Once again, the family drama proves to be most compelling element on Journeyman. I almost got a little queasy watching this episode, because Dan gets yanked out of time at the worst possible moment — when he’s watching over his son in a crowded place. You can see him panicking when he realizes he’s about to be pulled away, and there’s nothing he can do. And oh, poor Zach! All of a sudden, he’s alone, surrounded by strangers. How terrifying.

Don’t you know that you are a spoiler star.

Katie is pretty scared too, even though she knows what happened. And it’s pretty clear that she’s never going to let Dan be alone with Zach ever again, if she can help it. That puts to kibosh on the father-son trip to a 49er’s game that Dan had planned. Again — poor Zach. All he knows is that all of a sudden, his dad seems to be leaving him, like he doesn’t even care.

That’s why I was almost glad when Zach got to see Dan yanked out of time. Now, at least, he knows it’s not that Dan just doesn’t care. Now that he’s seen his dad’s "magic," he’s more secure about Dan. He knows it’s not about him. There’s a reason daddy goes away. And he’s ok with it.

Alas, Dan and Katie still feel like Jack either couldn’t or wouldn’t handle it as well. They keep not explaining, which means Jack keeps suspecting the worst. That may include believing that Dan knocked off a liquor store and pistol-whipped the owner into a coma — something that happened the night of Katie’s benefit, when Dan appeared carrying a gun. Oops.

Dan’s assignment this week involves a 30-year-old hijacking, where a mysterious guy knows only as Dylan McCleen stole $100,000 from a plane and parachuted to freedom. Dylan had never been identified, but now Dan is meeting up with him in the past — and Dylan’s very cranky about it.

After a lot of searching, Dan finds out that Dylan was actually a Special Forces guy named Captain Ritchie who  had been wounded in Cambodia. He stole the money to help the family that sheltered him get out of the country, but he lost touch with the father before he could help. Dan finds the guy, reunited the two men, and Ritchie manages to get the rest of the family out before they become anonymous victims of the Khmer Rouge killing fields.

Back in the present, Jesse the blogger-turned-newspaper-reporter is helping Dan research the "story" of Dylan McCleen. He finally figures out that Ritchie was the culprit — but Dan tells him he’s wrong, Ritchie was cleared, the story’s dead. Somehow I doubt Jesse is going to buy that for long.

Important info:

  • Physicist Elliot Langley, that tachyon expert who called Dan in the past last week, stops by for a visit, and he’s cryptic as hell. He must know, or have some idea, what’ going on with Dan. And he gets a little spooky when Dan tells him about the protagonist of the "novel" he’s writing about time travel — "Are people taking advantage of him? …. They should — a person wielding that kind of power would be very valuable — right?" Hmmm.
  • Langley’s speculation about what could be causing falling through time for Dan’s "hero" — "Spontaneous symmetry breakage? Perturbation of the local dark energy density? God?"
  • When Dan finally reunites Ritchie and his protector in the past, Dan and Ritchie trade jackets — and Dan discovers a whole bunch of hijacked money in the pockets. On the upside, now he’s got old currency he can use in the past (and occasionally in the present). On the downside, now he’s passing around stolen money. That can’t be a good idea — especially not when he’s a suspect in a liquor-store robbery that took place the night of Katie’s benefit — you know, the night Dan was seen wandering around town with a gun.
  • Dan’s paper faces what every other paper in the universe is working against now — falling circulation, budget cuts, staff reductions, the works. Dan’s job is in danger, and I’m not sure he realizes it. But that may be why Hugh was so excited to hear Dan was on a blockbuster story, and so disappointed when Dan said it fell through.

Highlights, tidbits and other thoughts

  • I loved the farmer’s market scene, especially the look of intensity on Katie’s face when she spots "Cheese Guy," and everyone takes off running. Even better was Jack’s line, as he’d just been confessing about his "lethal" diet — "So cheese is ok, just not cheesecake?"
  • Kevin McKidd really sold the urgency when he knew he was going to be pulled away while he was alone with Zack. You could tell that was his worst nightmare. The same with Gretchen Egolf, who does suppressed panic really, really well.
  • Reed Diamond is also rocking it. The look of disappointment and resignation on Jack’s face when he tells Katie she’s "made enabling an art form" is perfect.
  • Hey, the guy who plays former blogger Jesse is Gabriel Tigerman, who played Andy on Supernatural! I love him!
  • Dan meets his father in the past, and we learn that Daddy left the family when the boys were young, and that he was obsessed with work long before he left them. Also, I think he was played by Joel Gretsch — Tom Baldwin on The 4400. But I’m not positive, because I was distracted by the impressive 70’s mustache.
  • The 1975 newsroom was pretty spectacular — smoke-filled and clamorous with the clacking of typewriters. Remember typewriters? Ah, the good old days.
  • Dan makes his dad miss the assassination attempt that Sara Jane Moore made on Gerald Ford. 1975 was a bad year for Ford.
  • Dear music supervisors: Bad Company’s "Shooting Star"! You rock!
  • Jack reveals that he’s figured out he wants to have kids — and Katie reveals his perfect woman as "someone who’ll order in Chinese with you and watch South Park." Jack: Call me!
Posted by:Sarah Jersild