‘The Way Home’ EPs Answer Jacob & Colton Burning Questions & Tease Season 2
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Way Home Season 1 finale “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.”]
The first season of the time-traveling The Way Home answered some of our burning questions, namely, what happened to Jacob (Remy Smith) and Colton (Jefferson Brown). But in doing so, that left us with some other threads to unravel.
For example, did Colton recognize his daughter as an adult when Kat (Chyler Leigh) was there when he died? What exactly does it mean for Jacob that he’s been time traveling? Executive producers Heather Conkie, Alexandra Clarke, and Marly Reed answer those burning questions (and more) about Season 1 and hint at what’s ahead.
That moment of Colton seemingly recognizing Kat as he died — did he really, or was he just seeing his daughter, like someone thinks they see a loved one when they’re dying?
Alexandra Clarke: We will never tell.
Marly Reed: That one we’re taking to the grave for the moment.
Heather Conkie: We’ll work it out, for sure. It’ll be one way or another, whatever serves future episodes and future seasons because it’s only 10 one hours, and I think we absolutely made the most of those 10 hours. Every week we watch, my husband says, “I can’t believe you crammed so much into 42 minutes. This is crazy.” Because they really move. We thought at the beginning that that was a curse, that we only had 42 minutes to tell a show — I’m more used to shows that are like 44 [minutes] or Netflix shows can be as long as you want — but it turned out to be a gift because it made us really condense to the absolute necessary beats. And I think as a result, the audience just feels like they’re being pulled through a marathon every week, not counting all the emotional ups and downs.
In planning out the season, did you always know you wanted adult Kat to spend so much time with her father so close to his death and be the woman at the funeral?
Reed: Oh yeah.
Clarke: The moral of our first season, and I think of the show in general, is you might not be able to change the past. You can’t change the past. That’s part of the rules. What happened will always happen, but you get five more minutes. And what did those five more minutes look like for Kat with her little brother walking him home? She got to say your sister loves you very much and all the things that you would imagine you would want to say knowing that maybe you’re not going to see the person the next day.
We gave her obviously a little bit more than five minutes with Colton. But again, it was the gift of letting her tell him in her own way that he’s a granddad, how his death affected her family, but also in reverse, it allowed her to hear from his perspective how he felt about this disappearance and something he was never allowed or able to tell her as a teenager, he’s inadvertently telling to his adult daughter. Colton does say this in one of the grief group sessions, I think that’s the way home is. Talk to the ones you love. Tell them everything.
I think we really wanted to convey that as the moral of our show: Don’t keep things under wraps. Don’t keep things to yourself. Talk to your family because family is family forever and this pond is allowing Kat to get those five minutes, but you don’t have to wait for an extra five minutes from a magical pond. You just talk to them now.
Reed: The flip side of that, the reason Heather was alluding to this idea that the time travel starts to feel like a curse, is this idea that not only can they not change things, but every time they go back they’ve become a part of the history. When bad things happen, it starts to feel like this curse that they were a part of the bad things that happened.
Will there be a time jump in the present or will it pick up where you left off?
Conkie: That’s a yes and a no. We do pick up where we left off, but because the nature of when we have to film, we do have to jump ahead very quickly. We’ll be filming in the end of July, August, and we finished in November. So the landscape has changed completely.
Clarke: At some point. Because the other aspect of that that’s really interesting about the pond is we sort of set up in [Episodes] 9 and 10 that the pond is kind of going a little kooky. Usually when someone jumps into the pond, they arrive whatever time they’re in at sort of a similar point in the day — maybe not the same season, but at least that’s been sort of something to rely on. And then Episode 9, we throw that on its head and Kat leaves at dawn to sneak out of the house to see if she can prevent her dad’s accident, and she arrives and it’s pitch black night. And so the other fun thing about the pond is just as much as we do need to keep to sort of a logical timeline in the present, we don’t necessarily have to play with those rules when we do the pond aspect of things. Obviously the pond has its own rules, but seasons and times is not one of them.
Reed: We’ve also set up that the pond freezes over. So if we didn’t make a jump forward in time, we’d have our ladies sitting around waiting.
Kat’s last line suggests that we’re about to see Jacob, but what can you say about what we’ll see of him, his time in the past, and how old he’ll be?
Clarke: All of those questions will be answered.
Reed: We certainly have a satisfying plan for it.
Is there anything you had in mind about Jacob when you were planning out who he would be as a kid for who he might be time traveling?
Clarke: One of the things we really wanted to convey with Jacob, even as an eight year old, is that he is a bit of a gift to the world. He sees things differently. Even the very first line that introduces him in 1999 in Episode 1 is a younger Del [Andie MacDowell] saying, “Oh, Jacob, you have such an eye.” She’s looking at his Polaroid photos. And of course his answer’s “Well, duh, I have two.” But he is an artist. He is someone who sees the world a little different and is attuned to things that maybe not everyone else is. The whole idea of the dog and seeing this dog — no one else in the family has ever heard the dog. That’s a Jacob thing. And of course they write it off. But Jacob is someone who is very sensitive to the world, to beautiful things.
We’ve always seen him as a bit of an ethereal little guy, even when we were casting him. Remy was all we could ask for and more, huge eyes and this little body and he’s just this little special magical guy that you just feel is almost too good for the world in a way. He’s too special. In our Season 2, we’ll continue on with that, exploring that aspect of him and realizing, yes, he is a gift.
Adult Nick (Kerry James) had that line about Alice (Sadie Laflamme-Snow) looking familiar, and I like Elliot (Evan Williams) and Nick’s relationship. Nick is someone in Elliot’s life outside of the Landry women. Will that continue, especially as Elliot is trying to figure out who he is as someone with freedom?
Clarke: Yes, that we can absolutely say with confidence. Nick, in both times, but especially adult Nick, is a really fun character to have around because he’s fun. He’s not in his head. He is a doer. He’s a sporty, cool guy that’s traveled the world and he’s kind of the antithesis of Elliot. And yet they are best friends. That says so much about Nick, but also about Elliot and I think they’re very much in awe of one another’s lives in a weird way, especially as they’re older.
We had such fun with Kerry on set, and he just mastered the role. He became teen Nick. It was so incredible to see Kerry, who Heather and I know quite well from Heartland, come in and all of a sudden Caleb disappeared and there was adult Nick. He studied Sam Braun’s episodes ahead of time and got down the smile and all that stuff.
What else can you say about Season 2?
Conkie: We’ll still have those questions, like who sent the letter, clues like that all the way through. There will always be the questions that are planted that people don’t have to wait to get the answers. I think that’s one of the things that makes the show incredibly special because people say, “that’s what happened. That’s who sent the letter.” And of course they all have theories all the way through like everything else they have theories about. Who sent it? Was it Rita? Was it Elliot? Was it Brady? Was it anybody? I don’t think anyone expected Alice.
Clarke: Absolutely we’ll uncover more secrets about the Landry family that maybe even this time to go back generations.
Reed: What worked so well in Season 1 that we obviously want to continue to do is the way that these stories of this family unfold over multiple timelines and you need some info from this era to pay off the secret or the mystery of another era.
Clarke: And the past will always inform the present and potentially the future. That’s something you can definitely depend on. And that pond’s going to keep being that pond and throw them for a curve ball and a loop and all the things but ultimately has a plan.
Reed: And the family’s been there for a few hundred years, so we’ve got lots of stories left to tell.
The Way Home, Season 2, TBA, Hallmark Channel