"Travelers" Marcy (TV Episode 2016) Poster

(TV Series)

(II) (2016)

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10/10
A perfect blend Warning: Spoilers
Back in episode 6 I wrote a pretty scathing review of what happens when bad writing badly lets down an episode and throws out all immersion. For me it was especially annoying as it ruined not only a strong regular cast but a fantastic performance from a talented actress. This episode is the antithesis of that one.

+++ SPOILERS +++ stop reading now

One of the hardest things to do in this sort of serialised drama is create tension because ultimately unless you are GoT you know the main characters are not just going to get bumped off regularly. Writers, therefore, have to work much harder to create losses to the audience that are both meaningful and allowable. We saw this in the previous episode (come on he was never going to die). This episode is sci-fi at its greatest, because by rewriting some of the rules of what is possible, and then properly sticking within those rules, you create some incredible situations that really leaves the audience wondering.

Is Marcy still Marcy? I once read, in the excellent Iain Banks culture novel, Surface Detail, that it is explained to a character that the clone of her that was created is more similar to her at the moment she was cloned than she would be from going to sleep one night and waking up in the morning. It really makes you wonder what a transfer of consciousness really entails, and as Mac puts it in this episode if we are more than just the sum of our memories.

But this is more than just an academic question to the characters. Marcy (& David) suffer a real loss. And the episode (and previous ones) are excellent and building up to it. There is a real tenderness in their relationship, a finally fulfilled ache. The cinematography that accompanies their scenes is wonderful, and both are accomplished performances.

But like in episode 6 the show is stolen by the performance of a member of the cast who is not a regular, but even this just adds to the wonderful craftsmanship of the episode as a counter-point to the emotions felt. Where Marcy is soft and loving Grace is cold and calculating; but then I suppose when you hold the very essence of someone as an algorithm that is how you would view the world.

No poor writing here to create false drama. No-one acting stupid. All characters set in motion from the start and playing out naturally. The loss was painful, yet leaves hope. Bittersweet. A perfect blend.
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