The Way Home's Chyler Leigh Talks Finale's Jacob Twist, Elliot's Decision ('I Was Devastated!') — Plus, Grade It!

Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Way Home‘s season finale. Proceed at your own risk!

Hallmark Channel’s The Way Home offered up a few answers and even more time-travel mysteries in its Season 1 finale on Sunday.

First, Kat discovered that not only is she responsible for the crash that killed her father Colton, but she’s also the mysterious woman at his funeral with whom Del thought her husband was having an affair. Realizing that time travel has brought her family much pain, Kat was ready to move on from it. But then it dawned on her that her MIA little brother Jacob followed Finn the dog into the pond that fateful night… and time-traveled to 1814?! The final seconds of the episode revealed that the series premiere’s witch who was being chased by an angry mob, before jumping into the pond, is actually Kat!

Elliott, too, was ready to move on, but not in a way that was good news for Kat/Elliott ‘shippers. When Kat told him that she signed her divorce papers, Elliot responded that he’s been a spectator in his own life, ruled by the past ever since Alice told him his future. Although he loves Kat, he now needs to start a new chapter (sans Kat?!) to see where his own path might lead.

Below, star/executive producer Chyler Leigh breaks down Kat’s appearance in 1814, that Jacob time-travel twist and Elliot’s “devastating” decision to end things with Kat. Plus, the actress weighs in on whether Del knows about the pond’s special abilities.

TVLINE | The last couple episodes have been so emotional. I know that Grey’s Anatomy and Supergirl could be emotional at times, but is this the most you’ve ever had to cry on screen?
I am not going to lie, yes. [Laughs] When I was going back to ’99, initially, and I couldn’t reveal myself at all, we all had this running joke where I was just the creeper. And so, I was like I’ve never creeped and I’ve never cried so much on a show. [Laughs] It’s been the greatest, most challenging show or project that I’ve worked on, and I could not be more proud of all of us. Everybody put their heart and soul [into it], and because of that and because I had such amazing people to work with who were so gracious, and [because of] the material, the story we were telling, there were so many times when it was just easy to go there.

TVLINE | What were some of the biggest questions that you had, coming out of the finale, that you’re excited to explore in Season 2?
Obviously, the white witch factor of it… From what I’ve been told that, I think I will be going back [in time] in order to, hopefully, help explain a little bit of what happened, because I’d like to know! [Laughs] Also, with Elliot, too, I’m kind of like, “Aww. But we have to get back together, don’t we?” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Kat has this big epiphany about Jacob possibly having gone back in time, and it’s coming at a time when Kat herself is starting to put the past in the past. So where does that leave her moving forward?
It kind of gets chalked up, again, to the fact that she’s a reporter. She’s a journalist, and so no matter what, getting to the bottom of everything has always been the through line for her. It’s just what comes naturally in her personality and just her skill, and obviously that has a part to play. But [if] there’s any hope that she could find more answers, if there’s any hope she could find Jacob, she would never truly, truly give up… She’s going to go for it. Family is always first for her, which is one thing I definitely relate to as Chyler. So I think that, naturally, is just going to push her and propel her forward to go, “OK, no, there is so much more here. I’m going to figure this out.”

TVLINE | How do you imagine this revelation about Jacob might shake up the dynamic in the family, especially given that Del still doesn’t know about the pond and that the girls have been using it to time travel?
Well, here’s my question, and I’m actually genuinely asking this question: Does Del know about the pond?

TVLINE | I did wonder when Alice was singing Colton’s song if maybe Del was putting it together.
I’m speaking now from a fan perspective because I don’t have all these answers yet, but I’m wondering myself. I’m kind of like, well, there’s still the questions [about seeing] this person that impacted your life all this time ago. Do you recognize them? Is there an aspect of that that still comes into play? Or is there some sort of like Men In Black, push-the-button [situation], and you don’t remember certain things? Does that come in, or has it always been there? Because that begs the question, too, of like Colton saying, “My Katherine.” There’s something there as well.

So do they know? Does Del know? When she takes Alice to the pond — and I always loved the line and it was kind of like, “Oooh, mysterious mysteries” — she says, “The pond is a world all of its own” and talks about the pond freezing over and that that is an indicator that seasons are changing, and obviously there’s more to that than saying like actual winter is coming.

TVLINE | Didn’t Kat call him dad at one point? I wondered if that was why Colton recognized her when she was cradling him in her arms.
Yes. She says a couple times, “It’s OK, daddy. It’s OK, daddy. I’m here. You’re going to be OK. I love you so much. Everything’s going to be OK.” Yeah, and that’s when he puts his hand up, and there’s a sense of, yes, he’s dying, but there’s a sense of shock that comes across his face.

