The expected and the unexpected worked in tandem on The Way Home Season 1 Episode 10, ultimately setting up an entirely different journey for the Landry women for the show's second season.
The finale worked to suggest that the more secrets that are uncovered within the Landry family, the longer the show can continue while still keeping things fresh.
When season-enders close current storylines and open new chapters, everyone wins.
It's hard to know where to start with so much to discuss, so we'll begin by addressing the shocking, sad, but somewhat inevitable first.
Elliot chose to walk away from Kat.
When you take the whole picture into account, it makes sense that he'd want to go in this direction. It's not easy discovering your future was already mapped out for you when you've yet to chart your own path in life.
Kat: I am a bad seed. I am the root of all the bad things that happened to my family.
Elliot: Kat! Stop! You have to let it go.
Kat: Alright. I just. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you have to be a part of all of this now.
Elliot: I've always been a part of it. Since the moment someone told me my future, my life has been ruled by the past, and I'm happy to be here, where I always knew I would be, even if I only had a very little part in the decision. But you never had to go through that, Kat!
Elliot has been an essential part of Kat and Alice's journey thus far because of that experience, and they wouldn't have made it without his help.
It's disappointing that he's been so laser-focused on his future that he never managed to carve out his own existence without it. For a scientific fellow, it seems he failed to test the theory that science is ever-changing.
Instead of pushing boundaries, he let the road Alice drew for him guide his way.
That's why he's been so certain that you cannot change the past. I'm no longer so sure that's true. He's been guiding Kat and Alice every step of the way, and with each setback, his calm assurance that you must let play out what was meant to be was taken as fact.
But little things can change the future, and once Alice was gone from his life in 2000, it's possible that if he hadn't felt trapped, he might have had an entirely different life.
Just because he was a science teacher in Port Haven in 2023 didn't mean he had to be a full-time teacher. He could have been a quantum physicist who took a sabbatical to his hometown to teach for a semester. I'm sure they would have had him.
Of course, the pond directs Kat and Alice into how they can change the future. But Elliot could have done it simply by living. Maybe it was his choice, albeit unconscious, to let the future play out until he could feel free to do as he wanted.
Regardless of the reason, it seems poised to change things beginning with The Way Home Season 2.
Romantically speaking, Kat is now a free woman. She's signed her divorce papers and lost Elliot in one day.
It's sad that Kat has taken a lifetime to realize how much she values and cherishes what she's always had with Elliot, only to have it ripped away through no fault of her own.
All of this time travel business is still very new to her, and it was because of its discovery that she saw clearly how much he meant to her.
But their love is also very fresh, and if he was going to cut the cord, doing it now was better than establishing a firmer romantic bond.
The truth is that Kat and Alice needed Elliot.
They've always been interconnected through two specific times in history. But with his help, they discovered they also have each other through those same periods.
Alone, they could not have weathered the time-traveling storm of 2023, but now, Kat and Alice have a new level of their mother-daughter relationship that can guide them through any rough waters ahead.
It's a gift they've been given to have shared such an unexpected friendship before tackling their longer-term mother-daughter bond.
Without that gift, they'd never be where they are today, as we discovered they are only reunited with Del because of the pond.
Although, if we hold true to Elliot's beliefs that what is meant to happen will happen, perhaps without Alice's help, Rita would have been the person to grab that letter from the trash to set things in motion.
If the pond only takes you where you need to go, I still have questions about why Kat and Alice had to go back to 1999 in the first place. They didn't accomplish all that much by going there.
Unless, of course, the reason all along has been for Alice to come into her own and to strengthen their relationship.
They endured a lot of pain to do what other mothers and daughters managed to weather just fine without time travel.
They also experienced so much joy as a result of time travel that they would never walk it back to do it differently.
What hurts is that there are three Landry women living in that house, and only two are directly benefitting from the profound experience of going back in time.
When Alice played her grandfather's love song for his wife at the Roxy re-opening, it would have been an excellent opportunity to loop her in, but Alice took it in another direction, suggesting that Kat sang the song for her while she was growing up.
That's a terrific workaround for admitting the truth and one that would have worked perfectly for another time oddity if Kat were quick on her feet.
Once Kat realized that she was the other woman at the funeral, she should have told Del the truth -- that the woman she believed Colton was having an affair with was none other than Alice's mother, who had accompanied her to the funeral but didn't want to intrude.
She could have easily revealed that by saying if she had known that Del believed Colton had been unfaithful because of a crying stranger, she could have allayed that fear with a simple fact.
Some of us have held onto the hope that Del's involvement with the pond would come with the reveal that the woman running in the woods at the opening of The Way Home Season 1 Episode 1 was Del.
Instead, it was Kat.
Frankly, I've been waiting since the premiere for someone to realize Jacob went missing in the pond, so I'm glad Kat finally put it together. On my end, it's probably the most awkward oversight of the story.
The seeds were planted and spread several times, and we just have to chalk it up to the fact that their heads were spinning with their own investigation and time travel to see the writing on the road directing them to the reason for Jacob's sudden disappearance.
And I have to ask -- just how many time periods have Finn the dog been visiting that he returned with a ball that looks relatively new considering the circumstances?
Of course, just because it was Kat fleeing people hot on her trail back to the pond doesn't mean that Del won't be let in on their magnificent secret.
The credits rolled without knowing how Kat will explain what she has seen to her mother or what she has found in the almanac, which we now know leads directly back to the family.
The explorer found a home, but he still looks to the stars when he feels lost.Kat [reading]
The almanac was first used by the Landry family in 1814, the same year that Kat is seen running through the woods. I like the idea that Jacob's an adventurer, not lost, and that the stars and the almanac are ties that, like so many other laces we have yet to explore, bind the family together through time.
What other secrets does the almanac hold about the family's travels?
Personally, I love time travel stories with a little extra magic involved, like when something in the family's history changes, so would a family heirloom like an almanac. Could it really have been the first time Kat noticed missing pages in the almanac, or has something Jacob did in the past just changed the family's future in that way?
As the curtain closes on The Way Home Season 1, romance is the last thing on anyone's mind, and I'm OK with that.
There is so much more to life and to women than romance, and I'm excited to see how the Landry women flourish in the next chapter of their lives.
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.