Travelers: Aleksander
December 25, 2016 6:18 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Wracked with guilt, Philip defies the rules in an unauthorized attempt to alter the future, resulting in violence and the exposure of his secret.

*Protocol 3 = no interference without instructions from the director, aka 'Don't take a life, don't save a life.'
*Protocol 5 = Resume the host's life.
*Philip goes to Steve's funeral and is excoriated by his grieving mother.
*The team is interrupted by a messenger on their way to meet an incoming traveler and told to abort. Philip tries & fails to convince them to go prevent the impending death of the man who would have been the host.
*Marcy asks Philip to download her MRI from the hospital computers so she can diagnose herself. Brings him supplies and instructions on how to manage his heroin use to stay functional.
*Trevor enjoys lunch in the school cafeteria, after sitting at a table with a lone girl. Mean-girl Renee shoves the unpopular girl to the floor, breaking her phone.
*Abusive-cop Jeff gets a flash drive from a sergeant, with the security footage of Marcy's assault at the library and the reversal.
*MacLaren continues trying to assume his host's life, but slips on the details - wears the same tie 3 days in a row (doesn't know how to tie a tie?), doesn't know his computer login, stood his partner up for their Saturday squash game, and didn't know about Monday gun range practice (or that he's not supposed to be a perfect shot). Also doesn't know he's supposed to change his underwear daily.
*Trevor and Renee get lectured by a teacher about the cafeteria bullying; Trevor doesn't back up Renee's story, gives the teacher money to pay for the broken phone, then breaks it off with Renee.
*Philip meets his lawyer at a skate park, gives him another sure-win horse to bet on, and tells him to give part of the winnings to Steve's parents and to the family of Detective Gower.
*Jeff interviews David about Marcy.
*Philip tells team he's received their new mission instructions from a messenger, to save an abducted Romanian boy, Aleksander, from being murdered. While MacLaren and Carly interview the murderers-to-be, Philip and Marcy sneak into the basement/indoor chicken coop and uncover a body of a previous victim.
*When the murderers bring out their son 'Patrick', MacLaren speaks to him in Romanian and confirms he is actually Aleksander, but then he goes into messenger-mode and tells him that the team is off-mission and must abort. McLaren tries to abort, but Philip refuses, and a shootout ensues in which the abductors wound Philip and MacLaren kills the abductors.
*All the team but MacLaren skedaddle so he can manage the cover-up.
*Back at Philip's place/traveler bat-cave, Marcy uses future-tech to fix his gunshot wound. MacLaren arrives and is furious at Philip for tricking the team into going off-mission. Marcy reveals the secret about his heroin addiction, but promises they will be able to cure him of it.
*Later, Trevor brings fast food to Philip, and while perusing his sharpie-on-glass list of potential hosts sees a name he recognizes.

Showcase Blog - Episode 3 Recap
posted by oh yeah! (9 comments total)
My auto-correct keeps trying to change MacLaren to 'Macaroon'.

The food thing is interesting. Trevor's ecstatic reaction to school-cafeteria corn makes it seem like they must live on some horrible soylent-green-type future gruel. Soylent-vegan though. Is the vegan thing because eating animals is no longer acceptable, or do the travelers look at cows the way the Federation looked at humpback whales in Star Trek IV?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:29 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think maybe they don't have the resources to support animals for consumption in the future-seems like animals are very rare.

As a social worker myself, so annoyed by the weird and creepy lack of boundari s between Marcie and David. I do appreciate that he at least acknowledges it's inappropriate, so I guess that's a little better than the typical bad portrayal of social workers in the media.

I'm liking Phillip more and more, and the attorney is totally stressing me out.
posted by purenitrous at 8:11 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

MacLaren didn't like the taste of milk. I think it's supposed to be a moral/ethical choice in the Future.
It's a little bogus that the people in the Future can all automatically speak All the languages effortlessly.
posted by gt2 at 5:55 AM on December 26, 2016

This is growing on me. I like that they are all having to literally walk in someone elses shoes.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:57 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Marcie-David boundries is pretty fraught; the first line we hear from David is (paraphrase) "I can't be your boyfriend."

Now that Marcie is of average+ intelligence and agency... kind of like having a kid have a huge crush on you when you were a teen, and now the kid is a young adult and still has a crush on you. Only problem is that the law/society still thinks-of/treats this young adult as a little kid.

Perfect world for David (as the character would assume, given imperfect knowledge) is that Marcie takes a competency test, gets... a what, a "I am not developmentally delayed" certificate? Lose her eligibility for disability insurance/subsidized housing? Is there a Competency evaluation for this type of situation?

As Marcie's social worker, isn't he obligated to report to the state her current state of competency? Would there be a grace period for her to transition into a taxpaying adult - or does she get turfed from subsidized housing? Her having spent nights at David's house is likely a gross violation of professional conduct.

