Thursday, August 10, 2017

Travelers, Season One, Episode Six: Helios 685

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My ongoing complaint regarding Travelers is that up until now, the writers have been really vague about why humanity is coming to and end.  We've been told that the air and the water is so recycled that it's metallic, people are crammed into shelters and that resources are extremely limited. Now we know that the genesis of the problem is an asteroid that hits the Eastern seaboard of North America. After the asteroid crashes, wars break out over the scarce resources. 

Apparently, all of the missions that the Travelers have been assigned to date have been a sort of warm up for the big event - diverting the asteroid and in the process, putting the course of humanity on a new path.  For something this big, it's going to require a huge team and so the Travelers take over an elderly rapture cult just before they can drink a glass of poison.  It will also require the presence of Mrs.Bloom, a Traveler who seems to be pretty high up in the chain of command. Mrs.Bloom has dedicated her life to building a machine to knock the asteroid off of its trajectory and she just wants to be the one to turn the key.  Mrs. Bloom arrives in the body of a woman with terminal cancer, who was just about to avail herself of physician assisted suicide. 

The Travelers take a vow that at the peril of their own birth that they will see this mission through to completion.  It seems however that the only one to understand what this vow really means is Trevor. If the asteroid is averted and the wars don't happen, there's a good chance that the Travelers will never have been born. Essentially, to make the world a better place for others, they are risking their own existence because they will have erased their own time line. The harsh reality that success means non existence is enough for Marcy to call David and thank him for his help and warn him not to worry if she gets reassigned.  Carey confronts MacLaren, wondering if he is going to miss his wife and admits that she is worried about what will become of her son. 

Nothing the Travelers ever do seems to go smoothly however.  The bus containing the suicide cult is late, making it difficult for Carly to hold off the Non Traveler emergency people who want to help.  Charged with keeping the antimatter safe, Delaney locked down access using her own biometrics.  This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if Gleason hadn't decided to bring her in for questioning based on the testimony of the driver who survived the truck explosion. This means that MacLaren is forced to hunt down Delaney and threaten Gleason because the military has no jurisdiction over Delaney. It's all a brilliant bit of theater and bluster because while MacLaren is arguing with Gleason, Delaney is sneaking into his car.

Before Delaney, Marcy and MacLaren can even get back to the lab, Gleason learns through a report that the lab has been compromised and so he makes his way there with his men.  Now that Delaney is back at the lab, she has to be convinced into releasing the antimatter.  This is no easy task and involves telling her the truth about the Travelers.  Delaney does in the end agree to release the antimatter but by this time, Gleason and his men have arrived.  Carly, along with the Traveler death cult are fighting off the soldiers but they've been ordered only to take non lethal shots which the soldiers quickly pick up on. 

Mrs. Bloom orders the cell to get Delaney away from the blast because it's going to end up killing a lot of people and she decides to wait around to be the one to throw the switch.  The team make their exit, picking up Carly on the way.  Before Mrs.Bloom can flick the switch, Gleason enters and promptly shoots Mrs. Bloom when she won't back away from the key.  The future intervenes and one by one turns Gleason's men in order to ensure the mission's success and Gleason responds by killing them all. When Gleason is the last one left, he realises that he is next to be taken over and so attempts to commit suicide. Gleason pulls the trigger but he blew all of his bullets killing his men and Mrs. Bloom.  The moment Gleason is invaded by a Traveler, he flicks the switch and antimatter explodes, shooting a laser into the sky to deflect the asteroid. 

MacLaren pulls over to the side of the road and orders everyone to shield their eyes moments before the explosion. When the smoke clears, all of the Travelers are still in their host bodies. Did the mission work or not?

The most compelling moment of this episode was watching desperation take over Gleason, as he realised that he would lose control of his body next.  It actually humanised Gleason quite a bit and this was necessary because he was on the verge of becoming a mustache twirling villain. David Lewis absolutely sold this scene and made me a believer in terms of Travelers taking over hosts. 

At this point, I'm even more convinced that Trevor is an old man inside a young man's body. When MacLaren expresses frustration with Mrs.Bloom, Travis tells MacLaren not to take it personally and hints that he's known Bloom for over 100 years. Could it be possible that even with the deprivations that humans are actually living longer in the future? If Trevor has known Bloom for 100 years, how old does that make him?  It makes sense that he seems to chafe under his father's orders.  If Trevor is really that old, from his perspective, his father is the know nothing punk.

I found an interesting contrast between the death cult Travelers and MacLaren's cell. When Travelers first arrive they are all about their mission and the wonders of the 21st century. The death cult travelers were amazed that they saw a bear/dog, whereas; MacLaren's group has moved past that initial stage and are now thinking about the connections they've made by assuming their hosts's life. For Carly, it's her infant son and for Marcy, it's David.  MacLaren may have strong feelings for Carly, but I suspect that at the very least he's developed a grudging respect for Kay.

I suspect that there's going to be some trouble from the Director for MacLaren's cell, given that Bloom suggests that they are famous for all of the wrong reasons in the future. If the mission failed and Bloom died on top of it all, this will absolutely be upsetting to the people in charge.  The question is, what consequence will MacLaren and his cell pay for it?