Journeyman was a series that debuted alongside Chuck and Heroes back in 2007 on NBC. Its late time slot, low marketing push, and coincidental timing with the WGA strike of 2007 meant that the show was destined to be canceled after just thirteen episodes. However, having re-watched the series, I thought through how I would make the series continue, had it been up to me. If you haven’t seen the show, go watch it, because reading this blog post won’t make much sense.
Creator Kevin Falls indicated that the ‘back nine’ episodes of Season 1 would include a few notable things: Katie and Zach living elsewhere for a while, and Dan and Jack becoming roommates. Olivia was going to die in episode 20, with Dan bringing her back in episode 21. This would, however, mean that Dan lost Katie and Zach, with no idea how to get them back. Since he’s the creator of the series, we’ll go with that, and pick up with that in Season 2.
We start Season 2 with Dan hitting the bottle, hard. Jack tries to give him some moral support, but is simply unable to console him – he doesn’t even remember Katie. Olivia travels forward in time again, and joins Dan in being upset, as she has found out that Henry died storming the beaches of Normandy. They read Evan’s journal and read how many things could have happened, had Evan not intervened…and they decide to work through their grief and continue traveling. They end up traveling together to the past to help someone, and end up being successful, and they part ways and go back to their own time.
The next episode involves Dan getting let go from the paper. Hugh feels bad about it, but more cuts means that it’s just been impossible for Hugh to keep covering for him. Dan travels to the past, and his job is to win the lottery…just enough money to sit in a bank and compound some interest, so that he can spend the rest of the show living off the interest of his winnings when he returns to the present. In this episode, Theresa has her baby. The episode ends with Dan running into an elderly Olivia.
In Episode 3, Dan and elderly Olivia interact for a bit. She tells him a few stories regarding what else she learned over the course of her life, though she laments that the last time she and Dan interacted before then was the time she needed to go on. However, on this visit, the two of them go on one last mission together to get Katie back. They are successful, but they both return to the present. Katie and Zach are back, remembering everything. Katie and Olivia see each other and speak briefly, but then, Olivia dies.
Episode 4 begins with Olivia’s funeral, where Dan meets one of Olivia’s siblings. Dan then tells him about Olivia’s life and her traveling to the future and so forth; he shares details about Olivia’s life in the past. Dan travels back to help somebody and does his thing. The episode ends with Theresa traveling for the first time.
In an echo to Olivia’s direction of travel, Theresa only travels to the future. In an inverse symmetry to Dan and Olivia who only interact when Olivia is on a mission, Dan and Theresa only interact between missions, giving her advice for the next one. In episode 5, Jack and Katie bond over their feelings of helplessness while their respective spouses are on-mission, while Dan and Theresa get closer over their experiences as time travelers. Nobody cheats on anybody, but throughout the series these dynamics come up from time to time. We don’t see Theresa’s missions to the future; we only hear about them through dialog.
Throughout the rest of the season, those are the major ingredients that drive the plot: Dan goes on his missions, Theresa on hers, sometimes they are linked and Dan’s job is to give info to Theresa or vice versa, Katie and Jack decide that the six of them should share living space to help each other out during mission times. Over the next several episodes, this all settles in, but toward the end, Olivia’s sibling tries to go public with his sister’s story, which garners the sort of attention Elliot Langley warns them about. Langley meets up with Dan to give him a flash drive with all of the information he’s compiled, and burns everything else. Langley dies enabling Dan to escape. The season finale ends with Dan, Katie, and Zach huddled together, and Jack, Theresa, and the baby huddled as well. Dan’s family all travels to the past, while Jack’s family moves to the future.
Season 3 involves the usual set of missions, but with a ‘new present’ to which they return. Each side works to deal with the shift; Zach grows up as an 80’s kid while Jack’s child ends up beginning her life in 2030. A few attempts are made to make contact between the families, but Dan isn’t terribly successful. A slightly-younger Langley runs into Dan, who in turn helps him try to communicate with his brother. Through something reminiscent of Frequency, Langley conjures up a radio device that allows Jack and Dan to communicate through time – one of Dan’s eventual missions involves getting the plans to a protege of Langley’s who will eventually meet up with Jack and make this possible. Between the two of them, they are able to figure out a way to find enough leverage to keep the ‘powerful people’ at bay, at which point both return home to the present. One idea I had for this was that they demonstrate the power to cause some sort of tragedy and they deal with the possibility of having to become de facto terrorists to survive. Another idea would be a full-blown underground/off-grid lifestyle, though the need for money and resources to research their mission targets becomes a problem.
Season 4 is the last season, and Dan and Theresa continue their missions as usual, in their ‘new normal’ of a house of six, living off Dan’s lottery winnings, helping people here-and-there. In some cases, they run into people who were mission subjects in the past who remember them. The season ends with Dan and Theresa meeting God, as played by Morgan Freeman, who informs them that this is a calling, and that it is all orchestrated in this way because our lives are a matter of one interaction – one missed elevator or one bad day at work is all it takes to alter someone’s life, and they are proof of that. Dan and Theresa, and Olivia and Evan (both of whom are present, along with a number of extras from earlier points in time) are God’s way of helping humanity be its best.
So, that’s how I’m figuring Journeyman would go.