evidence that something is wrong and that their partners have changed.
Jeff is an entirely different story, because he’s a cop who knows how to look for evidence and who is trained in investigation. He’s harder to fool to begin with. And the memory wipe didn’t really work on him, so he has much more information to begin with. But then there’s the complicating factors of his anger and his alcoholism, skewing his reasoning much of the time. He’ll have a hard time getting anyone to believe him, whatever version of the story he settles on.
Episode 2 opens with a broadcast from Christopher Rockwell, a TV loudmouth with his own show, The Rockwell Report, which he uses to spread whatever lies and innuendo will bring him the most viewers at any given time. In other words, Travelers has been watching present day US television.
Rockwell: “These so-called “Travelers” have been exposed. Not by the mainstream media. They’ve moved on to the next news cycle. Not by our government or its intelligence agencies. They’re already covering it up. Vincent Ingram, once a whistle-blower to a bona fide invasion from the future, is now a prisoner, accused of terrible crimes. A madman, they insist, who went off his meds and now denies everything he said. Why did it come to this? Because among the many thousands of Travelers, some have taken positions of power. Others seek it, even now. This man intends to do the same. Daniel Sosa, former aide to the late Congressman Ted Bishop, now running to replace his seat in the house. And we have reason to believe that not only is Sosa one of these Travelers, but he’s also responsible for the assassination of Congressman Bishop himself. We cannot allow them to infiltrate our politics further. We must stop Daniel Sosa and send a message to these interlopers from the future that we are in charge of our country and our fate.”
Pretty sure he just gave Daniel Sosa excellent grounds for a slander lawsuit, but Rockwell’s lawyers must know that. They must have a system of airing accusations, then pulling them in repeat airings with an apology and a pay off.
Or Travelers isn’t being realistic. 😜
Ted Bishop was the congressman who Mac saved from the plane crash in season 1 (Ep9, Bishop). He became a Traveler as soon as he was safely on the ground, but died in season 2 (Ep4, 11:27). The Director had Carly assassinate him in the hopes that his martyrdom would start an environmental movement, but he was already in the midst of a massive heart attack when she shot him. To my knowledge, we’ve never met Daniel Sosa before.
Rockwell’s show isn’t aired live. After Rockwell finishes his diatribe about Travelers and Daniel Sosa, the director (of The Rockwell Report- too many directors this season!) calls “Cut!”. His producer, Crystal, brings him a video she’s just gotten, which has taken her some effort to acquire. She tells him that the Travelers’ confession videos are rapidly disappearing, even from government servers. They’ll need to keep this one isolated from the internet on her air gapped laptop until it’s time to air it on Thursday.
That must be NewSimon’s code at work.
Despite the fact that he makes his living by making up conspiracy theories, Rockwell is surprised that they need this level of security. Crystal hits the play button on Carly’s confession video. They only play the first part. In her video, Carly talks about S1 Ep6, Helios 685, when the Travelers redirected the asteroid of the same name, which was due to cause major disruption in human society and the earth’s systems when it hit in 18 months time (from that episode).
“It has all been for the greater good. The lives lost when Van Heusen exploded ensured the survival of millions who would have died just over a year from now. Millions of people who have no idea how close they came to the end. And they were saved by travelers. That’s what we do.”
Kat is in her kitchen, getting her morning cup of coffee, when Mac comes into the room. She tells him that she can’t keep doing this, so he tells her to go back to bed.
Kat: “I mean, I can’t keep pretending that everything is alright, that we’re alright. Because we’re not.”
Mac: “What? Of course we are.”
Kat: “You can’t just say that and make it true.”
Mac: “Kat. Come on. Pretend with me. Otherwise this won’t end well for you.”
Kat drops her coffee and the mug breaks, snapping her out of this current fear fantasy.
She’s got 3468’s number, though. He’s insisting that she and the team play this little game that everything is FINE and NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The team can just ignore him most of the time, since most of his work decisions are still good, and otherwise, he’s still running out the door yelling, “Protocol 5!” before they’re even finished debriefing and cleaning up from missions.
It’s Kat, the object of fantasies, who’s rightfully starting to feel like maybe he’s too attached to a certain 21st century scenario and a certain image of her that he’s made up in his head. That’s become a denial of her own reality, and an active desire to turn her into his fantasy, the delicate yet strong, untroubled woman he thinks she was when he arrived in this century.
