The Way Home

The Way Home season 1





Kennedy Unthank
Emily Tsiao

TV Series Review

Returning to your hometown after moving away can either feel like a defeat or like you never should have left. For Kat Landry, it’s a bit of both.

Kat left Port Haven, New Brunswick, nearly 20 years ago after her dad and younger brother passed away. She followed her high school sweetheart, Brady, to Minneapolis. There, she built a career as a reporter, and she and Brady had a daughter, Alice, who’s 15 years old now.

But things didn’t pan out as Kat had hoped.

First, she and Brady separated. Then, upset by her parents’ split, Alice started acting out. Pretty soon, the separation became a divorce, Alice managed to get herself expelled from school and to top it all off, Kat got laid off when the newspaper downsized.

Kat doesn’t have many options left. But when she receives a letter from her estranged mother, Del, asking her to come home, Kat obliges.

Yes, there are many painful memories in Port Haven. Yes, she and Del have a lot of work to do to mend their strained relationship. And yes, Port Haven is just about the last place that Alice wants to go, either.

But Port Haven is home. And right now, it’s exactly what the Landry women need.

Blast from the Past

Of course, mending the past is harder than it might sound—and for different reasons than you might think.

For starters, Del didn’t send the letter to Kat: Elliot (Kat’s best friend from high school) did, under Del’s name. Del and Kat both thought the other had reached out first. And now that they know the truth, neither is willing to swallow her pride and be the first to apologize.

Furthermore, Kat is angry with Del for erasing nearly all traces of Jacob, her brother, and Colton, her dad. And Alice is angry with Kat for bringing her to the middle of nowhere Canada.

Kat’s struggling to balance both strained relationships while also finding a new job (not to mention heal from her divorce).

But what really throws a wrench in the gears is Alice’s sudden disappearance. And honestly, it’s no less mysterious to Alice herself.

After ditching school, the teen falls into a pond on the Landry’s land. She nearly drowns, but then she’s rescued and greeted by a friendly (if not familiar) face: That of her own mother, Kat, at age 15.

Somehow the pond transported Alice back in time. Here, her mother and grandmother are happy. And her uncle Jacob and grandfather Colton are both still alive.

Alice isn’t quite sure how to return. But since there are people on both sides of the timeline willing to help out, you can be sure that mysteries will be solved, relationships will be mended and somehow Alice will find her way home.

It’s The Hallmark Channel

Time-shifting elements aside, The Way Home is, in some ways, very typical Hallmark fare. There’s light onscreen romantic content (which includes some smooches). We hear about some unwed couples living together. Language is kept to a minimum (expect a few misuses of God’s name and the occasional “h—” or “d–n”).

But there’s also some content that may make viewers uncomfortable. A lesbian couple makes a few appearances, and they kiss. We also hear a reference to edibles. And when the 15-year-old Alice falls in love with a boy in the past and then continues to try to pursue the older, 40-something version of himself in the future, it can be quite uncomfortable to watch, especially when she utters “age is just a number.”

In terms of plot-related items that may be hard for viewers, the show also deals pretty heavily with grief. And as the series continues, the details of how Jacob and Colton died will come to light. Furthermore, the series kicks off with a flashback to a good ol’-fashioned witch hunt in 1814. And that witch hunt is definitely related to the local lore about the woods being haunted and to the mystical powers of the time-traveling pond.

Episode Reviews

Jan. 15, 2023 – S1, Ep1: “Mothers and Daughters”

Kat and Alice move in with Kat’s mom, Del, after a series of setbacks in their work and school lives. Alice is soon accidentally transported back through time to when Kat was a teenager.

Several men chase a woman through the woods, calling her a witch. She escapes by jumping into a pond and submerging herself (it’s unclear if she ever resurfaces). Local lore later suggests that the woods are haunted by her. Later on, Alice nearly drowns in this same pond. She’s rescued but realizes that the pond is magic..

We’re not given the details, but we learn that Kat’s brother died as a child and that her dad also died at a young age (43).

Kat and Brady occasionally struggle to co-parent Alice, sometimes missing important things happening in their daughter’s life because of their focus on their individual careers. (Brady tries to bribe a principal to get her out of trouble.)

Alice can be indignant and rude to both parents. She throws a party without permission, ditches school and pulls a fire alarm during an assembly (resulting in her expulsion since this wasn’t her first offense). And when she learns that her dad’s girlfriend has moved in with him, she storms off, devastated by the finality of her parents’ split.

When Kat moves in with Del, we see their strained relationship as well. Kat gets angry with her mom for removing all traces that her dad and brother ever existed. Del is unsupportive of Kat’s decision to write a book and Alice’s desire to finish high school online. And while Kat and Del’s relationship could be helped through both parties saying sorry,  neither wants to be the first to apologize.

A man embarrasses his children by going into detail about his attraction to their mother (his wife). Del seemingly pushes Kat and Elliot together, not-so-subtly noting that they’re both divorced. Several people have wine (often when they’re stressed). Kids spread rumors about Alice at her new school and openly mock her. We hear singular uses of “d–n” and “h—.” God’s name is abused three times.

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Kennedy Unthank

Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”

Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.

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