Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friendship conquers all on 'Traveler'

The last time we saw the boys of Traveler, Jay and Tyler had just had a nasty fight and separated. But the show has been all about them, their quest to find answers, and their reliance on each other from the beginning. How would it fare with the guys left to their own devices?

(Spoilers ahead.)

As it happened, Jay and Tyler spent a lot of time missing each other, and each found less than satisfying companionship in a woman. I don't know if the show is trying to send a message here that heterosexual life partnership is the greatest love of all, but certainly the women – Jay's girlfriend Kim and a bartender so dumb, drunk or desperate she didn't realize that Tyler was the "bomber guy" until the very end of the episode – didn't stack up favorably to the guys. Kim I have never found compelling, because "supportive girlfriend" is not the most exciting role there is and she doesn't bring much to the table beyond that. That said, she did try this week; cutting out the lights in a club so that Jay could make his escape was the most constructive, and most daring, thing she had ever done. More of that sort of thing and I just might start to like her.

But the guys weren't totally helpless without each other. Both Jay and Tyler managed to help advance the plot a little bit. Jay discovered an audio recording of Will and Joseph discussing the bomb plot, and attempted to bring this to Marlow. Tyler found a link between his dad and Freed, a former FBI guy we've seen before – he's the one played by Neal McDonough. Freed, it turned out, was also the one running the whole conspiracy at his own whim. Will and the others had never really been working for the government at all. Yeah, I'd been wondering why the government wanted to blow up a museum to get a painting. This makes more sense; or, as much sense as anything does make on a show about elaborate conspiracies.

Speaking of Will, he was nothing short of cold-blooded this week. First he strung up his arms dealer to get information out of him about the man who killed Maya. Then when Will actually found the man who killed her, Will killed him. Not for what you'd think, the whole killing Maya thing, but for getting Maya's name wrong (he called her Mary). I'm surprised that the show dared to go that far with Will, since he's supposed to be a good guy, or at least one we're meant to root for. There's a lot of shades of gray in what he's doing now, torturing and killing people for revenge, but it's paying off in a character I can't take my eyes off of when he's on the screen. I can't predict what he's going to do next, and that's why he's so exciting.

The only one who's giving Will a run for his money at this point as an intriguing character (aside from the Porter, who comes and goes as he pleases) is Chambers. Stephen Culp does a great job as this smarmy, unpleasant suit, and maybe, just maybe, there is something more to Chambers. He came down hard this week on Borjes for going behind his back to investigate ex-FBI agent and conspiracy guy Otis Whaley. It wasn't necessarily out of character, because Chambers is a controlling jerk, but with the growing insistence this week that the FBI cannot be trusted, it was hard not to believe that Chambers may be in on the whole conspiracy. Or maybe the squeaky-clean Borjes is the one not to be trusted. Oh, it's all so very mysterious.

The episode ended with Tyler coming to Jay's rescue (aw, he can't stay mad at Jay!), holding a police officer hostage to get Jay away from the FBI. Tyler wound up in a tense standoff with Marlow, both of them refusing to let Jay go, until – this was when I actually cheered – Will showed up. So now Will is back with his buddies. They're looking for answers, and, since next week's episode is the finale, they're going to get them. It's going to be great.