Her fear fantasies are shot in a misty soft focus. Her mind knows this is a dream.
Mac hears the cup break and runs out of the bedroom to check on her. Kat tells him that she’s going back to her mother’s house for a few more days. He’s disappointed, but can’t argue, because he’s late for work. He kisses her on the side of the head as he leaves, and she stiffens, then sighs in relief when he’s gone.
Not the most observant husband.
Jacqueline the caseworker arrives at Carly’s door, with a police officer in tow, to inform her that Jeff has convinced a judge to award him sole custody of Jeff jr, now that he and Carly no longer live together. Carly explains that Jeff is dangerous. He came home from work drunk and attacked her. Jacqueline says that Jeff is the one who’s injured, so it appears that Carly is the one who’s dangerous. She should stop making this difficult. They give her time to say goodbye to the baby.
Marcy wakes up to the sound of David struggling through squats and push ups. She makes him stop and explain where this new fitness craze is coming from. He tells her that he’s noticed that she does crazy FBI stuff all day, then has tea and plays board games in the evening, as if nothing dangerous happened during the day. They agree that she’s able to do that because of her training.
David is trying to train himself so that he’ll be better able to keep up with her. He figured that now, while he’s between kidnappings, is the best time to start. He doesn’t want them to eventually break up because he’s overwhelmed by her job and the stress that comes with it. She’s worried that the PTSD he developed after he was held hostage at the end of season 1 is acting up. (S1, Ep12, Grace)
Marcy is so on edge and worried about David that she questions Philip about his future the next time they’re together in the van. She wants to know if David has a new TELL. Philip doesn’t give any information away.
Daniel Sosa is confronted by reporters while he’s out grocery shopping with his wife and asked about Rockwell’s story. He responds, politely, that it’s fake news and could eventually lead to someone getting hurt.
Gary delivers Trevor and a pile of old furniture to a decoy apartment. Trevor must have graduated from high school, though we’re not told that, and now he’s officially moving out of his parents’ house. Gary reminds Trevor that they’re expecting him for dinner on Sunday, then leaves to pick up Mrs Holden from the hairdresser.
It’s good to hear she’s alive. We haven’t seen her since early season 2.
As soon as Gary is out of sight, Trevor puts a “Free” sign on the furniture, instead of taking it into the apartment. Philip pulls up in the van, Trevor greets him as “roomie”, and they drive off.
I guess Trevor isn’t planning on having his parents over to visit.
Daniel Sosa is working the parking lot while his wife puts the groceries in the car. He tells one couple that he’s a job creator, then his wife calls him back to their car. Once they’re in the car, he apologizes for the constant campaigning. She asks him to promise that once he wins, he’ll turn it off sometimes.
A pickup truck pulls up behind them, blocking them in their parking spot. Two goons in camo and masks jump up from the back and shoot assault rifles into the Sosas’ car. Daniel and his wife duck down to avoid getting hit. When the goons drive away, Daniel is okay, but his wife, Katie, is dead.
Mac arrives at the FBI office and greets Agent Yates, who’s been assigned as his new partner and Traveler liaison. Mac is immediately huffy because she took the big office.
LOL. He’s been an FBI officer for a year. Everybody knows it now. His citizenship is questionable, since I seem to recall the Great Valley and dome actually being in Canada. She’s definitely the senior partner. But one of the themes of this season is feeding Mac’s God complex, while proving he’s still just a humble man, so let’s continue.
Yates ignores Mac’s spluttering and sits him down at her desk. She points her laptop camera at him, because he has an ethics agreement to commit to. He makes sarcastic remarks as answers when required. He has to save the world, or stalk his host’s wife. He doesn’t have time for FBI bureaucracy, now that the truth is out.
“Special Agent Grant MacClaren, the following is a summary from the Department of Justice, in accordance with the Office of Government Ethics, Federal Regulations, Title Seven and the Conflict of Interest, Title 19- USG-37. To ensure that every designated FBI liaison have complete confidence in the integrity of the Traveler program, each Traveler team shall respect and adhere to the fundamental principles of the FBI as implemented in regulations 301 of this order. As your designated liaison, I, Special Agent Joanne Yates, will act as governing party over your team and engage with my superiors in good faith regarding ethical, moral and legal matters stemming from your team’s presence in the 21st century. Please acknowledge that you understand the terms of this agreement.”
