Was There Foreshadowing for What Happened to Everyone’s Favorite Couple?
Spoilers Through Season 3 Episode 10, Protocol Omega
The short answer to the title question is, yes. The fates of David and Marcy were foreshadowed from season 1 all the way through season 3. Knowing this doesn’t take away the shock of what happened to them, but perhaps it does make it easier to process, if we realize that this was always the path they were on. There were timelines in which things could have turned out differently for David and Traveler 3569, but this timeline was unlikely to bend in that direction.
First, let’s look at a related side issue, the one pictured above. What does it mean that David fell in love with original Marcy in a different version of the timeline? Does it negate his love for Traveler Marcy?
I believe that David and original Marcy were the couple that was fated to meet in the original timeline, but 001 interrupted their predestined futures by severely harming Marcy. Despite 001’s changes to the timeline, David and Marcy still met (S2 Ep8, 21C), and original Marcy had a thing for David, from the moment they met. She still wanted him to be her boyfriend, even in her brain-damaged state. He was still attracted to something in her enough to stop in the alley and notice her, then get her set up with a life and remain close to her. But he is a decent man, so he kept his professional distance while she was intellectually disabled and one of his clients.
When Traveler 3569 took over Marcy as a host in S1 Ep1, she took on some of original, pre-damage Marcy’s characteristics, as almost all Travelers do with their hosts. So then, David was confronted with a Marcy who was similar to the woman he’d been supposed to fall in love with. On top of that, Marcy still needed him, because her damaged brain essentially gave her a terminal illness. Marcy chose David to help her with treatments and home care throughout season 1, perhaps because she’d been prepared to have him as a friend, and perhaps because her host had been comfortable with him.
Going through 3569’s illness, the Faction attack on David in episode S1 Ep12 (when David was held at gunpoint), and other intense experiences together, formed a strong bond between them. Their personalities complement each other, but it’s not a perfect fit. They had to work through their insecurities and faults to get to the point where they were fiercely committed to each other, and accepting of their differences. But their love was real and full of emotional honesty.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that 3569 was not originally meant for David. Since the revised timeline has no 001 to injure original Marcy, it stands to reason that she and David would fall in love and find their happily ever after in a timeline with no Travelers. They have more in common than David does with 3569, and have similar goals in life. Both are content to save the individual people in their neighborhood, at street level, rather than trying to save the whole world or the future of humanity.
When Philip was in Marcy and David’s apartment in S3 Ep10, after he stopped Marcy’s suicide, and saw the happy ending play out in the alternate timeline, he could have been watching David and 3569 or David and original Marcy. That scenario would have likely played out in our timeline had 001 not intervened, either to cause original Marcy’s brain damage or Traveler Marcy’s suicide.
So David and Marcy are meant to be together, and it’s okay that he ends up with either Marcy. Let’s move on to looking at the foreshadowing for their deaths. First, for a little metaphorical fun, let’s consider David’s ceramic teapot.
Making and drinking tea is important to David and Marcy. They use it as a ritual to show that all is well and to comfort each other. When something goes wrong with the tea ritual, it means that something is off in their world. The teapot, as the large, round item that holds all of the tea, symbolizes their love and their world, and is the biggest indicator of how things are going with them.
The teapot has been broken into pieces at the end of every season. It means there will be a reset, but the world will survive. At the end of season 1, the teapot signified the beginning of Marcy’s full mind reset, which saved her life, but took away her previous memories of the 21st. We saw the death of version 1 of Traveler Marcy, and the birth if version 2, who is new and improved, with no brain damage.
At the end of season 2, the teapot was smashed when David was kidnapped by Vincent/001’s henchmen. This signified the end of the completely naive, easygoing David and the birth of the David who was obsessed
with getting his balls out of Marcy’s purse with becoming a more manly man who could protect himself.
When Marcy broke the teapot in season 3, for the first time, she wanted a reset. It almost seemed as though she broke the teapot on purpose. This time the break signified the death of the characters and their relationship as we’ve known them, and the rebirth of the new versions, plus their potential relationship, in the reset timeline.
