The Way Home: The Way Home (all episodes, first season)
February 3, 2023 10:27 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Hallmark television series. After getting expelled and losing a job/husband, Alice and Kat move to Grandma Del's farm in Canada. Spoiler-free rundown of the premise here. Spoiler recap of the first episode here. This is not just a straightforward family drama...I'll hint that there's a sci-fi element to this that makes it worth viewing.

Episode discussions/recaps/whatever to be posted later.
posted by jenfullmoon (24 comments total)
Episode 1: Mothers and Daughters.
I hate an out-of-nowhere prologue, and there seems to be one about well, the far past and witch hunting. I don't know what this, is but I feel obligated to mention it.

15-year-old Alice is acting up at school, partying and pulling the fire alarm, and gets expelled. Her mom Kat lost her job, and she's split with her husband, who's now shacking up with Rachel. So when Kat gets a letter from her mom Del in Canada wanting to reunite, fuck it, let's leave town for awhile. Alice is naturally cranky about this, but Del is ALSO cranky about this, being all "I didn't write a letter!" which really translates into "I wrote it but didn't send it, WHO CAME INTO MY HOUSE AND FOUND AND SENT IT?!" There is also Elliot, the hot neighbor nerd next door who's the high school science teacher.

After Alice nopes out of school for the day after getting razzed about the fire alarm (as "Deck the Hallmark" podcast pointed out, how do people in Canada know she pulled a fire alarm in Minnesota?), she pitches a bracelet into the pond, goes in to fish it out, and is herself fished out by ....TEENAGE KAT FROM 1999.

Alice is fished out and meets the family: young Kat, young Del, Del's now-deceased husband and cute little brother Jacob, who takes a semi-crap Polaroid of Alice. Adult Elliot offered Alice help "any time," and thus Alice tracks down Teen Elliot and tells him this. Teen Elliot is all "No, I didn't, I just met you," and Alice insists. Meanwhile back in 2023, Adult Elliot tells a worried Kat that Alice will come home.

As Deck The Hallmark pointed out, nobody was THAT into the show UNTIL THERE WAS A TIME HOLE and then NOW YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION. That's where it gets good.

Episode 2: Scar Tissue. Alice drags Teen Elliot to the pond to see her disappear in it, then tracks him down IRL at school. Now Adult Elliot remembers this stuff, but really has no idea how to be Giles to her Buffy (a reference Gen Z alas, does not get) on this topic. Alice tries going into the pond again but it doesn't take her through.

Kat finds the old Polaroid of Alice and finds it blurry, does mention that Alice was around during that time, and apparently she named Alice after...herself.

Alice finds out that Jacob went missing in 1999 and then the dad died three months later, which is why Del and Kat are pretty much on the stonewall outs. I note that Alice can't find out this info from anyone she reasonably asks about it and has to go to the hot newspaper editor guy (silver fox Del likes) and read it on microfilm about Jacob going missing.

Del has shut down and tried to block everyone out, Kat wants to talk about and dwell on it. Kat gets offered a book deal(!) to write about Jacob, which Del hates, but Kat prefers that to being offered a waitress job by her high school enemy out of pity.

After a memorial is held for Jacob, Alice jumps into the pond again, with Adult Elliot watching again and finding the whole thing weird from this side. She reunites with Teen Kat and Jacob again.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on February 3, 2023

My friend, who knows I'm into such things, recommended this to me without saying much about it. I said I'd binge it. I'm still very interested in doing so.
posted by edencosmic at 7:36 PM on February 3, 2023

I'm told there's going to be a big ol' four episode bingefest come Super Bowl Weekend, if that helps any? I'm watching it off Philo TV so that DVR's everything.

spoiler space spoiler space spoiler space

Episode 3: I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
(oddly, that song is NOT in this episode, really should be "Hit Me Baby One More Time" since that's the 90's song used in it.)

(a) Del debates whether or not to sell the family boat, which never got used due to Family Tragedy, eventually goes along with Alice talking her out of it.