Yates tells Mac that she needs him to brief her on his team, mandate, operations, and the future. This is a reasonable request from one new partner to the other. He refuses to cooperate, based on Protocols 2 and 5. But he doesn’t refuse in a polite, professional way, explaining the “need to know” rules he’s governed by, as he would have with Wakefield or Forbes (at least when there wasn’t an immediate crisis). He’s condescending, disrespectful and belligerent with a woman he’s just met, who’s calmly trying to do her job and following the orders she’s been given by her bosses.
He’s getting his alpha male rocks off, to make sure she understands who’s in charge of this relationship. (There’s more on this conversation in the meta section.)
Trevor and Philip take a meditation break from working on the device they’re building, but Trevor can tell that Philip is having trouble concentrating. Philip wants to get back to work, but Trevor thinks the meditation will help them concentrate.
Rockwell and his producer receive a video saying that Katie Sosa’s blood is on Rockwell’s hands. It appears to be from a hacktivist group in Eastern Europe. The masked, hooded assailants address Rockwell, telling him that Katie Sosa’s blood is on his hands, and that it’s only fair that he pay for what he’s done.
The FBI also receives a copy of the video. Yates and Mac watch it in her office. Mac brushes it off, assuming that it’s a copycat claiming responsibility for Katie Sosa’s death. He shows no sympathy for the victim or for Daniel Sosa’ loss. Before Mac can leave the office, Yates gets a call to inform her that they’ve been assigned to protect Christopher Rockwell.
Jeff, who is now living in a cheap motel, finds a note in his car, with a phone number: “What you remember is true. 206-555-0126”
Kat and David meet in a coffee shop. Jeff is late, so David leaves him a message. Kat and David have a good talk together, but the differences in their approaches to the issues raised by the kidnapping start to become clear.
David doesn’t want to lose Marcy and what they have together. He doesn’t want to examine anything too closely that might force him to see something he doesn’t want to see. Like that the changes that happened to Marcy in the pilot are actually impossible. Or that she doesn’t work for the FBI.
Kat, on the other hand, can’t deny the truth any more. She’s ready to examine every detail closely, in order to figure out exactly what happened to her during her two different memory loss episodes, and exactly when and what changes have occurred in her husband.
David gives Kat the name of a good therapist who he thinks can help her figure things out.
Kat has been through so much that therapy is probably an excellent idea, before her issues from the kidnapping get worse and Mac’s gaslighting makes her do something she’ll regret.
As they wait for a device component to be handed off, Carly tells Marcy that she lost custody of Jeff jr. She has mixed feelings, because she believes in Protocol 1, which says that she should put the mission first. But she also believes that a mother should put her son first, not her mission. Marcy tries to comfort Carly, reminding her that she’s trying to give Jeffrey a world to grow up in at all. When you look at the big picture, she is putting him first.
Crystal is worried about the threatening video, but Rockwell decides to air it on his show, turning it into a sensationalist story about Travelers targeting him after he exposed their underground network. Mac and Yates arrive in the studio as he’s filming the segment, informing him they’ve been assigned to protect him since his life is in danger.
Mac and Jo, as she asks him to call her, hang out in the car in front of Rockwell’s house and share celery and carrot sticks for dinner. For some reason, Mac decided to taunt Jo with them and starve himself.
They both mention that they have wife problems, then Jo asks how long he’s been married. He gives his host’s answer, 10 years, but she calls him on it, since she knows that the Traveler consciousness supplants the host consciousness. Mac informs her that they only take hosts who are historically about to die. It’s hardwired into the Director.
She says that he still couldn’t have been with Kat for more than a year. He says that’s enough time to make a real connection. She doesn’t know how real it could be. He says he’s just as human as she is.
Neither of them mentions the actual elephant in the room, that his relationship with Kat is based on giant, profound lies. He’s so committed to the lies and to contorting himself into what he thinks she needs or wants, that it’s hard to tell when he’s honest with her, but I assume some of his persona must be real.
