When identifying to another Traveler, a Traveler simply states "I'm Traveler XXXX". This seems to be a pretty cavalier way of identifying oneself to another Traveler, especially when the future is involved.

Why isn't there some form of authentication built-in to the identification, so that a Traveler knows the other self-claimed Traveler isn't a fake?

  • Can you clarify? To prevent a current time person from masquerading as a traveler, or from an unauthorized future traveler pretending to be on a mission?
    – Jason K
    Mar 26 '18 at 14:05
  • 1
    Jason, both, I would think. Faction travelers pretending to be sent by the Director, as well as people from the present?
    – chuacw
    Mar 27 '18 at 5:19

"This is traveler 3268." this is something unusual to say for the people from the present since it does not make any sense and for the future traveler pretending to be on a mission (Faction) yes this is cavalier way of identifying but there is a catch.

Mac's team come from a future where there is no faction and we see the series from their perspective. Later in the show when Mac's team get to know about faction they are more cautious and they always check the traveler number on the deep web.

Like for example in second season they go to check the Nuclear reservoir and are greeted by a traveler. Mac then asks Phillip to run a search on the traveler number and they get to know that the person is a fake, so Mac and team are cautious.


There is a simple explanation that covers most cases.

The Director sends messages to current traveller teams about which travellers are bing sent back. Unless that message is intercepted (I assume this isn't easy) the current traveller team knows what number to expect from new arrivals. If the new arrival knows the number that is pretty good proof of who they are.

In the case of two existing traveller teams communicating with each other, this is less secure. But the director will have told teams about the current identities of other teams. The Director knows the future so he should have a good handle on which current teams are reliable and can send messages to other teams about their identity. Unless a team is subverted and that has not yet been communicated to other teams by the Director, the other teams will know who to expect to meet. Presumably this creates some scope for rogue teams, but that scope is limited as the Director will be aware of the actions of a rogue team as soon as their actions leave any trace in history and will inform other teams of the identities to be wary of.


First of all, there are several instances of what a viewer might construed as a loophole in terms of the Director's Grand Plan, whether it's because the Director was created by man ("programmers"), The Director may continually be learning and updating (new future created, Archivist send nanite-encoded blood to update the Director on the current state of the 21st Century, watching The Travelers, Connecting to Ilsa), the Travelers decide to not follow Missions and/or the Protocols, and/or with third party intervention (The US Government, The Faction, Traveler 001, other 21st Century People).

The Protocols are really the first line of defense against things going wrong

  • Protocol 1 - The Mission Comes First
  • Protocol 2 - Never Jeopardize Your Cover
  • Protocol 3 - Don't Take A Life, Don't Save A Life
  • Protocol 4 - Do not Reproduce
  • Protocol 5 - In the Absence of Direction Maintain Host's Life.
  • Protocol 6 - No Interteam/Deep Web Communication, Except in Extreme Emergencies or When Sanctioned
  • Protocol Omgea - The Director will no Longer be Acting in this Timeline
  • The Director can "overide" a host or another traveler.

However, as generally mentioned above all of these protocols get contested, one way or another, so there really are no "guarantees" of success, because so much *can go wrong.

The series is written this way for a few reasons:

  1. Generates suspense/keeps us on our toes (there are a lot of fake-outs/double twists too)
  2. Creative freedom (mythology constantly expanding)
  3. Explore the imperfection of man vs a man-made IA left in charge
  4. To spawn debates about predeterminism/faith vs free will in a human survivalist story

However the series so far as been written in a way, where despite any of loopholes created, including the end result of season 3, we see that the creators of the TV series always give many of McLaren's team "a way out" of detrimental situations with either help from the Director OR little reprimanding from the Director, suggesting that McLaren's faith in the Director is justifiable, especially because of how the Faction and Vincent Ingram/001 have been written to defeat their own purpose by going about "free will" in an inhumane way.

The Director, a Quantum AI, has calculated a series of actions both large and small that will mitigate the destruction of the earth and the near extinction of humankind. This is known as the Grand Plan, also referred to as the Master Plan or The Director's Plan.

Even when The Director gives out Protocol Omega, it's still possible that it still is counting on a response to that Protocol, so even a non-action can produce a reaction or desired outcome and that is allegedly what the story is relying on, faith in The Director and the goodwill of Grant McLaren's team.

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