In this episode of Journeyman, Dan disappears off of a jet in 2007 and winds up delivering a baby on an airplane in the 70s. In the present, things only get more difficult as Katie and Dan try to deal with his journeys.
So, if I didn’t know better, I’d think this series was all about Dan going back in time to give advice to pregnant women. In the premiere, a woman decides not to abort her child after he says he’d really like to get home to his. And here he not only delivers another woman’s baby but then, on his second journey of the episode, drops pearls of wisdom that convince her to tell her daughter about her absent father.
Fortunately, his journeys are more than that, and often go in an expected direction. In the premiere, it was about keeping Neal Gaines alive and talking to his wife so that their child was born…and then in the end, stopping Neal from killing all of them so the kid can go on to be a Doogie Howser.
And in this one, Dan’s third journey helps the daughter — now college-aged and orphaned — meet her father, only to find out the fairy tale her mom told her was a lie, and he wants nothing to do with her. Then the dad gets cancer, and Dan convinces the daughter to be tested as a bone marrow match, and you’d think this part of the episode is all about reconciling the father/daughter. But instead, it’s about the daughter, Tanna, being a match for someone else at the hospital who goes on to fly humanitarian missions. And yeah, it’s still kind of twee, but at least its not entirely predictable. Unless of course, we start expecting things to not go as expected.
But the real fun of the episodes aren’t so much about the people Dan tracks, but about the people he knows in the past and present. For instance, this episode had Dan crawling around his past-self’s apartment (after stealing his own 90s-era cellphone charger) to avoid being seen by past- Dan, Jack, Livia and Katie during a football game, and later being chased through the streets by Jack, at the time a uniformed cop, after paying a 1995 cabbie with a 2007 $20.
The contrasts between the present and the time periods he visits, are great, too. There’s nothing quite like watching Dan and Katie go through present-day airport security, only to have Dan go into the bathroom of a 2007 747, and exit into the smoke- and music-filled cabin of ’70s 747 with dancing in the aisles, kids with toy guns and full meals on actual plates…while Katie gets a tiny bag of peanuts dropped unceremoniously in her lap on what may have been the dullest flight ever (until Dan disappears, the plane turns around and Katie is questioned by the feds.)
And of course the glue holding everything together is the Katie/Dan relationship. I think other shows might have given us weeks upon weeks of Dan trying to hide what’s going on, and then when Katie finally finds out she doesn’t believe him and thinks he’s crazy and DRAMA! Manufactured drama of the worst kind.
But Journeyman did it right. She’s confronted with the weirdness in the pilot, there’s some drama and by its end, she gets some proof about what’s going on. And now, while you get the feeling she would rather not believe this is happening, she’s taking it in stride (sort of) as the myriad ways in which their lives are changing get pulled to the forefront. It’s just nice, and they’re possibly my favorite TV couple (though, Firefly’s Zoe and Wash do give them a run for their money).
That’s it for episode two of Journeyman. Stay tuned Friday for number three, fittingly titled “Game Three.”