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The third season of Travelers would have been excellent anyway. MacLaren struggling against his own erased memory, the team dealing with a traveler who got into the body of a serial killer, the deadly chess match with the Faction, the unreliability of the director, members of the team grappling with all kinds of personal lethal crises—all of that with the customary repartee about our culture, as seen from the distant future, and true-to-life dialog like "You only ever wear a third of your wardrobe, anyway," (MacLaren's wife Kathryn to MacLaren; for me it's more like a 10th) made for a series of episodes as good as those in the first two seasons. But the ending of season three made for something very different, and lifted the series to a whole new level.
I can't remember the last time I saw a whole series upended, rebooted, as early as the end of the third season. Usually that happens years after an original series has concluded, and is brought back for a new shot. Actually, I do recall one time. It was right after the Super Bowl in 2003, when Alias reinvented itself by pulling the rug out from under the central premise of the series in an episode that was in the middle of the second season. (I won't say more, in case you haven't seen the series. See my essay in Alias Assumed if you're interested.) Although that happened in Alias a lot earlier than the end of the third season, and was brilliant and shocking indeed, it was not as literal and stunning of a reboot as we saw at the very end of Travelers 3.10.
At that point, one of our team members, Marcy, is dead (David is, too). Trevor's only partially cured of his aphasia, Philip has visions of multiple realities, and MacLaren's wife is now 100 percent sure that he's not the person she married. I suppose the series could have continued within that framework. Major characters have died with regularity on other series—but at that point, the team and its aspirations were in such tatters, Marcy and David's deaths was so heartbreaking, not to mention our world in a nuclear war, that it was almost a relief to see "fail" as the computer's assessment for this three-year mission. And what came after, the indication of a whole new mission about to "begin"—a different way to save the future—couldn't have been more exciting and effective. The director hadn't forsaken our team. It had just pushed them over a cliff, in the hope/expectation that enough of them would land on their feet, and pick up the battle on a new terrain.
It's not clear at this point and that's part of the fun. Who on the team will remember what in the next season (which I'm assuming there will be, for this now especially masterful time-travel series). MacLaren, back in 2001, clearly is the same traveler we saw in the first three seasons. But Marcy and David are different. David, of course, was not a traveler, so what we saw was just him in 2001. Presumably, Marcy was the way she was in 2001, as well, before the traveler arrived in her head in the first season. And the others? It's not impossible that there will be a whole new team of travelers. I've seen that suggested in various reviews, but I think it would be much more satisfying to see how the team we know fares in this new reality. We have a lot invested in them.
From its outset, Travelers has had a brashness, a directness in working with the paradoxes, that you don't usually find in time-travel series. Now it has done this on the meta-level, smashing and reconfiguring the very ground of the series itself. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.