Before beginning my review, we include, courtesy of Syfy, a sneak peek of the next exciting episode of Eureka entitled “Worst Case Scenario” airing Monday May 21, 2012 9 PM E/P when all heck is sure to break loose in town!
Naturally Eureka fans, we all hope this includes the never ending potential to once again see the destruction of Sheriff Carter’s poor jeep!
Jack of All Trades:
I am opening this review with SPOILERS so if you have not seen the show, proceed at the risk of your own mental stability!!!
“Is this my joking face?! No! This is not my face at all!”
Giving actors a chance to show off range is always fun. Giving actors a chance to show off range to comic effect is even better. But when the actors involved are playing characters such as Douglas Fargo, (Neil Grayston), Jack Carter, (Colin Ferguson), and Zane Donovan, (Niall Matter), the effect is tear-worthy from laughter! It makes me wish Nathan Stark, (Ed Quinn), was still around. If you saw this episode this week, just think about that for a moment, and tell me you can keep a straight face.
The pressure’s on as Warren, (Wallace Shawn) returns to Eureka to evaluate the Astraeus crew members to see if they can keep their jobs. The first evaluation doesn’t go well, as a teleportation experiment goes wrong, exploding a tenderloin all over Jack Carter.
But stinking like old meat is soon the least of Jack’s worries as, while being kept under ‘observation’ in the infirmary by Alison Blake, (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), he suddenly finds himself in a game of Laser Tag with Warren several floors away. In the meantime, Douglas Fargo starts firing a gun – in Jack’s body – in the infirmary.
Jack and Fargo have switched minds – and it is not the only time it happens. While Fargo-Jack panics about his career, Jack-Fargo is currently ruining it by failing (yes, you can fail) a Rorschach test. Luckily for Fargo, the two switch back before permanent damage is done, but the cosmos are not done laughing. Before long, Jack switches into Zane during a romantic moment with Alison, (and Jo [Erica Cerra]), and panic definitely ensues.
It is slowly realized that Jack’s wireless connection to the neural net has left his brain as an antennae, attracting other minds randomly to his. However, the constant switching causes brain damage to everyone involved, and it is finally decided that Jack needs to have brain surgery to shut down an active nerve cluster in his brain that is causing the switching. Of course, during the procedure, Jack suffers another switch – into Alison, the person doing the surgery.
Though Jack-Alison successfully maneuvers the probe out and everyone starts to wait for the switchback, Alison-Jack manages to do enough damage of her own, painfully and possibly permanently damaging the relationship between Jo and Jack. This could not come at a worse time, as the switchback occurs, leaving Jack unconscious and possibly dead on the floor.
Alison performs the surgery and, after pleading with him, coaxes Jack back to the world of the living. Later on, in Cafe Diem, Jack finally proposes to Alison to the cheers of everyone (in their living rooms AND in the show), save for Jo. Curly-fry rings, by the way, just got a whole lot cuter.
It is a pretty big relief that the switching that happened this week on Syfy’s Eureka was nothing more than “neural teleportation”, as Fargo-Jack puts it.
Though enough damage was done without the help of memories, (I’m looking at Alison Blake and Jo Lupo), it is kind of frightening to think about what could have happened had Alison actually remembered how Jo kissed, (we know it happened). Regardless, all this mind jumping still gave enough people a chance to outwardly deal with some of the issues that have been plaguing them for months. PTSD is a powerful force against which very little can really fight, and once given a mask…well it may take more than the rest of the series’ life to sort out everything that is exploding across the screen now.
Douglas Fargo was, ironically, the straightest Jack of the three. This is probably because Fargo is one of the gentlest characters on the show and, arguably, one of the hardest hit. As I explained in a previous review, Fargo has been the butt of many comical moments of the show, and he seems to have accepted himself as nothing more than what he is. He shows a confidence and a maturity that started steadily growing when he became head of Global Dynamics in Season 4.
While he still seems to retain his playful side, (Laser Tag, anyone?), he has proven himself over and over to not only be very intelligent, but wise. Call it naivete or call it a good heart, but Fargo is growing into a much better man than he has been all show. His primary concern, during the switch, is still quite self-centered but as the head of Global Dynamics at the height of evaluation, can you blame him?
Once out of Jack’s body and into another plotline, (oh Universe, how you laugh…), Fargo reveals that while the effects of the grief patch from previous episode are gone, he has not successfully moved through all of the stages. He takes an enormously giant leap forward in what is to me one of the saddest moments of the show, and while it was wise of him to do so, it leaves many of us viewers wondering if we just missed our last chance to see Holly Marten, (Felicia Day) again.
