In this episode, Dan’s journey gets personal and the consequences could be devastating.
“Game Three” begins with Katie and Dan walking through the house while she ponders questions like “is it something you were born with? Is it genetic, like in the DNA? That’s what I’d like to know…” and my first thought — then and now — is that she’s asking him about the journeys, perhaps worried that their son, Zack, might have the same problem. Again, I marvel at the speed with which this show let’s Katie find out about the time traveling and come to terms with it being a thing.
And then their conversation turns into a reminder about putting the toilet seat down, and I laugh at the cute but cheap joke and continue thinking Katie and Dan are kind of adorable. Because they kind of are. Sadly for them, their attempt at some morning fun time is disrupted by a jump back in time — which Katie just misses, a she always seems to.
Dan wakes up barefoot in 1989, just in time to stop a man — who just happens to be everybody’s favorite alien Star Trek doctor, Phlox (John Billingsley), from being abducted by scary men in a van. Here he’s Alan Pratt, a squirrelly lawyer with a big gambling debt. At last, someone for Dan to help who is not a pregnant woman!
Dan journeys back to the present near the paper where he works (though, the show has settled on calling it “traveling” for reasons that don’t seem good for branding). And if Dan’s two-day disappearance in the pilot didn’t get the point across, a little fact of his journeys (and Katie’s thought on all of it) is cleared up here with this bit of dialogue:
“You know the weird part? It felt like I’d been gone for 15 minutes. When I got back, it’d been three hours.”
“Dan, on my current list of weird, that doesn’t even make the top ten.”
But this is a newspaper after all — it’s even one that doesn’t make me absolutely rage over its portrayal of newsrooms (SMALLVILLE) — and it’s not long before Hugh, Dan’s editor and awesome supporting character comes in and makes some small talk implying Katie has some reporting background before pressing Dan for details about a story. It’s a big story, and Dan has a reluctant source that he’s supposed to have a call with later that day.
Pleased, Hugh leaves, but not before lamenting the latest Giants game with Katie, and could I love Katie any more? Why can’t there be a Katie on all TV shows?
Anyway, the baseball talk reminds Dan that he saw a “game three” sign in a window and that “it felt like Fall.” Does Fall really feel that different from the other three seasons in San Francisco? I’m really asking, because I have no idea.
Together, they deduce that he journeyed back to the day of a big earthquake that killed 50-some people — including Hugh’s sister Charlotte — but not Alan Pratt. Later, this understandably freaks Katie out (because what happens to Dan if he dies in the past?) and Dan reassures her that he’s never traveled back to the same day twice (in the whole two times he’s been tracking someone through time. Very convincing, Mr. Vasser!). But for now, she just asks if he’s ever met anyone he knows while traveling.
He says no, and I shake my head. Why would you tell that lie, Dan? You know it’s going to come back to bite you.
Dan ends up splitting his travels — which all go back to the day of the quake, thank you very much — between trying to help Alan and trying to save Charlotte.
Alan, who’s nearly half a million in debt, has a story you can predict and is the most straight-forwad journey Dan’s had yet. Alan doesn’t want his help, but then falls in a hole that verges on literal (with a tiny push from Dan, who, having nearly lost his family before getting straight, knows all about gambling addiction). Dan helps pick him up, and he goes on to do good things.
Sadly, Dan’s efforts to save Charlotte don’t go so well. He has three tries, and they all fail. And while he’s in ’89, he keeps running into Livia, the former fiance who disappeared after a plane crash and was presumed dead but really has been jumping all around in time and now appears to be tracking Dan’s time-traveling ways to offer guidance and whatnot. I (still) had to cringe a little in this episode, because Livia winds up in a snit once she finds out Dan married “Jack’s Katie.” A harem of jealous women is not the show I wanted.
Fortunately, she gets over it, wishes them well, and we get affirmation that Katie is the only one for Dan, now. Yay! Love-triangle angst and Jealous woman tropes averted!
Meanwhile, in the present, Dan’s job is at stake after pissing off Hugh in unsubtle attempts to get information about Charlotte and struggling to connect with his source on the big story he’s working on. Dan eventually patches things up with Hugh in a well-done heart-to-heart that does not give away his secret.
The source is another matter, though, because Dan keeps missing his call, or getting it just as the headache of impending time travel hits. Fortunately, Katie’s aforementioned background as a TV reporter comes into play when Dan forwards his cell to hers so she can try to set up a new time for Dan to talk to the source, Julius. Julius isn’t having any of that, though, and is just about to give up on the whole thing when Katie convinces him to talk to her.
This kind of annoys me, and I can’t decide if it’s because of the improbability of someone being all “Oh, I remember when you were on Channel 6 six years ago! Let’s chat!” or if it’s because Katie does all this work interviewing the person who is the crux of Dan’s story, and she’s not going to get any credit for it. Maybe it’s a little of both.
But anyway, Dan gets his story, but the hits aren’t done coming.
After Dan approaches Jack about ways one might warn people of an upcoming earthquake, Jack reaches out to Katie, saying the last time Dan was coming up with wild stories and being weird it was because he was hitting the tables. Even though they’re kind of antagonistic, he’s worried about his little brother, and it’s sweet. Well, unless he’s just worried about Katie, his old flame, then it’s awkward. And the moment is even more unclear when Katie reassures him that things are fine, because then Jack (kind of smugly) drops the Livia bomb.
“Did he tell you he saw Livia (in the delusion, as far as Jack knows, of being back in time)…I guess not.”
Katie shuts down their meeting and goes home, but by now she’s been brain-ninja’d, and that thought stays with her. Told you that lie would come back to bite Dan. Also coming back to bite him, the engraved watch he once gave Livia, which she then loaned him after his first run-in with Alan Pratt broke his.
He left the watch in his jacket and his jacket in the present on his last trip to ’89, and Katie finds it, just in time for some end-episode “Where’s Livia, Dan?!” from Katie.
Awwww. This is not what I wanted in an otherwise great episode.
Next up: Episode Four — Year of the Rabbit. You can catch it on Hulu at hulu.com/journeyman.