Travelers, Season 2, Episode 7: “17 Minutes” Recap and Analysis
LAST WEEK, WE SAW OUR FAVORITE TRAVELER TEAM SAVE THE WORLD. Well, not the entire world, but they did save billions of people, so close enough.
In this episode, we get to shadow the Director for a day. 17 minutes of a day, actually, but it feels like longer.
Full Episode Gallery
Full Episode Recap and Analysis
Before I Get Into the Actual Episode
THIS EPISODE BEGINS WITH A RECAP OF TREVOR EXPLAINING SOMETHING IMPORTANT about Traveler technology:
“We can only go as far back as the arrival point of the most recent Traveler. There’s no do-overs.”
This isn’t strictly true. The Director can “do-over” from the same point in time as many times as it likes, provided it has enough Traveler volunteers to send back.
For instance, let’s say Traveler 5001 gets transferred into a host body in the 21st century, but ends up failing her mission. If this happens, the Director can send another Traveler (let’s call her Traveler 5002) back into the same body the previous Traveler was transferred into at the exact same point in time. This can be repeated with Travelers 5003, 5004, 5005, etc., forever, as long the Director is working and has more Travelers to send back.
One caveat to this: If the Director keeps transferring Travelers into the same host body at the same point in time, the Travelers will be increasingly over-writing each other. This can harm, or even kill, the host body. As we know from all the screaming, Traveler consciousness transfers are rough, and stacking multiple transfers on top of each other can be too much for a human body to handle.
With this important detail out of the way, let’s get into the episode.
The Team Has a Mission From the Director, Hurray!
Grant gets a new mission from the Director. It’s worth noting that this time the mission is probably from the actual Director, not the Faction. This is the first actual Director-ordered mission we’ve seen this whole season, so I’m excited, and the Team is back on track and in good spirits.
Grant calls the Team, and they pack up a little inflatable motor-boat, change into outdoorsy clothing, and drive out into the mountains. The Team drops a hint as to what their mission is, referencing the time-of-impact of an unspecified object in “23 minutes and 6 seconds”.
As the Team loads the boat onto a trailer and gear into their car, Grant mentions that today is his and Kathryn’s 10-year anniversary. Grant, being unaware of 21st-century relationship standards, had no idea that this particular anniversary was such a big deal.
For various reasons, everyone else on the Team knows a lot more about this topic than Grant, and collectively laugh at Grant while informing him that he’s already screwed up the anniversary by being unprepared. Grant has no cell-service out in the wilderness, so Kathryn’s annoyed phone-call cannot reach him, which obviously doesn’t help.
Philip tells a baffled Grant that traditionally, he should get Kathryn something made of tin for their anniversary. When Grant elaborates on the fact that he hasn’t even acknowledged the anniversary with Kathryn at all, Carly and Marcy tell him to buy her a diamond instead of the tin, something they say they learned during their Traveler training on “21st-century female behavior”. Grant thinks they’re joking about the diamonds, and the Team continues to playfully tease him about his ignorance.
The Team arrives at a big lake in the mountains and prepares to put their boat in the water. They continue their cheerful banter about Grant’s anniversary, but as far as the mission is concerned, they finally mention what they are there to do.
A meteorite composed of a rare, precious mineral that is “extremely important to the future” is set to land in the lake in 7 minutes. Carly mentions that the beautiful lake, according to history, will be completely dry in 50 years. I don’ know how that happens, but knowing the Travelers’ future, it probably is something terrible.
Speaking of “something terrible”, a dry lake-bed is the least of the Team’s worries.
Trevor starts the motor on their boat, and out of nowhere, men in black scuba gear pop out of the lake in front of them. The scuba men have guns.
Before the Team can react, the scuba men open fire on them, and in just seconds, kill every single member of our beloved Traveler Team. Yikes.
But the show’s not over! Remember, these are time travelers we’re talking about here. Death need not be permanent in all instances.
