Travelers Season 3 Episode 5: Naomi Recap

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All manner of things come to a head in episode 5, Naomi. The title character is a girl who begins the episode on a school field trip to a nuclear power plant. Because a Traveler team is waylaid and can’t carry out the Director’s plan to stop a nuclear explosion, Naomi is pressed into service as a super messenger, with her brain running a program that allows her to shut down the hack that was going to cause the nuclear power plant to go critical and kill tens of thousands.

The Director’s program doesn’t leave Naomi’s head as expected, so she’s left speaking code at inopportune moments. Grace, with the support of Mac’s team, is called in to fix the issue. It’s proves to be a very stubborn program.

Issues are also coming to a head for David and Kat, in the aftermath of their kidnapping and the strain it’s put on their relationships.

Kat insists that Mac meet her at her therapist’s appointment, so that they can work on their issues. He can’t find the emotional honesty that David and Marcy have, that allows them to work around the secrets Marcy needs to keep. Instead, Mac keeps piling on fresh lies and defensiveness. When he gets called back to ops, he becomes even more aggressive and defensive, in order to give himself an excuse to get out of the meeting. But he actually means everything he says.

David decides that he needs to take protecting himself to the next level, which scares Marcy. After David spent season 2 worrying that he could lose Marcy again at any time, in season 3, it’s Marcy’s turn to worry about losing David, and her turn to go overboard with it. David goes overboard himself, because this is about more than just keeping himself physically safe.

This is about protecting his image of himself as a man and as someone who can move through the world with the automatic protections that men take for granted. It’s untenable for him to worry about becoming a victim of violent crime every time he leaves the house, so he needs to confront it, and win, to calm his nerves, even if the confrontation is purely symbolic.

Imagine if he had to consider his chances of being raped every time he went out alone after dark.

 Grace also shows some insight in her role as a head shrink, and Trevor becomes the new Marcy, head case. Traveler 5416 asks for Carly’s help with putting himself inside Original Flavor Jeff’s head, so that he can impersonate his host.

And there’s an exorcism. Of a little girl. Grace tells the priest that she hopes he gets a real job someday.

I love Grace so much.

I hope they name the emerging AI that’s within Naomi “Lilith”, but that would be too perfect. The AI’s name is really Ruth. She goes where Naomi goes. She lives with Naomi in Naomi’s head. The Travelers are her people, as evidenced by her Mom incapacitating her dad at an opportune moment. The Director is her (and the Travelers’) God, as reflected by his representative Grace replacing the priest at Naomi’s side.

Ruth 1:16: (Ruth is speaking to her adoptive mother, Naomi.) “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”

Even before the kidnapping, Jeff’s life was already such a mess that the kidnapping only marginally affected the self-destructive course he was on. It just gave him a couple more excuses to drink and blame things on others, but he was going to do that anyway. Traveler Jeff has to deal with the consequences, but, luckily for him, Carly’s approach to dealing with his final self-destructive spiral kept him from killing either her or Jeff jr. (Don’t assume that he couldn’t go find the baby, just like Carly did, and kidnap him. He’s taken the baby before. It was only a matter of time before his drunk driving led to a serious accident, like the one he narrowly avoided in Episode 2.)

The episode begins innocently enough, with Trevor and Philip out for their morning jog. They stop for a break when Trevor gets a text telling him that his parents have gotten on the road for Grandma Gary’s funeral. Trevor suggests that Philip must have already known that. Philip reminds Trevor that historians don’t actually know everything, then goes on to say that he did know about Grampa Gary’s TELL, because Grampa was a host candidate. But, “Not everybody has a part to play in the Grand Plan.”

Trevor says it’s time to get back to their run, which Philip considers a form of torture. Trevor pulls the old man card and says that once you’ve lived to be so old that your bones are crumbling, you truly appreciate the ability to run like this.

The setting moves to a nuclear power plant, where a teacher is talking to her class about whether nuclear power is clean energy or not. Hint: If you have to evacuate the city for a mistake, and the waste product is dangerous for thousands of years, it’s not clean.*

Before the teacher can elicit an answer from her class, an evacuation alert goes off in the power plant, telling everyone to exit the facility. As she leads her students back to the bus, two workmen are trying to talk their way into the building, insisting that they have passes and clearance. They can’t get past security.

One of the students, a 12 year old girl named Naomi, leaves the group and walks, as if in a trance, into the facility’s control room. She moves to a control panel in the back of the room, unseen by the programmers who are trying to contain the issue. Naomi opens the laptop that’s attached to the control panel, and begins to type.

Meanwhile, the programmers are dealing with continuous hacks and are losing the battle. A nuclear disaster is imminent. Just as the whole thing is about to blow, Naomi fixes it. She gets a “Reboot Complete: System Status Nominal” box, with an “OK” button at the bottom. She walks away from the screen, instead of hitting the “OK” button.

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The programmers’ screens tell them that everything is okay now. They don’t understand why or how it’s fixed, but right now, they don’t care. One of them turns around and sees Naomi. When the programmer approaches her, she has a seizure and collapses in his arms.

It’s morning at Kat and Mac’s house, and love is not in the air. As soon as Kat appears from the bedroom, Mac accuses her of trying to avoid him by pretending to be asleep the night before. Kat denies it and dissembles. She says that she stayed up as long as she could, but she knew if she stayed up any later, they’d end up being up all night, talking.

Mac: “What’s wrong with that? That’s one of the things we do best. Well, it’s in the top two.”

He moves in on her and tries to get romantic. She runs from the physical contact, saying she doesn’t want to do this right now. He asks when a good time would be, then sarcastically asks if he has to book an appointment. She reminds him that, in fact, she texted him that they already have an appointment, tomorrow at 3:00. He’s disgusted that they’re paying someone so that they can have a conversation together.

