With Season 2, Travelers cemented its position as my favourite show on television (second only to Imposters). Contributing heavily towards its captivating second season were a wealth of exceptional women – characters both new and old.
These formidable females exhibited exceptional feats of all kinds, often in spite of heavy opposition or knowing for certain that they’d suffer death or dire consequences.
I take a look at the most impressive female characters in Season 2 – both those on the side of the Director and those on the side of the faction.
Expect some spoilers for Travelers’ second season.
Season 1 saw Carly (Traveler 3465) fend off and deservingly pummel her partner Jeff – a binge-drinking, wife-beating policeman – in a way that her host was never able to. After Season 1, it seemed like he might – rightly – be out of her life for good.
No child should have an absent father though, and Carly knows this. In aid of giving her son a good life, after Jeff’s sober reformation, Carly takes him back in and gives him a second chance. She even attends couples counselling sessions with him.
That takes an astounding amount of forgiveness and courage – to take someone who beat you severely back into your life. I certainly couldn’t find that level of forgiveness in my heart and I’m sure some of you couldn’t either.
Why does she do it, then? There’s the mechanics of things to consider – many of the travelers stick by their host’s partners, living their lives as normal, so as not to disrupt the timeline too severely. But this isn’t Carly’s true motive – it’s that she loves her son.
The baby isn’t Traveler 3465’s child, but – like an adoptive parent – she’s grown attached to the boy and would do anything for him, including risking her own skin, should Jeff revert back to his old ways.
And revert back, he does. Before the season’s out, Jeff proves himself unworthy of her grace – he comes home drunk, which ends in one of the most brutal domestic bouts between them, so far. One so brutal in fact, that it would have ended in death if Philip hadn’t intervened with his gentle tones and his caring, Historian foreknowledge.
Women don’t need to be on the side of good to be exceptional. Good is a subjective concept – many of the faction members truly believe they are on the “right side of history” and view the Director as a bad entity that needs to be stopped.
Jenny (Traveler 4514) uses her sexuality and smarts to manipulate our gentle Philip – using his weakness for drugs against him. Through this, she’s able to create a deadly virus that’s designed to kill most of the world’s population.
In her mind, this murderous logic seems like the “right” choice – the faction believe that overpopulation is the greatest threat to the 21st and their virus is an effort to counteract that. To her, they’re saving those who’ll remain.
Twisted motives aside, Traveler 4514’s deceit is extremely well-played – Philip might be an easy mark when it comes to drugs, but he’s no simpleton, and she deceives him wholly. And even after being caught by our team, she shows a wilful devotion to her cause.
Grace Day (Traveler 0027) – one of the oldest travelers – is head strong to the point of annoyance for almost everyone who comes into contact with her, but one bold action this season almost ended her time in the 21st completely.
When things looked dire for our team, she was the only one smart enough to come up with a plan to save a everyone. She conceived a way to bring the Director back online, only for a few seconds, but long enough for the Director to save itself and turn the tide back in their favour. And it worked.
And later on, she’s almost convicted and prosecuted for it. Grace is brought to trial in front of a board of supreme travelers and an audience that includes our team.
Even outnumbered like so, with no one taking her corner except for Trevor (Traveler 0115), she fights back with ferocious power and confidence – standing her ground to the point of arrogance. She tells the others that they should be thanking her, rather than condemning her, and she explains how she saved them all.
Luckily, the entire trial is revealed to be a ruse, in order to draw out the real turncoat and faction spy – one of the travelers who held was brought in to judge Grace. Grace isn’t convicted and lives to annoy another day.
With this, she proved herself unshakable in the face of seemingly certain downfall – she truly is a sheer monolith of will who isn’t afraid of anyone (or, at least, can make it outwardly appear as though she isn’t). You get the feeling that she’d argue her point in the face of the devil himself, if given the opportunity, and whatever you think of her character, that’s a powerful virtue to hold.
Carrie’s best efforts
Carrie was crucial to what was probably my favourite episode of Season 2. Carrie herself is nothing more than a fun-loving girl who likes to sing songs and skydive (unfortunately, to her death, which is what makes her a candidate for travelers).