Jo asks if it’s painful to be taken over by a Traveler. He says yes, but it’s quick. Jo thinks he acts like he’s doing the hosts a favor. He tells her that his host would have bled to death, Kat would have been a widow, and the good he’s done would never have happened. So, yes, he thinks they are doing the hosts a favor.
Jo says, “My mother died a couple of days ago. She had a series of strokes and the last one was so massive, she couldn’t speak. Because there was really no one inside anymore to form words. But she did speak. Your Director used her to send a message. Her last words weren’t even her own, and they ended her life. Forgive me for not thanking you.”
I like Jo. She’s really good for Mac. In her view, it doesn’t matter how much life her mother had left, or the quality of that life. It was still her mother’s life, and the Director stole that time from them. It used both her and her mother, and used Director Stevenson and his daughter, at the most vulnerable times in their lives, and they couldn’t say no.
Mac has never truly looked at any of this from the perspective of the person who doesn’t have the power and is being used. The longer he’s in the 21st, the greater his addiction to his power and privilege grows, and the less sympathetic to real people he is. He’s still sympathetic in theory, and sympathetic to people like him, but he can’t empathize beyond his own limited range of experiences.
Marcy comes home from work and finds David asleep on his yoga mat. She pulls out one of her future injection devices and injects him with something under his left ear, right where a com would be. The injection wakes him up, but she quickly puts the device away and doesn’t mention what she did. Instead they talk about his exercise regimen and need for rest. He rubs his neck and mentions that it’s sore, so she helps him to bed.
Sleeping on a yoga mat counts as corpse position. It’s totally exercise.
Philip and Trevor are in ops, and this conversation comes out of the blue.
Philip: “That was easier than I expected.”
Trevor: “What was?”
Philip: “Mining ethereum. I used a root kit to subvert a supercomputer’s processing power to unlock the next chain in the block. I made $80,000 in 27 minutes.”
Trevor: “By stealing from people’s accounts.”
Philip; “No, technically keeping the whole system afloat. If anything, I did a good thing.”
Trevor: “Well, you know what eventually happens. Yeah, but that doesn’t happen for like-”
The proximity alarms sound. (Ops has proximity alarms?) An FBI strike team, led by Yates, breaks down the door and moves in, shooting Trevor down as they come. Philip stands frozen, saying, “Don’t shoot!”
Trevor: “In what way did I give you the impression I was about to shoot you?”
Phillip just lived through that entire scene, including the unethical, possibly illegal ethereum mining, in an alternate timeline. If you watch it again, you can see the difference. The shots are strange angles, uncomfortably close, and, most importantly, the environment is foggy/misty, and in soft focus.
There’s a lot of alternate reality happening this season, a lot of soft focus and a fuzzy, misty quality to things, that’s already increasing over the course of these two episodes. So far, I’ve noticed it mostly with David and Marcy, Kat, and Philip.
Philip figures out what happened immediately, and runs for his yellow Historian timeline correction pills. Trevor sees him acting weird and taking pills that he won’t fully explain, and assumes the worst, even after Philip mentions Protocol 2H.
You can’t blame Trevor. He’s the one who was with Philip for most of the season 2 eye drop addiction (S2 Ep2&3).
Trevor: “I’ve seen this movie Philip. I don’t like how it ends.”
Jeff sr is busy getting drunk and watching The Rockwell Report, firing up his hate a little more, while Jeff jr cries himself out in his porta crib.
No one could have predicted that Jeff sr would be an abusive, alcoholic failure as a single parent. How could they possibly have known, except for all of the times Carly told official government types about his issues? #BelieveWomen
Daniel Sosa also watches The Rockwell Report, as Rockwell continues to slander him. He’s overwhelmed with grief for his wife.
Rockwell’s closing speech: “This morning’s assassination attempt on Daniel Sosa and the slaying of his wife was not a random attack. Travelers have simply cut ties with a compromised operative. Clearly we struck a nerve by exposing their underground network, but this is only the beginning. Today, my team received a startling video confirming that they’re now after me, which only means that we are that much closer to the truth. So, catch me tomorrow night on Drew Clarkson’s show for a one hour exclusive. And if any of you so-called Travelers happen to be watching this right now, there’s something I’d like you to know. We will continue to rage against the dying of the light. We will not go gently into that good night. Thank you.”