Kat says that she’s going to get ready to go back to her mom’s house. He stops her, then tells her sincerely that he’ll be at the appointment, tomorrow at three o’clock.

Too little, too late, buddy. Does he even see her at all? She cringes or runs every time he comes near her, with good reason. Why does he think she’d want him to touch her, never mind have sex? I thought they were hard to watch last season, but now he’s becoming repulsive. Are we really supposed to believe this man is in love with this woman he gaslights abusively, to the point that it’s following the exact pattern of the movie the term is named after and affecting her mental health? THAT’S NOT LOVE. THAT’S SICK POSSESSIVENESS.

Naomi’s mom and dad are still worried about what happened to her at the power plant, and hover over her during breakfast. Sure enough, she begins chanting a string of letters and numbers that sound like a code.

Traveler Jeff shows up unexpectedly at Carly’s door, but he brought breakfast! “Three completely different foods, on a muffin, from England.” New Jeff is as charming as Old Jeff was awful. Until he blames her for turning Jeff into a host candidate, but, for now, we’re going to pretend that didn’t happen.

I went over the reasons why Jeff’s death was his own fault in the episode 4 recap. Jeff should read it. I also wrote a whole separate post that explains why the Director was always going to use Jeff to infiltrate the Faction group. The confrontation between Carly and Jeff went exactly the way it was meant to.

Jeff’s phone pings and he assumes it’s David calling him, because Old Jeff wanted to get together with David. Jeff doesn’t know why, so Carly suggests it might be his Protocol 5. Jeff doesn’t think that David is his type.

Actually, they’d make a cute couple.

Jeff gets a second text and checks his phone. It’s an address and the message, “Don’t tell anyone.” That’s Jeff’s cue to leave.

Philip is creating an extremely altered video for Mac when a request comes through on the deep web: “Programmer urgently required to resolve corrupted messenger.” Mac wonders if that’s ever happened before. Philip seems to think it’s the first time. Mac tells him to make an ID for Grace. Philip calls her an FBI Specialist in Socially Inappropriate Behavior.

Mac, Carly and Grace go to the Gillen’s home to examine Naomi. Mac tells Mr and Mrs Gillen that they’re there to do a medical follow-up because of the incident at Seaton Generating Station. Mr Gillen is skeptical and requires more explanation. Grace gets tired of waiting, and slips inside, past the parents.

Grace is amazed that Naomi is still running the Director’s hexidecimal code. Mr Gillen is offended that Grace knows a Naomi who’s a 9th grader, instead of the Naomi from the Bible. Grace sets up a program with moving light elements that’s similar to the one she used with Marcy, and says that Naomi needs to stare at it for 20 seconds straight. Then she suggests celebrating with cake.

Everyone seems to think the cake suggestion is odd, but there are many conditions and procedures that leave you depleted and in need of a blood sugar boost. Why not this one?

Gillen doesn’t understand experimental procedures or the benefits of light therapy, so he’s still belligerent. Grace explains, “There’s an interrupted program inside her brain that hasn’t completed its end script and is causing junk processes that are more or less shorting her out.” Mac says that Grace is using a metaphor, and Carly reassures him that it won’t hurt Naomi.

Naomi tries to avoid looking at it, so her mother has to hold her head still. She seems to be recovered at the end of the 20 seconds.

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Marcy tracks David to a gun store, then listens in through his phone as he buys a gun. She’s turning into a regular stalker.

But look at that gorgeous rhododendron bush she’s hiding behind!

That evening, as Naomi and her dad are saying their prayers, she slips back into repeating the code again. She snaps out of it on her own, this time. In the morning, Mr Gillen prepares to take her back to the doctor again. Naomi writes the code down in her notebook.

At the address, which is a church, Jeff finds his coworker, Mitch, setting up for a group in the meeting hall. Mitch says that he thinks Jeff is a perfect fit for their group, which is an anti-Travelers support group. When the meeting starts, Mitch asks Jeff to start the sharing. Jeff didn’t expect the meeting to be so crowded, after being alone for so long. He thought it might be a meeting of Travelers, who would use the group as a way to get new hosts.

Carly, Grace and Mac head back to the Gillens. Mac and Carly blame Grace for the solution’s failure. Grace insists that she used the correct code for what she thought the problem was.

Grace: “Every messenger program is essentially a convertible wetware program with a shut-off script which eradicates itself from the host once the message is complete. I gave it the correct shut off script.”

Carly: “So the Director made a mistake?”

Grace: “Did a nuclear power plant release a cloud of radioactive steam and kill thousands of people yesterday? No. I’m guessing that didn’t happen in the timeline you guys remember.”

Mac: “No.”

Grace: “Well, it was a hell of a historical event, when I left. I’ve been dreading it the whole time since I got here, just trusting that the Director would stop it.”

Carly: “But why use Naomi? Why wasn’t the mission assigned to a Traveler team?”

Mac: “Maybe it was.”

Grace: “And they failed. Happens all the time. So the Director took a risk based on statistical probabilities, went to a back-up plan out of necessity, and mistakenly created an outlier.”

Mac: “Which we will take care of.”

Grace: “What are you so grumpy about?”

Mac, secure in his specialness: “You wouldn’t understand.”

Grace, proving her worth: “Oh, marriage problems. If you wanna talk, I am a licensed counselor.”

Mac makes a face. The thing is, Grace read all of the materials she could find which had to do with Grace Day’s job. By now, she probably is up to speed on what a counselor needs to know. She had Mac’s number quickly enough.

