Thursday, June 14, 2007

Traveler: Making great time

Already we've reached the fourth episode of Traveler, and somehow it has only been 44 hours since the museum explosion. Jay and Tyler must be covering ground in New England as fast as Jack Bauer does in L.A., and they don't even have a helicopter. They've gone from New York City to upstate New York to New Haven, and now, they're in Maine, searching for Will in his hometown. Or is it?

Well, it would make sense if it was, because the town, from what I saw, was entirely populated by shady characters. There was Maya, the owner of the bookshop "Have Books – Will Travel" (Get it? Huh?), Will's sometime girlfriend and co-conspirator, who confided a mysterious key into Jay and Tyler's safekeeping before getting captured by the Conspiracy. There was a man calling himself Daniel Taft, who tried to blow the boys up. Naturally, this involved the guys escaping at the last moment and running away from the big explosion behind them. I mean, come on. The show couldn't call itself a thriller if nobody ran away from an explosion, right?

And finally, there was the Porter, making his triumphant return. For me, this guy is the most interesting character on the show, because, as far as we know, he's playing on his own side. He's not part of the Conspiracy, he's not in league with the feds, and he's not officially allied with Jay and Tyler. The show has been very smart to keep the Porter's appearances to a minimum, except that it's made me care less about "Who is Will Traveler?" and more about "Who is the Porter?" There have been so many conspiracies, on so many shows, that it's refreshing to see a shadowy character who's not involved in one.

Since we're halfway through Traveler's run already, it's time for the show to start giving us some answers. Although in the case of one of them, I had forgotten that a question existed in the first place. The big mistake in Agent Marlow's past: she "got soft on a suspect" and another agent died. I can see where this is bad, but if it really bothered her – or if the experience had really changed the way she treated suspects – she wouldn't be the only one at the FBI expressing misgivings about all the mounting "evidence" against Jay and Tyler. Even when the FBI was confronted with an internet video that was supposed to show Tyler, in a variety of places and at clearly different times, delivering a single manifesto, Marlow was the only one who had any concerns about it. And while I appreciate the fact that not everyone at the FBI is blindly accepting the evidence that the Big Frame-Up is putting in front of them, these Marlow/Chambers "with all due respect, sir, you're wrong" scenes are getting old. In fact, it may be the same scene each week. I'll have to check on that.

In the final moments of the episode, Jay and Tyler finally got a glimpse of Will, very much not dead, and, it appears, having done a subtle something to his hair, at a train station. But a train went by just then, of course, blocking Jay and Tyler's view (curse you, trains, for always hiding important things from view!) and allowed the Conspiracy time to hustle Will into a sinister white van.

From the previews, it looks as though we'll finally start to hear from Will himself, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Yes, the show is all about discovering the truth about Will, but I think Will is effective as a mostly unseen presence, the few flashbacks colored by his later betrayal, and his motives unclear.


tiff said...

Hey, you're over at Zap2it now? Cool!

I'm loving this show, it's just enough excitment and pretty people to keep me interested. And I think just an 8 episode run is perfect, so the story never drags.

Lori said...

Yep, we're simulblogging on Zap2it, so you can find us there. And, of course, there'll be original content on Glowy Box.

You're right about the 8 episode run being just perfect. If it had to include all the twists and turns of a regular season mystery, it would probably meet the same fate as every other serial this year. This way, we know we'll get answers soon.