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Why did Philip, the only one who could remember exact departure times, know MacLaren would die in the building pursuing the team if in the original timeline they would already be dead?

  • Historians know the time, place and manner of death; that information would've remained the same whether they were there or not. MacLaren's case capturing Jonah Walker and the team's first mission assassinating Jonah was engineered to overlap.
    • But that only makes sense if MacLaren would have been there in the first place to fall down the elevator shaft which seems extremely unlikely. Why would he have been in that building? It can't be that you die at the specified time regardless of what happens because the whole point is to save lives.
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    • In the original timeline , before coming across them. He was tracking a suspect that went on a killing spree and fell to his death during the black out . The team already took out the suspect when he found them. In this new timeline he was tracking them, so he ended up in the original place of his death except for a different reason.
      • The first episode has MacLaren specifically state that 'Jonas Walker hasn't left his house in a week' as a reason he would look into the chatroom messages. The FBI clearly had him under some level of surveillance at the time, and if the chatroom hadn't popped up presumably MacLaren would have continued the surveillance and followed Walker to the building instead of following the chatroom messages.

How do they actually save the people they jump into? People who are killed by misadventure make sense since the Traveler just has to avoid that event. But the Engineer is dying of lung cancer, Marcy hit her head, and Phillip had just injected himself with a fatal dose of heroin.

  • Travelers possess the bodies JUST before the events leading to their deaths unfold. Phillip is possessed BEFORE he injects himself, Marcy hits her head but that wasn't how she was gonna die, she was going to be raped and murdered, Carly was going to die when she struggles with Jeff's gun and it goes off, but she gets possessed and doesn't struggle, just kicks ass. The Engineer, as well as the reinforcements, were basically a suicide mission. If they succeed, temporal paradox and never been born. If they fail, they die trying. Note that this is a major plot point a couple of times. I.E: a suicide bomber and his victims are scheduled to be possessed, yet the traveler!bomber fails to disarm it in time.
    • Which is actually extremely questionable. The bomber and the family in the car are extremely questionable decisions given that the transfer process is not 100% reliable, and ALL of the Traveler's lives depended upon a specific Traveler transferring successfully. If the bomber or the driver had misfired all the Travelers were going to be dead.
  • The death that was prevented in the Engineer's case was the host's assisted suicide. While the host was already dying, without the euthanasia it wasn't happening quickly enough to affect her mission.

Protocol Five doesn't make any sense. It says "Maintain your host's life" but the host was supposed to die. Picking up where the host left off necessarily causes changes to the timeline that would be avoided if they simply pretended to be dead.

  • The show's time travel rules are a combination of "minimize impact to the timeline" AND "maintain cover." Remember, Protocol 1 is "The Mission Comes First." Presumably that overrides the others. Yes, maintaining the hosts life causes changes, but that apparently has been deemed an acceptable risk in the fact of preventing multiple extinction level events.
    • The bulk of the characters possessed also had close friends and relatives that would have reported them missing - Marcy's case worker, Trevor's parents and schoolmates, etc. MacLaren in particular - you'd have to believe the FBI would dedicate a decent amount of resources to an agent that suddenly went missing. The Travelers can't do what they need to do if there is constant danger of somebody calling the police or FBI to report they've seen the missing people. Ideally they'd possess people like Philip that had nobody who would really care if they went missing, but since they identify their targets lives through official records and social media, its presumably rather rare to find somebody that can just drop their lives and disappear without SOMEBODY noticing, so they have to maintain their host life to raise a minimum of suspicion.

Why didn't the reinforcements for The Engineer shoot to kill? They say they can't just kill people as that would interfere with the timeline, but they were just gonna blow the place up and kill them all anyway.

  • It appears the majority of Travelers seem to be reluctant to use lethal force unless need be. Perhaps a result of coming from a future where humanity is nearing extinction has bred in them a reluctance to cause grievous harm. Only in the revamped timeline did they get more murderous Travelers. Also, Travelers who have been trapped in the past for extended period of time have developed a more cynical and brutal outlook as seen with Hall and his group. New Travelers seem to look at the world with a certain innocence and wonder. It's the Travelers who spend more time on mission and in the past who gain a more ruthless edge. The ones who came back from the Helios mission where New Travelers who marveled at a bear, showing their more humane nature.
    • There is time to escape the situation (the main Travellers do so), it's a possibility that the gun-wielding Travellers were trying to deter anyone who wouldn't listen to people in uniform and have them back off with the threat of being shot in order to protect them.
  • The short answer is that they didn't shoot to kill because the Director didn't tell them they could and they followed the Director's orders without question.

