The Second Season Finale of 'Travelers' is B-A-N-A-N-A-S
The first season of the Canadian series, Travelers, aired on Netflix over the holidays in 2016 and provided a welcome sci-fi surprise that was the perfect balm for that time of year: It had a great premise, a likable cast, and compelling storylines that were complex but not complicated. It was escapist, but not dumb. It was binge-watching candy with a great hook — sending the consciences of people in the future into the bodies of people in the present seconds before they died — but it never sacrificed on character to serve the bigger story.
Season two returned again over the holidays and provided mostly more of the same, although the second season deepened the mythology and stripped it largely of the case-of-the-week episodes. I found the latter aspect somewhat disappointing, because part of the allure of Travelers is watching people from the future take over the bodies of those in the present and attempt to integrate into their new lives with families they don’t know and jobs with which they are unfamiliar. I mean, the best part of every episode of Quantum Leap was watching Sam Beckett look into a mirror and come to terms with his new identity. Oh boy.
But the second season more than made up for that loss by bringing in the always excellent Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), who plays a more convincing than I might have imagined villain by the name of Vincent Ingram. There is no Keith Mars in this character. He is cold and calculating. Ingram is the original Traveler, sent as a test subject to the World Trade Center on 9/11. He was meant to die when the Towers fell, but he couldn’t bring himself to make that sacrifice, so he escaped and used his knowledge of the future to make millions playing the stock market. Advances in technology, however, made it progressively more difficult for him to escape the notice of The Director who could — with a simple phone call — kill Ingram with some supersonic noise that would give him an aneurysm (something both Ingram’s business partner and wife learned when they answered a phone call meant for him). Naturally, Ingram took out his anger on our favorite group of Travelers and ultimately hatched a plan to escape The Director’s detection.
Meanwhile, while dealing with the overarching storyline (which also includes a rebellious sect of Travelers called The Faction), each of the major characters continue to confront drama in their own adopted lives. Again, the relationship between Marcy and David proves to be the most compelling — after having her memories erased, will Marcy fall back in love with David? (Yes, of course!) Also, can we just replace Chris Pratt with Patrick Gilmore? No one would know.
Carly continues to experience challenges with her abusive husband while trying to maintain custody of their child; Trevor has to deal with the fact that his host body was sexually abused — along with many others — by his football coach; and Grant MacLaren (Erick McCormick) has to endure his wife’s pregnancy and the subsequent devastating loss of the baby. Loner Philip Pearson (Reilly Dolman) remains probably my favorite character — he’s the historian, and after uploading the rewritten future into his brain, he has to sit with the knowledge of what could happen to his friends even as it is happening.
It all comes to a head in a B-A-N-A-N-A-S second season finale that sees Ingram kidnap the loved ones of all the Travelers and tell them that the people they love are not who they think they are. The Travelers, likewise, are forced to admit on video the truth to their loved ones — that they inhabited the bodies of their friends and family members. Those videos are released to the media, and by the end of the episode, the secret is out; the world knows the truth; the Travelers’ loved ones hate them; and Victor Ingram has transferred his conscience to his therapist.
And then it’s over. O-V-E-R. Like 70 percent of viewers, I double and triple checked to ensure that there wasn’t a secret, hidden 13th episode. There isn’t. Worse still, Travelers has not officially been renewed for a third season. The series could very well end on a massive cliffhanger (and given Eric McCormick’s Will & Grace schedule, I have to imagine that Travelers takes a backseat).
If Netflix decides to pick it up for another season, however, showrunner Brad Wright suggested that the theme of season three — like the theme in season four of Black Mirror — would be Artificial Intelligence, and that we may see glimpses of the future. It’s also a relief to know that Wright has already mapped out next season. “We know where we’re going,” he said. “It’s not a question of, ‘Oh my God, we’ve painted ourselves into a corner, how do we get out of this?’ We know what we’re doing.”
Let’s just hope that Netflix and the Canadian network, Showcase, know what they are doing and renew the series for a season three post haste.