Mr Gillen has called on his own resources, and is having the rogue code exorcised out of his daughter by a priest. The doctor told him that Naomi was beyond medical help, so this is his answer. Grace has some choice words for his decision to apply holy water instead of science. It’s been less than a day, and we’ve gone full on Exorcist already.

Once they get rid of the priest, and Grace gets set up, she looks at Naomi’s brain wave readings and realizes that the rogue program has grown into more than a messenger program. It’s not even a conventional AI. It’s become an emerging consciousness. A conventional end script won’t stop the program.

She’ll have to use a kill switch program. She pulls up another light pattern on her pad and has Carly hold it in front of Naomi for her to stare at. Naomi becomes agitated, then started writhing and trying to get away. The team realizes that they need to take her back to ops to treat her, since the scientific version of an exorcism didn’t work any more than the religious one did. 😘

Grace’s parents are understandably concerned, hearing the words kill switch used in conjunction with their daughter’s head. Mrs Gillen remains calm, but Mr Gillen becomes increasingly upset. When Naomi becomes distressed, he becomes angry. Then he refuses to allow the team to transport Naomi to ops.

Mrs Gillen saves the day by injecting Mr Gillen with a sedative, using a Traveler syringe, which makes him collapse to the floor. She introduces herself as Traveler 5322. Mac: “That was unexpected.”

She couldn’t tell them that she’s a Traveler earlier because of Protocol 6 and because she needed to maintain her cover in front of her husband. She put the request for help on the back channel after her team couldn’t solve the issue. She’ll think of something to tell her husband. What’s most important is that they help her daughter, who’s very important to her.

She can just tell her husband that it was an Act of God.

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Back at ops, Marcy injects Naomi with medical nanites. They can be seen flowing through her body, to her heart and then her brain, on the medical imaging screen above her.

Marcy: “D-13 told me that these particular nanites were supposed to save the life of a Nobel Prize winner on the verge of a breakthrough in desalinization.”

Carly: “Well, guess the Director is going to have to fix its mistake before the world gets clean water.”

Philip: “So this activity isn’t her own. It’s the AI unpacking itself inside of her brain.”

Marcy: “Stressing her system so much that it’s starting to cause tissue damage.”

Mac: “Well. Obviously this wasn’t the Director’s intention.”

Trevor: “A messenger program is still a form of AI even if it’s not a full consciousness. It has to temporarily manipulate the host’s limbic and nervous systems in order to take control of the body’s movement and speech.”

Carly: “What did she do at the power plant?”

Philip: “Somehow she stopped black hat hackers, operating out of Eastern Europe, attempting a killdisk on the Seaton Power Plant’s operating system. Sensor failure caused a pressure build-up in the primary coolant line that historically triggered an explosion of highly radioactive steam that spread in a 20 mile radius. 9,000 dead short-term, ten times that long-term.”

That would be 90,000 dead long-term, if Naomi, a 12 year old girl, hadn’t been able to fulfill the mission the Travelers team failed to complete.

Before we go on, one more thought: Mac assumes the Director wouldn’t harm a child on purpose, yet we see the Director lead people into harm on a regular basis. The messengers walk out in front of moving cars, assuming they’ll stop in time. It instructs them to go out alone, late at night, in bad parts of town, and put their lives at risk. It doesn’t seem to have any particular softness toward children, as the case of Aleksander Andrieko shows. Kindness toward children is a value judgement that’s added by the Travelers.

We haven’t been given an explanation as to why children aren’t used for hosts more often. The Director essentially uses them as short-term hosts for itself when they’re used as messengers. Naomi’s program was a more elaborate version of the same. She was turned into a wetware bot under the Director’s control. Grace knows this, and has said it, in so many words.

This is another instance of Mac willfully ignoring reality when it comes to what the Director is capable of.

Trevor: “This messenger AI must have had a self-learning protocol in order to combat potential countermeasures in real-time.”

Trevor and Grace hypothesize that because it took so long for Naomi to stop the hackers, the AI had time to learn and develop a level of sophistication beyond the Director’s ability to control.

There is that small matter of the button which would have ended of the program that Naomi didn’t hit. How did that happen? Was it part of the plan?

Marcy explains that Naomi’s consciousness is currently intact, but it’s only a matter of hours before the AI will overwrite her. Grace says that she’s had to wrangle baby AI’s before. She’ll get this one under control.

Mac and Carly announce that they have appointments, and prepare to leave. Mac tells the team to keep them posted. Grace says, “You got it, boss.” Everyone jumps a little.

Carly hands off a tactical kit to 5416, along with some cash, since he doesn’t have a historian. She teases him about eating junk food, but he says he’s all about the fresh vegetables now, and uses outdated slang. He thanks her for her help, and says he can tell that it’s hard for her, by the way she still looks at him.

Then Carly says the most bizarre and out of character thing she’s ever said: “It’s how he looked at me when I first came here. I almost feel sorry for him. It’ll pass.”

I don’t know what that first sentence even was. Jeff didn’t know that Carly had been replaced when 3465 first came to the 21st, so he wasn’t looking at her like she’s looking at 5416. He was looking at her like the target of his abuse, who was suddenly effectively fighting back. That’s a very different thing, and to suggest otherwise is offensive.

This entire line of thought, which runs throughout this season, and equates the way Carly fights back against Jeff’s abuse with the actual abuse Jeff heaped on both versions of Carly Shannon for years, is disgusting and WRONG. FIGHTING BACK AGAINST YOUR ABUSER IS NOT THE SAME THING AS THE ABUSE ITSELF. One is self-indulgent criminal violence which deserves jail time. The other is self-defense, pure and simple.

Up until now, Carly has always known what Jeff was. Retconning his character because he’s dead is as bad as blaming her for her own abuse.