(b) Kat is a nepo baby and despite being some kind of award winning writer, only gets hired by Silver Fox Newspaper Guy because she's Del's daughter (which she does not clue in on even though he said he was a one-man paper), gets assigned to write about cucumbers. She also hangs out with the high school frenemy/restauranteur and meets a new hot guy who gets her digits. Poor Elliot.

(c) In the past, Alice misses two months somehow (so much for the "one day here is one day there" theory of Elliot's) where Teen Kat was off at camp, meeting Alice's dad Brady. Upon her return, she goes to a beach party with Teen Kat and Teen Elliot and meets a hot guitar player and has her first kiss. (I shudder to think how this plays out when she realizes how old he is in her time.) Alice also tells Teen Kat she's a time traveler, which Teen Kat disbelieves like Current Kat did already.

Alice said she was out at a party with the 2013 teenagers (told them she had bad chicken) and when Kat finds out otherwise, she follows Alice to the pond, where Alice dives in. Kat freaks out AND DIVES IN AFTER HER!!! CLIFFHANGER!!!!! Can Kat also travel through time? Is it in the Landry genes like on Outlander?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:58 PM on February 3, 2023

I binged all 3 episodes yesterday. I tend not to watch much Hallmark channel programming on my own time -- my mother's tv viewing these days is all Hallmark or procedurals/true crime, and I'm over there multiple days a week. But she tends to switch over from Hallmark to the copaganda shows whenever Hallmark goes into 'Good Witch' territory, so she'll probably get turned off by the time travel gimmick, whereas that's like catnip for me.

I too wonder if hot young bad-guitarist is going to make an appearance in the present, because, yikes-aroonie. Mostly I wonder how many seasons they're planning for. Is Alice going to change the past to prevent Jacob's disappearance and Del's death? They can't drag that out over too many seasons, since the little Jacob actor isn't going to stay little. Did she, or the mysterious time portal, cause his disappearance in the first place?
posted by oh yeah! at 4:48 PM on February 5, 2023

I totally think Jacob's disappearance is through/because of the time hole. Will he turn up in the future, and at what age?!
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:37 PM on February 5, 2023

Episode 4: What's My Age Again?

Kat goes into the time hole, sees her teen self being friends with Alice, then watches her family eat outside and freaks when her dad sees her and runs away. Kat then proceeds to kinda blue-screen-of-death her way through the episode: insisting that Alice spend time with her at the lobster event and says, "Talk to me like a friend," (which Alice runs from so she can meet her teen dad, who's visiting for the weekend in 99), and then randomly makes out with that guy from the last episode (Dr. Andy) even after she drunk crazy babbles at him, "I fell into a pond and YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT IS DOWN THERE." Dude, I don't know why you tried kissing her after she did drunk crazy babble.

Del doesn't remember Alice--too many kids wandering through the house in the 90's, apparently. Dr. Andy turns out to be a vet, which gets SUPER awkward for Kat.

So, Teen Brady: letterman's jacket, boy band hair, hangs his head down and orders a "house white" at the double date while everyone stares at him and the waiter asks for ID. Of course it's a fake one and obviously ID's as one. Teen Brady huffs about "the sticks." Teen Brady is from Minnesota and brags that LA is so fake and he turned down snootier schools and...UGH, THIS GUY? Meanwhile, Alice's date (guitar hottie) doesn't do ANY plans. Adult Kat watches this from outside.

Guitar Hottie has two blonde moms who own the theater and razz their child while he's on his date, and he's trying to talk Alice into ditching the other two, can't say I blame him. Poor Elliot is working there and has to see this whole thing. Teen Brady is all "I'll pay for it all" and Elliot is all "sorry, I can't run your mom's card for you without her here" and Guitar Hottie is all "mine own the place, I'll get it." Guitar Hottie is also his coworker and says, "don't worry, it's a summer thing, it won't last, thanks for getting my shift." I'm glad Guitar Hottie still seems like a decent bloke.