A Skydiving Traveler Arrives to Save the Team
Immediately after we see our Team tragically die, we cut to a man (Wayne) and woman (Carrie) in mid-air, skydiving.
The woman grabs her head and screams, meaning a Traveler’s consciousness is being transferred into her body as we watch.
Transfer complete, the new Traveler (5001, AKA Carrie, played by Melissa Roxburgh) springs into action. Still thousands of feet in the air, Carrie calls Grant, who doesn’t answer. She then immediately calls the newly-overwritten ex-Faction Traveler FBI Agent Wakefield (played by Stephen Lobo) on the phone and says:
“This is an emergency communication, Protocol Alpha. This is Traveler 5001. We have less than 60 seconds before signal loss.
I need armed air assets to the following coordinates ASAP: 49. 3506 degrees north, 122. 8599 degrees west. Can you do this?”
“Can you get them to these coordinates in 17 minutes?”
Wakefield tells Carrie that the best he can do, unfortunately, is to get help to the Team’s location in 25 to 30 minutes. This, as we learn, would be far too late, as Carrie reveals the meaning of episode title:
At the time Traveler 5001 is transferred into the body of the skydiving Carrie, there are only 17 minutes left before the Team gets massacred.
There’s no way to transfer a Traveler prior to that point in time, and there’s no way that Wakefield can get anyone to the Team’s remote location in the 17 minutes required, so Carrie is determined to complete the mission by saving the Team herself.
Carrie lands, removes her parachute, and runs over Carrie 1.0’s friend Lars (played by Benjamin Charles Watson) waiting for her on the ground. She demands the keys to his car, and, explaining nothing, drives away with a very determined look on her face. Lars screams indignantly to the still-parachuting-down Wayne that Carrie has stolen his car.
We see Carrie driving down the forest road, turning around a bend past an old, parked pickup truck
The Team is Alive, and Repeating Themselves
We see the Team, alive and well, talking through the same conversation about Grant’s anniversary they had prior their death, while preparing for the meteorite collection, again.
Things Go Bad for Carrie
Carrie stops her car in the middle of the road, blocked by a familiar gun-wielding man in black, standing by a familiar black SUV. Uh oh, it’s one of Vincent’s mute bodyguards (Paul Chih-Ping Cheng) from Season 2, Ep. 3. That’s definitely not good.
The guard waves Carrie away, but she plays dumb, acting as if she were a lost driver looking for the lake. The guard, suspicious, quickly loses patience, and points his gun at Carrie, who realizes at this point that she’s not going to be allowed to pass.
Carrie drives forward, gets out of the car, and starts to run, which turns out to be a very bad strategy. The guard calmly aims his gun at the sprinting Carrie, and, firing a short burst of rounds, shoots her in the back. Carrie stumbles, and the guard runs back to his car for some reason.
But Carrie isn’t dead, yet.
Wakefield Tries to Get Help to the Team
Wakefield and his fellow-Traveler FBI agent Callahan figure out that the Protocol Alpha scenario they’ve become involved with has something to do with the special meteorite.
I’ll just let them explain the importance of the meteorite. It’s really really important:
(WAKEFIELD) “I just got off the phone with a Traveler who requested armed assets to the exact same coordinates the meteor was historically found 50 years from now.
We got cut off, but she said it was Protocol Alpha.
What would’ve happened if Robert Fraser hadn’t discovered that element in 2068?”
(CALLAHAN) “There’d be no room-temperature superconductor for quantum processing, no leap in artificial intelligence, no consciousness-transfer technology.”
(WAKEFIELD) “No Director.”
Wakefield and Callahan determine that the Faction must be trying to steal the meteorite to prevent the Director’s existence from ever being possible. We know that it’s Vincent doing this, but maybe he is the leader of the Faction? Or, at least, aligned by their hatred of the Director, maybe Vincent and the Faction are now working together? I don’t know.
