The Way Home Season 2 Episode 4 Review: Wake Me Up When September Ends

Pacts be damned!

The pacts Alice made with Elliot in 2001 and the one Kat made with him in 2024 were topics on The Way Home Season 2 Episode 4, as the past and the present continued to converge in multiple ways.

Elliot, past and present, still wrestled with knowing too much about one or the other, but in the present, that appears to be over. Thank goodness. The past, though, will remain rough for him.

Brady’s return to Port Landry was effective in light of Alice’s return to 2001. He’s never been painted as a bad guy, but we’ve also not fully understood him, either.

Brady’s desire to help Del reflects his promise to her when he asked for Kat’s hand in marriage. He didn’t want only to be Kat’s protector but to be the man of the family in the wake of so much loss.

I’m still not sure how often, if ever, Kat returned to Port Haven.

The estranged relationship between mother and daughter and the frequent swipes Kat feels emanating from Del for disappearing for so long, not to mention the surprise of receiving a letter from her as she did in The Way Home Season 1 suggests Kat might not have returned for a very long time.

Brady’s attempt to step up for Del supports that. It’s as if he is following up on a long-ago promise with the hope it will help mend any remnants of the rift between them all.

You know, Del, sometimes when someone wants to help, it’s not because they think you need it. It’s because they want to do something for someone they really care about.


That Kat’s engagement occurred so shortly after 9/11 makes a lot of sense. The Landry family was coming away from a significant familial shift at the same time the world imploded.

Those of us who lived through it were probably a lot like Elliot at the time, as he saw a microcosm of the world he knew disappear in a puff of smoke on 9/11.

Alice’s flippant conversation around the topic was disconcerting. Does that speak to how people are learning about the only time mainline America has been attacked?

As a bit of an aside, I had no recollection of The Concert for New York City, and I realized that was because I was in NYC that week in October, and the greater event and seeing the tragedy up close packed quite a wallop.

Can you even imagine being there to see your father propose to your mother? Seeing him strike out so terribly would be tough.

Alice wondered if claiming to be the inventor of the flash mob was something to be proud of, and after that performance, no matter how much work he put into it, I’d have to go with no.

It was actually painful to watch, and my cheeks reddened with embarrassment right along with Kat’s.

How well did Brady really know Kat if he thought that was the right approach to his proposal? The later, more personal and sincere version won her heart, but you still have to wonder if the larger sentiment of the world at the time lent a hand.

The engagement hit Elliot like a rock. After everything he thought he had learned after losing Colton and Jacob, he still thought he had time to capture Kat’s heart. The timing was not on his side.

We finally saw the pact Alice made with him that he brought up to her decades later, and with all the pain he felt, it’s no wonder he was so eager to make it.

Only when you realize how dense Alice is about the past do you realize how young and inexperienced she is. From my perspective, Elliot’s love for Kat was clear as day, but Alice genuinely had no idea.

Alice: Elliot, do you love my mom, like, now?
Elliot: Yes, I love her! Always. Ever since we were kids! I never told her, and now I never can.
Alice: I’m so sorry.
Elliot: I don’t, I don’t want pity. It’s official. Being surprised is so much worse than knowing what’s going to happen. Alice, you need to tell me everything.
Alice: I, I can’t. We made a pact!
Elliot: I don’t care about some stupid pact! Tell me! Am I always gonna feel this way?! Do Kat and I have any future at all?
Alice: OK. Knowing the two of you? You’re going to be just fine.

But if the pact worked even briefly in the past, it was a disaster in the present. Whatever reasons Elliot had to push against Kat’s investigation into Jacob’s disappearance, he’s seen the light, and they’re both better for it.

I know what I said, but I want to know what you know. I mean, it’s Jacob.


Once Elliot and Kat gave up on keeping the past in the past, he had a lot of insight to share with Kat. His father even found copies of all the shipping manifests that could be useful to Kat in determining when Jacob returns to Port Haven.

Not that she has any control over when she’ll return herself or to what time.

She finally talked a little bit about his ancestor Susana, and Elliot was just barely interested. Am I the only one who would have been practically tearing the words out of Kat to learn more about her?