Rockwell watches himself from home and likes what he sees.
I doubt that Dylan Thomas would approve of the way Rockwell just mangled his poetry.
The next morning, David is serving an adventurous blend of Jurassic Dark coffee. He’s also suffering from such muscle stiffness and soreness that he can hardly move. Marcy tries to get him to take the day off, but, in his quest to keep up with her, he thinks he shouldn’t.
She might need to save the world, so he should be at work while she’s doing it. This makes sense in David’s mind, and they agree they both respect each other and their unique abilities and all of the colors in the world are special. Just go with it.
David’s boss Ken was supposed to do an AIDS presentation on the weekend, but can’t, so he assumed David would do it for him. As part of his new manly man plan, David tells Ken that he wants to be asked about these things, and can’t fill in for the presentation.
He’s getting pretty good at being honest about what he wants and doesn’t want, without game playing.
Jeff is either still drunk from the night before, or has continued drinking straight through. He loads the baby into the car and drives away, which is one of the scariest things this show has ever shown. He drives through a stop sign and has a near miss with another car. A police car pulls him over at that point, thank goodness.
I was close to hyperventilating.
The cop knows him, and wants to give him a break, but can smell the alcohol on Jeff’s breath. He immediately makes Jeff get out of the car and arrests him for driving under the influence.
Mac and Jo are in Rockwell’s house while he gets ready for the day. They discover that Rockwell is his stage name. His real name is Victor Sabatini. Rockwell makes a narcissistic villain speech, about how he’s only in it for the money and the thrill of knowing he’s pulled one over on people.
Mac tells Rockwell that everything he’s heard about the Travelers is true. There is a network of Travelers who are trying to save the world, and Mac is one of them. Rockwell scoffs at him, but Mac says he’s just trying to warn him. Rockwell isn’t fazed. Jo wonders why Mac is suddenly so chatty about Travelers.
The rest of the team has taken the van to the TV studio for Rockwell’s interview with Drew Clarkson. They finish their prep in the van. Trevor hasn’t forgotten about Philip’s new pills, and isn’t going to let it go. He asks Marcy and Carly if they’ve ever heard of Protocol 2H. Of course they haven’t, because that’s the whole point of Protocol 2H- “Historian updates are not to be discussed with anyone. Ever.” The yellow pills are part of the ongoing update process.
Marcy wants to see one of the pills. She doesn’t recognize them, so she wants one to examine, but Philip can’t give her one without breaking protocol even further. His three teammates give him grief, because they assume he’s hiding something, or ashamed of the pills. Philip finally puts his foot down and insists they trust him.
Jeff is kept in a holding room until his supervisor, Sarge, tells him that his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, plus he had the baby in the car with him. They can’t just let him go with that kind of infraction, so they’ll write up an administrative charge on his license. But they have to suspend him until his disciplinary hearing, and they have to take his badge away while he’s suspended.
Jeff asks where his son is. Sarge says he’s with Washington Family Services, where he’s become a regular. He looks Jeff in the eye, and tells him to get some help.
Philip stays in the van to run the op while the others take their places. Carly sits at the front desk by the lobby door, while Philip sends the actual doorman on an errand. Trevor and Marcy go further into the building. Jo and Mac walk Rockwell into the studio.
Rockwell half-jokes that he wishes Mac really was a Traveler, so they’d know when the assassination attempt was planned for, and FBI agents wouldn’t have to follow Rockwell around. Mac tells Rockwell that he does know when the assassination attempt will be. Rockwell assumes that Mac is pretending to be a Traveler to shut him up and violate his First Amendment rights.
Rockwells ego vs Mac’s ego would be quite the cage match.
When they reach the studio, Marcy introduces herself as Kira and says she’ll be doing his makeup. Meanwhile, Daniel Sosa shows up at the front desk and talks his way inside, past Carly. As Sosa makes his way up to Drew Clarkson’s studio, a time of death countdown clock appears. Trevor watches Sosa go by on the stairs and follows him.
As Marcy does Rockwell’s makeup, Mac fact checks him on a few pertinent matters. He exposes the true facts of Ted Bishop’s death and tells Rockwell that he needs to let the Sosa story and the Travelers story go, or they can’t protect him anymore. If he finds another story, he can walk out of there alive.