The whole Vincent thing is pretty weird. Remember, Vincent was the first Traveler. The Director has killed people important to Vincent in the pursuit of telling Vincent to “self-terminate” (kill himself), but won’t instruct Travelers to just kill Vincent once and for all.
Last we saw him, Vincent and the Team were sent simultaneous Messengers, presumably from the Faction, telling them not to kill each other, and Vincent complied. Why then is he now trying to kill the Team again? Who was sending the Messengers, and why did Vincent comply? Also, if Vincent thought the Messenger he received was from the Director, then he can’t be Faction, because the Faction knew the Director was shut down at that point. I have no idea what’s going on with all this.
Note that Wakefield and Callahan mention that the Director has over-written all the Faction Travelers that it knows about, but that likely some (possibly “hundreds”) more are still on the loose. Great.
The Team Gets Killed, Again
The Team, having no idea they’ve “recently” died in another timeline, do their thing at the lake again, with one key difference: A shot and bloodied Carrie emerges from the woods, screaming:
“Get back from the water!”
The shocked Team look at her for only a moment before the scuba-men pop out of the lake and gun them down again. That’s that. Except, as you probably guessed from my labeling of this section as “Attempt #1”, the Director hasn’t given up yet.
Carrie 3.0 is Defeated by a Dog
After the Team dies a second time, we see that familiar ever-changing orange-symbol-filled screen with a very interesting message on it:
“Mission: FAIL <5001>
TELL rev: E-35.26m
Seq Init: Traveler 5002“
Every time we see that orange screen, it contains some kind of communication from the Director. That orange screen is basically the Director’s brain.
What this particular message means is that the first Carrie-transferred Traveler failed her mission to save the Team, and that the Director has decided to retry the mission with another Traveler, 5002. The “TELL rev” are co-ordinates for where the Traveler host is, so the Director can aim the Traveler consciousness in the right direction. The “Seq Init” means “sequence initialized” and is referring to the present transferral of 5002 into Carrie’s body.
So basically, here we go again.
Carrie and Wayne jump out of their plane, again, and Carrie screams and holds her head as a Traveler transfers into it. After a brief pause, the screaming begins again. It sounds as if Carrie is going through two concurrent Traveler transfers (5001 and then 5002) in a row. Ouch. That’s rough. So rough, in fact, that Wayne notices Carrie screaming and attempts to get over to her during their skydive. Carrie has lost control at this point, causing Wayne and Carrie to collide head-on, knocking Wayne unconscious.
On the ground, Carrie and Wayne’s friend Lars, sitting his car in a field below the jump, sees that something has gone wrong with the dive. He leaves the sandwich he was eating, removes his keys from the ignition and exits his car. Lars sees that Wayne is falling out of control and hasn’t opened his parachute. Lars screams into the sky in vain, as Wayne falls to the ground unconscious. Lars weeps over Wayne’s presumably-deceased body as Carrie 3.0 ignores his cries and runs to his car.
Uh oh. Carrie finds that Lars has removed the keys from his car, so she cannot use it to get to the Team. But wait, Carrie 3.0 has apparently studied footage from the GoPro camera Carrie is wearing, so she knows that there is an old pickup truck parked somewhere on the road, fairly close by. Somehow, the footage from the GoPro was preserved for hundreds of years, probably by other Travelers. That’s handy.
So Carrie runs, full-pelt, to the pickup truck, opens the door, and unfortunately is immediately attacked by a dog that was inside. We quickly cut back to a Director screen, reading:
“Mission: FAIL <5001, 5002>
TELL rev: E-67.47m
Seq Init: Traveler 5003“
Here we go, Traveler 5003 coming right up. I guess that dog either slowed Carrie 3.0 down enough to fail the mission, or she was killed by it. That dog did seem pretty crazy.
