Besides its compelling storytelling, The Way Home is also known for its needle drops. The Hallmark Channel series didn't disappoint with its season 2 opener, "The Space Between," whose title comes from the Dave Matthews Band track of the same name that released in 2001. According to Genius, the song is about "two people who cannot be together, but still yearn to be."
Yearning is at the heart of the premiere. Having decided not to time travel anymore, Alice and Kat have spent the last seven months living in the present and trying to heal from all that had happened in season 1. However, Alice can't help but miss her life in the '90s, while Kat has been missing Elliot desperately since he left town. Del yearns to be more connected to her daughter and that leads her to open up to Kat and get to a place where she can talk about Jacob and Colton without fear or pain.
But, given the fact that Dave Matthews Band is Elliot's favorite, the track is also a nod to where he and Kat are in their romance. They love one another, that's clear, but Elliot wanted space to find himself outside of Kat, and she's continuing to give that to him. She's decided it wasn't meant to be and, even though they shared a kiss in the episode, she's going to do her best not to be his problem anymore.
The actual opening track of "The Space Between" is "Decode" by Paramore. For millennials of a certain age, like myself, the song is inseparable from the Twilight film franchise. It came out in 2008, which would have been around the time Kat was in her mid-20s. While the inclusion of this track could just be a nod to the fact that she's running through an area in Port Haven that wouldn't be out of place in Forks, Washington, it could also point to her fractured relationship with Elliot.
As guitars shred and the drum pounds in "Decode," Hayley Williams' voice rises through the music to ask a repeated refrain, "How did we get here/When I used to know you so well?/But how did we get here?/I think I know," speaking to how far apart Kat and Elliot are, not just because he's traveling outside of the country, but also emotionally.
It seems, too, that Kat loves running to rock music. Later in the episode, when she and Elliot come face-to-face for the first time since he left, she's listening to "Unnatural Anthem" by Rathbone Pick, J.D. Trigger, and DJ Chunk. Since Kat has taken up running, we're likely in for more "heavy" sounding tracks in season 2.
A marked departure from this is "Steal My Sunshine" by LEN. The name is apt, however, because while it's a bright spot as Alice, Kat, and Del dance and sing in the kitchen, it's abruptly cut short by Brady's phone call. It felt like a moment where they tried to recapture a feeling that's gone. Which, again, works so well with this episode about yearning.
This is most clear when Kat puts on Elliot's mixtape after the summer party Del threw. She's in the clubhouse when Elliot finds her. He'd decided to come back after making a quick retreat. Their song, "All For You" by Sister Hazel, is playing. It was obvious this needle drop signified an important moment would be happening between the two, and it did!
I'm sure many of us were screaming at the television as they kissed before Kat pulled away and they both wound up apologizing. It's been seven months but the depth of their love for one another hasn't changed even if Kat is set on respecting the boundary Elliot placed without pushing him out of her life. As she told Alice, he's still family and he always will be. They're definitely confused about each other and what it is they're doing but one thing remains true, their love.
The remaining two tracks--"The Greatest" and "We Champions" by Universal Production Music--didn't have much to do other than to convey the vibe of the party at the cove that Spencer and his friends were throwing to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer.
Full "The Space Between" tracklist (in order of appearance):
- "Decode" - Paramore
- "Steal My Sunshine" - LEN
- "Unnatural Anthem" - Rathbone Pick, J.D. Trigger, and DJ Chunk
- "The Greatest" - Universal Production Music
- "All For You" - Sister Hazel
- "We Champions" - Universal Production Music