Sibling relations are tough on Journeyman — if it’s not one brother marrying his older brother’s ex-girlfriend, becoming a compulsive gambler, and then getting unstuck in time at the most inopportune moments, it’s an older brother with rage and robbery issues covering up for his mad-genius, mad-bomber younger brother in the past. Makes my fights with my sisters about eavesdropping and makeup-stealing seem pretty trivial.

Print this manifesto, or everyone gets spoiled.

Jack really came into his own for me this episode — we got to see him as more than just a sort of schmucklike, overbearing older brother who refuses to trust Dan and more as someone who cares desperately about his family, but relations are so strained from years of family dynamics — not to mention that whole Dan-marrying-Katie thing — that he has no idea how to show it other than by being a cop. So yes, he’s a hard-ass, and if he were my brother he’d drive me nuts, but we finally got to see what’s behind it all: He loves Dan, and he loves Katie, and he wants to make everything ok for them.

Granted, he’s going about it completely the wrong way — what, he didn’t think he’d ruffle a few feathers by checking into their financial records, thus causing the bank to put a hold on their credit cards?  I can see why Dan doesn’t want to share anything with Jack — he always jumps to the worst possible conclusion, so why even bother? But then we saw Jack and Katie in the past, where Katie confesses that she’s pregnant and Dan asked her to marry him. Jack was shocked and hurt — a part of him still loved Katie then, and still loves her now — but he first wanted to take care of Dan. Instead of taking the opportunity to drive a wedge between Dan and Katie before it was too late, he reassured Katie and tries to make sure his brother would be happy. That’s love.

And, funnily enough, that’s just the sort of case Dan is dealing with in the past. He’s tracking Michael and Steve Kowalchuk, young brothers when he first meets them in 1986. The boys are dealing with an abusive dad, and Michael has got some rage issues and likes stealing cars and blowing things up. Dan keeps him from being blown up by a model rocket, then gets him started on the road to repairing cars instead of stealing them. Back in the present, he suspects that Michael grew up to be a Unabomber type who killed several science types with his homemade bombs. And sure, Michael was the one with the temper, but Steve was the one babbling about fuel loads and thrust-compression rations and space shuttle explosions when they first meet.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that hey, maybe the genius is the one who blows things up.

Dan prevents anyone from dying from Steven’s first bomb, then tracks Michael down and convinces him to let him talk to Steven. Steven, being (1) a genius and (2) off his meds realizes that Dan is a time traveler, and lets Dan talk him down with (somewhat trite) explanations that love is the universal constant. I hope his newspaper articles read better than that little speech. In the present, Dan and Steven meet again, and Steven now says he knows time travel is really impossible. He still seems inordinately interested in Dan’s shoes, though. Footwear fetish, or a clue that Dan’s boots are made for walking through time?

Other highlights:

  • Zack’s Halloween costume —  a cute little bug with six arms — is utterly adorable. Less adorable: He’s found Dan’s stash of hijacked money, and is perfectly willing to talk about Daddy’s magic disappearing trick. D’oh!
  • Katie is looking to get back to work — but she’s worried that Dan will be threatened. I assume that’s because of the time travel thing, not because he’s got a problem with the little woman leaving the house. Because if it’s the latter… well, Katie can take care of herself.
  • The Vassers are having cash-flow problems, and that’s only partially because Jack got their credit cards frozen. The house needs a new roof, the bills are piling up, and newspapers are downsizing right and left. Boy, it’s tempting to dip into Dan’s hijacked windfall… but that would be very bad. It’s only a matter of time before Jack finds the cash, though, and it won’t be good when he does.
  • Jack’s girlfriend still seems awfully interested in what’s up with Dan. The jury’s still out on her…
  • Jack has a sweet, sweet cherry-red muscle car, and Dan has always coveted it. Jack never let him drove. Fortunately, he knows where Jack parked it in the past, and Livia is quite capable of picking locks and jump-starting engines. That’s a good skill to have.
  • Hugh promises Katie that Dan’s got a job as long as Hugh’s in charge. But he’s looking awfully anxious about Dan delivering some blockbuster stories.
  • Our physicist friend Elliot Langley is somehow connected with Steven the mad-bomber technophobic genius. Innnteresting.
  • On a completely shallow note, Dan waking up in the opening wearing the Halloween mask — yowza. And Jack as a cowboy wasn’t difficult to look at either.

What did you think? What’s with the shoe mentions? Is Katie right to go back to work? How long before Jack finds Dan’s cache of stolen money? What’s going to go wrong next for the Vassers?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild