Travelers: Grace
December 27, 2016 8:20 PM - Season 1, Episode 12 - Subscribe

An assassin traveler arrives in the present, exposing the truth about a disturbing schism between warring factions that is unfolding in the future. (Season finale)

*Charlotte (the mis-fire girl) gets a revised-time-of-death countdown and cries out as a new traveler overwrites her. When her traveler-mother comes to see what's wrong, Charlotte kills her with a pencil, then presumably kills her brother.
*MacLaren tries to join Kat at the gym, but she confronts him about his affair.
*Marcy asks David about the new scars on her neck and chest, and he tells her about her vagus nerve stimulator self-surgery, and the lumbar injections she directed him to give her. She kisses him in thanks for trying to save her life.
*Carly calls MacLaren to ask him to use his FBI powers to help her neutralize Jeff, but he tells her she needs to fix her own life problems like the rest of them.
*Grace does some of the world's worst guidance counseling, then is attacked by a knife-wielding Charlotte, but Trevor intervenes and Charlotte flees.
*Back at Ops, Trevor says he recognized Charlotte as the misfired historian, and Grace says the faction must have sent a new traveler into Charlotte to assassinate her. The team insists that only the director can send travelers, and Grace reveals that she used Marcy's overwrite to send a virus back to the director (a highly-advanced AI program) to reboot its OS in order to protect it from the faction.
*Marcy finds Philip's drug stash in the bathroom and confronts him about it. He explains that Marcy 1.0 knew about it and was helping him wean himself from his host body's addiction, but she is unsympathetic.
*Carly watches from her car as Jeff drops baby Jeffrey at the babysitter's, then catches sight of Charlotte in the sideview mirror before she attacks. In the fight, Charlotte gets hold of Carly's gun, but Jeff shoots her before she can kill Carly, and Carly takes off leaving Jeff to deal with the consequences.
*Ellis returns to the farm from his supply run to find Grace and Trevor waiting. He had no idea about Grace's reset plan, says he was part of the director's original contingency plan -- building a quantum frame for the director to send itself back to in the 21st.
*In an underground parking lot, Boyd pulls a gun on MacLaren, says a messenger told her to kill him. He tells her that it must be the work of the faction, and she allows him to pull his own gun and shoot her instead.
*David calls Marcy and tells her there's a man at his apartment pointing a gun at his head who wants her to come over
*MacLaren tracks down Kat and tells her she's in danger because of him, and gets her to promise to pack a bag and go stay at her mother's until he tells her it's safe.
*Marcy goes into the apartment opposite David's, calls him and tells him to duck, then shoots the man holding him captive. She tells David he needs to go hide, but if he insists on calling the police he needs to lie and say he doesn't know where the shot came from.
*Kat calls Forbes from her car to ask what's going on, but gets only voicemail.
*Ellis and grace work on the quantum frame in the barn. Ellis explains that there's a space-time attenuator field protecting the farm from all electronic signals, and that he'll have to turn it off when the quantum frame is ready for the director to transfer into.
*Back at Ops, the team try to figure out why they've been targeted for assassination, but then they are attacked by multiple gunmen and flee.
*Back at the farm, Grace catches Trevor looking at her and realizes he had a thing for Miss Day.
*As Marcy drives Philip to the farm, he realizes he left Poppy the turtle behind and worries that she may have been shot. He talks about how different Marcy 2.0 seems; that Marcy 1.0 was more fragile, because she knew she was dying. Marcy 2.0 says he needs to give her time to catch up, that it's strange being with a team who already knows her when she only knows them from their time training together.
*The police interview David in his apartment over the dead guy, and say it's clear he's not telling them the whole story.
*As MacLaren drives Carly to the farm, she gets him to pull over and kisses him. MacLaren says it was a mistake for them to have broken Protocol 2 (leave the future in the past) by continuing their relationship and they need to stop.
*Trevor gets outside the attenuator field to try to get in contact with the team, but gets the messate 'Mission abort. Destroy quantum frame.' on his phone. Ellis insists that it must be a false message, that his mission came from the director itself, but Grace points out that mission was assigned before she caused the reset, when the director was still vulnerable to the faction.
*MacLaren and team arrive at the farm. MacLaren says they must trust and obey the director and complete Trevor's mission. Ellis insists the message must have come from the faction, that there were rumors they had built their own transfer system in Shelter 41. When Philip says that Shelter 41 was destroyed when he was a child, Ellis and Grace reveal that in the future they came from Shelter 41 was never destroyed, and its people were the founders of an underground movement to destroy the director known as 'the faction'
*MacLaren insists they must trust the director and the grand plan, which saved humanity from the brink of extinction. Carly reveals that she has been texted a mission to 'Kill 3468'. Perimeter breach alarms go off, Trevor goes to destroy the quantum frame, and Ellis fires the shotgun, hitting Grace and Trevor.
*Ellis turns on the quantum frame, and then gets used as a messenger which tells MacLaren to destroy the quantum frame immediately. MacLaren takes up the axe, but an FBI team led by Forbes storms in.

posted by oh yeah! (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ack! I realized I was going to get cliffhanger-ed at the midway point when there was still so much left to resolve, but I didn't know it was going to be this big a cliff. Here's hoping they get another season.