When they’re in the grief counseling, he’s always looking at Kat when he’s talking, and he’s always connecting with her in a way. In the car, when he’s saying these things, I feel like there’s more to that, and I made the intentional choice when Kat says, “I have a daughter,” it was Kat saying, “You have a granddaughter.” There was that side. Jefferson Brown, who is phenomenal the entire time but really particularly in these episodes, we had a long chat about that kind of stuff when we were in the car because we shot all the car scenes in one day. So it was like these deep conversations of, how were they connecting here? How is Colton connecting? And why is talking to her so important and so special? Is it just that he would share with anybody, or is it more intentional?

TVLINE | I imagine viewers are going to have a lot of theories about the final moments of the finale and Kat being in the past, the way she looks, where Jacob is, why he went back in time but didn’t seem to come back to his present time like Alice and Kat did. Did the producers give you any insight into what’s going on with Kat in 1814 and Jacob?
I’m getting little bits and pieces. I know they’re in the writers’ room as we speak right now. That is one thing I’m so excited about is to just get back there and figure out how did Kat get there. What has it been like? Because they call her, obviously, like a witch. So the idea of her being able to predict or know the future back in a time when witches or anybody with some sense of clairvoyance were being burned at the stake, hence the pitchforks and the angry people coming after her… And the way that she looks. How did she get to that point? I loved seeing the majority of people think that it’s Alice. I think that’s solely because of, obviously, the long hair. So how her hair is so long, and how she looks and why she looks the way she does, why she’s wearing that outfit, is all definitely going to be part of the explanation pretty quick once we jump into Season 2.

TVLINE | My first thought upon seeing that her hair was so long was, “My God, how long has she been trapped there in the past? Did the pond freeze over or something?”
Exactly. That was my question, too. So there is definitely a big time difference. Figuring out how long she has been trapped there, or does she have to make herself look a certain way when she’s there because she needs to blend in, that’s the question that I can’t wait to have answered myself. Actually, right now, I’m not even cutting my hair during this entire time we’re off. I just want to see what happens by the time we go back. How long would my hair be? [Laughs] Kind of like my own little inside thing.

TVLINE | You did a lot of traveling to the late 1990s this season, but now you’re going to be, potentially, spending a lot of time much further back in 1814. Is there anything about that specific time period that you’re really excited to step into?
Yes. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to be incorporated quite yet, but I have been asked if I have experience on a horse, and if not, would I be willing to take lessons, and I was like, “Absolutely!” Luckily, what’s great is I live in Tennessee and some very, very good friends of mine own a horse ranch. So I’m like, “Guess who’s coming for dinner.” [Laughs] I can’t wait! That is one thing that I’m really excited about.

TVLINE | We spent the season rooting for Elliot and Kat to get together and then Elliot, essentially, broke up with Kat before they even really entered a relationship. How did you feel about his decision?
Oh my God, I was devastated! But at the same time, Evan [Williams] and I worked really hard in those scenes. That scene, in particular, kudos to that man, who I just absolutely love and adore. You don’t want to understand what he’s saying, but at the same time, it’s like, oh my God, he really did just break free from all the things that he’s known in the past. He actually does have that chance… I don’t want to say that Kat is self-centered, but at the same time, for her to have to accept the fact that it really isn’t about her, it’s about the wellbeing of this person who she does genuinely love, you have to respect that journey. When she has that conversation in the [finale], and he says, “I’ve been here all along,” and she says, “Well, you don’t really understand what it’s been like,” and he does say, “No, I do know because this has governed and dictated my entire life.” So he’s been impacted for the past 20 years by this. And I wonder if we’re going to touch on who he was married to, because he mentions that in the very beginning [of the series]. I was like, “Wait, who’s that girl?” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Me too! I was wondering who the ex-wife was and if we were going to meet her this season. Maybe a Season 2 thing?
Maybe. I’m not going to like her, so whatever. [Laughs] But yeah, it was devastating.

TVLINE | I wanted to clarify something about the Kat and Elliot conversation. By this “new chapter,” did he mean he’s moving away? And if not, can they still be friend after this?
Oh, that is a great question: Can you ever really truly be friends with your ex? I don’t know, to be very, very honest. I don’t know if that means [he’s] moving away or whatnot. I doubt it. I mean, he’s too invested in life there. He’s a teacher. But I couldn’t confirm nor deny because I don’t know.

The Way Home fans, what did you think of the season ender? Grade it below, then hit the comments with your Season 2 theories!

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