The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Journeyman” episode, “Home By Another Way.”
“There so much I cant say to Henry. About who I am, where Ive been. That television is not just a fad.” – Livia
So, here we are, Episode 11. Barring a miracle, there are only two more episodes until the end. But there are groups of people out there, like Save Journeyman! trying to save the show.
Honestly, when I started watching this show I enjoyed it, but it didnt really hook me. I stuck with it: well, mostly because I was assigned to review it for Airlock Alpha. But you know what? This show has actually turned into a really great series. Anyway, more on that below. Right now lets do a quick breakdown on what happened.
This Christmas-themed episode deals with the aftermath of the events of “Blowback.” Dan (Kevin McKidd) is recovering from his gunshot wound and Jack (Reed Diamond) finally believes his brothers time travel stories.
Meanwhile, Katie (Gretchen Egolf) is trying to deal with the trauma of being held captive at gunpoint by Bennett (Raphael Sbarge) in the last episode, while currently cooking under the pressure of hosting a party for Christmas Eve… oh, and did I mention Dans mom (Barbara Tarbuck) will be visiting? Poor Katie.
Of course things take a turn for the worse when Dan is fired from his job, along with 25 percent of everyone else at the paper. Dan is suddenly zapped back to Christmas Eve of 1979. There he runs into his dad again, played by Joel Gretsch (“The 4400”), at the newspaper. Although he should know better by now, Dan is convinced that he needs to stop his dad from leaving his family. But Livia (Moon Bloodgood), who zaps in to help, is convinced it has something to do with saving the life of the newspapers owner.
Dan keeps zapping back to that night, while Katie and Jack try to cover for him. Of course, that causes Jacks girlfriend, Theresa (Lisa Sheridan), to become even more suspicious than before that Dan is a loon. After Jack catches her snooping in the medicine cabinet, she admits that she is pregnant (surprise), and worried that mental illness may run in the Vasser family.
Between all this and Katies flashbacks to the events of the last episode, it is a hectic Christmas Eve for all.
But things work out, as they usually do for Christmas-themed episodes. Dan uncovers dirt on the current owner of the paper that saves everyones jobs, Jack and Theresa are going to give parenthood a try, Katie gets help from an unexpected person (Dans mom) and Dan makes it back in time for the party.
Another interesting tidbit is that we learn that Livia is going to get married back in the past to a man, Henry, with whom she hasnt revealed her time traveling tendencies.
Again we get a strong episode in the writing department. So many shows just ignore traumatic events when the next episode rolls around, but “Journeyman” is doing a good job of showing how the characters deal with and grow from these experiences.
I actually like Jack now. Im glad the writers finally had him find out the truth and start helping his brother. Im really enjoying seeing the relationship of Jack and Theresa evolving. It would probably be best to let her in on the secret though, but at least this way the writers can cause some tension without making Jack a complete jerk.
The time traveling was well done. Again, not really as strong as the story in the present, but this time both storylines were so intertwined they strengthened each other well. It is easy to see why there is so much focus on relationships and character development rather than piling on elaborate scifi stuff (not that there is anything wrong with that). Most of the writers and directors have worked on big name shows that are non-scifi dramas like “West Wing” and “ER.”
What Didnt Work
Grrr, Argh: what is up with the framing of these shots? Is this a stylistic choice or were they in a rush? This episode was riddled with half faces and negative space (empty space devoid of meaningful information) big enough to fly a plane through.
Oh, one more thing. What the heck was with that party at their house? They had dozens of no-name guests, super fancy decorations, and even a choir. Werent they complaining in an earlier episode about the money getting low? Katies new job must pay well. And who the heck were all those people?
Beside the technical complaint and the “say wha?!” moment with the party, it was an excellent episode. Im sorry to see that the series will probably end.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Home By Another Way” was written by Tom Szentgyorgyi (“NYPD Blue”) and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (“ER”). “Journeyman” airs Monday nights on NBC at 10/9c.
Marx Pyle is a staff writer for Airlock Alpha, writing out of Vancouver, B.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.