The Director uses this host as a means to try to save our team from being gunned down on the shore of a lake by two assassins who emerge from the water.
Travelers 5001 through to 5006 inhabit the girl, each trying so hard to make it to the lake in time to alert our team and prevent the deaths. But they all fail – one after the other dying in new and different ways as they try different routes to the shoreline.
It’s a beautiful, cyclical plot that we see play out many times, be we never grow tired of seeing it, because we’re rooting so very hard for Carrie to succeed. We hope, time after time, that she’ll make it this time – that she’ll survive the skydive, avoid the mute guard, make it to lake in time and warn our team successfully.
She never does – ultimately it is the director’s use of some of the male hosts around her that achieve the goal. But that doesn’t take away from the exceptional bravery and effort that all of Carrie’s inhabiting travelers show.
You’ve never seen such determination and persistence – each traveler who arrives knows that the one before them failed and died, but they try anyway, for the future, quite literally, depends on them.
Kathryn suffered the ultimate loss this season – the loss of her unborn child. As viewers, we could sense it was coming. You simply don’t break Protocal 4 (do not reproduce) that easily and have no one correct your mistake.
Instead of assassination though, Grant MacLaren (Traveler 3468) was told that both Kathryn and their baby would have died, if the Director had not intervened to save his wife. Whether this was true or not, it left both Grant and Kathryn without a child.
That’s enough to break anyone, but Kathryn doesn’t sink into an abyss of sorrow. She grieves, as she should, but she’s admirably strong – telling Grant that they can “take turns being the strong one,” when he has his moments of heartache. Few people would take such a loss so well. It’s not that she doesn’t care – she does, deeply – it’s just that she doesn’t let it ruin her.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only close family member she loses this season. In the finale, she learns that Grant isn’t in fact her husband and that he died when Travelers 3468 took him over. Even though that happened a while back, the revelation of it would still knock anyone for six. For her, it’s as if she loses him for the first time right there and then, in the moment that she begins to believe he’s a time traveler (or, at least, not her husband).
That’s two heavy losses for a bold and brilliant woman, and yet, at the end of the season she’s still standing tall. She even has the will to slap Traveler 3468, for taking her husband from her, and to walk away with her head held high. That’s no ordinary woman – Kathryn is made of an iron will and strength that perhaps even some of our travelers don’t hold to this degree.
One of the most surprising and brilliant moments of this season was the introduction of the 53rd president of the United States in her youth – a young girl named Anna Hamilton (perhaps the name is a little too on the nose – close to Alexander Hamilton – but this can be forgiven).
Our team are tasked with protecting her, to ensure she survives, to fulfil her destiny as leader of a country. Even from this young age, you can tell she holds a vibrant intelligence. She’s articulate, brave in the face of men trying to kill her and she seems to come to terms with the situation (or at least, what little she knows of it) far better than any normal child would.
If the US is to be lead by anyone, it should be by someone like this little girl – once she grows into the great woman that it’s implied she’ll become. A woman we get only a small hint of, which alone is enough to make us happy to have her as a future leader.
Marcy (Traveler 3569) is perhaps the most pivotal female in the show – she’s the group’s saving grace when someone gets injured, for one, which comes in handy often. So when the tables are turned and Marcy is the one in need of medical care, it’s a scary moment for her team (and for fans).
In Season 2, Marcy is set on retrieving some lost memories that are hidden deep within her host. To achieve this, she’ll go to any means. She ultimately decides to undergo a memory-retrieval procedure alone, in a bathtub.
She knows full well that there’s a strong chance she’ll die – she even leaves a note for David, intended for him only if she does pass away (but he gets sight of it anyway). This is a selfish act for sure (David would have been the one to find her body, as he points out, plus her team need her alive, to help save the future), but it’s also an act of great bravery.
The memories weren’t crucial to her survival – she could have let them be, but she wanted them so badly that she risked her own life to get them. It’s just one of the many moments of bravery exhibited by Marcy throughout the show, and in this instance her act actually shed light on their enemy – Vincent Ingram.
Travelers is full of great characters – both male and female – and Season 2 held of too many exceptional women to cover here. Let us know if we missed any of your favourites and tell us why you love them.
Image credits: Showcase, Netflix