Monday, October 22, 2007

Journeyman Continues: 5

A good Journeyman - Episode 5 tonight - as Dan tangles with a character based on D. B. Cooper (Dylan McLeen on tonight's show), who parachuted from a plane in the northwest with a suitcase full of money in the 1970s, and was never found...

At least, not in our reality. But Dan gets to find out McLeen's story in Journeyman, and help set it right.

A good story. But, as usual, the better story - and this is what makes Journeyman so appealing - is in Dan's personal life, in his attempt to be a family man and a time traveler at the same time, and to find out how and why he is time-traveling.

His wife Katie already knows, his brother Jack is close to knowing (and comes closer tonight), and in this episode Dan & Katie's son Zack sees Dan disappear.... And this, as Katie earlier had suggested, is easily comprehensible to Zack. He accepts and enthusiastically approves of Dan's "magic". It's a sweet scene, and it's good that Zack no longer need be frustrated and disappointed by his father's absences. Dan also gets to meet his own father in another sequence, when Dan's father was Dan's age and a photojournalist at the same San Francisco newspaper where Dan now works as a reporter. Dan's father left Dan and his mother when Dan was Zack's age, and his father also connects to another crucial aspect of the larger, unfolding story in what was clearly a father-and-son episode.

Dan gets a visit in his 2007 office from Dr. Elliot Langley - the tachyon scientist who called Dan in the past last week (played with just the right slight mystery and timelessness by Tom Everett). Dan mentions the call, and Langley replies that maybe he was calling Dan's father.

As you know - see my Tachyon Telephone - I think nothing of the sort. I'm more convinced than ever that Langley was calling Dan across time.

Langley gives Dan a pretty good explanation of tachyons and time travel, making clear their hypothetical nature. And Dan gives a satisfying explanation for why he's asking these questions - Dan says he's writing a science fiction novel about a time traveler (of course, much like himself).

Langley makes one minor misstatement - tachyons are not necessary for time travel, as he tells Dan. Rather, they are one way - traveling faster than the speed of light - that time travel could conceivably take place. But if we're in the realm of science fiction - or speculative physics - there are other ways, for example, folding time, stepping into an image of the past when the present looks just like it, or artificial wormholes in which tachyons do not necessarily play a part (yeah, I use the latter in The Plot to Save Socrates, as well as my Loose Ends stories).

But, all in all, a fine episode of Journeyman this evening, with at least one happy father-and-son ending, a good contemporary reference about blogging, and Langley getting deeper into the picture.... I predict we'll see a meeting between him and Livia before too long...

5-minute podcast of this Journeyman review

Reviews of other Journeyman episodes: 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 6 ... 7... 8 ... 9. Dan Unravels His Present ... 10. Jack's In! ... 11. Livia's Beau//Save the Newspaper, Save the World ... 12. The Perfect Time Travel Story ... Lucky 13

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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