In season 3, David and Marcy both sacrifice themselves to save the world. There have been general hints that something was up with them, and with the entire team, all season long. This season, there were clocks all over the place. David had two clocks in his kitchen alone, and they were highlighted in many scenes, giving a sense of urgency, like time was running out.
David and Marcy’s scenes, especially the apartment scenes, were also frequently filmed in soft focus with a soft, glowing light, and often backlit, giving them an other worldly look. Like heaven. David was drawn further into the Travelers orbit, increasing the level of danger he was exposed to on a regular basis, and increasing Marcy’s level of distraction from missions: recovering from his kidnapping and spending time with the significant others of the other Travelers, becoming 5416/Jeff’s caseworker, getting a com, being rescued from a fight by Trevor and Philip.
Over the 3 seasons, there were these specific instances that foreshadowed David’s eventual death:
S1 Ep12: A Faction assassin breaks into David’s apartment and holds a gun to his head. The assassin is looking for Marcy, and has David call her. Marcy brings a sniper rifle to the neighbor’s apartment, and shoots the assassin through an air vent. She tells David to duck just before she fires so that she doesn’t shoot him in the head. That’s two guns aimed at his head.
S2 Ep8: David’s off and on girlfriend Blair invites him to go with her to a rave to celebrate her birthday, but he declines. It turns out that the Faction has planted the quantum frame at the rave. They overwrite almost all of the party goers. They miss Blair and her friend because she’s in the ladies room. That’s a near miss on becoming a Faction overwrite.
S2 Ep12: David is kidnapped in the season 2 finale, along with several other people who are important to the team. He’s singled out and beaten worse than any of the other hostages, then forced to make a video for the Travelers. He’s held captive for 31 hours, while being physically and psychologically abused. This is the second season finale in a row in which David is in mortal danger.
S3 Ep2: David is in the midst of his “man up” program. Marcy comes home and finds him lying on his yoga mat on the dining area floor, fast asleep, in corpse pose. David’s dining room floor is significant because characters tend to go there to bleed and die (the S1 Ep12 assassin, the archivist). Marcy takes advantage of the moment to inject a com device under his skin.
S3 Ep2: Marcy is so worried about David post kidnapping and because he’s learning to fight that she asks Philip if he has a new TELL (time and date of death prediction). Philip doesn’t answer her. As a matter of fact, David did have a new TELL. You can see in Philip’s face during episode 9 that he knows the Director isn’t going to send a D team.
S3 Ep4: David mentions that every time he sees Marcy walking toward him, he wonders what that beautiful woman is doing in his apartment, as if their life together isn’t real or they could lose each other at any time. He can sense that their time together is temporary.
S3 Ep4: Marcy stops David from drinking a raw egg for breakfast, complaining that it could give him food poisoning. Then they break eggs into a bowl, but we don’t see them eating the eggs. Breaking eggs in a dream is symbolic of things going wrong and out of control.
S3 Ep4: Episode 4 really had it in for David. He gets into a fight with a gang of thugs over his old bicycle and ends up with a concussion. He’s rescued from the fight by Trevor and Philip, who were called in by Marcy. If Marcy hadn’t been keeping an eye on him and called them, would his injuries have been severe enough to kill him?
S3 Ep5: David buys a gun. That’s foreshadowing right there. But then David cleans the gun while it’s loaded, and looks down the barrel of the gun. Marcy tries to teach him how to handle a gun properly, and show him how much he doesn’t know, as a way of showing him how careful he has to be with the gun. This is when David accuses her of taking his balls from him. Everything to do with David and the gun suggests they are a bad combination that will come to no good. David is a lover, not a fighter.
The whole exercise in “manning up” was really about appearing as competent in a fight as his girlfriend. He’s learning to fight as a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to the powerless feeling he was left with after being kidnapped, instead of for more rational reasons, so he’s not going about learning in a methodical, rational way. Unfortunately, he’s already playing with the big boys and girls, and is determined to keep up with them.