It didn't occur to me that the director was an AI, but it makes so much more sense than it being a person. I had been really having to suspend disbelief at the idea that 21st century social media had survived the mystery-apocalypse for the travelers to have studied their hosts' lives, but if the AI had its roots in the 21st century it makes that more plausible for me.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:29 PM on December 27, 2016

Oh, and just re-watched the opening because I remembered seeing Amanda Tapping's name in the credits but didn't notice an appearance, and found she directed the episode.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:50 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

The director being an AI was a good surprise and the changing timeline certainly makes it so our team has no idea who is giving them orders.

Seems like 21st century humans are especially bad at taking orders, since both David and Kat ignored requests to quietly get out of town.

I resent Trevor getting shot.

We hadn't seen much of MacLaren's FBI partner for a few episodes. I suppose he's been off investigating MacLaren's strange behavior and association with various shady characters.

I do hope there is a second season, although second seasons are remarkable hard to pull off for these kind of shows so I'll temper my expectations.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2016

I really hate cliffhangers for shows that aren't sure if they will get renewed or not. This was so "wtf".
posted by corb at 4:58 PM on December 29, 2016

I really hate cliffhangers for shows that aren't sure if they will get renewed or not. This was so "wtf".

I hope it gets renewed (though I agree with Squeak Attack about the possibility of season 2 being a let-down), but this cliffhanger didn't bother me as much as some other shows' finales have, mostly because I'm really looking forward to giving the season a re-watch at some point. There are so many scenes that will play differently now, knowing the characters' motivations, what the director is, what happened/didn't happen to Shelter 41, etc. If this is all we get, the cast & crew did a great job at making something that should work from both perspectives.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:04 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this show and I hope it gets renewed.

I'm still struggling a bit with the show's central premise, though... I just can't really understand how the future would have such advanced technology compared to what we have today, but somehow humanity is almost extinct and struggling to survive.

It just seems that either a) humans have had such a bad time of it that we're almost extinct, but we would definitely not have had time to develop nanotechnology and super strong AI and time travel or b) we've become more technologically advanced but the planet is destroyed, in which case intervening to keep more people alive in the 21st, as they did in most of the early missions, doesn't seem like an effective solution.

I kept hoping to see more of the future to help figure this out. But with no explanation forthcoming, I started to wonder if perhaps the travelers aren't fighting for the goal they think they're fighting for -- if perhaps "the director" has ulterior motives and aims... I spent the whole season looking for clues on that. So it was exciting to see it finally sort of begin to go in that direction in this final episode.

And as more and more travelers show up, I start to wonder if the plan was always to simply hijack the present completely...

All I can say is I better see a second season!!
posted by the turtle's teeth at 10:06 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just binged episodes 3-12 last night. god help me. I'm a sucker for time traveling shows, and this was pretty intriguing. I love that you learn bits and pieces about the time they come from and the technology they have when you need to, not in some weird expository speech.

But yeah, what a fucking cliff hanger. I want the next season now! Was Forbes just that good and tracked them down via Phillip (I was wondering why he was missing for most of this episode), or did he get overwritten by the faction or the actual director and came to help/stop the quantum frame?

Re: future technology. It would seem to answer the question: how advanced can we be to save ourselves from environmental disasters? And the answer so far is that even with time travel we're still failing. Stopping Helios 685 produced a whole other faction out of the Shelter that was supposed to collapse! Weeee time travel!
posted by numaner at 9:48 AM on December 30, 2016

I really do like this show so far. I know I've been giving the writers a hard time on internal consistency and science and causality and stuff, but it's not terrible.

Haha, the writers got running causality thing correctly; re: Shelter 41/Faction.

Really like the Marcy story (roots of personality) but not New Marcy, at all. David David David. Sigh.

New Grace, however, is growing on me in a really big way. Even if she is a dupe(?).

"... whether the Director want to stay there or come back"

Guess the seeds, at least, of the Director is already present in-frame.

The Director being an AI is a really interesting question; is it an overlord? benign? what are we to it? what is its prime motivation?

I hope they get a chance to tie up threads in the second half, and more seasons if the writers have a super-arc in mind, but I have a premonition that it'll be a one and done, unfortunately.
posted by porpoise at 6:32 PM on December 31, 2016

Squeak Attack Seems like 21st century humans are especially bad at taking orders

From an AI.

I think this is an expression of optimism that people who get to know one another are more resistant to fascist attempts at creating divisiveness between them.

corb This was so "wtf".