Alice sneaks out of the movie to gripe to Teen Elliot about how icky her teen dad is. He's a lot nicer in Minneapolis, she says.

Kat gets out of the time hole and tracks down Adult Elliot and yells at him for not telling her about the time hole. Obviously he's shocked at this. He gets cheesed off at her right back (I note he just spent the night birthing a cow) and he ain't in the mood for this. Honestly, I'm kind of not rooting for a Kat/Elliot adult romance at the moment? She apologizes. Then Brady shows up at the house (I note Alice called him earlier) and flew on in. "Happy to see me?" I presume Elliot isn't.

Del: has a baby cow, gets all sad because it's the last descendant of one of her husband's cows. That's her plot.

No new episodes until mid-month, anyone let me know if you catch up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:29 PM on February 6, 2023

I wonder, does Del really not remember Alice? At one point it seemed like they were hinting at Del knowing more than she was letting on, but now I'm not so sure.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:17 AM on February 7, 2023

Episode 5: Don't Dream It's Over: TV Fanatic recap here.

In 2023, the Roxy theater is closing, and there's going to be some kind of farewell/adult reunion where Adult Nick, who works on fancy yachts all over the world, may be there. Alice is hellbent on seeing him even though Adult Elliot is all "bad idea" to this.
Del has Adult Everyone over for dinner and the menfolk act like little petty shits ("so, living in your dad's house, Elliot?" "Actually, I bought it") until Del stomps off in a huff. Newspaper Guy finally asks Del out and she shoots him down, but later has him over for dinner and to the Roxy, but gets weirded out to see her and her husband on the slide show.

On a related note, Adult Elliot asks Adult Kat be a chaperone at a 90's dance* and she gives him shit, he rescinds the offer, she puts it back on the table and says yes, he brings a corsage per her (semi-joking) request, but she's into it. Then Brady literally drags her away from Elliot and bitches about it, presuming that Alice has heard from Elliot that Brady was a teen jerk. Kat has a breakdown over the end of their relationship and him getting together with Rachel, he starts kissing her, Elliot of course sees it. Hallmark who am I supposed to be rooting for here?! (The confusing threesome reminds me of the worst Hallmark I ever saw, "Christmas Bedtime Stories," I will try not to start a rant over it.) Kat doesn't quite seem to want to get back together....?

* that's so The CW. Is this a thing that actually ever happens? I don't even remember adult chaperones at dances in the 90's, and it seems even weirder now.

In 1999 (and 2023) Alice continues to be annoyed at Teen Brady and Adult Brady, but eventually tells Adult Brady that he's grown up and isn't a pretentious jerk any more. Adult Brady admits that life is weird when you date a 26-year-old and Adult Kat is kinda all "well, duh" to that.

In 1999, Alice sets a date with Teen Nick to meet her at the Roxy in 25 years. In 2013, Nick's sad moms grumble that their wayward son didn't bother to show up. Everyone's curiosity to see if Adult Nick lost his hair will not be satisfied!

Adult Kat wonders if she can warn Jacob about his disappearance (I note that Jacob mentions a "white witch" he's seen, which everyone blows off as him going to the movies), Elliot says that nothing seems to have changed from 99 on so blah blah closed time loop or....something.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:07 PM on February 20, 2023

Welp, I think people lost interest in this one, but I'll give a quick update to episode 6: It's the Fall Festival, and 2013 Kat and Alice try and fail to save Jacob. Elliot thinks that nothing changes in the past because nothing did. There's also a brief mention of the pond doing what it wants, making me think, "IS THE POND SENTIENT?"
Really, all we know by the end of this is that thanks to interviewing Adult Danny, Kat knows the last place Jacob was seen was at a cliff, and walks him safely home, but he's STILL gone somehow.
Also, Alice figures out that Kat has time traveled, and throws a shit fit and runs off, sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:29 AM on March 2, 2023

I'm still watching and interested. I had to laugh at Alice getting all 'how could you' at Kat not telling her she was time-traveling too. Like, you've been lying to her for way longer, Alice. Glass houses & stones for all.