Marcy agrees to train David in hand to hand and use of firearms, but as they make the agreement, a police siren can be heard in the background. This decision will lead to an emergency.
S3 Ep7: Just before David’s favorite client, Jim, has a fatal heart attack, he tells David that he and Marcy remind Jim of himself and his ex-wife. Though David wants to be just like Jim, he only sees the parts of Jim that are good and positive. He doesn’t notice the parts that are reckless and impulsive, but he inadvertently copies those aspects of Jim, too. The heart attack and the inability to properly think through his actions both foreshadow the next episode.
S3 Ep7: David gives the eulogy at Jim’s funeral, but speaks about himself as much as he speaks about Jim. It’s as if he’s giving his own eulogy, a couple of episodes early. He refuses to start until Marcy, his future almost-widow, is there, mirroring his insistence that Jim’s ex-widow attend.
S3 Ep 8: When Jeff arrives with Archivist A-18, who bleeds on David’s floor and gets an injection of neurostimulant, David is reading the novel This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin. Levin also wrote A Kiss Before Dying, a psychological thriller about a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, including murdering innocents.
Obviously everything that happens in episodes 8 and 9 leads to David’s death, and eventually to Marcy’s, so I won’t list those as foreshadowing. As you can see, there were already hints in the first two seasons that David might die, and it’s been heavily foreshadowed throughout season 3.
Marcy’s fate has also been foreshadowed all along:
All of the Travelers transfer into dying hosts, so I don’t count Marcy’s attack at the library as foreshadowing.
She was dying throughout season 1 due to the mismatch between her mind’s intellectual capacity and original Marcy’s congenital brain disorder, as it was believed to be at the time. Grace came to the 21st century to fix her, but Marcy wanted to allow herself to die rather than lose her memories of David and their relationship. She was only reset because Grace didn’t give her a choice, and since then she’s resented Grace for taking away her choice to die.
In S2 Ep8 (21C) we discovered that original Marcy had actually been an intellectually typical nurse at Simon/004’s mental hospital. In order to stop her from asking too many questions, Vincent/001 conned her into unethical experiments which left her irreparably brain-damaged. Once injured, she was in continuous danger at the hospital, since her good looks and inability to defend herself left her open to sexual abuse by the staff.
Vincent continued to experiment on her after he’d hurt her. Simon thought Vincent was trying to fix her, but this is doubtful, because then she’d be able to tell the truth about him. If he did fix her, he would have killed her as soon as he was finished, the way he killed 004 in S3 Ep1, when he had no further use for him.
When Vincent was done with original Marcy, he had her and Simon dumped on the street in a neighborhood filled with homeless people, where both met David. David saw that Marcy was about to be attacked and that she didn’t have the skills to survive on the street, so he likely saved her life right then by taking her under his wing and finding her a place to live and a job.
So original Marcy’s life was threatened and diminished, complementing and foreshadowing how frequently 3569 feels diminished and like she wants this life to end. Does some of that tendency toward depression come from what was left of original Marcy, after Vincent was through with her? Did some piece of her survive and wish she hadn’t?
In S1 Ep11, Grace used a supersecret backdoor code written by Ellis, the top programmer who became a farmer at the end of season 1, to set up the reboot of the Director, routed through Marcy’s brain. 001 and the Faction remained convinced throughout season 2 and 3 that the backdoor code was still in Marcy’s head. In S2 Ep8, 0027, Programmer 0029 lured Marcy to a Faction hideout, hoping to retrieve the code, but when they arrived, 001 had already killed most of the Faction members who were there. The Travelers were already onto 0029’s plan and followed them to the hideout, so Marcy was saved. But she eventually comes to feel that she’s being perpetually hunted for the code in her brain.
In S2 Ep10, 21C, Marcy also almost chose death a second time, when she induced a near death experience through hypothermia, using an ice bath, to stimulate the recovery of the memories she’d lost. By the time Carly, and then David, found her, her heart had stopped and she had to be shocked to start it again. David found a suicide note that she’d left for him, just in case Carly didn’t get to her in time. She’s always been willing to risk death for what was important. Eventually, that gamble caught up with her.
