Journeyman Series Finale: Quality To The End

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:53 pm,

journeyman series finale Journeyman Series Finale: Quality To The EndSo. Journeyman has really reached its end… and that’s a travesty. I wrote about NBC’s cancellation of Journeyman a week ago and there was a lot of passionate response to that piece.

In this excellent final episode, titled Perfidia, Dan (Kevin McKidd) meets someone who claims to be another time traveler on one of his trips. The problem is that Dan has appeared in an insane asylum, putting everything he (Evan) says in doubt. Evan is infatuated with a woman he met in college who doesn’t remember him now, years later.

Dan’s brother Jack, who now believes Dan time travels is leaning heavy on the professor/scientist who obviously knows what the heck is going on for answers.

Katie’s annoying sister taints the show with yet another appearance.

Livia is pretty much dead weight. Again.

Be warned, spoilers follow…

Dan and Livia keep returning to see Evan in the very recent past (this same year) and assume that their mission is to keep him from being killed. He’s been traveling over and over again to try to reconnect with the woman he was married to for 20 years after altering time so he never meets her in order to save her life. He’s madly in love and has been trying to continually change things so that he can at least see a spark of recognition from her.

When he finally does, he drops dead for no apparent reason immediately afterwards. At least he dies happy…

I’m really glad that the producers saw this coming and were able to end Journeyman with a sense of closure instead of an abrupt, go nowhere episode.

As it turns out Dan started time-traveling almost immediately upon Evan’s death, indicating that no new travelers can enter the loop and that the number of people who can do this is limited. Dan also finally meets up with the suddenly ready to talk professor in an elevator, where we learn that he is not behind this. He has merely been studying and following the phenomenon.

He tells Dan that no one is behind his trips – it’s actually intrinsic to Dan himself and has been over the years to a very few people. He also shares the dangers of revealing this ability to loved ones for much the same reason that superheroes have secret identities: There are people out there who if they found out about this would stop at no end to get control of it.

In the end, it turns out that certain sedatives can restrict the ability to travel through time. Evan was in the same place and time for many months while sedated. Dan and Katie have a talk about it close to the end of the episode and he decides that despite the strain on his family and marriage it’s too important to set aside.

Although Katie wants a normal life, she abides by his decision, and in the final and emotional scene (for both the characters and the fans), she finally gets to see him vanish.

I’m very saddened that this show had to end, but I’m happy that the series ended in a quality way with it’s head held high.

R.I.P. Journeyman – We hardly knew you.

TAGS: Journeyman
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  1. I disagree with you about Livia. Her sultryness added a lot to the dynamic for me. It seemed like though that she and Dan were saying goodbye at the end, or maybe it was an allusion to the series end. Or maybe Dan was ‘graduating’.

    I thought her line over the spot on her wedding dress – ‘they haven’t evented one hour dry cleaning for 25 years yet!’ was a hoot!

    One can’t help if Katies sister didn’t have a roll in the fact that at the very end Katie was ‘allowed’ to see him go back in time. The ending was perfect.

    I loved this show. This show was so good, that all other TV seems like a let down now for me. Heroes can’t hold a candle to it. I hate time travel in shows because it seems so hackneyed with impossibilities. This show just blew that out of the water, making the concept seem entirely plausible.

    Really, science fiction at it’s finest.

  2. I know, I know… I was a bit hard on Livia. It just seemed to me that relationship never WENT anywhere. :-\

    Personally, I love time travel stories when they’re done well, and yeah… I found Journeyman much more compelling than Heroes this season.


  3. Vic, slight correction, I believe. I think Langley told Dan that “as far as he knew” there was no one behind his timeshifting. It kept a door open for future developments…which I’m afraid down the line, would have turned out to be a tired old conspiracy arc, like The Company in Heroes.

    From the very first TV ads, I got the vibe that the point of the show would be drama, not science fiction.

    I’m glad NBC didn’t keep Battlestar Galactica on the network. It probably wouldn’t have gone beyond episode 12 either.

  4. Its such a fantastic series that was increasing in quality every single episode… I hate you NBC and the fools who watch trite like Heroes over this.

  5. Jim, I still have it Tivo’d. I’ll watch again but I’m pretty sure it was definitive that no one was behind it.


  6. Vic,

    Dan: Who’s doing this to me?
    Langely: As far as I can tell, no one is “doing” anything.

    Another thing in the elevator discussion. Dan asks if Duane (?) had to die in order for him to begin timeshifting. Langley just stares at him. Hmm!

    And, something bugs me about the end of last week’s episode. I suspect the “timeline” of the show itself has been rewritten.

    The final episode puts Dan and Livia as the last ‘shifters. I assume that the elevator conversation was tacked in at the last, to give the audience a final reveal.

    But remember last week, how campus security asked Langley about Dan, rhetorically, “Another one, professor?” As if crazy “students” were often pursuing the professor. We know Dan’s not a student. Can we infer that the “other ones” were not students, either? At least in the Journeyman alternate timeline where the show didn’t get cancelled.

