Long Haul: Journeyman 1.10 — Blowback

Blowback doesn’t waste any time before Dan gets shot by Aeden Bennett, journeys and struggles with a philosophical question. And even though I’m not entirely sure what to think about how it all works out, I adore this episode.

Apparently some time has passed between the last episode and this one, because Zack’s back in school and presumably Dan attended his Jack-appointed psych appointment. But the point right now is Katie and Zack leave, and who should walk in the door and shoot Dan but the recently released from prison Aeden Bennett (whose name I misspelled all last post, but I’ve never seen Aeden spelled that way before).

Fortunately for Dan, he journeys right about then, leaving just a puddle of blood and a confused convict in his kitchen. With some help from Livia, he gets patched up in a 1980 hospital and goes back to the house were he first arrived.

A boy lives there, and had been locked in a room. With some coaxing, he leaves the room and Dan helps him make a “pizza sandwich” — ketchup on bread — because the piece of chicken belongs to his dad, who we’re told several times throughout the episode will kill him for this or that. Dan looks at him in such a way that it’s clear he sees a lot of his own son in this kid, and can’t believe anyone would treat their child this way.

 So, it would seem Dan is here to try to help this boy. But soon we learn the boy, played by Colin Ford, also known as Young Sam Winchester on five episodes of Supernatural, is none other than young Aeden Bennett.

Dan gets scary angry and descends on Young Aeden. demanding to know what he did wrong. Did he kill a cat? Fight at school? There must be some reason he’s locked up! There’s one moment where you can really see Dan struggling with what he should do with Aeden. It’s the age-old “if you saw Hitler as a kid, would you kill him?” question, and it seems like — if not for the knowledge that no show is going to make its star a child killer — he just might give in to that instinct.

But he doesn’t, and it turns out Aeden said he hated his mom for leaving him with his dad and now wants to know why Dan is so angry with him. Dan tells him that in the future Aeden will be the one who shoots him and maybe hurt his family. But when Dan, still having problems with his injury, needs help, Young Aeden comes to his aid and gives him one of his dad’s shirts.

“But ‘he’ll kill you,’ ” Dan says of Aeden’s father.

“Then that’d be good for you, wouldn’t it?” Aeden says.

Meanwhile, in 2007, Katie’s got problems. Aeden, posing as the repairman they were expecting, holds her hostage and generally is exceedingly creepy as he makes her put on an apron and fix him lunch — no fake Lunchables, thank you very much, because THAT’S CUTTING CORNERS!!

Yeah. Aeden has mommy issues.

And Garrity, who turns out to not be there on the FBI’s authority after all, is meeting with Jack again. He shows him security footage from the 1970s airport Dan was in during Friendly Skies and then a photo from the 2007 airport in the same episode — both clearly featuring Dan.

Jack plays it cool, saying the other guy can’t be Dan, and it doesn’t look like Dan broke any laws.

“Unless you count the laws of physics” Garrity says before saying what Dan can do and what he can know could — at the very least — make someone very wealthy.

“They always need cash. It always trips them up…” Garrity mutters to himself. So, clearly he knows more than he’s been letting on. He’s not an honest guy and clearly is coloring outside the lines on this one, but…I kind of like Garrity a little bit.

And that’s not all. While visiting with Hugh about Garrity’s rogue status, who should Jack see but Livia, pulled forward into the future at the same time a very unwell Dan was after talking to Young Aeden. He’s freaking the hell out but sobers up when Livia gets him to realize that Dan’s been shot and needs help.

I love the hell out of this scene. I love the shock and utter disbelief that Reed Diamond plays through most of it before shifting subtly over to fear once he hears and processes what Livia is saying about Dan.

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Seriously, Reed Diamond is the only reason I initially tuned in to Dollhouse two years later, and Journeyman was the first thing I’d seen him in.

But anway, Jack picks up Dan at the hospital, gets filled in on everything and they race back to the house and argue with Aeden over the phone. When Dan busts through the back door, Aeden marvels at how he’s not hurt anymore.

The first time I watched Dan’s arrival, I was very disappointed. Because wasn’t entirely clear to me if Dan’s not hurt because — much like the wine seemed to have aged 30 years in “Winterland” — traveling had somehow made his wound age/heal up so that now all he was dealing with was a raging infection because the antibiotic he got in 1980 wouldn’t do anything for 2007 bugs.

And that sort of undoes all the panicked “Dan’s been shot!” tension that Livia introduced with Jack and that I love. But the more I think about it now, the more I realize that Aeden probably just means Dan isn’t bleeding profusely from a bullet hole. And that’s a little better, even if Dan’s bursting through the door is not quite congruous with his previous “I can barely move without wincing” expressions. 2007 probably has better pain drugs, too.

But this is also where I start to be unsure of how I feel about this episode.

Because while Aeden is busy not shooting Dan (again), there’s time for a little conversation, where Dan says he doesn’t think Aeden’s problems are about his dad’s abuse, but about his mom leaving him. “Because she didn’t love (him) enough to take (him) along with her.”

“Oh, come on! You don’t think I haven’t heard this from at least 50 court-appointed shrinks!”

Dan says he doesn’t think Aeden told anyone. And, by the way, why didn’t Aeden let his lawyers file an insanity plea? Because he *thinks* he’s normal.

And it kind of seems to me like Dan is not just blaming Aeden’s mom for everything Aeden did, but also for his mental state. And I don’t think you can do that. Having a bad childhood does not absolve one of responsibility for their own actions — even if life (probably) would have been better for Aeden had she taken him. Aeden was abducting kids — and given what we saw in “Emily” I don’t believe for a second it was “to give them a good home” — and that’s on him. It’s not on his absent mom or his abusive dad. Also, I don’t think “My mommy left me,” is grounds for an insanity plea.

So, at face-value, I don’t particularly care for this conversation. Fortunately, I also think it’s not unreasonable to assume that Dan is just trying to keep Aeden talking so Jack can sneak up behind him and everything can be over. Which happens, and bloodlessly, unless you count poor Garrity who had shown up earlier looking for Dan and got shot for his effort. *Sniff* Poor Garrity, we hardly knew ye.

With Aeden gone, everybody safe and an apologetic Jack finally on the same page as everyone else, maybe things are looking up for the Journeyman clan.

Next up: Episode 11 – Home By Another Way. Watch it free on hulu.com/journeyman and meet back here Wednesday to talk about it.

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