Ironically, it’s Elliot who sends Kat back to 1814 when he wonders if, after coming this far, she could live with herself if she didn’t find out exactly what happened to him. It’s about time he realized the importance of her travels.

OK, look. I spent years hesitating cause I was scared of what the answer might be, and then it was too late. Take it from me, not knowing the answer sometimes is so much worse. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but you are so close to finding an answer. Could you really live the rest of your life not knowing what happened to Jacob?


Was it learning even a morsel about his own family that knocked some sense into him? Playing it over in my mind many times, I can’t imagine not supporting her exploration of Jacob’s disappearance. That’s even knowing I’d be green with envy at not being allowed to travel myself.

It’s especially interesting that Kat confided in Susana in much the same way that Alice confided in Elliot. Traveling, Landrys, and Augustines have been tied in knots throughout history.

Susana’s healing powers cast her aside in her community, so when Jacob, another outcast, arrived, they connected.

And even though Jacob’s contributions to Port Landry’s history are missing in the present, it seems like the town exists as it does today because of Jacob and Susana.

Jacob wasn’t just alive in 1814. He was there for the birth of this entire town, but he’s nowhere. I mean, he wasn’t even listed as helping build the lighthouse. I mean, what if something really awful is going to happen to Jacob, something that just completely erases him from history? I don’t think that I am strong enough to survive losing him all over again.


There were some good comments surrounding that point with our “When You Were Young” review, and now we mostly have an answer, and it’s relevant to all time, including the 9/11 references.

History is written by the winners. Well, for the longest time, it was, at least.

If your family isn’t included, another family could have worked harder to be present, or they could have stamped out your family’s contribution. But there’s another possible conclusion as well.

Jacob, knowing from whence he came, could have purposefully stayed in the background out of fear for how it would affect the future. He was a smart kid. We won’t know what was on his mind until we meet him.

But Susana’s point was valid, and it’s worth discussing Cyrus Goodwin, the man responsible for (possibly) ensuring that only his family name was credited with the notable aspects of Port Landry’s founding.

Do apples fall far from the family tree?

That’s a saying that circles lore through centuries, and if the Goodwins are the bad guys in this tale, what does it mean that Kat has invited Kasey to work closely with her?

When Kasey’s head was turned at the mention of Jacob during The Way Home Season 2 Episode 3, it acted as a red flag. Knowing what we know now about Cyrus, that flag is brighter than ever.

I’d love to think the world sings on second chances, but can every avenue on The Way Home be brimming with pleasure and happiness? There has to be an antagonist of some sort.

Even time doesn’t act as opposition to the story as it progresses, so it’s got to be found somewhere else. The happiest stories also include rivals to some degree.

When it comes to mysteries, we also need to discuss a few things surrounding the pond, the first of which is how Danny called it Jacob’s pond.

The Port Landry youths were all enamored with the white witch story, which turned out to be Kat, of course. But kids love that stuff, so it makes sense they’d spend a lot of time trying to find her or some other entity.

But something else caught my attention, too. Elliot said someone was always telling them to stay away from the pond and that it was a sinkhole. Did you catch that? I couldn’t make out the name, and CC doesn’t work on screeners.

Do you think it had some relevance? It’s hard to tell what does and doesn’t with this tale.

What did have relevance was that cliffhanger. After the warning that Elliot offered Alice about not always recognizing the people she’d come to love, it was still a shocker.

Kat: She keeps going back, doesn’t she? [Elliot nods] Is she gonna see? [he nods again] She’s gonna hate me!
Elliot: No, no. No, you two? You’re going to be just fine.

What did Alice see? I considered that Kat and Elliot had a tete-a-tete that Alice had witnessed, but that would have required both of them to be alerted to her presence. It has to be something else. What did Kat do that she thinks would threaten her relationship with Alice?

The season is picking up nicely. The more we can discuss across all of time, the better. Do you think the events of 9/11 drove Kat into Brady’s arms?

Should we worry about Kasey Goodwin? What on earth went down that worries Kat?

Drop below and share all of your thoughts about The Way Home Season 2!

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 X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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