The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Double Down” episode of NBC’s “Journeyman.”
It finally happened. After all, when you time travel throughout your own lifetime, its inevitable. Eventually, youre going to alter your own life.
Thats what happens to Dan (Kevin McKidd) when he returns to 1999 and saves a witness who is scheduled to testify against a gang.
Job done, he should return to his own time. However, he seems stuck and doesnt know why.
When he goes to his old apartment he figures out why: When he saved the witness, the gang made his identity and ransacked his home.
Now hes not staying to save someone else. Hes staying to save himself. If his life doesnt stay on track, he wont marry Katie (Gretchen Egolf) or have his son.
All this puts Livia (Moon Bloodgood) in an awkward position. She has to help Dan return to an illegal, high stakes poker game so his future wife can save him from himself.
Meanwhile, Katie decides to return to work, encouraged by an old friend at the station who is now in a position to offer her a part-time job. And Dans police officer brother, Jack (Reed Diamond), has found the stash of cash in the closet and investigates.
Eventually, Dan sets his own timeline straight and returns, happy to be there when his wife wakes in the morning.
Unfortunately, when pressured by the FBI to reveal where he discovered the bill that was stolen in a notorious plane highjack, Jack rolls over on his brother and gives him up to the feds.
Im glad they addressed the issue of interfering with Dans timeline. After all, its hard to imagine it not coming up since he only travels in his own lifetime.
Also, the handling of his unconventional relationship triangle — Dan, wife, “dead” fiancÃ© — was done well. Livia finally saw part of the downward spiral that nearly engulfed him after she disappeared. She began to understand how difficult that time was for him and how important Katie is to him, but they didnt allow the characters to become too emotional.
Thats good. After all, this isnt daytime television.
Also, the writers are doing a good job of tying together previous storylines to create a credible mythology. Otherwise, we would end up with a superficial show with disposable storylines week after week.
Another strength of this show is the attention to detail in the form of the music. One style permeates the present, and past hits are prominently featured in the backward travels through time. It really helps set the mood especially since the subtle differences in the years could become muddled. Otherwise theres not much notable difference in clothes, hair, cars, etc. between now and 1999. But the image of the man singing along with “Living La Vida Loca” was a fun, mood setting image.
What Didnt Work
I dont much care for Jack. Usually, I enjoy a good villain, but I dont even love to hate him. In a previous episode, they tried to make him more likeable by showing how he would look out for his little brother, but that has failed to make me sympathize with him. And given his constant intrusions in Dan and Katies lives and his willingness to turn on his little brother, this seems very inconsistent.
So now, we have a bad guy who is no fun to like or hate. I wonder what they plan to do with him.
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
“Double Down”was written by J.R. Orci and directed by Alex Graves. “Journeyman” airs Monday nights on NBC at 10 p.m. ET following “Heroes.”