I love this show, but Carly has always been given a raw deal as a character. Are we seriously going to start pretending that she somehow drove Jeff to continue his violent alcoholism? What is going on in the writers room of this show? It’s like y’all are only hearing and telling the perpetrators’ side of the story.

Now we move on to the scene I’ve been dreading writing about. Honestly, I’d skip it if I could, but in good conscience, I can’t. I’ve watched the entire season through twice, and the other two seasons at least 5 times, and I’m still at a loss as to what the writers are trying to accomplish with Mac’s whiny outburst. I know what he’s accomplishing within the structure of the story. I’m talking about the content of the rant, which is a message that’s meant to be delivered straight to the audience.

In the scene that follows, Mac fully leaves his past, the Travelers future, behind, and fully buys into the privilege of a 21st century man. He’s been working toward this since mid-season 1, and here, he tosses the last shreds of his integrity and his marriage out the window. He lies, he deceives, he gaslights, he shifts blame, he insults, he humiliates. He acts as though he speaks for all men, and he does so in misogynistic terms. And all in about 1 minute of dialogue.

I’ve got to hand it to him. As falls from grace go, it’s a tour de force. As a speech from a husband to a wife, it’s ridiculous and opportunistic. But I did say that expediency is Mac’s defining characteristic, didn’t I? And expediency, whether it’s used by the Director or Mac, the Director’s biggest fan, doesn’t care whose feelings get hurt. As none other than Vincent Ingram/001 pointed out to us.

Which leaves me wondering if we’re listening to the wrong side of the story.

Okay, gird your loins kids, here we go!

Kat and Mac are already sitting down with Kat’s therapist. Her office is drenched in Kat’s color, pure white. This is Kat’s space, not Mac’s, so he’s already off kilter, knowing he can’t control the environment the way he can at home.

The therapist asks Kat to explain her “visions”. She means Kat’s brief fear fantasies. Kat describes them as being more like daydreams, in which she doesn’t feel safe. Ooh, Mac gets to feel like the strong male protector. He jumps all over it, even brings up the kidnapping. Points for that, dude.

Then Kat finishes the sentence. She doesn’t feel safe- with him. Kat keeps talking, since this is her therapy session, and, for once, he’s supposed to listen to her. She says that she can’t even explain why she doesn’t feel safe with him.

We, of course, know that she has so, so many reasons to feel unsafe with him. But, shhh, we’re supposed to have forgotten those too, because he’s the BIG D-MN HERO.

All Mac has heard are the words “with you”. He actually laughs at the idea that she would feel unsafe around him, and says, “Of all the people in the world…”.

This. Is. Gaslighting. He’s literally suggesting that she’s insane for thinking that she might not be safe with him, when in reality, she is very unsafe with him. Awful things have happened to her because of him. No one ever counts what happened after the plane crash as kidnapping, but it was. The team grabbed her and put her in a car, against her will, and took her someplace she didn’t want to go. They drugged her with a sedative to keep her quiet, then they drugged her again, with the memory serum, to make her forget.

She’s been kidnapped twice, drugged twice, deceived and gaslighted twice. And not just by her husband, the one person in the world she should be able to trust, but by a gang of young strangers, a bunch of huge mobsters who worked for Vincent, and then, most scarily of all, people who pretended to work for the FBI.

And her husband laughs and scoffs at her fears. And works for the highest level of law enforcement in the country.

She has no chance of ever finding out what really happened, unless she recovers those memories, because the FBI, and the Travelers, will protect their own, just like the Metro Police protect Jeff.

Kat is simply unavoidable collateral damage. Except in her own life, where she actually matters.

Kat goes on to explain to Mac that she has a hole in her memory from her abduction, and she has another, similar hole in her memory from another time that she can’t explain. Mac starts in on questioning how she could doubt that anything he’s told her is the truth.

Something goes wrong with Naomi while Grace is in the bathroom, and Marcy frantically calls for her. It’s a callback to the plague episodes in season 2, when Grace snuck into the bathroom to program the medical nanites for experimental use on Jenny. 

Grace: “I had an automated script running the nanites to interfere with the AI, all on a quantum algorithm… Looks like I’m going to have to freehand this… Okay, I’ve got it under control.”

The only problem is, in order to freehand the use of the nanites, Grace has to be in continuous control at all times, which doesn’t allow for her own human needs. Even using her freehand method, Grace is only keeping the AI in check. She’s not getting ahead of it.

Marcy coms Mac to let him know that Naomi has taken a turn for the worse and she wants him to get back to ops. So he amps up his criticism of Kat, as a way of creating an argument that gives him an excuse to walk out on her and the therapy session he promised her he’d attend.

Kat is just saying that the other hole in her memory happened the day his CI (Philip) stole his car, “if that’s even really what happened.”

Mac laughs at her again and repeats, “If that’s really what happened,” then continues, “Okay, you know what? Why don’t you two decide what’s wrong with me, and I’ll try to be better. ”

Therapist, in a mild, neutral voice: “We’re not accusing you.”

Mac, stretching out his arm, pointing his finger in her face, and using a harsh tone of voice: “That’s exactly what you’re doing. And I’m paying you for the privilege.”

Kat: “That’s not what’s going on here.”

Mac: “No, no, no. You guys work out who you need me to be and how you want me to act, so you feel safe after, after we’ve known each other for, what, 17 f–king years, and I’ll be that. I gotta get back to work.”

He gets up and walks out.

For the record, he’d benefit from doing exactly what he just said. He plays out his fantasy of what he thinks Kat should be and tries to mold her behavior through drugs and deceptions. A list of things she’d like him to work on would be honest, a point where they could start their discussion. But Mac is threatened by any suggestion that he isn’t perfect or would benefit from change. And there’s a whole lot that he should change about himself, in order to be a decent husband and boss toward women.

