In the final episode of Journeyman, Dan meets another traveler.
Perfidia has Dan traveling back a mere six months and landing in a mental health facility where he meets Evan Pattison (Don McManus). At first, Dan doesn’t believe he’s a traveler, but because Evan is the only one hanging around, Dan assumes he must be the mission and helps him escape the facility — where, by the way, Evan says the sedatives he was on kept him from traveling.
Turns out, Evan was telling the truth. He’s been doing this for 15 years and was happily married for most of it until his wife died in a car crash. From there, he spent his journeys just trying to keep her alive but only ever made things worse, until the day he interrupted the first time they ever met and erased their life together. Only now, he’s gotten a little obsessed with her, and keeps searching for some glimmer that somewhere in the back of her mind she might remember him.
I was really worried that this was foreshadowing for Dan and Katie — even now, I thought maybe there was something I had forgotten over the past few years. This fear was not alleviated when Katie’s sister, Anette, kept trying to push her into buying a new house “as insurance *ahem* an investment…” She clearly has no faith in the Dan/Katie relationship (but I have to say, I get where she’s coming from about not wanting to stay in the house where Dan was shot and Katie held hostage).
Meanwhile, Dan learns that — no matter what he and Livia try to do to help in in the past — Evan keeps winding up dead without the chance to reconnect with his once-wife (now married to a high-powered lawmaker). They finally make it happen in a way that gives Evan some peace and closure…and then Evan has a heart attack and still dies. But, they realize, this all happens on the first day that Dan ever traveled.
So Dan wonders, does one traveler have to die before another starts? What an excellent question for Elliot Langley, who after being dogged by Jack all day, shows up in an elevator at the newspaper (great timing, doc). Dan begs him to tell him what’s going on, to which Langley monologues:
“How did Democritus discover atomic structure half a millenia before the atom was even conceived? How did the Incas build perfect clay replicas of airplanes in 500 AD? These temporal anomolies in the historical record needed explanation, so the Thurn-Tippet group obtained a grant to find…anomalies and try to account for them. And that’s how we discovered a very select cadre of people,” who change realities.
“You have an incredible gift and that’s why I’ve kept my distance recently. When anyone, especially people you love know the truth about you, it puts them at risk. Imagine having the ability to manipiulate a time traveler. Imagine what some would do to get that ability, which is why I will never admit to anyone that I know anything about you.
It’s more dangerous than you can ever imagine and people are watching me.”
Great. More fuel for the demise of Dan/Katie. Perhaps Dan is thinking the same thing, because when he talks to Katie that night, and she’s excited about trying the sedative thing, he tells her that he can’t do that. Look at all the people he’s helped. Imagine all the people he could help still. He doesn’t see his journeys as a curse anymore, but a calling. But he worries for Katie and Zack, and he’d understand if that was too much for her to handle. Katie has other thoughts.
“You said something, that first night when you dug up the patio. You said you’d always come home. Where do we stand on that? Do you still mean it?”
“Then I’ll leave a light on.”
I really wish, Katie had said “Then I’ll always be here,” because it has better symmetry and doesn’t remind me of old Motel 6 commercials, but the sentiment is lovely, and I guess they were saving all their symmetry for the end, when Katie is in bed and Dan is stuffing his pockets for an impending journey.
Katie previously had lamented that she never sees Dan vanish, so before he goes, he sits down in a chair and calls her name. He watches her as her eyes open, she watches him vanish, and all I can think is how nicely this aligns with the scene in “Double Down,” where Dan wakes up to find her sitting in a chair watching him, both knowing that things had changed for them.
Only there, when that moment signified the start of a new relationship between them, here it’s an affirmation of that moment and an acknowledgment that things had changed again — that they were entering yet another new, mysterious phase of life together with no assurances of how it will end, but ready and willing to take the ride together.
Now, that is how do an open-ended finale.
Next up: Come back Wednesday for final thoughts on Journeyman and the Long Haul process, talk about what creator Kevin Falls said he had planned for the future and more.