Anyway, David is so totally going to find out and get involved (through miscommunication/lack-of-communication) and gets redshirted.
posted by porpoise at 6:02 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

re: the Food Thing.

I suspect climate change forcing underground bunkers, or a nuclear winter type situation resulting in a lack of penetrating sunlight. Yeast and fungal proteins could be made without sunlight for photosynthesis. Essential vitamins and other cofactors already exist in any number of strains, or yeast and fungi can be GMO-ed to produce them at sufficient levels.

This precludes a reliable source of energy (but they seem to be able to manipulate antimatter which suggests an abundance of energy) since having that means being able to generate photons for plants (as food for- and to excavate underground room for- meat animals). If that was the case, then I could see meat animals being a prestige source of protein which is inconsistent with several things that were shown. Most humans appreciate animal proteins and fats as parts of their diet.

Alternative would be space habitats; enough sunlight for photosynthesis but no room for meat animals (and possibly adaptation issues with meat animals to space habitat environments even given centripetal 'gravity').

FBI dude Grant's aversion to milk could just be lack of exposure to animal products and possible social taboo. Or he could just be a picky eater. Philip seems to at least be open to consuming animal protein.

MMA teenager Trevor's love for both creamed corn and ground beef could be a matter of genetic (and age!) differences in how taste is perceived and how much protein (and calories) that host body is used to ingesting/requiring.

I actually kind of like Trevor's traveller - I wonder what their (not necessarily presuming cis het male, could go any way*) pre-traveller background was.

*aside: I wonder if anyone on the writing team considered the situation of a non-cis traveller - could they request travel into a cis-gendered host? Or would they only be assigned to a cis host (think of the anguish of the lost opportunity of lost opportunities)? How big are the cognitive differences travelling into a trans-gendered body?

re: languages - given the pass that we gave to the subdermal comms system, Given the assumed impossibility of transferring a conscious in the manner depicted, why not add a suite of add-ons like "firearms," or "hacking" "online network intrusion," or "field surgery," or etc.

Having a "working knowledge of all extant languages" plug-in to go along with the dump taking over a host makes a lot of sense.

Heck, if you haven't checked out the google android translation app, I highly recommend. For a bunch of languages (including Chinese!) it'll translate what it sees through the camera in real time; replacing original text with translated text through what your phone sees through the camera. In real time.

Blew my mind.
posted by porpoise at 6:33 PM on December 27, 2016

arrr, why yes, this show intrigues and interests me. I suspect I'm going to be horribly let down.

Marcy and her MRI. She only asked for a copy - not that the original/backups be destroyed. My reason for accessing that piece of data/evidence is to prevent someone from being increasingly-interested in her, much less understanding, in her situation. But have it be lost and risk increasing interest.

She made a comment about how her (paraphrasing) "data dump"/program/persona is too complex for the hardware (the host's developmentally delayed/damaged brain) to support and is epileptogenic. That's fine.

She's unlikely to find 21st century tech to "fix her hardware." Especially not from a simple static MRI scan unless it's an extremely rare tumor, reachable without having to destroy healthy brain tissue, that is actually a bottleneck..

As depicted, she appears to be running the host at 100% and it's... not up to snuff intellectually?
posted by porpoise at 6:52 PM on December 27, 2016

Having a "working knowledge of all extant languages" plug-in to go along with the dump taking over a host makes a lot of sense.

If they don't know the country of their destination until a mission is picked for them, it makes sense that they're preloaded with current languages. It's probably a lesser version of the tech used to modify the minds of the people in Phillip's role.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:58 PM on December 27, 2016

Just started watching this last night and made it to this episode before I forced myself to go to bed. I really want to know what the future is like. Do previous travellers keep failing their missions or fucking it up further, so they continually have to send new ones? Time travel plots hurt my head, though this is a breeze compared to Primer.

*aside: I wonder if anyone on the writing team considered the situation of a non-cis traveller - could they request travel into a cis-gendered host? Or would they only be assigned to a cis host (think of the anguish of the lost opportunity of lost opportunities)? How big are the cognitive differences travelling into a trans-gendered body?

I wondered about the gender aspect and I'm bracing for them to send a cisgender traveller into a host of a different gender, and have it turn into a running joke (not that this is a comedy in any way). I really hope this doesn't happen because I'll have to stop watching depending on how well they handle it.

In a previous episode, Trevor didn't want to have sex with his girlfriend, so I'm guessing he's The Gay One. So, we have a team made up of two straight white guys, straight white woman, straight black woman, and the gay guy. Sounds about right.

I never realized how much Eric McCormack looks like my ex-husband. *shudders* The guy who plays David could be my future husband, please and thank you.
posted by AFABulous at 11:55 AM on March 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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