But I wasn't expecting the twist of Jacob making it home from the carnival and still disappearing. Where were teen Kat & Brady that they didn't hear him come into the house? Where/when did he go? At this point, I'm half expecting the season to end with them coming upon an old photograph revealing Jacob has been transported to the distant past.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:23 AM on March 2, 2023

Re: old photo: That'd be a good one, wouldn't it?

I presume Jacob saw something interesting ("White Witch"), snuck out of the house, went to the pond, and buh-bye.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:29 AM on March 2, 2023

Episode 7: It's The End Of The World As We Know It. Y2K happens in the past, as does calling off the search for Jacob. Teen Kat has a panic attack at a party, Colton is depressed and Del seems to think he's cheating, and Adult Kat finds a "rooms by the hour" Post-It note listing. Alice's 90's boyfriend wants to make it official (hard to do when you disappear for 2 months), while in the current time, a guy who has a girlfriend sure does seem to hang around Alice a lot. Oh, and Kat finally discusses some relationship interest in Elliot, who after 20 years refuses to actually kiss her yet.

Oh yeah, Del has a pottery show opening, and Byron's still trying to woo her AFTER HE FIRED KAT because, and I quote, "Your piece on the lobster social was...underwhelming." Kat lies about it and gets caught at it.

Kind of a dull one, honestly. A few more episodes to go, I think we need to move it up a bit. Feels like the mystery has changed from Where's Jacob to What Did Colton Blow All Family Money On, if it wasn't hookers?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:10 PM on March 5, 2023

Episode 8, Lovefool:

Old Nick turns up, finally. He's hot still. Says it's hard to have a relationship while living on a yacht all year, but somehow has managed to get engaged. Claims he doesn't remember Alice (Alice goes back to 2000 and breaks up with him after she hears this), then later admits to Elliot he still remembers her and that Alice looks like Alice.

Byron moves in with Del (?), ends up giving up on trying to have a relationship with her. I hear ya, Byron.

Colton was paying a PI and getting nowhere, Kat tells Del Colton wasn't cheating, Del is all "I saw some crying woman at his funeral," which is probably Adult Kat, right?

Kat says men suck, sings "You Learn" instead of "You Oughta Know" (what, couldn't get the rights?) at karaoke, later decides to kiss Elliot (perfect moment be damned) and then run away.

"Nick! Look at you! You aged like a moderately priced wine!"
"I guess there's no parenting books on this particular situation?"
"Would you just kiss me already?!?!?"
"Do it already before it gets weird?" "It's a little late for that."
"Either way I'm not going to do it when you're yelling at me."
"Alanis is right: love is just a jagged little pill."
"Why are you looking at me like that?" *goes for it*
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:12 PM on March 13, 2023

Del is all "I saw some crying woman at his funeral," which is probably Adult Kat, right?

I agree. Seems like whatever Kat's going to do to try to save Colton is going to backfire, but having her end up being directly responsible for his demise seems too harsh for a Hallmark production.

I thought the casting for Older Nick was eerily good. Like, for a minute I wondered if there was just one actor involved with really good make-up/CGI done. Once we saw young Nick again I could see that wasn't the case, so, yeah, props to the casting director.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:35 AM on March 14, 2023

Episode 9: The Day The Music Died. The pond's about to freeze over, and Kat and Alice go back in time to witness Colton's death. I feel sad and I can't say more.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:14 PM on March 20, 2023

I'm still not sure if they're sticking with the 12 Monkeys 'there's only one timeline, the past is unchangeable' rules or if they're going to find a way to hit the big magic reset button in the finale. But, yeah, if the events of episode 9 are set in stone, that's so bleak, not sure how Kat could ever be ok again afterwards.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:24 PM on March 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh hey, apparently it aired last night while I was out of town. Episode 10:

I'm depressed at the idea of no longer using the time hole, just saying. It's why I'm here. Poor Kat now thinks she's the root of all evil.

"Mom, you showed him the road, let him take it" is a very good way to sum up this breakup with Byron here. "Who's going to run the paper?" is also a good question.