I think that this might be the beginnings of a new model for "TV" shows; greenlight the first half, see how it pans out. If it's popular but not making money, just give them the rest of the season to wrap up the story. If it's making money, give them another season (or half a season).

Can't tell how ambitious the writers are, and time travel (in general, this show has its house in order - for now) gets really sloppy really fast so inconsistencies are going to accrue over time pretty quickly.

the turtle's teeth I just can't really understand how the future would have such advanced technology... but somehow humanity is almost extinct

There's a William Gibson quote, "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed."

I guess it might be left-over thinking from WW1/2 (on the writers' parts) where technology won wars so R&D may get resources from say, hydroponics, so you get tech dev while people subsist on yeast and fungal protein gruels instead of hydroponic vegetables and cricket/maggot protein where guinea pig protein/fats is a treat.

The Chinese are already experimenting with growing silkworms for dietary protein on Tiangong-2 (designed by middle school students in Hong Kong, but based on research and speculation from many other sources).

Another quote: necessity is the mother of all inventions.

But, yeah, I agree with your assessment, fully.

numaner Weeee time travel!; Stopping Helios 685

!! Given how it all played out, I do think that the pacing of this show has been impeccable.

Is it definitive that Helios 685 completely missed impact, or was the impact merely ameliorated?

(So, it was enough to not "kill 87.n million people" and ended up only killing (87.n)-(X)-(Y) where X=population of shelter41 where Y=whoever else wasn't killed and X is the reason that there is Faction? There'd better be a good political based resolution to this plot point! /s)
posted by porpoise at 7:00 PM on December 31, 2016

I think that this might be the beginnings of a new model for "TV" shows; greenlight the first half, see how it pans out. If it's popular but not making money, just give them the rest of the season to wrap up the story. If it's making money, give them another season (or half a season).

Well, that's already the model for a lot of network tv - an initial order of 13 or so episodes, and then if the ratings do well they get the additional order for the 'back 9.' I don't think it's a great model though, I prefer the way Netflix is doing it, which is more in the BBC mode, of commissioning the series for a set number of episodes, so that it can be written with a real arc instead of just ending anti-climactically.

Is it definitive that Helios 685 completely missed impact, or was the impact merely ameliorated?

(So, it was enough to not "kill 87.n million people" and ended up only killing (87.n)-(X)-(Y) where X=population of shelter41 where Y=whoever else wasn't killed and X is the reason that there is Faction? There'd better be a good political based resolution to this plot point! /s)

I don't think we know exactly. I mean, Grace and Ellis should know, since they traveled from the future after the laser fired, but I don't think anyone ever asked them point blank whether Helios 685 impacted or not, they all got distracted by the Shelter 41 change.

I think Marcy 2.0 may be the biggest paradox problem now that I think about it. Grace re-sent Marcy's original package, triggering the overwrite. But, technically, wouldn't that package now contain a future Marcy who was part of Grace's already-altered timeline? How can she still have the memory of the Shelter 41 collapse?
posted by oh yeah! at 8:12 PM on December 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Agreed that the funding model is no good for long-form entertainment.

I've been arguing with myself about Marcy's retransmorgophication. Originally, I though it was a re-send; my read of it now is that Grace synched Marcy, crosslinked the Marcy construct with what's available in Marcy body, then re-installed reconfigured Marcy into the Marcy body.

Just not sure how the "locked in" works, now.

Also not buying (based on understanding of neurobiology) that Marcy engram "superclocked" the developmentally delayed Marcy body leading to the body going to die. Realistically, the engram doesn't imprint - or imprints imperfectly - or does so but limited to the "hardware" available to it. With the possibility that the engram slowly reprograms to the hardware and works around its limitations.

*edit: Marcy wasn't recalled, I think the intention was that she was "re-compiled" and re-uploaded into the same host that overwrote whatever was there. Hence, some internal inconsistencies with the tech.

We're never let known what the physiological situation of original Marcy was, so I can't come up with something any more concrete.
posted by porpoise at 8:31 PM on December 31, 2016

Husband and I believe that successfully firing the laser may have, in fact, caused a future reversal of fortune. By that we mean MacLaren's team, originally the Good Guys sent to save Earth 21st from Helios 685, are possibly now the Bad Guys unwittingly working for the Fascist Director AI that the Future Timeline II Good Guys (The Faction) are actually now trying to dismantle.

If this theory is correct, I posit that S2 will involve MaClaren and team's acceptance that The Director has gone "bad" and working with Grace + Ellis on resetting the future timeline, likely with Dr. Delaney's help.

Look at the newer character components we're left with during the S1 cliffhanger:

- Marcy 2.0. She very well may be the key to everything -- she's been "reset" and might, as porpoise suggests, have a composite set of memories that don't involve Marcy 1.0 in the 21st, but may include some aspects of Marcy 1.0 + Marcy 2.0 in Future Timeline II.

