Thursday, July 27, 2017

Travelers, Season One, Episode Four: Hall

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Very early on we learned that there are several Traveler cells in the past working to avert what ever disaster has lead to the near extinction of humanity.  The Director is the person from the future assigning tasks and has clearly established protocols to be followed. One of them is that Traveler teams are not to be in contact with each other.  The cell that we are currently following are new to the mission and just like us (read: the viewer) they have a lot of assumptions about what their job entails and how the different Traveler groups are meant to interact with each other. This week, MacLaren's leadership is really tested for the first time and he has to decide how much he's going to stick to the rules. 

MacLaren and Forbes are on a stake out and they watch a shady deal go down between two groups. Forbes is confused because it looks like the shady deal is about car parts but it clearly has something to do with future tech.  Things go south quickly when one group tries to steal the tech and a shoot out occurs. MacLaren and Forbes leave their position and move to deal with the aftermath. When MacLaren approaches a man who is dying on the ground, he gets a message from the director. MacLaren tells Forbes that he is going to chase the party who got away and suggests that Forbes stay behind and wait for back up. You know damn well that MacLaren is going to get caught in a lie sooner rather than later at the rate at which bullshit just falls from his lips. Anyway, MacLaren gets into contact with Philip and Marcy to help out with their new mission. Philip is tasked with finding the messengers coordinates, and Marcy with grabbing her medical bag. It's Carly with impressive cache of weapons who picks up Marcy because Philip is still recovering from being shot.

When MacLaren arrives on scene he discovers that the Traveler he's been ordered to assist is one of the men from the exchange he and Forbes had been watching go down. Hall the leader of the cell and Carter, aren't exactly welcoming to MacLaren when he first enters, unsure about whether or not MacLaren is actually a Traveler. They're particularly suspicious because the mission was given to MacLaren by an adult and only children can pass messages from the future. MacLaren explains that giving the message killed the already dying man.  Given the seriousness of Luca's injuries, Carter and Hall decide that they really have no choice but to trust MacLaren. 

Now that trust has been established, MacLaren wants to know exactly how Carter, Hall and Luca ended up in this position.  It turns out that  Carter, Hall and Luca were on a mission to get a piece of tech and pass it on to another cell. The Russian travelers were in a difficult position because with their historian dead, they were in a tight spot in terms of cash. Now we know why Philip has memorized the outcome of so many sporting events and even winning lottery combinations. Hall agreed to give Russians money for passing on the tech but the Russians decided to turn on Hall's cell in the hopes of selling the tech to someone else. This really throws MacLaren because if Hall is to be believed, it means that Traveler cells are turning on each other.  So much for the greater good I suppose. 

MacLaren's reaction to learning that Travelers turn on each other is enough to alert Hall to the fact that MacLaren must be a new arrival and so he immediately seeks to throw his weight around. A small argument ensues about the damage to the tech but it is brought quickly to an end by the arrival of Marcy and Carly. Hall, Carter and Luca's problems are about to get a lot worse because Marcy doesn't have the equipment she needs to be able to treat Luca and they cannot go to the hospital because they have a criminal record. If that were not enough, Carter is bleeding internally. 

Maclaren steps aside when he gets a call from Forbes to inform him that there are three dead bodies at the scene.  MacLaren lies to Forbes AGAIN and claims that he lost the car that he was chasing. In the meantime, Marcy has been working on Luca but has been unable to remove the bullet. At this point, Marcy is certain that if she operates on Luca that he will die. The only solution is to use Carter's blood to save Luca's life and since Carter is coughing up blood, he's going to die anyway. Hall isn't pleased with his options but he chooses to go along with it. Marcy spends the night operating while MacLaren heads off to run interference. 

Trevor, who hasn't been involved in this latest mess is spending the day adjusting to his new life. Trevor is out on the track with his friend and dude can really run. Unfortunately, when Trevor tries to throw a football, it turns out that he didn't inherit his host's skills. Trevor gets a visit from Mrs. Day, one of his teachers about a meeting she has set up with Trevor and his parents regarding his academic achievement. 

Having done her part to aid Marcy, Carly is on her way home when she is ambushed by Jeff.  Clearly having not learned anything from his first few interactions with the new Carly, Jeff tries to be physically aggressive, only to find himself bent over in pain when Carly responds by kicking him in the nuts. Carly makes it clear that they are no longer a couple and that if he wants to see his son, he needs to start paying child support before driving off. 

