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Let's Talk About Season 4 of Netflix's 'Travelers'

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | December 28, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | December 28, 2018 |


The Netflix sci-fi series Travelers unleashed its third season a couple of weeks ago, and while a fourth season has not been confirmed yet, I think it’s fairly safe to assume it will get a pick-up, so long as creator Brad Wright is game for another season. The second season of the series was one of the most binged series on the streaming network in 2017, and in between the second and third seasons, Netflix decided to exclusively pick up the tab on the show after co-producing it with a Canadian network in its first two seasons.

So, let’s assume it returns. What will that look like? (Spoilers for Season 3)

The third season finale of Travelers ended with something of a Deus Ex Machina — after a number of characters died, nuclear bombs went off in several major cities, and everything basically went to hell, the Historian, Philip, figured out a way to send Grant MacLaren back in time, to before the events of the first three seasons — in fact, to before the Travelers program had even commenced. In that pre-Travelers era, Grant managed to send an email to the Director, asking him not to send back Traveler 001 and to abort the program, because nothing that the Travelers accomplished made the future better.

The Director followed Grant’s directive, but instead of scrapping the Travelers program completely, he restarted it, presumably sending back a different 001 Traveler. When we see Marcy and David meet on the bus, we don’t actually know if the Marcy we’re seeing is the original Marcy or one that is being inhabited by a Traveler from the rebooted Travelers’ program.

Aside from the frustration of seeing the first three seasons essentially negated, the finale ends in a great place for the future of the series. Should Netflix pick it up for a fourth season, the Director could send back the same cast of characters for Travelers 2.0, or he can start all over with a brand new cast, or he can mix and match the old with the new. If Eric McCormack doesn’t want to return (because of obligations to Will & Grace, for instance, the Director can send back a new leader. Or he can send back Grant and place him in another host body. In fact, all the characters could return in completely different bodies, or different characters could be sent back to inhabit the same hosts (and therefore, the same cast). It might be interesting, for instance, to see Grant sent back into Marcy’s body, Marcy sent back into Carly’s body, and Carly sent back in Grant’s body, while Phillip and Trevor swap bodies.

But there is a wrinkle: If the Director knows that, after each failed attempt at a Travelers’ program, he can simply reboot it again until he gets it right, theoretically the series could reboot at the end of every season with a clean slate, wiping out any gains or losses made by the Travelers. Travelers could morph into a veritable Groundhog Day in which the Director reboots the program over and over and over until he’s learned enough from past mistakes to make it right. Of course, that would completely rob the series of its stakes.

What I envision for a fourth — and potentially final — season is this: The Director reboots several more times, allowing the different permutations of Travelers to learn from a number of mistakes. Much of this can be handled in one episode that picks up the highlights of what they have learned. Mid-reboot, however, members of the Faction figure out how to destroy the Director in the future, leaving the Travelers on their own to accomplish the various missions. No more Travelers will be sent back to the past. Phillip’s knowledge of the future will cease, and the Travelers will be left with no guidance as they fulfill a major mission that changes the outcome of the future (that mission theoretically could entail assassinating a certain President who ignores an abundance of evidence proving the existence of man-made climate change).

The twist, of course, is after they accomplish this mission, they also leave a message for the future, which will allow the Director to avoid its future destruction. Once the Director is back online and the future of humanity is saved, the Director will be able to send messages back to the Travelers, who will continue living their lives in the present while we also get a glimpse of the restored future.

The end … until season five, when someone from the present is sent to the future to kill Grant McClaren.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Netflix