  7. I think that the name of the of the other traveler was ‘Evan’. One very interesting thing that happens is at the point where he dies at the end. It happens just at the moment that his (former) wife seems to remember him, which would be entirely impossible if they never met. It’s clearly in here eyes that she knows who he is and it’s at that moment that he collapses. Which raises all sorts of interesting questions.
    Also. Evan seems to be very familiar with other travelers coming to ‘help’ him, but it seems to not be the same person as with Livia/Dan. He makes the comment that she is ‘one of us’ because you can ‘tell by the shoes’. Which means he has had experience with multiple travelers.
    It may be, that like the FBI investigator (who was shot), Langely only has a cursory knowledge of how the travelers work. I would have hated to see the series go into a governmental conspiracy direction aka X files though. I also would not have liked to have seen a lot of gunplay and bombs added for ratings, as that just seems completely out of character for it.
    I much rather have the show end on this high note, then have a novel show up in the bookstores later on. Rather than compromise the story for increased ratings. It’s kind of amazing that a TV show so delicious would be so entirely passed up by the viewing public. But I have seen some very negative ratings/reviews on IMDB by people (rednecks?) that simply ‘don’t get’ the story. So it’s not for everyone. I find this show more compelling than anything scifi is currently offering too.

  8. Another thought, in Evan’s notebook that Dan reads in the end is the sentence ‘I DON’T CARE ANYMORE’, on one of the pages. Which kind of makes you wonder what kind of mischeif he could have been up to. But clearly there were some continuity errors in an effort to provide a wrap up of the series, which I’m glad that they did. This is one DVD that I’ll buy.

  9. Hi! I only read the first few lines of your entry, because I didn’t see the last episode til now ;-) I didn’t know journeyman before I read your lines about the cancellation of it. I have to say that it is really a pitty that they didn’t renew the series. It’s really one of the best series I’ve seen …

  10. Tantalizing details that will never be resolved, and perhaps best left that way. As you say, I’d rather the show end excellent than watch it eventually jump the shark as so many other shows (*cough* X-Files *cough*) have done.


  11. Phil, you are spot-on. (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase). You’re approaching the death of Evan differently than Dan did. Yes, interesting and fairly contradictory that Evan’s girlfriend would begin remembering him.

    Does anyone see some parallels between what we know of Journeyman and the upcoming movie, Jumper?

    The most troubling thing about the storyline was last week’s notion that Dan had a daughter…and had to “fix” it to get back to Zach. Did that timeline just disappear? This is where the timeshifting concept loses integrity. It’s also a place where sci fi fans could throw up there hands because it’s inconsistent, and other fans can do the same because it’s too complex. But…can the realities integrate? I imagine a world where Dan has twins! And Hiro is their godfather. (Oops)

  12. Hey Phil,

    Do you think the DVD will have anything more in terms of episodes, than we’ve seen? Maybe some deleted scenes, maybe some telling commentary with insights into the theory. Possibly the original version of what we know as the final episode.

    My impression is, they gave us all they had, and actually took pains to modify their last offering to bring some resolution.

    He’s dead, Jim.

  13. Yes, I loved the ending, still sad though. Damn you Bionic Woman and your suck-fest.

  14. Surma, I hate to litter the Screen Rant page with substance-free replies, but…


    (Is that show still on?)

  15. I just re-watched the episode and right before Evan died he was holding his left arm. I think he had a heart attack. The question is: why?

    Was it the strain of not traveling when he should have been due to the sedatives?

    Now to bend your mind, I think (in response to the comment above) that within the context of the show there are multiple timelines that branch off and continue on. So Dan and Livia may not actually be changing the timelines from which they left, but are returning back to an altered timeline.

    I love time travel stories, they make my brain hurt. :-)


  16. Perhaps there is a penalty to trying to impose personal values onto the timeline.

    A few lingering questions from the series:

    * Why does Livia travel futureward–and so far from her originating point–and Dan travels only backward–apparently within his own lifespan?

    * Where were they going with the subtle mention of quartz crystals and time keeping?

    * Was anyone else putting bets on when Dan would “travel with citrus”?

  17. Jim;
    I hope (and think they will) make a DVD for Journeyman. What it kind of hinges on is the writer’s strike and what happens with that. If the writer’s come back to work in a month (who knows at this point) the writers would most likely fulfill the order for three more scripts (made in October). If nothing else were to happen with the show then what could happen is then they could put those scripts on the DVD for us to read, which I think would be ultra cool and smart. It would be easy to do and not cost the studios anything more.

    From there it entirely is a cost issue. Knowing that Kevin Falls put forth a classy series, I would expect a classy effort from him, such as a director’s commentary. In that case, I would be forced into buying a big screen TV and a HD player as that would be irresistable.

    Another ultra cool feature would be if they somehow “storyboarded” the three unmade episodes, but I would understand if they were not there and would be happy with just the scripts. The gag reel might be kinda nice touch though.