Philip is still going through his own issues with adjustment to his new life. Philip gets a visit from Ray, who has brought percs with him.  Unfortunately, Ray's visit gives him a chance to check out the list of names and dates that Philip has written on the wall. Ray incorrectly assumes that this list has something to do with Philip's ability to so accurately place bets. Sensing Philip's vulnerability, Ray is able to blackmail Philip into giving him some more winning bets to place. 

For some reason, Jeff decides that he is going to interrogate Marcy because he's made a connection between her beating down her assailants and Carly's sudden ability to defend herself and defy him.  I really think that the writers are stretching this connection really thin because there's no real reason that Jeff should assume anything in common between Carly and Marcy. Marcy dodges all of Jeff's questions and so he changes tactics and brings up that Marcy is living with her social worker. Jeff ponders if Marcy is doing so well, why she is living with David. At this point, I really want to see Jeff take another shot to the nads. Jeff points out that Marcy's living arrangements would make David guilty of fraternization and could lead to David's dismissal. Rather than answering Jeff, Marcy answers her phone and walks off. The call is about Luca, who accidentally opened his stitches up in his sleep. Marcy returns and stitches Luca back up.

Forbes is turning out to be an incredibly good cop and it seems that he's already traced the location of Hall's cell and gotten a warrant to search the premises. MacLaren is able to beg off for a moment and uses the time to contact Marcy to warn her about the raid. The news that they have to leave the hide out pisses off Hall and he accuses MacLaren of not doing a good enough job protecting them. Marcy is quick to defend MacLaren and points out that he did do his job because he warned them. 

Trevor sits down to have the meeting with his teacher and his parents.  Before they can really get into it, Trevor gets a call on the comm letting him know that his services are needed. Trevor cuts the meeting short by promising to quit football and focus on pulling his math and science marks up, much to his father's shock.  Trevor then stands saying that he is going to leave his parents alone to discuss what is going on with his teacher. 

MacLaren and Forbes head up the raid on Hall's hideout. When Forbes attempts to open the door, he sets off an explosion that Hall clearly rigged before he left. In the meantime, Hall, Carly, Marcy and Luca are making their get away.  Hall is not impressed that Carly brought her son along on the mission and Carly explains that she didn't have time to get a sitter.  Carly then rips into Hall about not warning them he set off explosives. When they all meet up again at MacLaren's hideout, MacLaren is out right pissed that he wasn't warned about the bomb because he could have died. Hall justifies his decision by claiming that it was the only way to hide evidence so that the FBI couldn't trace them. Hall also claimed that he didn't tell MacLaren because he wanted his surprise to be authentic. 

Things escalate again when Trevor pipes up to say that fixing the damaged component won't be easy. This leads into another screaming match between MacLaren and Hall which Carly has to diffuse. Philip and Trevor get to work fixing the tech while Carly and MacLaren head outside to get some air and calm down. Trevor gets a text from his parents informing him that he's been grounded. MacLaren talks about his fear that the explosion will only make things more difficult and Carly talks about needing to call her babysitter. Before they separate, Carly and Maclaren's hands touch. I know this was supposed to be a moment but I don't feel the chemistry between these two at all. 

Now that things have calmed down, Marcy and Luca talk about the night terrors which led to him re-opening his stitches. It seems that this caught Marcy's attention because her brother, who she got seperated from during an emergency evacuation of their shelter also suffered from night terrors. This is enough to have Marcy wondering if perhaps Luca is actually her brother.  When Marcy approaches Hall with her suspicions, not only is she rudely rebuffed, she's told that they are to leave the future in the past. Back in a pissed off mood, Hall decides to let the team have it about how unfocused they are in doing their jobs. He knows about Philip's addiction from seeing the track marks, he's not impressed Carly brought her baby on a mission, or that Trevor is concerned about being grounded by his parents. 

MacLaren has returned to the office and he gets a visit with Kat because he's missed date night.  Kat is used to MacLaren working late so she doesn't make a big deal of it and has even brought along vegetarian Chinese food. Kat's main concern is that they haven't been having sex. We all know that if the rooster isn't crowing in the hen house, he's crowing somewhere else. Kat makes it clear that she doesn't mind sharing MacLaren with his work but another woman is out of the question. I guess that means it's time for MacLaren to put out.