Also, did you notice the TELL changed from the last attempt? I guess the Director can’t send a Traveler back to the exact time the last Traveler was transferred, or the TELL could be the same for each attempt
Carrie 4.0 Knows American Sign Language
Carrie jumps out of the plane, gets transferred into, and collides with Wayne, knocking him out again. This time, Carrie opens his parachute in hope of preventing his death-by-fall that happened last time.
Carrie approaches Lars and quickly briefs him on the Wayne situation before asking him if there are any weapons in the car. Lars, predictably, says no, but I guess it was worth a shot. Carrie says, cryptically, that “The camera saw a knife in the pickup.” before stealing Lars’ sandwich, pressing “record” on the GoPro she’s wearing, and taking off running.
This time, Carrie feeds the dog meat from the sandwich before opening the door. The dog, happy to be fed, doesn’t attack, instead jumping out of the car when Carrie opens the door.
Oddly enough, Carrie was right, and there is a knife in the pickup. Specifically, a large bowie knife held in a strap on the driver-side sun visor. Please, everyone, do not put giant knives on your visors. Actually, no knives, of any size. In this case, however, this insane place to keep a knife comes in handy.
Carrie puts the knife on the passenger seat and successfully drives the pickup away, making it to Vincent’s guard blocking the road. Carrie stops the truck.
I’m not sure how long these Travelers trained for this mission, but they are as prepared as possible. This time, Carrie immediately starts signing in American Sign Language to the mute guard, and gets him to come over to the window.
As soon as the guard reaches her window, Carrie throws the large knife into his shoulder and runs from the car into the woods. The guard grunts with pain, immediately pulls the knife out of his wound, and gives chase. I don’t know where Vincent found this guy, but that knife barely slowed him down at all.
We see the Team heading to the lake, again, talking about diamonds, meteorites and anniversaries.
Carrie runs down the road, with the guard close behind her in his black SUV. Carrie is almost hit by a logging truck driving past. The truck driver is baffled by what he sees, but, after a minute or so, decides to drive away. The logger is now blocking the guard’s path, slowing him down as Carrie continues to sprint to the Team’s location.
Carrie is almost to the Team when she begins to scream:
“MacLaren! Your team is in danger! MacLaren! Run!”
The Team hears Carrie’s screams, and manage to at least pull their guns this time, but their reaction is still too late. When Maclaren sees Carrie, he somehow recognizes her, saying:
“Carrie? What’re you doing here?”
We have no idea how Grant knows Carrie, but we don’t get a chance to find out. The guard, following closely behind the exhausted, bleeding-from-the-nose Carrie, shoots her in the back, and the Team is killed by the scuba-men, as usual.
The Director, very determined, displays this message:
“Mission: FAIL <5001, 5002, 5003>
TELL rev: E-91.43m
Seq Init: Traveler 5004“
Carrie 5.0 Gets Nowhere
Carrie 5.0 manages to land safely, telling Lars that “the future is at stake”, but is in such bad shape that she can’t even get off the landing field before she collapses. What a waste.
“Mission: FAIL <5001…5004>
TELL rev: E-126.55m
Seq Init: Traveler 5005“
Carrie 6.0 Tries to Get Lars to Help, and Fails
This Traveler sacrificed herself completely, knowing that the previous one was under so much strain from the repeated Traveler transfers and mid-air collision that she could barely walk. This one, Carrie 6.0, can’t even get up off the ground, She tells Lars:
“Too much strain on the host…
There are five people on a remote beach. It’s not far ”
“Listen. You need to help them. I can’t make it.”
“Everything is at stake. You need to do this.”
“The coordinates. Y-You need… Y-You need to… “
Lars doesn’t get it, and who can blame him. After saying this, Carrie immediately dies and leaves a crying, useless Lars alone with his grief.
We briefly see the Team, with Marcy being unsentimental about the beauty of the lake. We can assume the Team is killed again, because we the immediately see these Director readouts :
“Status: RETRY <att 6>”
“Seq Init: Traveler 5006”
Attempts #6 and #7
Carrie 7.0 and 8.0 Seem to Die in Mid-air
We see Carrie 7.0 fall without pulling her chute at all, straight to earth, dead. Carrie 8.0’s attempt isn’t even shown.