Rockwell becomes angry and starts swearing at Mac, just as Sosa comes through the door with his gun drawn. Mac has already drawn his gun. Jo has hers as well, so it’s a stand-off, as Sosa tells Rockwell why he’s there. He wants Rockwell to admit that everything he said about Sosa is a lie. Rockwell refuses and instead tries to convince Sosa that Travelers are real.
He doesn’t get very far before the countdown clock reaches 18 seconds. Rockwell gets the incoming Traveler headache, Marcy and Trevor disarm Sosa, and Marcy gives Sosa a memory inhibitor injection. Mac welcomes the new Traveler to the 21st. Trevor gives him a component to pass on to the engineer on his team when they make contact.
He’s quickly called out to do his TV interview, after Mac confuses him by telling him to “Break a leg”. Carly and Philip rejoin the team. Mac introduces Jo to them, just as she realizes that they were on a mission and she was kept in the dark. They talk through whether Sosa deserves to go to jail, even though he didn’t pull the trigger. The Travelers take him home.
Jo is angry that Mac didn’t give Rockwell more of a real chance to change, or just stop the murder attempt. She feels that the Director uses circular logic to make its decisions. She’s angry, because both Sosa and Rockwell were caught up in the Director’s machinations, and she thinks they would have been fine if the Travelers hadn’t interfered with the timeline.
Mac doesn’t have an argument for her, since, based on what he’s heard about the future from new Travelers, the Grand Plan doesn’t seem to be making any progress.
That evening, Trevor and Philip settle in to watch Traveler Rockwell’s interview:
“You know, the influence that you and I have can affect millions of lives. The fact is, as a journalist, as an entertainer, I’ve abused that power. Of course time travelers don’t exist. It’s preposterous. But here we are, one day after an innocent woman was killed because of lies and rhetoric that I spread on my platform. And I’m here to tell you that it stops now. And that’s why I’m donating over $5 million to charities throughout the state, and I’ll begin to use my program in positive ways. Because it’s time to be the change that we all want to see.”
Never content with just ruining his own life, Jeff stops by Mac and Kat’s house to stir up some trouble. Since Kat isn’t there for him to share some memories with, he lets MacLaren know that he remembers things that Kat would be interested in. Since they’re friends now, he’s sure to see her soon.
It’s such a joy to have Marcy and David be fun again. But what was in that injection? Is that what made him stiff and sore? Is she trying to get him to stop working out and go back to normal, the way Mac wants Kat to be normal? The lack of consent on the injection is creepy, but it brings her closer to equal with him, after some of the stuff he pulled last season, so I’ll allow it. All I ask for in a TV relationship is basic equality. Equally evil, or messed up, or good.
More on the First Meeting Between Yates and Mac
Yates: “The FBI is now a governing body over the Traveler program.”
Mac: “Okay. The Director acknowledges that authorities have become aware of Traveler operations in the 21st. That it’s in everybody’s best interest that those actions, both past and future, be kept from the general public, and that the Director itself will inform said authorities of further actions, if and when it sees fit.”
Yates: “That’s not how we see it. MacLaren-”
Mac: “Please call me Mac. We’re partners. You want to look over my shoulder, fine. Just so long as it doesn’t interfere with my mission, which I think I am allowed to tell you, is to save the f—ing world. back to work? The FB doesn’t I all by itself.”
The section I transcribed was in the trailer, possibly written for it. It’s supposed to be funny, and it is, out of context. In context, it’s one long tantrum, made up of misogynist gaslighting.
As I said before, Mac doesn’t speak to his male FBI superiors this way. And he just got done telling her that Protocol 5 means he has to do FBI work the way the real Grant MacLaren would have done it, which means following the orders of his superiors. He says it again at the end.
But in the middle, he claims that he doesn’t have to listen to anyone but the Director, because he’s a Traveler. In other words, in the moment, Mac lies and says whatever he thinks will allow him to do whatever he wants to do. Wonder why Yates and the 21sters have already figured out that he can’t be trusted? Wonder why his marriage is over?
