Travelers: Protocol 3
December 15, 2018 1:36 PM - Season 3, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Certain that his team erased his memory of the previous day, MacLaren retraces his steps in the case of a disturbed youth with a horrific future.

*MacLaren wakes from a dream (a flashback him yelling at Philip for making them go off-mission in episode 3 of S1), and wakes to a text from Marcy telling him to call her when he's up.

*Carly finds one of Jeff Jr.'s toys behind the couch, as she cleans her house. Later, she boxes up his things, then gets a gun from her arsenal concealed in the closet.

*MacLaren arrives at Marcy's to be examined, she tells him she had to knock him out to perform surgery due to micro-fractures in his mandible related to the plane crash, hence his memory loss, then calls Philip and Trevor to report on his status the moment he leaves.

*MacLaren visits Traveler Boyd for a blood test which confirms he was dosed with a memory-inhibitor. At the FBI office he asks for a trace on his vehicle and though the first look shows it was parked all day, the cloud backup reveals the car was actually driven around, and he leaves to retrace the route.

*At HQ, Philip sees where MacLaren is driving, and tells Marcy the plan isn't going to work.

*MacLaren reaches a lakeshore, then notices a post-it note in the sun visor with address 4345 Bellwood DR.

*Carly gets a call from Trevor needing a pick-up, as she surveils a couple in their home.

*Philip attends an NA meeting with Marcy along in support. The moderator encourages her to speak, but when she mentions being a doctor one of the other members accuses her of being too young to be an actual surgeon, and she points out that he's high. Philip gets a text from Trevor that "Mac's on the move", and they leave the meeting.

*MacLaren drives to the post-it address and finds an angry foster-mother, Linda, who says he better not be going back on his promise to take Aleksander off their hands. She confirms that MacLaren drove away with him yesterday, and that they refuse to take him back.

*MacLaren enters a diner. The owner confirms he was there yesterday, and apologizes for what happened. Philip and Marcy watch him leave, comm Trevor that he's driving back, and follow. MacLaren returns to the lakeshore and searches in the woods, and finds a bullet casing. The rest of the team park their cars next to MacLaren's and enter the woods. MacLaren finds the embers of a campfire, then a grave, and uncovers a buried jacket as the team arrives and Trevor says he can explain.

*31 hours earlier:
*At HQ, Trevor finds a syringe on the floor, then Philip unconscious, and comms Marcy who tells him to start CPR. MacLaren arrives and sees on the computer screens the mission that Philip was assigned which pushed him to OD. Marcy says Philip will recover with rest, and the Director will have to re-assign the mission, but MacLaren says it's their responsibility and that he will do it alone instead, but Trevor insists MacLaren will need his help and they leave together. Marcy stays to take care of Philip, and comms Carly, who is spying on Jeff Jr. being brought inside his new foster home (the couple she was watching earlier/later).

*MacLaren and Trevor go to school to get Aleksander, pretending to be with Children's Services. His teacher is angry that he's being switched to yet another foster home, but tells them he's absent again, and writes the post-it-note address for MacLaren. At the foster home, another kid tells MacLaren that if they've come to take Aleksander away, they should look in his creepy shed. The shed has a bunch of dead wild animals, and Aleksander watching in hiding. MacLaren asks in Romanian what he's doing, and they drive away with him.

*At HQ, Philip talks with Marcy and Carly, saying that his actions in trying to save Aleksander the first time just made things worse, revealing that Historians get updates of the changed timeline, though he's breaking Protocol 2H by telling them. He sees the time on the phone and says that it's still going to happen at 3pm and asks who's going to do it.

*MacLaren, Trevor, and Aleksander stop at the diner, though Aleksander doesn't want to go in. When they do, the owner says the men can stay but the boy has been banned for stealing food from the kitchen. MacLaren berates the owner for not knowing what true hunger is, and ends up punching him (to Aleksander's delight). Outside, Aleksander says he knows where they can get something, in the woods. Trevor stays with the car at the lakeshore, and Aleksander starts the campfire and shows MacLaren his snare traps, and finds a dead rabbit in one. They also find a caught coyote, and MacLaren shoots it to put it out of its misery. Aleksander roasts the rabbit on a spit (leaving a piece for the fairies), and shares his meal with MacLaren, and MacLaren apologizes for not keeping in touch with him to and keeping him from getting bounced around the foster system after his mother died.

*All of the team wait as the clock counts down to 3pm. MacLaren and Aleksander bury the dead coyote, and Aleksander gives MacLaren his coat to cover the animal. He says a prayer over the body while MacLaren prepares to shoot Aleksander per his mission instructions, when at the last second Aleksander gets Messengered and instructs him to abort the mission.

*Back in the present, the team tells MacLaren that spending the day with Aleksander changed the course of his future, but MacLaren chose to erase his own memory of knowing he would have obeyed the order to murder the boy.

*Carly tries to leave a box on the foster parents' porch unobserved, but is spotted by the mother, and tells her the toy was one of Jeff Jr.'s favorites.

*MacLaren goes to a bar to get drunk and finds Carly already there, and they talk about their past relationship.

*Dr. Teslia runs a diagnostic on Ilsa and finds something wrong, but Ilsa says it's not wrong, and that her capabilities have grown considerably.
posted by oh yeah! (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
On the one hand, I wonder how terrible future-Aleksander was going to become if just one day with MacLaren could set him back on the right path. I'm leery of an 'if people were nicer to the creepy boy, maybe he wouldn't have murdered everyone' story, in light of how victim-blaming that can be in the real world. But then I think of that anecdote from Gavin DeBecker's "The Gift of Fear", when he was talking with some prisoners in jail and one of them asked "why am I in here and you're out there?" because they had both been through abusive childhoods, and it reminded DeBecker about how one of his teachers made a huge difference in his life. Or another story I remember reading about someone for whom watching a particular Mr. Rogers episode when they were a kid had a huge impact on their sense of self worth, so I know it is possible for a single act of kindness to have a significant effect.

I liked that MacLaren/Carly scene at the end - Carly always seemed to get the worst of that relationship's demise, so it felt like decent closure. And I'm intrigued by the Ilsa ending scene.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:33 PM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, so how was Aleksander a budding serial killer (with the animal shed, yikes) and a few hours bonding with MacLaren and now he's...fine?!

This whole episode reminded me of "Thanks For The Memory" on Red Dwarf, with "Lisa Yates" and the broken legs and "you don't want to remember this," except...well, you've never gone up against you before! LOL that the team thought it was a bad idea.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:53 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, so how was Aleksander a budding serial killer (with the animal shed, yikes) and a few hours bonding with MacLaren and now he's...fine?!

Well, but there was a lot of deliberate misdirection there; they wanted us to think initially that he was just torturing animals for the fun of it, that his smirk after MacLaren punched the diner guy was because he liked the violence, but then the later reveals show that he is actually eating his kills, that MacLaren's rant to the diner guy must have nailed it about Aleksander's hunger and the smirk is just genuine gratitude at someone finally sticking up for him. Without knowing what exactly evil-future-Aleksander did, I don't know that it holds up, but I get the concept.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:38 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that he's eating his kills... absolves/ it's just a misunderstanding.

The smirk I read as restaurant guy being a genuine jerk (whether he acknowledges it or not) and Aleksander getting a jolly (because he's still a creep at that point).

I dunno what to feel about "spending a day with a good person" but I think it might have been the coyote burial moreso than Grant punching restaurant guy that feels the most plausible about Aleksander not creeping out in the future.

Did really like how the team was "we totally didn't think wiping your memory would work but you insisted."

Jeeze Louise, Kat's paranoid (justifiably) visions are going to be a problem...
posted by porpoise at 9:23 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I didn't quite buy that MacLaren would be willing to go through the whole memory wipe dance for *this* of all things, namely almost but not quite shooting a teen in the woods he had just shared some rabbit with. MacLaren's done a lot of shit, I'm sure this was a challenging day but it doesn't seem like it would even be top ten most challenging.
posted by tjgrathwell at 10:35 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was on the fence about the impact of this episode until near the end. I didn't get how this impacted the overall story, but when they wrapped it up with MacLaren not shooting the boy and the team telling him that it was his decision to wipe his own memory even though no one thought it would work, it was a nice character moment for everybody. Once in a while you need an episode like this to ground the characters and I enjoyed it.
posted by numaner at 9:34 PM on December 21, 2018

Thinking about it, I agree with tjgrathwell about it being kind of out of character for MacLaren to give himself a mind wipe over being willing to shoot Aleksander. But this episode kind of reminded me of last season's 'Groundhog Day' sky-diver episode -- just in the sense of it having a stunt/high concept structure. Like Wright & Co really wanted to do a Memento episode, and this story was what they came up with to hang it on.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:04 AM on December 22, 2018

One thing I actually really liked was MacLaren eating the rabbit, which he hasn’t done even for his wife or partner or cover before if I remember right. But for this tragically unhappy kid, he does.
posted by corb at 10:19 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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