It’s possible that the “Mission: FAIL” readout we see for Attempt #7 was edited into the episode early, before the mission actually failed on-screen. That would make more sense in regard to the Traveler numbers. It doesn’t really matter, but I thought I’d mention it.
Apparently, that many Traveler transfers in a row are just not survivable. I wonder why the Director tried so many times after the host’s body was clearly at her limit. Best not to question the Director though, right? We know where that leads.
Wayne 2.0 Arrives
Okay, this is new. Wayne, parachuting from his skydive, grabs his head and screams. A new Traveler has arrived. We never find out his Traveler number, by the way, but it’s not, as you’d expect, 5008.
Why didn’t the Director use Wayne earlier? Well, I’m guessing because Wayne didn’t necessarily die in every scenario, so it would have been ethically questionable to transfer a Traveler consciousness into him. Eventually, either that changed, or the Director determined that it was simply impossible to complete the mission using Carrie, and that, if necessary, it was worth stretching ethical boundaries to save the Team.
No matter the reason, Carrie is now dead on the ground with Lars weeping over her body. Wayne lands safely and demands the car keys from Lars. After repeating his demands a few times, the befuddled Lars gives Wayne the keys, and Wayne sprints to Lars’ car.
Wayne eats Lars’ sandwich as he drives quickly to the pickup truck. Upon arriving there, Wayne doesn’t enter the truck, instead jumping on the dirt bike in the trailer behind the truck. Leaving both Lars’ car and the old pickup behind, Wayne speeds away on the bike.
Upon reaching Vincent’s guard standing in the road, Wayne quickly turns the bike and takes a different route. The guard sees him and, realizing something is amiss, jumps in his SUV to give chase.
Now we see the logger truck driver again, unintentionally blocking the guard’s path. This time, the guard just opens the truck driver’s door, shooting him. Yikes. This guy is out of control. The truck then moves forward and out of the way of the guard’s SUV.
It’s worth noting, however, that just before he was shot, the truck driver reached for a shotgun to defend himself. So now we know there’s another gun in the mix. Maybe our Travelers can use it for something if this attempt doesn’t succeed.
At this point, we see our Team doing some things we haven’t seen in the previous attempts.
Grant has a heart-to-heart with Marcy, telling her that he knows she’s unhappy. After briefly insisting that she’s “fine”, Marcy reveals that she has been feeling as if ‘what made her, her’ was left out when she was “reset” by Grace to save her life.
Grant reveals that, when he almost died in a plane-crash last season, he somehow experienced memories of Kathryn. Memories that were not his, but instead from his host body, As far as Traveler technology is understood, this shouldn’t be possible, but it happened.
Grant seems to be suggesting that Marcy somehow attempt to recover her memories of David. Marcy doesn’t know how this could be possible, but I bet she’s going to try to make it happen anyway. Would that be great if it worked? Then Marcy could stop moping around and just be happy with David.
Anyway, Wayne has, by now, almost reached the Team. Unfortunately, before they see him, he is shot by Vincent’s guard. Despite his best efforts, Wayne didn’t manage to beat Carrie’s best time.
Wayne Tries Again, This Time With a Little Help From His Friend
This time around, we see the Team filling up at a gas station on their way to the lake, a scene we haven’t seen before.
Carrie, Lars and Wayne are filling up there as well. Carrie and Grant chat across the pumps, which explains how Grant recognized Carrie during attempt #3. Carrie mentions she’s going skydiving, and Grant reminds us that he’s “not so good with things in the sky”, something we found out in the plane-crash episode “Bishop (Season 1. Ep. 9).
