I just finished the third season of Travelers and I feel I’ve been emotionally manipulated.
The ending–that the Travelers program was a failure because even though people sent from the future prevented major environmental disasters couldn’t stop the original Traveler from sabotaging the entire scheme–was understandable, and it could serve as a series ending. But then we learn we spent the last three years watching the first version of a Travelers program and a second version was about to begin.
Black Mirror had an episode with a similar theme: a dating program went through many, many extremely realistic simulations to determine whether two people were right for each other. But! That same episode had the same people in all the simulations.
Throughout this Travelers season, the whole team has started to fray, so I can see how the Travelers program, or at least this team, could be considered a failure. At least two, Philip and Trevor, are falling apart, both physically and mentally. Marcy’s consciousness already had to be replaced once and her boyfriend stumbled right into a room with a nuclear bomb that he alone had to defuse. Mac’s wife figured out he wasn’t who he said he was. Carly lost custody of her child.
And I think it’s natural that the first person in the program figured out that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to go into the past based purely on the whims of a computer crunching out countless algorithms. However, this person had no way to go back to the future and give feedback. None of the Travelers have any idea if any of their missions succeeded in changing the future–and what it meant for the Director to completely abandon their timeline.
The final scene with David and Marcy (Marcy the nurse, who didn’t run afoul of the first Traveler and become disabled) was way out of left field for this show: These two people would have met and fell in love regardless of whether Marcy’s body was taken over by a person from the future. The whole point (and hope, really) of the show is that future events can be changed and nothing is static, and love (remember Mac and Carly were romantic partners in their future lives?) is beside the point.