What exactly are the changes that have been done to Philip and other historians? It's implied that they've been changed somehow in order to store the amount of information for historical records, but at the end of S 2 E 2, Philip gets a communication from a messenger to 'access memory chain 71985VX', and then is given a load of information. So it sounds like their minds are changed to handle memory like a computer now. But, my understanding of the time travel is that it's the consciousness only, which would imply that something's done to the mind rather than the brain. Or, can only certain potential hosts receive a historian's consciousness? The mind being software, the physical brain being hardware. Could tie in with Marcy's situation also.

  • The Marcy situation helps explain this to some extent. Marcy's "upload" was repackaged to avoid the damaged areas of the brain, and basically fit an entire mind in part of a brain. There's nothing to suggest that historians' uploads couldn't be packaged to make more efficient use of the brain, particularly if their base personality undergoes a similar pruning process.

How the hell are the Travelers with straight, male, married hosts supposed to follow both the rule "Keep living the life of your host as if nothing happened." and the rule "Don't make babies."? The Travelers with female bodies could just have abortions and/or secretly go on the pill, but how are the guys supposed to prevent their wives from consceiving without causing them to become suspicious? (Just like Mac's wife got suspicious when he wouldn't have sex with her, until his one time drugged slip led to her pregancy.) And the other male Travelers could also have a condom accident any time, with a one-night-stand who maybe wouldn't even tell them about the consequences. This problem could be easily avoided, of course, by the team medic simply giving all the guys a vasectomy as soon as they take over the host bodies - but clearly this sensible precaution is not standard operating procedure, because otherwise Mac couldn't have impregnated his host's wife.

  • It's clearly a risk, but nothing is certain and there seems to be an acceptance of the fact that Protocols are going to get broken willfully or accidentally from time to time (even if the main characters get away with it more than most teams would). Anyway, most married women would have moral and emotional objections to intentionally getting pregnant without their husband's consent, and as for casual relationships, we never see Travelers having a lot of those - quite probably for that exact reason. Though yeah, mandatory secret vasectomies would be prudent.

Why is Marcy such a negligent fuck up as a doctor, even after she's been "reset" and should therefore be able to do her job properly? Aside from the irrationally missing vasectomies mentioned above, why does she still try to wean Philip off with street heroin? Why not even try Methadone or similarly longer-acting, non-euphoria-enducing opioids that can be taken as pills (thus removing the need for needles and top-up doses in the middle of a mission), are less likely to be accidentally overdosed, and don't lead to such a rapid high-crash cycle? There's a reason why the stuff is used in heroin addiction therapy when the goal is just to keep the patient from experiencing debilitating withdrawal symptoms! And the option was mentioned by Ray in the first episode, so it's not that the writers are pretending Methadone doesn't exist in the show's setting. Also, why is she apparently not even bothering to get Philip (and Trevor, given the revelations in season 2) tested for HIV and Hepatitis? Statistically, 50% of intravenous drug users in North America have a Hepatitis infection that will cause them to need a new liver a decade or two later. And given that Philip's host was a college drop-out with no contact to his parents and no apparent means to earn an income, it's not unreasonable to assume that he financed his expensive drug addiction with sex work. So why is there not even a single mention of these possible complications on the show, even just with a throw-away line like: "I've got your test results, and you're lucky. But use only the needles I gave you from now on."?

Why would Philip already have condoms stashed besides his bed in the beginning of season 2, when he took the Manic Pixie Dream Girl fellow Traveler the writers threw at him back "home" and had sex with her for the first time? He clearly stated that he wasn't interested in dating in the first season (and he was too busy / depressed / doped-up to have much of a libido in any case), and this happened almost immediately after the end of the first season. And even if he did get laid off-screen, which he doesn't seem the type for (he doesn't even understand the purpose of online porn), he would never take a one-night-stand back into Ops instead of just paying for a hotel room. The only people he ever let into Ops were the team, occasionally other Travelers, and Ray, whom Philip doesn't even like much. And all the other team members were in budding romantic relationships in the first season. Well, except Trevor, who thankfully had too much scruples to have sex with his host's teenage girlfriend. But since the sex with Manic Pixie Dream Girl was quite blatantly thrown in to destroy the possible asexual reading of the character that resulted from his statements in season 1 and because the writers weren't comfortable with the fact that most of the fan-made stuff about their new show was slash (just like with their old show), I very much doubt that the condoms were meant to imply that Philip and Trevor took their new bodies for a test drive when Trevor crashed on Philip's couch for a little while in season 1. (Not that this kept the writers from queer-baiting and throwing in hints about an especially attached relationship between these characters in season 2. Again, like in their last major show.)


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