Travelers: U235
December 27, 2017 1:24 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Outflanked by members of the Faction, MacLaren's team races to acquire uranium, bring the Director back on line, and halt the spread of the pandemic.

*At Ops, the team questions Jenny, to no avail.

Grace: Ok, this is not that complicated. I'm saying, the Director can fix this. We need to fix the Director.
Philip: The Director exists in the future.
Marcy: And its reactor is already shut down.
Trevor: Those are big problems, Grace.
Grace: The plan is already in place. When it became apparent that the grand plan would take longer than our initial projections, the Director sent a team to refine uranium as fuel to extend its operational life. A few kilos would be enough. All we have to do is take the fuel to the location where the Director will eventually be built, and it will be there when the time comes.
MacLaren: Without the faction knowing?
Carly: How the hell are we gonna do that?
Grace: Oh, they outsmarted us! Whoop-dee-doo! Get over it! They can't outsmart the Director. Even if we can just get it back online for a few seconds, that's all the time it will need to take back control.

*At the uranium refinery, a traveler in a radiation suit checks on the machinery with his geiger counter, then joins another traveler who is playing chess with himself. They hear a knock on the door - it's Walt (Traveler 4112), telling them he's been sent to provide backup, but once inside he shoots the men after learning where the uranium is stored, then calls for his team to take it away.

*Jeffrey is still home coughing with Jeff Jr., and Kat is at the condo watching the news and coughing.

*At Ops, Philip talks to Jenny while everyone else is checking on Boyd. Jenny says she didn't OD out of guilt, she still believes in her mission. She did it because the disease was designed to maximize the contagion period, and she didn't want to suffer through a long death. Philip tells her too bad, she's going to.

*MacLaren, Carly, and Trevor go to the refinery only to find the Faction beat them to the uranium. MacLaren and Carly punch out the two Faction travelers and leave.

*At the homeless shelter in the church, David is working the soup line. He gets sneezed on by Bob, and later finds him unresponsive. Later still, Bob is taken away on a gurney. David's boss tells him to go home, and eventually he does, finding the streets eerily empty.

*At Ops, Traveler D13 gives Marcy some medical nanites to use on Boyd if she goes into organ failure. Jenny says she'll give them info if they use some nanites on her, but is ignored. MacLaren and Carly return with the refinery news, and says they need a new plan. Philip suggests stealing plutonium from nuclear weapons at nearby military base.

*MacLaren brings groceries to Kat at the condo, tells her to stay safe inside and that he may be gone for a few days.

*At Ops, the team gears up for the new plan. Philip and Trevor have built a device which will be activated by the signal the Director would emit in an emergency shutdown. Marcy will stay at Ops with Boyd, Jenny, and Grace. Boyd is stable but no better, and Marcy hasn't used the nanites yet.

*Jeffrey calls Carly, but gets only voicemail.

*At the military base, the team gets stopped at the gate, but MacLaren claims to have an appointment with Captain Garcia, and they are eventually let through. In Garcia's office, she asks for an explanation as to how a warhead could possibly prevent an epidemic. MacLaren tells her she can contact the Admiral directly if she needs to, but Garcia says she is obeying the orders she received, that the warhead is already being separated from the torpedo to be loaded into MacLaren's car, she just wasn't going to let the materials leave her base without seeing him in person.

*At Ops, Grace sneaks a tablet into the bathroom and writes a program for the nanites, then while Marcy is checking on Boyd she injects the nanites into Jenny and launches the program. Later, Jenny goes into respiratory distress. Grace tells Marcy that it's fine, that she programmed the nanites to carry the virus into red blood cells where they cannot survive, but Marcy says that the Faction anticipated that tactic and it's only blocking the oxygen from the red blood cells and suffocating Jenny, and tells Grace to shut the program down, which she does, and that the deactivated nanites are now useless.

*The team drives to a remote location, and they carry the warhead down a mine shaft. Eventually, MacLaren, Philip, and Carly are surrounded by Faction travelers including Walt, while Trevor (with the Ops device) is undetected in another branch of the tunnels. The Faction take the warhead away, and as Walt begins to monologue, MacLaren reveals the double-cross -- knowing they were being monitored, they put a deliberate typo in Garcia's orders. They would never have been able to get a nuclear warhead from a military base, and the Mark 45 they requested was decommissioned years ago. They actually got a Mark 46 antisubmarine warhead, which Carly sets off remotely now that the Faction travelers have carried it a safe distance away. A firefight ensues, and Trevor activates and hides his device. Walt flees from the tunnel and MacLaren pursues to the edge of a cliff and holds him at gunpoint.

*At Ops, Marcy sees a message from the future on the computer, saying "Synthesize and administer the following treatment immediately" and a chemical formula. Jenny screams as she is overwritten.

*At the cliff's edge, Walt is overwritten by Traveler 4991, and tells the team that the Director is back up and running. In the 3 seconds that the device was activated before the shutdown, the Director was able to reroute power for itself, cut off Faction access, and transmit the cure back to the 21st. Walt 4991 says the Director doesn't know how many Faction are still left in the 21st. MacLaren calls Kat to tell her he'll be home tomorrow at the latest, then maybe sooner as he sees a helicopter approaching. Carly finally calls Jeffrey back, but there's no answer.

*At Ops, Marcy injects Boyd with the cure, and tells Grace it will be her turn after the new Jenny whose host is sicker than Grace.

*At Kat's, Mac brings her a dose of the antidote, and stays to comfort her. At Carly's, she finds Jeffrey and Jeff Jr. are still alive, and injects them both. At David's, Marcy finds him uninfected, and leaves him the dose to use on his client, Bob, and says she'll be back later.