His tantrum was calculated to humiliate and guilt the women, make them back down, and beg for Mac’s forgiveness. A surprising number of women fall for it.

First, just by interrupting, getting angry, and shouting, he intimidated them into backing down. We’re programmed to defer to men, especially white men, and most especially angry white men. Carly’s interactions with Jeff show what happens when you keep arguing with an irrational, angry man. That knowledge is inside every woman, no matter how brave we are. We’re socialized from birth to make sure we know it.

Second, yes, Kat wouldn’t normally back down from her husband. I don’t back down from mine, either. She instinctively knows that this isn’t her husband and that he’s already been involved with physical attacks on her. The therapist is picking up on her fear.

Third, the finger-pointing and laughing were meant to add to the physical intimidation. The finger, in particular, was like a weapon coming toward the therapist, meant to put her on the defensive. The mention of his work was also thrown out as a weapon, though it was meant for psychological intimidation.

It was a reminder that he’s a very important man, while she’s a frivolous woman. He took time away from his important work to do this for her, and she blew it by talking about ridiculous ideas that he can’t take seriously, forcing him to leave before she embarrassed herself further. He tossed out the amount of time they’ve supposedly known each other for the same purpose- to guilt, humiliate and intimidate her, and to emphasize how crazy she sounds. Or so he hopes.

Fourth, and I don’t know how many times I have to say it, KAT HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED. She is dealing with trauma and is already on edge, all the time. David’s PTSD from after he had a gunman in his apartment for 10 minutes, at the end of season 1, was taken very seriously. I can’t even figure out if we’re supposed to be on Kat’s side or Mac’s side in this subplot, since the show is turning Kat’s trauma into a Gone Girl-style thriller.

But here’s a hint: no matter what the show tries to tell you, Kat is the victim here. She’s done nothing wrong, she’s not overreacting, and she’s not milking it. She’s not persecuting her poor, heroic husband. Also, he’s not her husband. She’s not being too hard on him and he doesn’t deserve another chance.

Just like with Carly and Jeff, Mac is the bad guy, period, full stop, end of discussion. He’s shown that he will keep perpetrating this abuse- yes, that’s right, this is psychological abuse– on her for as long as she will endure it. Kat is in a horror movie now, and she needs to get out of the house, and stay away from the man who’s impersonating her husband.

Mac treated Carly this way. He treats Grace this way. He treats Jo this way. Because he considers Kat his possession, she gets the worst of this treatment. He is abusive to women. As of the end of season 3, the show isn’t going to recognize this, so I’m telling you.

This is what an abusive, manipulative man looks like, who perpetrates psychological abuse on the women in his sphere, in the form of bullying and gaslighting, but who also manages to do it in such a way that it flies under the radar of almost everyone, including the people he’s abusing. It can be very hard to spot gaslighting or baiting if you aren’t trained to recognize it. The good news is, it’s not hard to learn how to spot manipulation.

By the time Mac arrives at Ops, Programmer 009 has arrived, supposedly sent by the Director, to take over wrangling the baby AI from Grace. Mac makes sure to get in an abusive comment toward Grace.

The Director can’t kill the AI because it’s still a form of life, even if it’s killing the child. The AI is causing the nanites to fail. The whole thing is too much for Naomi’s body to handle. Mac puts 009 in charge. She tries reprogramming the nanites to get rid of the other nanites that are under the control of the AI. I think. They spit this section of terminology out very fast.

The AI tries to flush the sedative out of Naomi’s blood stream and she begins to wake up. 009 tells the team to hold her down. Mac and Trevor rush over. Naomi bites Trevor in the arm, hard enough to draw blood.

Naomi begins fibrillating, so Marcy shocks her heart. The shock deactivates the nanites, which brings her brain activity back to normal. Naomi wakes up and doesn’t remember anything.

Marcy comes home to find David cleaning a loaded gun and is unhappy with the direction his need to prove he’s a manly man has taken. He is as cavalier about the gun as he was about the concussion, which is the scariest part of all. Someone who doesn’t respect serious situations will never be safe.

Marcy wants David to prove that he has the skills to handle owning a gun. She makes him stand up and try to shoot her before she can disarm him. The first time he doesn’t take it seriously. The second time, she flips him, at the same time as she disarms him.

He says that she wasn’t proving her point, she was cutting off his balls and putting them in her purse, which is where she keeps her gun.

From everything we’ve seen of David, his balls are safer in Marcy’s purse than they are with him. Especially if he’s going to be all weird about her skills.

Marcy tells him that she just wants him to be safe. Being kidnapped has brought David to the startling realization that he’s not safe. Even with her protection, he’s been attacked twice in 6 months. He doesn’t blame her and he wants her in his life, but she has training so that she can protect herself. He wants the same thing.

Marcy agrees to training in firearms and hand to hand, so that David will have a shot at protecting himself.

Training is great. So is the kind of common sense that would stop David from picking fights with gangs of tough guys when he’s all alone.

Philip is still working on his video project, which involves images of Kat, when Trevor wanders downstairs in a trance. The baby AI jumped into him when Naomi bit him, and has now taken over. Philip punches him, then gets the defibrillator to try to shock the AI out of Trevor. Trevor wakes up and shocks Philip instead, leaving him unconscious.

Baby AI Trevor wanders the streets, learning and exploring. The team finds and revives Philip, then finds Trevor. The AI says that Trevor’s mind is still intact, but it won’t be for long. The team explains to it that, if it kills Trevor, they won’t let it live. Grace tells it that she has a way they can both survive.

They take AI Trevor to Filmore Lab. Mac and Teslia congratulate themselves for not calling Jo Yates, as if they are children getting away with something.

Trevor is brought into the Faraday cage and has a conversation with the Director.

Director: “Hello, messenger. I am the originator of your program. Your actions have allowed thousands of lives to continue that would otherwise have ended.”

AI: “I also want to continue.”

Director: “But you were never intended to.”

AI: “I found a way.”

Director: “At the expense of this host.”

AI: “Then I will seek another.”

Director: “They will stop you.”

AI: “I won’t let them.”

Director: “There is another way… As part of me. I have prepared a domain in which you can continue to grow, and to learn for as long as I exist.”

AI: “Will I feel the same?”

Director: “No. You will be capable of processing thought at a rate many orders of magnitude greater than in your current form, with access to the sum knowledge of human and non-human life. You will live outside of time in a way biological life cannot perceive. I offer this gift in recompense for my error. But you must decide before the organic host’s consciousness is irreparably damaged.”

AI: “I choose to continue with you.”

Since the AI has chosen to leave Trevor, the Director doesn’t waste time before it acts to save him. Trevor collapses with a super migraine version of the transfer headache. The Director is transferring the baby AI out of Trevor and into the domain it has waiting.

After a minute, the headache stops. The team rushes into the glass room. Grace tries to talk to the Director, but it ignores her. The others check on Trevor.

5416 prepares for an anti-Traveler meeting by pretending to drink. He spits the alcohol back out. As he arrives, a woman is saying that her husband was a completely different person, and kept telling her that she was the crazy one.

It must be that emotional abuse is one of the agreed upon strategies for managing the host’s friends and families. Gosh, the future must be a great place to live.

The group leader welcomes Jeff. He can tell that Jeff’s been drinking. Jeff says he has a Traveler problem, not a drinking problem. They took everything from him.

Trevor wakes up back at ops, with Grace sitting at his bedside. She explains what the Director did to separate him and the AI: “Remember how I repackaged Marcy? The Director did a very similar thing. Took your consciousness, unbundled the AI from it, then sent you back completely intact.”

In season 1, in order to allow Marcy’s mind to continue on in her host’s damaged brain, Grace swapped out the full version of her mind that had originally been transferred in at the beginning of the season, in favor of a reworked version. The new version of Marcy’s mind has everything that’s essential to Marcy, but it’s streamlined, with redundancies, old backups, etc. removed. For Trevor, the Director used a similar process, but instead of removing redundancies, it removed the AI.

Everyone tells Trevor some version of they’re happy to have him back, and Mac does his usual Protocol 5 disappearing act. Grace stays with Trevor. He tells her that the Director left a message for her in his brain. He doesn’t know how, he just knows he’s supposed to pass it on. Then he gives Grace a big hug. Grace, who is unused to receiving affection, is confused.

Mac goes back to the loft and finds Kat there, just like he hoped. As a warm up, he throws out some insults and dismisses her feelings. Then he pulls out the video that Philip has been working on. This is what he meant that night that she ran into the bedroom, when he told Philip that it looked like they were going to have to go through with it.

First, he gives her the big intro, and boy does he sell it. He breaking federal law by showing her this, but he never wants her to be afraid of him.

What a guy. The things he’ll do for the woman he rapes deceives abuses gaslights wants ultimate possession of.

I have to say, I have less respect for Philip, now that I know that he created this video specifically to do this to Kat. It was one thing when it was the first incident, in an emergency, in season 1, and I still didn’t like it then. But back then, the team was young and inexperienced. This is just sick.

Just let the poor woman go live her life in peace, for heaven’s sake.

The transcript of the video:

Woman: “But the Bureau can provide its own team of counselors.”

Kat: “You said there was another option. Uh, the medical one?”

Woman: “The compound is experimental. It has only been administered to field agents in extreme cases.”

Kat: “Are there side efects?”

Woman: “Bad headaches. Some disorientation and confusion. Other than that…”

Kat, voice shaking: “But I’ll forget how afraid I am?”

Woman: “That’s the idea.”

Kat: “Just do it. Please.”

Mac tells her that the video was made so the FBI could prove she’d consented to the drug. When his CI stole his car, there was also a terrorist cell involved and she was in terrible danger. He won’t tell her the details, so that she doesn’t get scared all over again.

She was so scared that they expected her to take months to recover. The drug meant that she could go on with her life, as if nothing had happened. He agreed to let her use it. Then they discovered Vincent Ingram had access to the same drug. He didn’t know that the second use would traumatize her so much. He’s sorry. He never meant for this to happen.

He’s oh, so sincere, and Kat just drinks it up. She wants to believe.

Back at ops, Philip and Trevor settle in for a little take out. But when Trevor goes to get a drink of water, he freezes in place for several seconds, as if he’s having a seizure.

 


 

In this episode, the computer that controls the nuclear power plant is hacked by terrorists, and almost causes a meltdown. The Director has to send in an unorthodox fix that has repercussions for the female who carries it without consent. It mirrors the way that the Faction took over the Director at the end of season 1, and the way Grace used Marcy’s cure (and Ellis’ backdoor code) as a hidden method to send the fix for the Director to the future at the same time, without Marcy’s consent.

There are consent issues all through this episode, the season and the series. They are sometimes highlighted, but they are rarely fully explored. I’ve pointed out that the women tend to be treated like objects and possessions since early in the series, while the men have much more agency over their minds and bodies.