Ray isn't quite done with Philip.  Using the profits from yet another bet, Philip has Ray purchase a new hideout for Luca and Hall. Ray once again sensing Philip's vulnerability blackmails Philip. Ray demands eight percent commission, rent on the new hideout, as well as new bets to place tomorrow. Philip is clearly frustrated but agrees to a ten percent commission.  

Unwilling to let go of the possibility of Luca being her brother, Marcy decides to question him while the two take a walk to prevent Luca from getting blood clots. 

At the hideout, Trevor reveals that he's fixed the component to the best of his ability and with the new hideout acquired, MacLaren decides that it's time for Luca and Hall to make themselves scarce. Instead of being thankful that MacLaren's crew has helped him out of a tight spot, Hall decides to outright challenge MacLaren for leadership. Before the argument can escalate too far, MacLaren gets a call from Forbes, informing him that Marcy and Luca have been spotted on CCTV. Forbes has also identified all of the dead bodies.  MacLaren lies AGAIN and claims that he's following up on a lead about Hall and will be in contact later. MacLaren then contacts Marcy to tell her to get back inside.  

With the news that Forbes is onto them, Hall orders MacLaren to kill Forbes. Hall has decided that Forbes is too good at his job and the only way to deal with him is to kill him. Hall points out that he is the senior Traveler and seems to relish intimidating MacLaren. None of the travelers are really down with taking out Forbes, who hasn't done anything wrong but MacLaren moves to follow orders. 

MacLaren meets up with Forbes and allows Forbes to take the lead. MacLaren pulls out his weapon appearing to get ready to kill Forbes. Forbes comes across a rental car and it turns out that Luca and Hall are inside.  Hall and MacLaren make eye contact as Forbes stops the vehicle and arrests both men. It seems that MacLaren was always one step ahead of Hall because while Hall is being arrested, Trevor and Carly meet up with yet another Traveler cell to drop off the tech.

That night, Maclaren sends a message to his team about about the sadness of having to turn against another Traveler and thanks them for having his back. MacLaren tells them that the director will let them know soon if they made the right decision. What the team doesn't realise is that MacLaren is sending this message while in bed with Carly.  Carly tells MacLaren that she's certain that he made the right decision. 

With the day done the rest of the Travelers do their own thing. Philip erases the log of upcoming deaths that he had written on the wall. Marcy stares at a picture of her and David, causing me to wonder if she's starting to develop feelings for him. Trevor is as good as his word and begins to study from a science text book. 

Okay, so now we have Travelers turning on each other but we don't know exactly why.  Is it because they've given up on life on the future because life in the 21st century is better and more comfortable?  How far away are we from the impending disaster which dooms humanity? Could there be differences in Travelers because more than one faction has chosen to send people back? We don't know the answers to any of these questions because Travelers still hasn't given us any substantial information about the future. 

I wasn't really pleased to see Carter's life sacrificed to save Luca, particularly because Marcy didn't make it clear why she was choosing to save Luca and Carter.  The optics on this don't look good despite the fact that Traveler has three characters of colour already. Speaking of characters of colour didn't even one person in the writers room pause to think about the fact that they made Jeff a cop who abuses women? I'm not saying that there aren't bad Black cops out there but this flies in the face of Black cops who have been shot by their white co-parts and the Black civilians who have died because of the violence of white cops. It seems that Travelers is determined to be tone deaf when it comes to race. 

I'm not really enjoying the triangle that is developing between Carly, MacLaren and Kat.  With so much going on and so much left to explain what Travelers doesn't need is a love triangle.  I'm particularly irked that the writers then had Jeff point out Carly's interactions with MacLaren by referencing race. If they are not capable of having nuanced characters of colour they are not capable of a discussion about the pitfalls of interracial dating. Somethings are just a family conversation. 

I am intrigued by the idea that Luca could have been Marcy's brother. It reminds us that the Travelers left a life behind and people they loved.  With brand new bodies other than their Traveler ID numbers, the Travelers have no real way of identifying each other.  It makes me wonder what connections they each have and if some of their past will bubble to the surface?

I find myself really drawn to Trevor. He is following orders and getting along with his his host's life but seems oblivious to the fact that he's not really fitting in. Trevor also really seems to enjoy the most simple things in the 21st century and I cannot help but wonder where the writers are going with his story.