There's a life trope that is often mirrored in entertainment. The harder you try for something, the less likely you are to achieve it.
No, that doesn't mean hard work doesn't pay off, but it does mean that sometimes, allowing things to progress naturally yields better results.
After The Way Home Season 1 Episode 6, it's more apparent than ever that the pond is responsible for Jacob's disappearance. But it's still unclear how.
If all things were equal and you had the opportunity to change the past, would you at least attempt to do it?
Of course, you would. We all would. There are so many twists of fate that seem preventable that we'd be hard-pressed not to give it a whirl.
Even after watching Kat and Alice try to change Jacob's fate on the day of his disappearance, only to be met with pain and frustration, I'd expect them to give it another try if they could.
My theory was always that their ability to traverse time through the pond was tied to the day of Jacob's disappearance. It seemed like they wouldn't have the opportunity to go back after that date.
Elliot's been keeping logs of Alice's comings and goings in 1999, but I can't recall him saying when she last popped up.
He should know the extent of her visits, but he doesn't know the extent of Kat's. It will be interesting to see how long they'll go back and forth now that they've hit a brick wall in Jacob's disappearance.
Several things came to light, though, either through Kat's visit to the past or through her present investigation into the case. The first thing that comes to mind is Port Haven's White Witch lore.
Kat: OK, so I've been piecing things together, just figuring out the timelines. There's an answer here. I know it. So, there's two prevailing theories here. One was that Jacob was taken; he was kidnapped. And then the other is that he fell into the ocean from the cliff, but I have to consider all of the possibilities, even the weird ones, like the white witch theory.
Elliot: That's insane.
Kat: I know, but local lore exists for a reason.
If the White Witch (clearly a reference to the 1814 pond incident) makes multiple appearances at different places in time, then these visits could last a long time.
It could also mean that time is looping because just how many times would that woman be darting into the woods in her gauzy sleepwear to jump into the pond?
And is one sighting of the White Witch enough to create lore? Maybe.
I doubt that the White Witch took Jacob, but it's interesting that Kat hasn't connected the possibility that someone could have come through the pound. She's an investigator, so it's only a matter of time before she connects the dots.
Alice was with Kat, Jacob, and Danny when the boys found the allure of the water impossible to resist. Kat had also seen Jacob and Danny running through the woods near the pond during one of her first trips.
Maybe, once Kat and Alice, mother and daughter, talk about their experiences, they'll piece it all together.
They need to do that soon because they aren't doing the past or present any favors by not sharing what they know with each other.
If they had a more solid plan to try to save Jacob, they could have had different results, or at the very least, they could have learned more about his disappearance.
Frankly, it was alarming how many mistakes they made regarding that night.
Alice should have trusted Elliot with the truth about Jacob rather than just telling him to watch Jacob if she doesn't return in time to do it herself. He's a guy who would move heaven and earth to help, so if he understood the gravity of the situation, he could have made sure he wasn't left behind.
As an aside, Brady was a jerk as many times as Kat and Alice made errors that night. From leaving Elliot behind to saying it was no big deal to telling Kat there was no cause for alarm at Jacob's disappearance, he was very annoying.
He's lucky he grew into such a decent man and father!
Kat was so far away from the Ferris wheel that when Jacob got off to find his stuffed dog, she lost track of him. Other than Alice, nobody in the past would recognize her, so she didn't need to wait so far away. People watch rides all the time.
By the time she got to the carnival, Alice knew the general direction of the evening, thanks to Danny's admission that he had lied. The poor guy had been carrying guilt for decades with the belief that his cowardice in facing his parents led to Jacob plunging off the side of the cliff.
Kat knew that Jacob had gotten that far, so she could have gone right to the edge and waited for them to arrive. Instead, she darted into a fun house after them, and her daughter did the same thing! Even waiting outside of the funhouse made more sense than that.
It didn't matter. Kat still found Jacob and walked him home, but once she had a disguise as Alice's mother in the past, she should have gone into the house with Jacob rather than left once he was safely inside.
There were still too many variables that could have unfolded. It was bad enough feeling responsible for his disappearance all those years ago, but now she's got that on her mind, too.
I'm not blaming them. Really, I'm not. But it was a very cockeyed attempt to save the day, given the grave circumstances they were trying to prevent.
But if they hadn't failed, that chapter of their story would have closed too soon, and that's apparently not how the creator wishes this to unfold.
It would have just been easier to watch if they hadn't been shooting from the hip and aiming in so many awkward directions.
With all of that out of the way, we face the reality that it was never going to change, and the resolution will come naturally when Kat and Alice aren't trying to play savior. That much was evident by Del's kindness toward Danny and her lovely speech at the town meeting.
Port Haven is a far lovelier place than most areas. More often than not, the almighty dollar talks more than anyone's feelings ever do. That was the last town carnival, which says a lot about the kindness of the Port Haven residents.
Rita and Kat's reaction to Monica's desire to fire up the carnival again would lead you to believe that she was being cruel even thinking about bringing back the carnival, but that it had been so long gone showed genuine thoughtfulness on behalf of the town's residents.
Del didn't think much of Kat's determination to question Danny, but accompanying Kat while she did remind Del that the entire town suffered trauma that night, not just the Landry family. And while she did her part to let him go with the balloon ceremony, she was ready for the town to let it go by embracing the carnival once more.
Maybe they need the carnival to reignite the magic that swept Jacob away in the first place. It took Kat's return to Port Haven to set these things in motion. Maybe time has been waiting for the carnival to reveal more secrets.
Hopefully, The Way Home Season 1 Episode 8 will find Kat and Alice finally talking about what they've been experiencing. Talking with Elliot is one thing, but sharing that with someone else who has also gone through it is different.
And Alice really needs her mom. She's very confused, which was evident when she told young Kat that Nick is unreliable and doesn't show up for her. She was speaking with young Nick about his older self, which was adding even more layers of confusion to an already turbulent situation.
Alice is having trouble navigating past and present. She knows it, which is why she was hurt to discover that Kat and Elliot had been lying to her without any irony that she and Elliot previously lied about her secret to Kat.
And darn it if rewatching the 1814 scene didn't have me questioning whether the woman in white, aka the White Witch, wasn't Del!
The pond, the Landrys, Port Haven -- they're all tied together. I hope that as the mysteries begin to fade and the secrets of the pond come to light, the family can share it, and maybe they can even share it with the town without seeming like candidates for the looney bin.
If Kat and Alice return to the past together, when do you think it would take them? Will they be visitors during Colton's memorial service? Or will they make that their next mission impossible -- to save Colton from dying trying to find his son?
He died in a car accident, so after discovering that the bike was at the carnival, I'd be wary that any future attempts to change history could place me in it instead. Will Kat feel the same?
What do you think? Is it time for Kat and Alice to come clean with each other, and maybe even with Del?
How should they proceed with the pond now that their chance to save Jacob has passed?
What else does Elliot know about Alice's adventures?
We've got four more episodes this season to find out!
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.