    If the writers and studios went for the ‘scortched earth scenario’ and things got really rotten and the strike was not settled in a month, things would get *really* interesting for Journeyman. Because then other networks would start salivating at Journeyman, because they know that the viewers that *did* watch Journeyman are hardcore because they went to all the trouble to find out when the episodes would air and mail rice. So those other lesser networks would see that they would probably get the same ratings it has now, which is 4 million viewers. Even though it’s not CSI ratings, 4 million viewers is 4 million viewers. Eureka on scifi (which has been renewed) gets 2.5 million viewers. And remember, Jag started on one network, was cancelled, but made a home on another network.
    as did Stargate. So it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Kinda like finding Spock’s brain.

    If the strike drags on, I think you will see people turn off their TV sets in January and take up bowling. I know I will. There are a zillion other things to take up my time. Like what I’m doing now. The networks should *really* be afraid of that. That’s what happened with the strike in ’88, and 10% of viewers _never ever came back_. I enjoy the occasional gameshow, but not 24×7 all channels. But I digress. If they settle the strike next June, I suspect that the network execs will look longingly at the few boxes of rice-a-roni hanging around the offices and truly think twice.

    So, it really depends on what the writers do to see what we will get and when. In the end, I’m really grateful that I stayed on and watched the show instead of getting cold feet like everyone else. But Journeyman spoiled me as to how good TV can be, and that now kinda makes me see it as the butterfly that was in a roach motel.

  18. 10% of the 1988 viewers never came back? Wow, just think of how many would have “stayed gone” if high speed Internet was available.

    You really know how to turn a phrase buddy. I even understood some of them. Not sure about the rice-a-roni comment–unless it has to do with running out of groceries in the cupboard?

    PS Sticking with Journeyman was no problem at all. It’s Heroes that took amazing willpower.

  19. Wow I didn’t relise there was so much passion for this show….
    ^nbc should take note…..

    Perhaps a save-journeyman campaign can start here and now….?

  20. Hey, you don’t know about the rice-a-roni? Everyone is mailing the execs box’s of rice-a-roni (the San Fransico treat!) in a save journeyman campaign;

  21. I hate to see this series end. I just don;t understand the networks, they don’t seem to give some shows a chance if it doesn;t get off to a good start. Until I see a NBC press statement that the show is canceled I’m going to hold out some hope.

  22. Jim,

    Yeah, those are great points that I’m sure would be answered at some point. Maybe. :-)


  23. I was spoiled by Journeyman’s quality and I probably won’t be able to find anything on television to take its place for a good while, if at all. And it had the most perfect ending I’ve ever seen for a television season (or series), especially one that definitely shouldn’t end now or anytime in the next five years.

    I’m certainly going to continue the fight, Rice-A-Roni, snail mail and all. I won’t let the one best show I’ve seen in years go without it.

  24. I have been watching journeyman via bittorrent here in the UK, I don’t have sky and didn’t even know sky was showing it until I had watched all the available shows.
    I am sorry, I am a jinx, I cant enjoy a TV show without it being cancelled 1st season; the same way I cant watch an England football match without them losing; the last time they were 2-0 up with 5 minutes to go FFS!!!


  25. I just got to reading on this thread and I agree that Journeyman was a very underrated show!! When I finally started to REALLY get into it, they cancel it. Figures.

    Here’s a thought: Since the SciFi channel has a brand new head honcho, maybe we’ll be seeing this on SciFi Fridays in the fall instead of reruns of Stargate Atlantis?? I mean, if Flash Gordon is STILL on, Journeyman DESERVES to be on!!!

  26. That’s a great point Andy.
    I would much rather watch Journeyman then stalegate.
    Maybe Sci-fi could pick it up and restart it. Please anything but “stale cheese gate”

  27. I happen to really LIKE Stargate Atlantis, Steve, but I just don’t like how they have last week’s episode on as a repeat right before the new episode. Put it online so people can watch it if they want. I just think the lineup would be stronger if it went: Dr. Who, Journeyman and Stargate Atlantis. If they sandwich Journeyman between those 2 staples, it would get the recognition it deserves.

  28. Andy, I woundnt be surprised if they crank up Journeyman after the WGA strike. It really built up a large fanbase in its short run. NBC I’m sure realises this.
    If all the fans of that show write and email NBC it could come back.
    Sorry Andy I’ve never liked stargate. The film was ok, but to then start up a tv version starring McGyver. No thanks!

    And then Sci-fi channel cancels Farscape in favor of Stargate!!
    That was the single moment when I resented stargate and especally the sci-fi channel.
    I’m a sci-fi uber geek, yet I HATE sci-fi channel. Whoever runs that channel can bite me!

  29. I’m a HUGE SG-1 fan, at least up to the end of Season 9. That show came closer than anything I’ve ever seen to capturing the spirit and camraderie of Classic Star Trek.