Home By Another Way
Air Date December 10, 2007
Written by Tom Szentgyorgyi
Director Lesli Linka Glatter
Previous episode "Blowback"
Next episode "The Hanged Man"

Dan travels back to the newspaper's holiday party after Christmas Eve layoffs hit his office. He also runs into his father in the past and asks him to spend more time with the family. Elsewhere, Katie tries to put her traumatizing experience behind her, and Jack and Theresa receive some surprising news. John Aniston guest stars.


Livia is at home, Christmas, 1948, preparing for a date. Bing Crosby is singing “White Christmas” on the radio.

In 2007, Kate is at home baking cookies with Zack, listening to the same song on an iPod. Dan tells Kate he’s worried about her, since she’s still recovering from the incident with Aeden Bennett. She says she’s fine.

Hugh Skillen calls Dan down to the paper, where he tells him he’s going to be laid off, along with 25 percent of the staff, including Hugh. Dan tells fellow reporters, who gossip that a veteran reporter, Nancy Stokes, won’t be cut by publisher Dennis Ombacher because she got her job from him “on her knees.” Dan says it’s just a rumor.

Dan confronts Ombacher in the elevator, and he tells Dan that his performance is down 30 percent over the last four months. Alone in the elevator, Dan vanishes, to 1979.


Jack and Theresa arrive at Dan's house

In 2007, Jack arrives at Dan’s house with his girlfriend, Theresa Sanchez. Kate asks him to pick up his mother a the airport because Dan has gone missing.

At an office Christmas party on Dec. 24, 1979, with Disco music in the background, Dan meets a young Nancy. Livia appears, and they discuss whom they are there to help. Dan thinks it’s publisher Merritt Ombacher, Dennis’ father, who dies that very night. It could also be Dan’s father, Frank, who is at the party flirting. He leaves Dan’s family that same night.

Livia talks to Merritt Ombacher, who seems fine, but Nancy seems to be very friendly with him. Frank expresses an interest in Livia, as does Dennis. When Dennis makes an unwelcome advance on Livia, Dan tells him to back off. Dennis takes a swing at Dan, and Livia slips and falls, losing the locket that hangs around her neck. She and Dan disappear.


Dan asks Jack to run a check on Ombacher

In 2007, Dan’s mother arrives at his house. Dan, back at home, asks Jack to run a background check on the 911 call on the night Merritt Ombacher died.

Dan and Jack’s mother is critical of Kate’s elaborate plans for a large party that evening. Kate tells Jack she feels like his mother has painted a target on her back.

In 1979, Dan talks to Frank about the night his father left his family. Dan gives back Livia’s locket, and she reveals she was on a date with Henry when she vanished. Dan and Livia are spotted by Dennis and security guards start to throw them out but Merritt notices and intervenes. Frank vouches for Dan, and Merritt tells his son to “grow a pair” because he’s having security do his dirty work and throw them out. Frank wants to talk to Dan about his father.

Frank shows Dan photos of Dan and Jack and their mother Barbara at the Kennedy Space Center in 1977. Frank asks how he took it when his dad left. He says he’s not too much of a father or a husband. Dan says that explanation is “too easy.” Frank says he is a freak in his own house. Dan says he feels that way too sometimes, but would never leave his family. “Those boys are going to think about you every day,” and asks him to think about that before he walks.

In 2007, Barbara says she overheard Katie’s comment about the target on her back. She says Katie hurt Jack, and isn’t okay with it, even if the family is over it.


Dan and Livia find Dennis in his father's chair

Jack catches Theresa sneaking through Dan’s medicine cabinet looking for anti-psychotic medication. When pressed, she says she’s concerned about insanity in the family’s DNA, because she’s pregnant with Jack’s baby. Jack and Theresa leave the party for a drive to talk about it.

In 1979, Livia says she knows Nancy has left the building, and someone’s in Merritt Ombacher’s office. They go to his office, finding Merritt Ombacher on the floor, with Dennis in his father’s chair, watching him die.

Back in 2007, Katie is having flashbacks to the Aeden Bennett hostage incident, and is having trouble keeping it together as people arrive at her party.

Jack and Theresa talk in his car. He says he’s “in for this” but she says she’s not sure how she feels about the baby because she doesn’t know him and thinks he has a pretty strange family. But she says she wants to spend Christmas eve with him.

Livia and Dan conclude that they weren’t supposed to help Merritt Ombacher. She says the harder she lies to Henry about her missions, the harder it gets. Dan says it’s more honest now that he’s told Katie the truth. “Maybe we just can’t be with other people,” says Livia.

Dan sees Frank, and urges him to tell his sons why he’s leaving the family.


Ombacher tells Dan to leave

In 2007, Dan confronts Nancy, telling her that he believes he made a deal with Dennis to give him an alibi by allowing him to spread a rumor that she was in the room with the elder Ombacher the night he died.

Dan breaks in to Ombacher’s office, confronting him about the night he sat and watched his father die. Dan says he has a tape of the 911 call, but Ombacher says such a call wouldn’t be taped, and tells Dan to leave. Nancy enters the office, admitting that Dennis told her everything, and that she was promised a reporter’s job if she kept his secret.


Barbara enjoys the music before noticing Katie's abscence

Dennis calls a meeting at the newsroom and tells everyone “there will be no staff cutbacks in the foreseeable future.”

Barbara enters Katie’s bedroom, and Katie tells her she’s having trouble getting Aeden Bennett out of her mind. Barbara comforts Katie and tells her that Dan isn’t there for her. She tells Katie not to accept his excuses, and that she doesn’t really need him or anybody except herself.

Jack and Theresa talk about the baby and she says she’s starting to feel it will be a good thing for them. She asks if there’s anything she needs to know about Dan. He says no.

Dan drives up asks Jack about the night their father left them. Jack says Frank woke them both up and told them he was leaving because he felt like a freak. Dan says he doesn’t remember.

Katie tells Dan his mother helped him. Dan tells Katie that he learned that he’s not his father, and that he “belongs here.”

In 1948, Livia accept a ring from Henry, and says “yes” to his proposal of marriage.

Featured music

  • "White Christmas" (1942) by Irving Berlin, sung by Bing Crosby in both 1948 and 2007.
  • "Le freak" (1979) by Chic
  • "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" (ca. 1979) unknown Disco artist

Historical references

  • John Chancellor of the NBC Nightly News is shown on a TV in the newsroom reporting on "the hostages in the American embassy in Iran."



Guest starring

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"Blowback" "The Hanged Man"