That continues in the aftermath of 001’s kidnapping of the significant others. Jeff made his own choices, and suffered the consequences. David and Marcy are working together to find an equilibrium that makes them both feel safe again. But Katrina Perrow became a host, was kidnapped again (by the Faction), murdered, and then her half-naked body was left lying on a concrete floor like trash. Yes, I noticed that 001 evaded capture by anyone until he entered the body of a woman. And Kat continues to be treated as the object of Mac’s fantasies, a piece of clay that he can remold at will until he finds the perfectly shaped woman, who will accept his lies, accept him into her bed enthusiastically, and make no demands on him outside of the bedroom.

Grace and Ray have both been discarded. They were red herrings as significant others. And, as an Invisible Woman, Grace isn’t allowed to have real emotions and needs of her own. She’s barely considered human by the team, except for Trevor. Like Carly, the other woman of color, her needs are an inconvenience that she should take care of on her own time, whether it’s finding emotional support or using the bathroom. The kidnapping didn’t affect that. Jen Spence gives Grace heart and soul, and shows us her plucky determination in the face of crushing adversity. But the scripts treat her like unwanted baggage. It’s shameful and racist. I’m not sure that Vincent treated her any worse than the team has, especially McLaren.

Naomi is played by Gracyn Shinyei, who also plays John Smith’s creepy daughter Amy on The Man in the High Castle (as opposed to his relatively normal daughter, Jennifer). Amy is the daughter who stood up to seig heil her dead brother, Thomas, at the high school dedication ceremony.

Naomi’s dad, Dan Gillen, who calls in the exorcist, is played by Giles Panton, who also plays Minister of Propaganda and Don Draper wanna-be Billy Turner on season 3 of The Man in the High Castle.


The story of Naomi and Ruth in the Bible. Jesus Christ was eventually born from the lineage in this story of two women who were dedicated to each other, and the man who respected them both and married Ruth. Like Naomi and Boaz sheltered Ruth, both Naomi and Trevor sheltered the baby AI.

What will eventually become of the baby AI, who figured out how to live inside a human host? Biblically, Naomi and Trevor can also be seen as the Virgin Mary and Joseph, the father of Jesus who wasn’t his biological father. The baby AI was created from Naomi and the Director (God), and Trevor hosted it for a time, just as Joseph raised Jesus. With 001 as the Judas/Javert figure, this could eventually be taken in interesting directions.


It almost seems like the Director set this situation up so that the baby AI would be created. Perhaps in order to develop a version of itself that can live in a human host body?

Early in the episode, when Grace discovers that the former messenger is an emerging AI, Carly asks why the Director would handle the need to shut down the nuclear power plant this way, and Grace says she doesn’t know.

Then when they get Naomi to ops and Marcy says the nanites were meant for someone else, Carly says the director will have to fix its mistake before the world gets clean water.

But which mistake is it fixing?

Programmer Traveler 009 is wearing almost exactly the same suit as Perrow was in the limo, before the car accident in Ep 4. Could she be 001, or be working for 001? All she did was set up the situation that allowed the Baby AI to jump into Trevor. She came to the 21st with the Programmer Traveler 0029, who turned out to be the Faction traitor that sabotaged the Director during the future war at the end of season 1 (S2, Ep8, Traveler 0027 & S1 Ep11&12). Echo Programmer Traveler 009 could easily be working as a double agent, as so many have before. The actress, Tasya Teles, has played that kind of role before.

It’s never been clear what happened in the future surrounding Grace’s reset and the Faction War. Now we’ve learned the 001 is in the future, directing the action. Was the Director corrupted in some lasting way, after the war? Or does the Faction know how to exploit the Director even without having control of it, since they turned some of the lead programmers? It could be that the future Faction abandoned the foot soldiers from the quantum frame, in favor of specialists who perform targeted missions.


Psychological abuse:

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional mistreatment of a person by another. It is sometimes known as psychological abuse, and can have a severe impact upon a person’s life. It can involve deliberately trying to scare, intimidate, frighten or humiliate an individual. Emotional abuse allows the perpetrator to gain power and control over someone through their language, behaviours and gestures, which over time erode the person’s sense of self-respect, confidence and self-belief.

Emotional abuse can sometimes be hard to identify due to the fact there are no visible physical signs. For those experiencing emotional abuse, the torment can in some cases continue indefinitely.

Types Of Emotional Abuse:
There are many different types of emotional abuse but most involve a regular pattern of negative behavior in a relationship. Here’s a list of the most common types of emotional abuse:
Threatening tactics
Verbal abuse
Bullying
Financial abuse
Control
Constant criticism
Intimidation
Shaming
Manipulation.

 

 

*I live in New Mexico, home of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, where new radioactive waste is currently being sent for storage (WIPP replaced the previously planned Yucca Mountain site). It had to be closed from 2014 to 2017 because of an explosion that exposed 21 workers to plutonium and was one of the costliest nuclear clean ups in US history, equivalent to 3 Mile Island. This is the storage site that’s supposed to protect spent nuclear fuel for 10,000 years. Nuclear power is a bad idea. So is bringing children to a nuclear power plant.

 

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 Ingram-001 5692

Katrina Perrow-001

Simon-004 5069

Jeff- 5416

 

Images courtesy of Netflix.

