In this episode, Dan loses a digital camera in 1984 causing him to lose his son in 2007.
I just watched The Terminator and Terminator 2 on Halloween, so The Hanged Man was perfect for my frame of mind. Dan’s mission revolves around getting the camera back, and it’s interesting enough, but once again, the real fun of the episode centers on the 2007 happenings.
Because as Livia (and John and Sarah Connor) will tell you, new tech lost in the past is never a good thing. By the way, it is not lost on me that Dan went back to ’84, the same year as events in the first Terminator.
In this case, 21st century technology in that time period results in some major changes. No flying cars yet, but there are holographic computers and video paper being apparently standard enough that a family newspaper has had them for seven or eight years. And therein lies the problem for Dan as we learn that a crash of the new system in 2000 interrupted the events leading up to Zack’s conception. Now Dan and Katie have a daughter named Caroline.
She’s a cute kid, but Dan doesn’t know her. It’s interesting watching him grapple with clearly knowing this is wrong/wanting to get his son back and what appears to still be a paternal instinct to protect this kid while she’s there. He’s careful of what he says and does and is very gracious when she gives him the butterfly art project she made in school. I see you, shout out to small changes that have enormous ripple effects.
Katie, on the other hand, is not so understanding when Dan alludes to changing things back. Because to her, nothing’s wrong. She has no idea who Zack is, and it’s amazing watching her shift in body language when she realizes Dan is talking about erasing their daughter. Dan, to his credit, has finally learned that it’s not a good idea to just spout off about what is or isn’t right to people who are clearly not receptive and backtracks.
But it’s a pretty stressful time, not made less so by the appearance of Katie’s sister Annette, who I think is kind of fun but would definitely be tiring. She must be pretty loaded, because after being snarky with Jack, there’s this exchange:
Jack: It’s so strange that you live alone.
Annette (laughing): Yes, in four houses!
But Annette can tell there’s something wrong with Katie and encourages her to sit down with a psychic at the house. Katie is appropriately skeptical during her Tarot reading, even when The Hanged Man (episode title!) card is turned, signifying an upheaval in life.
You know who’s no so skeptical? Dan, when he walks in and the psychic falls all over herself to say she’s never seen anyone like him and that he’s looking for something small, but important — “Zack!” Later on, she’ll do his star-birth chart or whatever and find out that he was born on the night of some comet’s very rare passing. It’d only happened one other time before — Livia’s birthday. In 1923. Okay, whatever.
Also, at Dan’s urging, Jack pressures his FBI friend to let him sneak a look at Garrity’s files on Dan. It’s a lot of stuff we already knew about plus one photo, taken by Frank Vasser at a NASA shuttle launch, of Dan as a child standing with Elliot Langley. Creepy.
When Dan confronts Langley at Livermore Labs, he tells a security guard he’s never seen Dan before in his life and is quickly ushered back inside to stare cryptically out the window as we fade to black. Was he lying? Or did something else change in the past? At this point, it’s hard to say.
Next Up: Episode 13, Perfidia. Watch it for free at hulu.com/journeyman and meet back here Monday to discuss this series finale. There’ll be a wrap-up post on Wednesday with some overall thoughts and a few related bibs and bobs from around the Internet, and then it’ll be time to think about the next Long Haul project.