*Back at Ops, Trevor tells Marcy he's feeling better. Philip says the CDC has set up treatment centers to disseminate the virus en masse, and Jenny 3.0 has left to coordinate deliveries. Boyd has regained consciousness. She's feeling better, but still hasn't heard from the other two members of her team. There is a knock on the door, Marcy opens it to find a silent Messenger.
posted by oh yeah! (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love Grace more and more with each episode. "Just admit that you hate me", ha!

I'm not entirely clear on what it was the device did once activated, or what became of the plutonium that the Faction took from the refinery, but, I bought it. (Maybe I'm just amused that Grace was right all along about the Director being able to fix everything in seconds.)
posted by oh yeah! at 1:29 PM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was also really confused how that device they used actually worked and how not replacing the Uranium the Faction stole kept the Director going. I needed more exposition!
posted by numaner at 7:27 PM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Damnit, I had a wall of text but my browser got funky.

Marcy: Ok, if you want to be helpful, why don't you use your computer and hack into the CDC, find out what kind of progress they've made.

Grace: The who?

Marcy: Hack into them too if you like.

Grace: Like the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization (WHO) is going to know how to deal...


I have no idea what Trevor's gizmo is supposed to be. It looks like its around 60 pounds, but there's nothing extant that has the kind of energy density that is implied to be required. Also, "nuclear power" can range from milliwatts (nuclear reactors on satellites, space probes) to gigawatts (commercial nuclear power stations). 500 kilowatts is a reasonable power consumption range for a reasonably big (? 4000 sq ft?) data center.


The chemical structure is pretty much completely bs. First, it's large for a small molecule drug but there are multiple chemical impossibilities in the molecular structure as depicted. Had a bunch of examples, but in retrospect, nobody's going to care.

But there is precedence, kind of. Cubicin (Daptomycin) is about the same size and has really weird non-standard amino acids hooked together in really weird non-standard (but not chemically impossible) ways. It was originally discovered being made by a big complex modular non-ribosomal polypeptide synthase (NRPS) enzyme found in Streptomyces roseosporus, a weird fungus-looking soil-dwelling actinomycete bacteria. It's essentially impossible to synthesize chemically and even now it's made through fermentation using that daptomycin NRPS, or a tweaked version of it. I was a junior on the science team that brought dapto to market, but still did enough work to be a coauthor on the commercialization paper.

As for the rest of that screen, the top part is a simplistic cartoon schematic for how to "clone" (insert a DNA sequence into a plasmid - a "handle" for working with DNA and sometimes to make the gene product that the DNA insert codes for, when put into proper host cells).

But its a very impractical way to go about it and devoid of salient details. The mentioned "genes" are gp101 and gpIII3.

gp101 is a human g-protein coupled cell surface transmembrane receptor of no known function but implicated in some rare hereditary diseases. Its paralog duplicate is seen in some rare breast cancers and when artificially duplicated (well, triplicated) causes the cells with that triplication to exhibit cancer-like behaviours.

gpIII3... dunno, gpIII is the name of the gene for a glycoprotein in Varicella zoster virus (chicken pox) that's required for cell-cell transmission and contains at least one legit immunologically relevant epitope.

Neither of these has anything to do with the molecular diagram.

So, mostly nonsense. It looks pretty. I guess.

But no way the team is able to make enough of that in the timespan depicted, if they were capable of making it in the first place; even world governments wouldn't be able to make relevant amounts of it in less than months. Also, how would one convince world governments that this is legit? Raises a lot of questions, like... how did you figure out the cure? Did you engineer this virus? Who are you anyway?
posted by porpoise at 5:17 PM on January 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

For a few seconds I thought I understood what happened with the warhead, but then I lost it. Something about Trevor setting up a beacon that told the Director...something...? I thought it was going to be our team using the warhead to set up a bomb that would cause the collapse of Shelter 41 in the initial future time line.

David's comment about being a minor character in a movie that does not end well for anyone was a rather large lampshade.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:45 AM on January 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm rewatching seasons 1 and 2 before I watch season 3, and I still didn't understand what happened in this episode, but I did find this recap at Day of the Human.

Philip says, “Well, the Director is programmed to broadcast an emergency signal if it’s ever powered down. Which should trigger the device and activate it.”

So they leave the device in the cave, presumably with a long-term power source, so that when the Director is powered down, it activates the beacons. The Director supporters find the device, use it to power up the Director for three seconds, and it receives a message in the future from our Team about their current emergencies with the Faction. Then the Director is able to send a cure and overwrite some Faction members and regain control of the reactor that powers it before powering down from the device.

The timey-wimey part I had a problem with is that in the present, our team has experienced the Director being shut down for months, until they change that by leaving the beacon and then all of the sudden, the Director has only been off-line a for seconds and regained control it it's own present. That does my head in.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2018

the streets eerily empty

Hello again from the COVID-19 world. That was so much like all those deserted downtown photos from March and April, it gave me chills.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 8:53 PM on August 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if it'll be explained next episode or if I missed the explanation here but I'm really confused about why Grace injected Jenny (since she seemed confident the nanites would work rather than treating it as a test, so why did she want to save Jenny?) and also where the alternative power source came from since the warhead was a trick.

It also felt like the pandemic went from nothing to everyone dying to apparently the whole world being cured in like 3 days total, which I guess was for dramatic purposes but seemed kinda weird especially after they pointed out that it was deliberately engineered to have a long incubation time and start off with mild symptoms for a while.
posted by randomnity at 7:43 AM on August 26, 2020

« Older Travelers: Jenny...   |  Travelers: 17 Minutes... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments