Finalewatch: 'Journeyman'

Journeyman ends the season right where it began, giving us plenty to chew over and savor. It's like a Möbius strip pretzel. Come on, NBC -- how can you give up on infinite, salt-sprinkled, flavorful goodness?

These spoilers will always come home.

This episode was a great way to wrap up the series, if this is indeed the end. We got a firmer grasp on what's going on with Dan, got an object lesson in the dangers of messing with the past, and heard a few more warnings on what the stakes are for Dan, Katie, and all the rest. But we know the work isn't over -- and there are still plenty of questions to be answered.

We start the episode with a bit of a shock -- Dan is in a mental hospital, bleeding and disheveled. The year? 2007. Uh-oh. Before we can panic unduly, we discover he has gone into the past -- but only by about six months. Whew. I was afraid they were going to pull some sort of bait-and-switch with us here -- "It was all a dream!"

The assignment is Evan, and he's not just any person in peril -- he claims he's a time traveler, just like Dan. He thinks Dan is there to help him reconnect with the love of his life. After a couple of false starts and moments of distrust, Dan gets the whole story -- and it's a doozy.

Evan is indeed like Dan -- he gets pulled out of time. More than that, he was happily married to Lauren, a woman he adored. But the object of one of his missions showed up later and killed Lauren for something Evan had done in the past, just like Bennett almost did. Evan was so distraught that he managed to go back to the day he and Lauren first met -- and he made sure that didn't happen. Now they wouldn't have a life together but Lauren would be alive, and Evan thought that would be enough. It wasn't. Evan is obsessed with seeing Lauren again, and convinced that if he just gets time with her, she'll somehow remember him.

And you know what? It works. He dances with Lauren again, and she starts to look at him as if she knows, like she's feeling a life that never happened but wants to be revealed. As she gazes at Evan in confusion and a little awe, Evan grabs his arm and drops dead of a heart attack. Oof.

But that's not the end of the gut-punches. As Livia and Dan watch Evan's body being wheeled away, they spot something else -- the Dan from six months ago, getting into a cab. This is the moment he first came unstuck in time. It's where he started. Was Evan meant to die that day, no matter what? Was Dan destined to get drafted in the time corps when Evan died? What the heck is going on?

We get some insight from the elusive Elliot Langley. After Jack (awesomely) flushes Langley out, he finally provides some answers: Temporal anomalies exist the world over, and throughout time. And throughout time, a cadre of travelers have had the ability to travel, to affect things -- to change reality. He doesn't know why -- no one seems to be doing anything to control it -- but he does know the dangers. If anyone were to discover this ability, they'd do anything to manipulate the gift -- and that would include manipulating a traveler's loved ones to try to influence the traveler. Everyone who knows Dan's secret is at risk -- and they put him at risk.

But there's more -- Langley says the ranks of travelers are dwindling. The system has been breaking down, and Dan is the last one. Not so, says Dan -- there's one more. But mindful of Langley's warning, he won't say who.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Let's talk about the episode title: Perfidia, Spanish for perfidy. To refresh your memory if it's been a while since you studied for the SATs, here's the definition: "Deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust; treachery."  Does this refer to the Powers that Be betraying Evan, the possibility that Katie could be manipulated (by Annette? By someone else?) to betray Dan, or the network for betraying the creators, writers, actors and fans of the show?
  • The thought of Katie betraying Dan, or becoming a liability to him, is haunting. She passed one test -- she didn't give in to Annette's urgings that she ditch Dan. But I'm thinking Annette, and whoever or whatever she works for, could be a threat.
  • Of course, Jack is just as much a potential problem -- I loved how he put Langley on the spot in his class, but that action also exposed Dan to danger from whoever is watching Langley.
  • I loved Evan, especially his explanation of how he ended up in the nuthouse: "I used to sleep in the nude, and get called away, and I woke up one too many times in family restaurants. At first, I didn't tell the authorities that I was a traveler, and then I did, once, and then I make the fatal mistake of insisting that I was, and here I am!"
  • Evan on Livia: "She's one of us. You can tell by the shoes." Again with the shoes!
  • Was the head wound and blood on the floor at the beginning of the episode really necessary? It just served to torture poor Katie even more, and the woman has been through enough.
  • Speaking of torture -- oh, poor Livia, pulled out of the shower as she was getting ready for her wedding! Of course she was panicking -- that's a stressful situation on the best of days, and she's not having the best of days.
  • Finally, I can't say enough about the fantastic actors on the show. Kevin McKidd, Gretchen Egolf, Reed Diamond -- all phenomenal. I'd watch them in anything. Of course, I'd like to watch them in more episodes of Journeyman...

What did you think of the episode? Were enough questions answered? Were you satisfied with the explanations? Who would be the biggest threats to Dan and his work? And how pissed are you that we probably won't find out?

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