Yeah, we all know it was Kat at the funeral.

And the pond brought Alice to the RECENT past this time, and "who mailed the letter"....

Look, more than one song about "the way home."

And Elliott, the world's biggest "fate is set" sayer, decides to bail on Kat now that he's "free" from the prediction. Sigh.

Jacob chased the dog into the pond.

1814!!!! And KAT'S the one we saw diving into the pond running from the mob (with way longer hair), saying she'll come back for Jacob.

posted by jenfullmoon at 8:04 PM on March 26, 2023

Just watched the final episode. I started watching because the weekly previews of the upcoming episodes make me go, "Wait, there's a time travel pond?!?!?" (Hallmark Murder and Mysteries is a channel my mother and I agree on as we watch reruns of Psych while I work and she takes a nap.)

So I had to find out about the time-traveling pond! Then got bogged down by the inter-personal drama, slightly squicked out about Alice's insistence she's in love with a man her mother's age (but somehow they resolved that without me feeling super creeped out). Kat being the catalyst for her father's death in her effort to save him was pretty dark, though.

Elliot deserved better. Spending his whole life pining away for Kat, then keeping Time Travel Pond (TTP) a secret for decades, realizing he'll never marry his high school crush, then being the time travel mentor for Alice -- basically living a life where he'd eventually return so that he could be there to guide Alice through the time travel pond. Sigh. I don't blame him for closing the book and dusting off his hands, wanting to live his life away from TTP now that his duties are done. But he should have broken free years ago and changed the future by running away and never coming back.

Everyone should have moved on instead of clinging to the past, but I guess that's the whole point of the show and why TTP exists.

I did think that Kat would end up being the White Witch of legend, thanks to TTP. And I guess we'll finally find out what happened to Jacob in season 2!
posted by paisley sheep at 10:40 AM on March 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

I had zero interest in this from the vague commercials until I heard there was a time pond. TIME POND!!!!!!

Clearly they wrote this season assuming there'd be a season 2, because they didn't resolve much.

Elliot is the one who believes in a fixed time loop. Like yeah, he's not going to get anywhere with Kat, but it sounds like he left town/married elsewhere/went to college, etc. He didn't have to return until like what, 2022? Or just...not, I guess, but it sounded like he had dad stuff going on or something.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:22 AM on March 27, 2023

Yeah, it sounded like (from my vague memories of the earlier episodes) that Elliott had a whole life and a wife? girlfriend? elsewhere, but ended up coming back right before Kat and Alice did. Like he knew he couldn't escape his fate and gave up on his whole other life beforehand. Which is totally his call, but I feel like he was always there to help and support (he helped Deb birth a baby calf!!!!) and the only thanks he got was being old faithful Elliott. I don't blame him for being like, "Wow, I wasted so much of my life on you guys, now it's over and I can do whatever I want." Okay, I am projecting a little. But he was so thoughtful and patient and he mostly just served to be the keeper of the time logs and he deserves to be the hero of his own story!

Then again, if I knew my friend and her future daughter could travel through time, I'd probably have a hard time leaving the pond. I'd become a wild hermit and keep chucking things into it to see if anything would pass through. Then I'd be the local Crazy Pond Lady and the White Witch legend would live on in a new era.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:23 PM on March 27, 2023

I'm on episode 7 (I was saving this for a binge) and it does not disappoint. I think this really flew under the radar because it just seemed like an overly dramatic family show but no, there's a time pond! The time pond is major!

As things go, it has pretty accurate rules about time travel (so far). I appreciate that.

I don't know if I'll finish the season today but I am into it.
posted by edencosmic at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2023

I just found out that the second season started airing a few weeks ago! I'm getting caught up on it, and so far I don't hate it. I won't say anything more in here -- just giving anyone else a heads up in case they are currently out of the Hallmark loop like I am.
posted by paisley sheep at 9:11 AM on February 9

Anyone else feeling the need for a second season thread? I just finished episode 3.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:34 AM on February 9

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