Mac tells Yates to call him by his nickname, because they’re partners, implying that they’ll cooperate, but, within the very same breath, accuses her of micromanaging him by asking him to share basic information. And this is all after about 5 minutes of working together. He’s making sure to establish dominance over the woman, right out of the gate.
There were other, more cooperative ways for him to handle this conversation. We’ve seen him do it before, such as with Dr Delaney, the inventor of the antimatter, from season 1. He always treated Delaney like an equal, and explained what he could to her. He worked to maintain a good relationship in case they needed her expertise in the future.
The FBI and the US in general could be valuable allies, but, for some reason, he’s chosen to breed more antagonism and mistrust instead of working toward pooling resources to find 001 and rein in the Faction. I don’t think for a minute that everything in that cowboy speech came from the Director.
But Mac feels like the King of the World at the end of this conversation. He told off an FBI agent who reminded him of his mother, or his wife, or someone, and got away with it. He got the mic drop. In his mind, he regained some of the power he thinks Kat and 001 have taken away from him.
But it was aimed at the wrong target. Jo Yates is there to help him and is acting in good faith. So far, we’ve seen her be honest, practical, caring, intelligent, determined and professional. This makes her the anti-Kat, so it explains why Mac feels threatened by her.
In addition to her personal qualities, she also carried out the mission the Director assigned to her, even though the Director killed her mother, and she probably had better things to do the day after her beloved mother died. She’s already proved herself to be a valuable ally, and it’s Mac who’s not trusting the Director’s judgement.
If the Director agreed to let the FBI assign him a partner who’s a 21ster, but one it had hand-picked, he should be trusting that decision and cooperating with her, and, by extension, with the US government. Instead, he arrogantly makes the situation between the Travelers and the 21sters worse, at a time when the Director is trying to build bridges.
Jeff’s Very Bad Day
This scene, with Jeff alone, drunk, in the holding room, and knowing he’s lost everything, was shot incredibly well, mirroring Jeff’s state of being. When Sarge comes in, we never see his face until he makes a point of getting right down in front of Jeff and looking him in the eye. Until then, Jeff avoids looking at him. Everything but the two faces is blurry, shadowed and distorted. Most of the time the camera is very close on Jeff’s face, since he can’t get out of his own head.
The distance shot above almost looks like a forced perspective shot with the lines slightly curving away from him. It’s as if that window to the outside is an infinite distance away, and the tunnel that is the room will keep extending away from Jeff into infinity to keep him from the light.
The Director’s Circular Logic
Jo is right at the very end of the episode, when she questions the Travelers’ actions. I’m glad someone called MacLaren on it. The Director is using circular logic and using more cheats to circumvent the restrictions on its programing. I don’t remember seeing any cheats in season 1.
The first one I’m sure of is in S2 Ep7, 17 Minutes, when the Director maneuvered the sky divers’ deaths until it could figure out how to manipulate Vincent’s goon into killing the truck driver. It realized the sky divers couldn’t make it to the lake in time to save Mac’s team, but the truck driver could. The truck driver didn’t die in our original timeline, but there were timelines where he did. The Director just needed to nudge the circumstances toward one of those timelines, so it did.
001 has made the Director desperate, or maybe time is running out on some aspect of course correction to avoid a natural disaster or war. Either way, if the Director is cheating, it means something’s wrong.
But on the other hand, Jo and the 21sters all forget, or don’t realize, that the beginning of the end of the world would have already started, with the antimatter explosion that the team averted in S1 Ep2, Protocol 6. The writers haven’t mentioned it in a long time, but that explosion let the world’s other superpowers know that the US had antimatter, and started an arms race that was a significant contributor to the end.
They must also be getting close to when the Helios 685 asteroid would have hit. It’s maybe 6 or 8 months away? So all of this complaining about the terrible things that the Travelers do and cause is pointless. Mainly, the Travelers seem to be proving that either the earth itself is doomed no matter what, or humanity is doomed to self-destruct, no matter what.
Indiewire interview with Eric McCormack: You Love ‘Will & Grace’ — Have You Been Watching Eric McCormack as a Badass Time Traveler?
He says there’s no season 4 renewal yet, but he wants to do at least another season or 2 of both Travelers and Will & Grace. 5 total seasons of Travelers sounds good to me.
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.