In season 3, some of the foreshadowing for David’s death applied to them as a couple. They were shown in their best light, literally and figuratively. Their relationship had reached a point of trust, commitment and love. We were shown how great it was, all season long. On TV, that almost always means something negative is coming that will separate the couple, possibly forever.
Every season, Marcy actively considers risking suicide because of her relationship with David. Season 1, she didn’t want to lose their bond and memories. Season 2, she’d lost it, as she feared, and felt emotionally numb. She risked death to find that feeling again.
By season 3, she’s the needier one in the relationship, though they’re both pretty needy. She’s so worried about his safety, that she forgets about her own, such as when she’s worried about David’s new gun in Ep5. She has David point it at her so that she can disarm him, followed by teaching him to fight, and allowing him to flip her. Her future has been tangled up with his since the beginning of the series. She senses the danger he’s in, and it distracts her, putting her in more danger, so their foreshadowing is also tangled up together.
Once David has disarmed the nuclear bomb and been exposed to the lethal dose of radiation, waiting for the Director to send help becomes her sole concern. When the Director doesn’t, she gives a camera in ops a passionate speech about why David deserves to be saved. After David dies, Marcy gives another speech to Mac, just before she leaves ops, telling him that there’s no point trying to save the future if they aren’t going to save people like David, and ending with the words, “I’m out.” Once again, it’s the end of the season and Marcy only cares about whether she lives or dies based on her relationship with David. The words “I’m out” come across as extremely ominous in this context.
Philip knows that suicide is one option she might choose. He’s seeing multiple timelines and options, but the version where she shoots herself in her bathroom seems particularly vivid. He may have even been given a TELL for her in his last update. If so, he can ignore it and intervene, now that the Director has invoked Protocol Omega.
As with Carly and Jeff in season 2, Philip’s presence is enough to stop her. Then Philip sees a happy potential future for Marcy and David. He doesn’t see any happy futures for her without David, either on her own or with a new man.
I know that wasn’t the point of the scene, but they could have written it differently to show us that happiness was also still possible for her. Instead, they showed us that her avenues to happiness had closed. There’s only one option left. Which would be why the Director called Protocol Omega, didn’t help David, and took away their final moments by using him as a messenger. He needed Marcy, and the rest of the Travelers, but especially Marcy, to be hopeless and desperate.
Because next up is 001 in Jeff’s body. He tries to use the sacred tea ritual against her, but she briefly turns the tables on him. He kidnaps her and takes her Ilsa, where he intends to retrieve Ellis’ backdoor code from her brain. Marcy knows that she’ll be hunted for that code for as long as she lives. She doesn’t care if she lives, and she doesn’t care much about the Director, but she hates Vincent worse, who directly killed David.
She’s now trapped, emotionally alone, suicidal, and a competent fighter who men underestimate. It’s a no-brainer (sorry) to grab a gun and shoot herself in the head. Everything in her arc, all series long, has led to this moment. All of the Director’s machinations and all of the foreshadowing. The move is brave, daring and hopeful but also a last resort, chosen by someone who feels like she’s lost everything important to her.
With the loss of the backdoor code, 001 is forced to find another way to gain direct access to the Director, so he uploads himself into the machine. This would also help him avoid temporal aphasia. That leaves the rest of the dream team to do what the Director has wanted all along, which is to reset the timeline by sending Mac back even further in time.
In the new/original version, Marcy and David meet on a bus on their way to work, and feel an instant connection. This is original Marcy, not 3569, but, as we were shown in 21C, she and David had a connection and relationship before David and 3569 did. David bonded in different ways with each woman. Now he and original Marcy can fall in love and lead long, normal lives.
Or can they??
Trevor: “When you consider the amount of potential revisions and possible outcomes, the Director’s probably abandoned millions of timelines. There’s a good chance there’s a version of us in most of them.”
Mac: “Until we meet again.”
Trevor: “That’s a very interesting possibility.”
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.
001 5692 Katrina Perrow-001
Image courtesy of Netflix.