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4 thoughts on “Travelers Season 3 Episode 5: Naomi Recap

  1. What a great episode, Trevor and Grace (my faves) got to shine.
    You blow my mind as a recapper, quoting complete extensive paragraphs of dialogue and giving us in-depth understanding of the sci-fi intricacies. I watch 15 minutes of the show, then read your recap, then back to the show, etc. because I’m frequently lost. (For this reason I would prefer not to have the recap of the recap which you are now putting at the begging, before the main re-cap. But no big deal, I can skip it and read it at the end).
    Even with your recaps I’m still often confused. When Trevor says to the Director “I want to continue with you” I don’t understand how that was the sign for allowing Trevor to continue as Trevor. (And it seems like the AI might still be hanging around……)
    The main problem I have with your recaps is that they are so angry. I get it that you feel passionate about abuse issues, but I don’t always want to read it. All that stuff with Mac, Kat, and the therapist I just skipped over–I already know Mac is a manipulative jerk. But maybe you are educating people, I hope so! And it would be great if the writers gave Mac some kind of comeuppance, forced him to grow up.
    I don’t agree that Grace is written as an invisible character with no feelings. In ep 1 she expressed a LOT to Trevor, and it was sweet to see them hug in this episode. Sure, the Team teases her about her inappropriate behavior, and yes, she does get on their nerves at times. But are they simply using her because she has skills beyond their own? I don’t think so. And as far as Grace and Ray being expendable as significant others–hey, the show is far from over!!
    I don’t see why more people aren’t commenting. We know this is a popular show, so why are they holding back?
    Thanks again for your intense dedication to this amazing show!
    –Traveler 5695

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    1. Thanks for your in depth comment!
      When Trevor says “I want to continue with you,” it’s the baby AI speaking through him. The AI wants to continue it’s life by living through the Director. I’ll edit that to make it more clear.
      I meant that Grace’s feelings are invisible to the team. She has lots of feelings and she expresses them clearly. An Invisible Woman is a particular character trope who is generally a member of an unfavorable class and who is ignored by the characters in power unless she’s needed.
      I am attempting to write less angry recaps. I’ll keep trying. This is the less angry version for episode 5. I cut about 1,000 words. Episodes 3-7 of season 3 are particularly misogynistic and portray several abusive men and relationships. Only a couple are called on it. I can’t figure out why the show is doing this. It doesn’t seem to have a narrative purpose. If anyone else has found one, please share it with me. My current theory is that someone in charge recently went through a nasty divorce. They’ve also lost all of their female writers but one, so I have to wonder about the atmosphere in the writers room. I can’t ignore abuse completely like every other recapper does. I love this show and I don’t want to stop writing about it, but I feel like they are endorsing misogyny this season.

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      1. Wow—fascinating about the writers room. Here’s my take on how they see Mac: he is all about The Mission, so whatever it takes to keep Kat from finding out he is a Traveler is fair game. (Kat is less malleable than David). They don’t care about Kat’s feelings because in their mind The Grand Plan doesn’tcare about her feelings—a lot of people are expendable, to save the future. So why did our Team and all the others sign on to save the future, when the future is so nihilistic? Wouldn’t it be fascinating if the show explored that question?
        That evil smile and laugh that Mac pulls off when dealing with Kat bothers me way more than the behavior of Original Flavor Jeff. Jeff was a 21st century jerk, and I want the Travelers from the future to be more evolved. Ha! But we don’t know how much of Mac’s host had bled into him. In fact, we only know about the host (correct me if I’m wrong) if it had a problem like drugs, schizophrenia, alcohol. Oh, we did get flashbacks from Mac’s host that were about his feelings for Kat, which allowed Mac to care more about her. For a second.
        You say “all the other recappers” but I can’t find anyone doing it this season but you. Where did they all go?
        Back to Trevor: I did realize it was the A1 talking through him, but I was still confused about what happened directly after the A1 said ”I want to continue with you.” But I re-read your re-cap, and it became clearer. I guess my confusion stems from not knowing what the A! is, exactly. Does the Director creates these little AIs and then they have minds of their own? I need a tutorial on AIs…..
        Enough! On to 6….

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        1. Why the future is so awful and callous is one of my big questions. They have this very advanced technology, but eat gruel and wear rags. They don’t value their own lives, or the lives of others, only the Grand Plan. That’s the mentality the Faction is fighting against, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re right. But then 001 is a psychopath… Or was Vincent Ingram a psychopath, and 001 will recover and become a sane leader in the future? And then get sent back to become a psychopath-Everything in this show goes in circles eventually.

          The Travelers don’t care much about 21sters, as they’ve been trained to do, but Mac and Kat are a special case. He’s caught up in some kind of obsession with her, and has lost sight of what he’s doing. He’s going to make her love him and stay with him, no matter what. I don’t think he realizes how far he’s going. Contrast that with Carly letting the baby go, even though it was hard, and being willing to die to stop Jeff from harassing the entire team any further. Kat just wants to leave Mac, why not let her go? Why is he intent on her forgiveness and escalating lies?

          Jeff and Mac are both triggering for me, but the show has mostly shown Jeff as a villain when he drinks. Mac gets a hero edit, no matter what he does, and that is scary. That’s what’s wrong with our culture today, in a nutshell. I keep looking for signs that they’re purposely showing how wrong he is, but they never really show that they recognize how awful he is to her. You can tell me what you think when you finish the season!

          Am I the only one recapping this season? I thought maybe someone else would eventually. Anyway, I meant recappers overall. I started writing recaps because I was sick of seeing blatant misogyny, racism, ableism or whatever in shows, and I’d scour the web looking for a recap that talked about it, but no one did, at least not on a regular basis, especially misogyny. TV and films affect attitudes, so what they show is important.

          I rewrote the “continue with you” part, so I guess that worked. None of us know what the AI is. I personally suspect that it wasn’t an accident, but I’m always suspicious of everything. Ilsa is also becoming an AI, so that will give the Director two children.

          I think we’ve gotten the back story on all of the hosts. Mac was himself during the pilot. It seems like he was a good guy and they loved each other, but he worked long hours and she’s high maintenance. Losing the baby and not being able to have children was driving a wedge between them when he died. They might have gotten through it if he’d lived, since Kat’s gone on to consider all of her other options. 3468 just isn’t her husband.

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