When it is revealed that Doctor Marten’s mind is still connected to the neural link set up by Senator Wen, (MingNa) and her cronies, I am sure everyone at home gasped in delight that perhaps this was the Ascended returning Daniel Jackson, (Michael Shanks), to Earth, or the discovery of Carson Beckett, (Paul McGillion), in Michael’s, (Connor Trinneer), lab.
But instead of immediately devoting all resources to getting her out of there, Fargo takes a step back and still orders the program shut down, possibly permanently terminating Holly’s chances to come back. Fargo is beginning to let go.
Someone who cannot let go, however, would be Alison Blake. Admittedly, working in Eureka probably would drive someone mad after a long time, but Alison is showing signs of classic PTSD and, to me at least, nearing a breaking point. The woman has gone through so much in these five years – meeting Jack, reuniting with Nathan, losing Nathan, alternate universe Kevin-without-autism, (Trevor Jackson), being with Jack, losing Jack to alternate universe Jo…..and that is just the relationship side of it all. Somehow, her tigress-fierce protectiveness of Jack and her’s relationship makes sense, but the ‘old’ Alison Blake would never have come down on Jo that hard.
The old Alison Blake would have stopped Jo before she went too far, informed her who she was really talking to – or never initiated the conversation in the first place. This new Alison just blew up a bridge that she saw forming, no matter what the consequences. To make things worse, (or better, depending on your point of view), her reward for doing so was Jack asking for her hand in marriage. While I am sure many people were jumping for joy at that question, (FINALLY!!!) I found my joy a little restrained that it came on the heels of Alison’s vicious halt of Jo and her emotions.
Again, this will probably take longer than what the show life will allow, but I certainly hope that Jo, Jack, and Alison manage to come clean with each other about everything – even if it leaves their relationships in the show unresolved, (yeah, I said that. Now we will see what really happens).
Really, Alison Blake and Zane Donovan are a perfectly matched pair this week. They have been all season, but they do have one more painful thing in common: they both use Jack’s body to hurt him in some way.
Zane has just as much PTSD as Alison, and he takes the same out as she does – hiding in Jack’s body to damage his reputation, (poor Jack, how is he going to get himself out of that sexual harassment case?) Zane’s actions are much easier to believe than Alison’s, given Zane’s firecracker bad-boy attitude, but at the same time just as agonizing to see.
Both Alison and Zane are suffering from PTSD, and even worse they both watched relationships that they had waited for and worked for and suffered for just fall apart in a matter of ‘minutes’, (years on the other side of the coin). Once the probability matrix came into effect, both of them realized that this ‘alternate reality’ was not quite so impossible. They are fighting to hold onto the people they love, and jealousy and fear can manifest into petty actions. Zane is in more danger, since Jo still seems to want to go on her walkabout – probably more so now that she seems to have been shot down by Jack.
Jo Lupo is another character who has shown amazing growth throughout the show. She started off as tough and impenetrable, a ‘badass babe’ as some put it, and while her vulnerabilities were shown early, (she was revealed to love dancing as early as season two), it wasn’t until she met Zane that the slow peeling away of her exterior really began. Now from a writing standpoint, the main character and his female deputy tend to have one of two relationship: they are secretly in love with each other the whole show, or they are strictly platonic and almost act like brother and sister.
To me, Jack and Jo have been toeing the line the whole show, and Jo’s admission to Jack about even thinking about a romantic relationship between the two of them had me cheering. It shows a tremendous step for her character, finally admitting that she might be harboring feelings for him, (in my opinion, she definitely IS – I will explain in a moment). While I am not pushing down her relationship with Zane in any way, Jo herself made the point: “Why act like it’s never crossed our minds?” Also given the circumstances in which the conversation took place, I think it is actually safe to say that she DOES have an attraction to him.
She calls him attractive, presents herself the same way, (hair down and all), and is completely up front about the whole thing while at the same time stuttering and nervously trying to get the words out. It is as if she is laying out the whole scenario just to get his reaction – except of course, it is not Jack Carter she is talking to.
Her reaction to Alison’s firm: “No, not really,” is also a clue.
Instead of simply nodding and walking away, as the old Jo would have done, she pauses as though processing and shutting off all of her dreams. It is hard to watch, and watching Jack propose to Alison does not help the situation.
So does Jack feel the same way? I think only the rest of the season will really explain. Jack has a powerful sense of right and wrong, so it is difficult to figure out if his discomfort around Jo is strictly because of his feelings for Alison or because he really is not attracted to her. (To be petty on my own, Zane had absolutely no problem going after Alison, dream or not).
This was a huge episode character wise – a turning point even, the first climax of the season if you want to call it that. Similar to the death of Holly Marten, it will be nail-biting to watch things adjust in the episodes to come, even though it seems the apparent destruction of Eureka is imminent, (WarGames meets 2001-type destruction). Hold on to your seats, it definitely looks like this show is going to take us for one more ride before heading off into the sunset!
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