Have you ever wanted to dope-slap your past self for all the stupid things you’ve done? Dan gets to do just that, and then some, on Journeyman. Lucky guy.

I’ve got a bag full of hijacked spoilers hidden in the closet.

This week’s into-the-past assignment seems pretty straightforward — Dan is supposed to protect a guy who’s testifying against a drug-smuggling gang — but things go awry very early, when he drops his press ID and the bad guys get it. Now they’re gunning for Dan, and he has to protect his 1999 self. Awkward!

Past Dan was no picnic — this was seven months after Livia died, and he was just about to hit rock bottom with the gambling. Livia is there to help him out with Operation: Save Self, and she’s a bit discombobulated to see Dan and Katie cozying up so soon after her "death." But Dan’s got no time to soothe Livia’s feeling — he’s got his past, and therefore his future, to save!

First problem: Past Dan is a lying, gambling schmuck. Normally, this wouldn’t be that big a deal — it’s in the past, right? — but this particular lying, gambling schmuck night is when Katie rescued him from Downward-Spiralville, and they first started to fall in love. So Dan not only has to stop his past self from being killed, he also has to get back into the poker game in time for Katie to save him.

This becomes problematic when (a) the Drug Thugs try to snuff Dan when he leaves the poker game, (b) Current Dan has to fight — and knock unconscious — Past Dan to save himself, and (c) Past Dan, being unconscious, is in no shape to get back to the game so Katie can rescue him. On to plan b: Current Dan will take Past Dan’s place in the game. But lo! The Drug Thugs have stolen Past Dan’s money, and Dan needs at least $10,000 to get back into the game so Katie can drag him out of the game. While he’s casting around for answers, Livia disappears.

She reappears in Current Dan’s current closet — where he’s keeping all the hijack money Dylan gave him. She snags it — and just in time, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Current Dan follows the Drug Thugs to the hospital, stops yet another assassination attempt on the witness, goes back into the game and hits bottom so hard he leaves an impact crater about a mile deep. Katie’s friend Ed is in the game, and he calls her to drag him out. She brings him home, and, despite finding Dan collapsed in bed wearing different clothing when he was supposed to be puking, watches over him. Thus a great love is born.

But Current Dan’s problems are hardly over. Nope, Dan and Katie got sweet old Uncle Jack to babysit Zack while they went out, and Zack showed Jack Dan’s "play money" — the hijacked money he uses in the past. Jack filches a bill and asks someone at the precinct to check it out. That draws the attention of the FBI, who tells him the bill’s provenance. D’oh! Jack storms over to the house to confront Dan and Katie, but when he gets upstairs, Livia has already taken the money and flitted back to the past. When Katie won’t tell him anything, Jack has finally had enough — he tells Katie he’s done with the whole thing. They’re on their own.

And oh boy, does he mean it. See, the Feds come back demanding answers about where he got the bill. Jack initially puts them off — confidential source, delicate situation, let me handle it, etc. — but when the Feds start threatening his career, Jack snaps. Fine, he says — I got it from my brother. Uh-oh.

Highlight, tidbits and odds & ends:

  • Oh, Zack. You adorable, good-hearted kid — you have absolutely no idea what you’ve just done to your family. This is going to suck.
  • We establish the time in the past by seeing all the talking heads on TV nattering about the Y2K virus. Remember that? Good times.
  • We first see Past Katie on TV — reporting from a Renaissance Faire in full-on garb. Hee!
  • Kevin McKidd did a great job of playing both of his selves. Past Dan looks hollow, wasted — you can tell he’s in bad shape. Current Dan looks pained just seeing his past self.
  • Interesting how Livia and Dan talk about past Dan as "Him," not "You" or "I." It makes sense — he is a different person now.
  • That "different person" aspect made Current Dan taking Past Dan’s place at the poker game all the more interesting. Was Past Dan really that far gone at that point, clutching the bottle, betting recklessly, acting like there was nothing left? Or was that desperate race for the bottom Current Dan realizing this is where his life changed, and he just wanted to get on with it? Had this part of his current life already been manipulated by a visit he made to the past? Ow! Brain cramp!
  • Dan gets dumped in the past carrying his current recycling. Thanks, NBC’s Green Week! I hope they weren’t recycling any new-design Pepsi cans, or a Monster Energy can, which didn’t exist in 1999.
  • Katie raises the idea of going back to work, and Dan dismisses it — is it really what’s best for Zack? As Dan’s job is precarious, what with the whole disappearing into the past thing, I think he needs to get over that particular hang-up.
  • Katie’s friend Ed is the guy who tries to recruit her for the job. He’s also the guy who called her to rescue Dan in the past. He’s doing a lot of rescuing for this family.

What did you think? Did you feel sorry for Livia, as she watched Katie taking her place in Dan’s past? Are you surprised that Jack gave up Dan as the source of the bill? Should Katie go back to work? And what do you think of The Battle Of The Dans?

Posted by:Sarah Jersild