Carrie’s group leaves the gas station, and we see another lighthearted moment between the Team. Grant asks Trevor to get him some fresh fruit, but the gas station doesn’t have any. Instead, he does his best, getting Grant a processed “fruit pie”. Grant cheerfully thanks Trevor before tossing it into a nearby trash-can as soon as Trevor turns his back.
It often strikes me how nice and understanding the Travelers are to each other most of the time. My guess as to why is that they must be incredibly grateful just to be out of their terrible timeline, to the point where it’s easy for them to be in a good mood most of the time, even with all the insanity they deal with on a daily basis.
Carrie 1.0 happily sings along to a song in the car with Lars and Wayne, unaware of her impending, repeated death.
Lars 3.0 arrives mid-skydive, and we see another Director read-out:
“Mission: ACTIVE <5008>
TELL: 48.7713N 122.1141W
Seq Init: Traveler 5009″
Yes, it’s green this time. That’s a good sign. Also, the TELL is in latitude and longitude now, which is oddly different from the previous TELLs in this episode. I don’t know why.
Notice that there are other differences here. For one, this is designated as a “NEW” mission. Interesting. Also, we can see that there is a new Traveler (5009) being transferred, even though Wayne has not yet failed his mission. Things are looking good.
We aren’t kept in suspense as to who this new Traveler is, as the truck driver who was killed by Vincent’s guard in the last attempt grabs his head and screams. Now that his death is impending, the Director sees him as fair game for a Traveler transfer.
By the way, the truck driver (Traveler 5009) looks very poised for action.
Wayne is making his way to the Team, running through the woods yelling “Maclaren!”. Grant hears him, but it looks like the Team is going to be killed again.
Wayne makes it to the shore of the lake and falls just as the scuba-men pop out of the water. This time, however, the Team is ready for them, taking cover behind some logs with guns drawn. As the Team returns fire, we see that the truck driver is with the Team as well, firing with them at the scuba-men,
Wayne is shot in the arm during the (very brief) fire-fight, The scuba-men go down, and the truck driver plus the Team are uninjured. Finally!
Here’s how it worked this time: The truck driver, having a shotgun and being closer to the action at the start of the 17-minute countdown, was able to get a lot done. He “took care of” Vincent’s guard (Wayne hears the sound of this happening via gunshot as he runs through the woods), and managed to reach the Team early enough to effectively warn them.
Wayne is injured, but, under Marcy’s care, is going to be okay. He informs the Team that they had to try many times to succeed at this mission. Obviously, it was crucial to the Director’s existence that the Team recover the meteorite, so it was worth it, I guess.
Upon hearing this, the Team looks horrified, knowing many Travelers sacrificed their lives to save them, and also that they died many times in previous timelines. That would be pretty disturbing to hear, I imagine.
The Meteorite Finally Arrives
While the Team is talking with Wayne and the truck driver, the meteorite comes down out of the sky right in front of them, splashing into the lake. The truck driver tells the Team he and Wayne have their next mission, and the Team starts their boat to recover the meteorite.
This was a pretty great episode. We got to see the Director in action from a new (closer) perspective, and that’s really cool.
We also get a new perspective on the whole time-travel thing. This opened my eyes to the fact that, technically, there could be many many more situations like this happening all the time. If no one told the Team, they wouldn’t even know that they had been killed many times before this mission succeeded. From their perspective, it just looked like everything went perfectly the first time.
We also see first-hand in this episode how stringent the Director’s ethical guidelines are. It could have just transferred into the truck driver from the start, which would likely have saved a lot of Traveler lives, but it didn’t. Those people did not have immediately impending deaths, so the Director didn’t see them as an option for Traveler transfer. This, again, makes the Director look way better than the mass-murdering Faction.
All the Director-led Travelers believe that the Faction was the group attacking them in this episode, but we know it was Vincent’s goons. What, if any, is the connection between Vincent and the Faction? It’s worth noting that Wakefield does allow for the possibility of this not being a Faction mission when he says:
“…or worse, it’s somebody else.”
It’s worse, then. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes.