Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Journeyman: Take a shower, hippie!

Brief spoilers for "Journeyman" coming up just as soon as I get some change...

On the episodic side of things, "Journeyman" takes a step back from recent episodes, as Dan travels back to the early '70s for a lesson in cliches: a key party, Nixon resigning and hippies gone violent. (Though the Nixon thing did lead to the nice moment where Dan tells Katie he spent his time at the key party talking to Livia and watching TV.) Not since episode two's porno-plane and "INTERNET EROTICA CONVENTION" sign has the show been this unsubtle about Dan's trips back.

On the arc side of things, though, things continue to get interesting with the revelation that Livia's from 1948 and always travels forward in time, not back. I'm trying to figure out the mechanics of how a woman from the '40s managed to credential herself enough to become a lawyer in the far more bureaucratic, record-conscious '80s and '90s, not to mention why she's such a pro about out-of-date currency and the like when it never would have been an issue for her, not to mention why her clothes always look so modern when presumably she's just arrived unexpectedly from her home time the way Dan has, but the larger idea is cool. At least, it would be if the show were going to be around long enough to explain it all, which I doubt it will.

Also, I keep waiting for the Time Travel Gods to offer Dan a solution to his FBI problem, the same way they gave him Dylan McCleen in the first place to help him with his old currency problem. When the camera panned to all the bloody cash on the floor of the liquor store, I assumed that would in some way fix things, but the scene in the present with Jack spending the $20 from evidence would suggest not. (Also, did I completely miss the spot where it was explained how Katie hid the money from the feds and somehow got it into Dan's jacket?)

What did everybody else think?


Rob Hood said...

I think the show is gradually improving! I liked the concept and the main actor from the beginning, but the show didn't seem to make sense at first. I sure hope it gets renewed!

jenmoon said...

I LOVED that they finally explained Livia. What a twist, which I wasn't expecting. Though I also wondered about her years in the 80's, managing given her upbringing, and the fact that unlike Dan, she was (maybe not so much any more) totally leaping into the unknown and the different. I also wonder how her experience is as an Asian woman there compared to now.

Cassie said...

I loved the twist with Livia, but I also wondered about her hair and clothes.

I'm a lot less bothered by "obvious" period touches than you are. This show has got me hooked.

Anonymous said...

Arg, Alan, to borrow from the HIMYM thread: CRASH! You pointing out the flaw with Livia's clothes if she's coming from the 40s just broke my love affair with this show. I mean, I'll still like it, but that's a big obvious flaw that's going to bug me.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh...I am kind of with Treved on this one. I wish you had pointed out about Livia's clothes either - now my brain will be focused on it.

That being said, I still enjoy this show so much and I wish it had a longer life than just the 13 episodes it will probably just last.

Stupid "CSI: Miami" - why in God's name do people want to watch freaking David Caruso every week? Ugggg.

I will agree with you though about solving the FBI thing - on one hand, I wish Dan had had that cleaned off of his plate this past Monday.

But on the other hand, kudos to the "Journeyman" writers for raising the tension - I feel the tension of those scenes, scared that Father Phil from "The Sopranos" is going to catch Dan and throw him in jail.

Of course, jail can't hold a guy who slips in & out of time...

Also: how fun was it to see Bo Duke/Jonathan Kent as the lead lech at the 70's key party?

Yes, a 70's key party is an OBVIOUS thing to use (though the 2004 wine getting Bo Duke to think it was a gag gift was hilarious) but so what? Let the show have it's obvious touches.

I agree it's generally better when a show (like "Buffy" which was the best at it) treats its audience as smart/sophisticated, but I find this show to still be very smart & sophisticated, but feeling the need in a 1 hour time frame, to draw obvious lines as to what year/era Dan has jumped into.

Anonymous said...

I thought the thing with the $200, was to show that Jack had taken it from 1995 when Dan gave the "counterfeit" bill to the cab driver and Jack protected him. He was spending it so it couldn't be tracked that he took it from evidence.

Didn't the FBI guy say they could never find the original bill from that incident?

The thing with the clothes....I think Livia may know she could time travel at any point and keeps clothes on her that would not look weird in the future. She is always wearing that same coat, maybe she thinks it would be versatile through the years? But I bet that sucks for her, going from being a lawyer in the 90s back to the pre-women's movement 40s?

It did make me wonder if she is ever going to travel to 2020 or something and meet Dan again in his normal life.

Anonymous said...

If Livia has the time to carry the appropriate money on her, then I think she has time to put on appropriate clothing for the time. She has been doing this longer than Dan. Who's to say she doesn't 'sense' she is time traveling a lot sooner than Dan?

There are a lot of other little points I could choose to be annoyed by...the fact that 2 of the other hippies were killed (was that true in the old timeline?). But I don't b/c the show is good enough that these little things don't matter to me.

Any time travel movie or tv show has the same issues...and if we had to consider them all the time, I think we'd go a little nuts.

I just thought it was VERY cool that they linked past episodes together as being part of this whole FBI/brother story. There has to be a point where Dan tells his brother what is going on...and then what happens?

Alan, I sure hope you're wrong about this show and that it survives until next season. The only reason I am glad for the writers' strike is that this show might have a fighting chance for renewal because it was allowed to build/find an audience.

Anonymous said...

I think Livia's clothes can be explained. Isn't she usually wearing a coat? If she gets some warning before she travels (as Dan sometimes does), she could keep something with her to quickly change into.

The hair is a bigger issue, since I don't think women in the 40s ever had stick-straight hair.

I thought the $20 that Jack spent at the end of the episode wasn't the one from the evidence locker. He was just looking at a new $20 and realizing that his brother HAD been telling the truth about time travelling.

I actually don't remember the pilot all that well (the show wasn't holding my attention so much back then) but what did Dan actually tell Jack about his travelling?

This is only new show that has held my interest. I love it!

floretbroccoli said...

I'm curious what it means when they say Livia is "from" 1948. Is that when she was born? Or what she considers to be her real life?

Anonymous said...

Because the character of Jack Vasser is such an antagonist and a skeptic (plus, it's obvious Jack isn't truly over Katie and clearly holds a grudge against Dan about it) the ONLY way I see Jack "believing" Dan about time travel is to actually SEE him vanish into the light (like Zack did) and having Katie standing there when it happens so she could then immediately tell Jack what's going on.

Though I don't believe this show will even be given a full season, my sense is that if this show was long term, they would eventually get Jack in on Dan's travels and Jack would then be an ally for Dan in 2007.

As for those who want to nitpick Livia's hair and clothes, look, it's a time travel show - it already comes from a premise that this couldn't really happen so it should fall under the "willing suspension of disbelief".

We all know Jack Bauer shouldn't be able to get across L.A. traffic in 10 minutes, but to make "24" have a faster flow and better pacing, Jack gets to the places he needs to go fast - no one wants to see 2 solid episodes of Jack Bauer changing the radio station in his car.

Again, that falls under "willing suspension of disbelief".

Anonymous said...

Dan has not told his brother anything about the time traveling. I wasn't sure if the brother spent the $20 from evidence (how would he have stolen it out of the bag since it was at the FBI?) or just thinking about his brother and using a 'normal' $20 bill.

Alan Sepinwall said...

As for those who want to nitpick Livia's hair and clothes, look, it's a time travel show - it already comes from a premise that this couldn't really happen so it should fall under the "willing suspension of disbelief".

Well, if that's the case, then we shouldn't expect any kind of plot logic whatsoever. After all, if time travel can't really happen, why should we care if scenes take place in the proper order, if characters don't behave consistently, if Katie Vasser suddenly starts shooting laser beams out of her fingernails?

Obviously, with a time travel show, you have to suspend your disbelief about the possibility of time travel, but in order to make the audience buy into that, the producers have to make sure they get the other details right, or else it's just sloppy. And since so much time has been spent on Livia schooling Dan on the finer details of time travel like currency and obsolete cell phones, why shouldn't a discussion of her wardrobe be fair game?

That said, some of the explanations above could make sense. The trenchcoat seems fairly period-neutral, even if the hair doesn't. There are occasions where Livia says right out that she showed up in her future at the exact moment we first see her, but there could be other times where she's been there for 15 or 20 minutes before bumping into Dan, and keeps a change of clothes somewhere in the recesses of the coat. I just thought it was worth mentioning.

Anonymous said...

nah, she'll travel to 2020 (or is it 2030?) and meet Marshall and Lily

Anonymous said...


Here's the flipside problem to your argument and why the show has probably allowed Livia to have modern hair:

If Livia showed up from the getgo with hair like she had in that photo from 1948, that would have told us, the audience, right away that something was off and we would have all started "guessing" that Livia came from the past from like episode #2 and on.

That would have taken away a huge mystery plot and instead we got a big reveal this week - makes for good television.

Plus, as someone said, Livia may have an opportunity to control her jumps and may have time to run to a salon for a quick redo, or in '48, just keeps her hair pinned up '48 style and just lets it hang down when she arrives - it's possible. She does have pretty simple hair.

Anonymous said...

(Also, did I completely miss the spot where it was explained how Katie hid the money from the feds and somehow got it into Dan's jacket?)

Do you mean something other than the scene at the house where Katie hands Dan his bag and his coat and Paul Schulze only looks in the bag? Dan feels the money in his coat and tells Katie he loves her. I just chalked it up to (very) quick thinking on Katie's part. So quick that the wrong person might be journeying, in fact.


Anonymous said...

I feel as if we should be handing out "no prizes" to all the folks offering explanations for the plot holes and inconsistencies in this episode.

Toby O'B said...

I'm geeky enough to do a bit of googling on the trivial bits and from what I could find, Neil Young never played the Winterland in 1974. He did play there in 1973, though....

I was also thinking that the taller hippie with the quartz would turn out to be Elliott Langley, and Dan's real mission was to get him back on the straight and narrow. Even after he was killed at the deli, I thought maybe he would turn out to be Langley's brother and the inspiration for his research into time travel and quartz.

Oh well, can't win 'em all.

But I wonder if leaving Dylan McCleen's money in the deli BEFORE it was used in the hijacking could affect the FBI's case against Dan in the present; even negate it?

micheal said...

I LOVED that they finally explained Livia. What a twist, which I wasn't expecting. Ahhhh...I am kind of with Treved on this one. I wish you had pointed out about Livia's clothes either - now my brain will be focused on it.Journey Man Is the good Tv show