Is Alice the only member of her family who can experience the wonder of time through the pond?
We’re about to find out.
On The Way Home Season 1 Episode 3, as Kat settled into life in Port Haven, she began paying closer attention to Alice, and her insight had her following her daughter for a dip in the pond.
Of course, we’ll need to wait for the next episode to find out what’s next, but given everything we know so far, it would be more surprising to find out Kat can’t travel through time than she can.
Jacob’s disappearance counts on it.
If you read my interview with Evan Williams (Elliot), you know that we know very little about the pond, let alone what’s to come for The Way Home Season 1.
The mystery is merely beginning; if this series has legs, it will require the story to grow from both directions, past and present.
From the standpoint of a family drama alone, this is essential.
Alice is experiencing things that every teen does, but they usually have the option of finding support from their family. Daughters seek guidance from their mothers, particularly for a wide array of things.
Alice is falling in love for the first time. Falling in love is a wonderous adventure for any teen, but it’s hard to fathom how Alice will navigate it as she splits her time between the past and the present.
She’s spending more time in the past because, as she said, there’s no place she’d rather be. Unfortunately, her life is in the present.
Alice had one close call already when she spent months away from the past between visits. But it made perfect sense. Kat was at camp, and Alice’s presence in the past is entwined with her mother and best friend.
We’ll probably discover that Alice cannot visit the past when Kat is not in Port Haven. Elliot may have already figured that out, but adult Elliot and Alice haven’t been able to share a lot of notes.
Time is a factor. With Alice wanting to spend every moment with Kat in the past, she’s likely to allow her studies to suffer. She’s already failing to make connections to the kids at school. Those relationships would work to bind her to the present.
Still, she’s embracing happiness for the first time, the extent of which is setting off alarm bells for Kat.
Like Alice, Kat has struggled to find her place in Port Haven. Unlike Alice, she’s found a rhythm to life there that suits her. She’s reconnected with old friends and is poised to make new ones. She and Del aren’t pushing each other away but welcoming each other’s words of encouragement.
If Alice and Kat thrive in different times, they’ll grow farther apart instead of closer together. Because The Way Home is about mothers and daughters, I believe that Kat’s dive into the pond will be tethered to Alice just as Alice is tethered to teen Kat.
It’s impossible not to feel for Alice. She was initially drawn to teen Kat because of her family connection, but it turns out that she really likes her. Alice doesn’t have that kind of relationship with her mom in the present, so her friendship is based on the person she’s grown to know.
Through Kat, she met Nick and had her first kiss. It’s hard enough trying to make your impression on a boy you like without disappearing into the future all the time. And darn if Nick isn’t the best.
He’s cute and humble, which isn’t easy to find. I want her to have that love and warmth in her life, even if it means she’ll spend even less time in the present. How could we possibly deny her that?
Even better, all three Landry women are seeing a little action in the romance department.
It’s so funny how snarky and irritating Monica was in the past. As you grow up, you often find that people you couldn’t stand in high school are exactly the people you want in your corner as an adult. Monica is that person for Kat.
They’ve re-established their friendship and are cheering each other on. I wonder how well Monica knew Brady (she called him Braden). Kat met Brady at camp, so he wasn’t from Port Haven. Since Kat left town shortly after her father’s death, people probably didn’t know Brady well.
Brady, not being from Port Haven, is also why it was so easy for Kat to leave and never look back. She found her person, or so she thought.
Andy seems nice. He’s got a sense of humor, which he needed when he saw Monica making “give him your number” signs behind his back. There’s potential there.
People struggle their entire lives trying to find their person.
The love Del shared with Colton was that once-in-a-lifetime love that most of us only dream about. Living in it would be extraordinary; losing it would be unfathomable. Losing it under any circumstances would be difficult, but to tragedy, even worse.
It’s no wonder that Del hasn’t allowed herself to find love again. How could she ever find a love that matched the soaring heights of her love for Colton? And if she did find comparable love, she could lose it again. Fear is a great motivator.
But things may be looking up for Del now that she’s surrounded by family again. She’s shedding old skin and contemplating new adventures for the first time in decades.
Del seemed smitten with Byron when we saw them together at the farmer’s market. Del has been relatively closed off, given how long she’s been in Port Haven, except for her friendship with Rita.
Rita, though, is a busybody who needs to poke into everyone’s business. Being so adrift, Del missed those signs, but she’s seeing things through clear lenses now, and when she learned Rita instigated the sale of her boat, that was enough for her.
Seeing Rita for who she was allowed some time for Del and Byron to get to know each other.
He might not be a love for the ages. Then again, he could give Del everything she’s been missing as her heart held tight to the man she lost. The first step is the hardest, and now that’s over.
So far, I really like Byron, and he’s certainly got a thing for Del. Kat didn’t even have to push for a job with him at the paper once he noted their connection.
Kat went into that job believing she was better than small-town writing. She thought she was better than small-town life in general and admitted that to Monica.
Byron called her on her ego by pushing back on her uninspired story about the biggest cucumber. In light of that, Kat had to course correct. She connected her new trust in Alice to the farmer’s trust in Port Haven’s soil, pouring her heart out without mentioning herself. That’s inspired writing.
Success with her story, Andy’s interest in her, and Del’s urging to trust herself with Alice gave Kat confidence which manifested itself when she chose to follow Alice into the woods rather than call her out in the lie about Spencer’s party.
It would be impossible for Kat to think whatever Alice is engaged in will cause her harm. She momentarily considered drugs might have turned Alice into Rainbow Brite, but she could tell it was something more profound.
It takes courage not to lash out and expect the worst, to give someone time to explain, or even to follow them into the woods and a pond of water for the truth.
Will that trust pay off with the unexpected dividend of a trip back in time? I sure hope so.
I’ll be posting an interview with Sadie Laflamme-Snow tomorrow morning for more insight into what Alice is thinking and what’s ahead for her as the season progresses.
But before we go, we need to touch on the ’90s nostalgia aspect of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
Even as someone who grew up with none of the amazing technological advances we have today, the lengths we went to before it arrived are still surprising.
Mixtapes were a labor of love. I remember being so insistent on capturing a song I loved from the radio that I would keep it on, staving off sleep, with the hope that I’d get lucky. That’s how we played the latest songs back at will.
Elliot’s excitement about chatting with someone who knows where on the thing called the Internet brought memories flooding back. There is so much we now take for granted (including this job) that wasn’t imaginable just 40 years ago.
And I was gobsmacked yet again when Alice didn’t know about Back to the Future. We’ve got so much at our fingertips now that history is being forgotten.
Over to you, The Way Home Fanatics!
What do you love the most about the show? Is it the time travel aspect, the family drama, mothers and daughters, or tentative romance?
Will Alice come up for air in 1999? And how will that affect the space-time continuum? We need Elliot to share what he’s learned over the years, STAT!
Let me know why you’re watching and what you think of the latest in the comments below.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.