- Ellis. We just met this guy, but what we do know is that he's capable of building insane levels of computational and defense machinery very, very quickly. Can they go back a few weeks and NOT fire the laser? Nope, Travelers are limited to going back only as far as the most recent Traveler's arrival. No do-overs. But he clearly can help build or develop some kind of technical workaround.

- Grace. Grace is a fantastic team addition, because she helped to program and develop Director I from day one. Is it possible for Ellis + Grace to hack/reprogram the base model or earliest iteration of Director I, or maybe even destroy it with Dr. Delaney's help? Almost certainly. It may come down to Grace, Ellis and Marcy being the dream team that figures out how to reroute The Mission and help make 21st Travelers and Future Timeline dwellers safe (for whatever value of "safe" allows most of the team to still be born, I guess).

This is the quintessence of time-travel shows: Butterfly Effecting the original timeline and constantly having to do little micro-resets. Well, that or triggering a bootstraps paradox like in the 12 Monkeys movie where you're just uberfucked the second you turn the machine on/blip yourself into the past.

There's been a glut of time travel series lately (Timeless, Travelers, Legends of Tomorrow, 12 Monkeys, Frequency, etc.) but this one at least seems to have its shit together from a timeline continuity standpoint.

I dislike that literally every show has to have some kind of romantic triangle glurge involving a main character or three, but what ya gonna do? TV execs love forcing sexual tension on audiences as a substitute for actual plot, unfortunately.

Fingers crossed for show renewal and a Season 2!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:55 AM on January 4, 2017 [5 favorites]

Can I just say that Carly is the most interesting character I've seen on TV in a long, long time. She's an older military leader with a lover who is an equal in every way, from an egalitarian society and all of a sudden she thrown into the life of a young minority single mother with an abusive ex, no money and no GED in 2016? And then her lover leaves her for a rich white woman HGTV type because all of a sudden she's too complicated? It's amazing she hasn't burned the whole planet down in a rage yet. And the actress is just phenomenal.
posted by fshgrl at 7:54 PM on January 8, 2017 [8 favorites]

Absolutely, given the dictates of the protocols (and general human empathy/decency) - Carly's host is a REALLY SHITTY HOST.

Yes, it adds complexity to the storytelling, but that host really should have been disqualified unless it was ok to abandon a baby and kill an abuser. I can't see a project management reason (from the future) to saddle her with the baby (it also changes causality - oh dear FSM No!!, that baby Isn't going to be The Saviour of the Future).

posted by porpoise at 2:03 AM on January 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Better than a heroin addict or whatever Marcy's host was I guess, at lest she's young, healthy and strong. And not a heroin addict. They are kind of merging with their hosts in an interesting way and I see it the most with Carly. That's her baby now.
posted by fshgrl at 12:47 AM on January 10, 2017

fshgrl, using a heroin addict as a host was explicitly a mistake; the records available in that future indicated that the OD death was the first time the host had used heroin (bunches of people lying to save the surviving family grief/guilt; future records were inaccurate).

Carly's host, I guess historically, was known to have been killed by her domestic partner and had a surviving child (or that the child was also murdered along with her; ooooh, AI code glitch!).

Based on the known Protocols, it would have been known that the Carly host would continue to care for the hosts child, and that an abusive partner was around and... shouldn't be murdered? Who then ends up investigating Carly host being traveled into, and the entire travel thing.

Unless Carly's child has potential for use in the future, which is kind of yuck in terms of everything including messiah-ism.
posted by porpoise at 6:32 PM on January 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why didn't Carly just go out and get a job as a bouncer? she's got the skills and needs to get rid of some frustrations by knocking some heads.

I didn't like this episode. It felt too rushed and there were too many info dumps. I thought the new model was to have the big action in the next -to-last episode. Perhaps that's just the model with anthologies so the last episode can be an epilogue.

Anywho, count me in with folks who would like a second season, but won't really have high hopes that they can pull it off.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:42 PM on January 22, 2017

I hope this show gets a second season, but I'm a bit annoyed with them going with the evil (or even good) "other" faction already. The formula of the first half of the season was working well for me already and they could have saved murder kid and total mission confusion for a later season, deftly avoiding an unresolved cliffhanger in the event that it doesn't get renewed.

I really, really, really hate cliffhangers that never get resolved. Open issues are fine, but not what we got with this episode. Hopefully there is a second season so I won't have to rage quit Netflix.
posted by wierdo at 4:01 AM on January 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Good news on the cliffhanger front - Travelers Season 2 Renewal Confirmed by Netflix
posted by oh yeah! at 8:58 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

I may be late to this party - just found the show on Netflix last week - but I frikkin love this show!

See ya'll next season :)
posted by BS Artisan at 7:25 AM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

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