"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eureka: I Do over

"Ohh, dude." -- Jack Carter, on learning he would have to memorize a formula for the next time loop shift.

Boy, I do loves me a Groundhog Day episode! No, I don't mean an episode of a show where they pull a helpless groundhog out of its hole in the cold of winter just to "predict" what's coming up in the next six weeks. I'm talking an episode that features some sort of time loop where a character or characters relive a particular day over and over again. As they go along they learn from the mistakes they made in previous loops. Eventually, through some way that usually isn't understandable, the time loop is closed and things move forward. It's been done on past shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files.

Now, Eureka joins their ranks with another Groundhog Day episode. At first, I was looking forward to the episode. And, as it progressed, I really enjoyed how the story expanded and how Carter put the pieces together. Then, came the solution and....Oh, no no no no no! (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Look, I wasn't the biggest fan of Stark. He was a bit too smart for his own good, he was always at odds with Carter and, as Jack said in this episode, his ego was too big to fit in the building. But, deep down inside he was a caring, loving individual who cherished Allison and her son. Plus, he was starting to warm up to Jack this season. Though, that wasn't very apparent for most of this episode. I chalk that up to wedding jitters.

Now, Nathan's gone. Oh sure, he can come back at any time -- this being a science fiction show and all. It was just the suddenness of Stark's "demise" that was so shocking. I thought that all of the good-byes he was saying to Jack were just precautionary. I guess he knew more about what was going to take place than either Jack or Fargo knew. When Nathan was shown suspended in time I knew something was going to go wrong.

I have to applaud the writers and producers of Eureka for throwing us this curve ball. The episode was set up to make the ending seem like the wedding would go on with Allison and Nathan becoming happily wedded while Carter watched on in, if not approval, at least acceptance. It was practically telegraphed with Carter's statements to her after the last time jump. Plus, when the promo said that the town would 'lose one of their own', it added up to the loss of Leo, who handled Time Maintenance for Global Dynamics and died trying to stop the time loops from happening.

Things will definitely be changing on Eureka. At least for the time being. It will be interesting to see how Jack reacts to this. Being that he doesn't have an opportunistic bone in his body, I can't see Jack jumping in to fill the gap that Nathan left when he disappeared into the time stream. He will be there for Allison, no doubt about that, but he will probably stay a safe distance away. Especially since he watched Nathan sacrifice himself for Allison. Whether Allison will remain distant to Jack is another story entirely.

Let's talk about Jack's adventures through time for a moment. After watching these type of episodes on a number of different shows, it seems that you can't really screw it up too much. That's because the story can stretch and grow as each instance is shown. The biggest pitfall is missing something someone mentioned in a previous loop. Carter's little journey over the same day was one of the better versions of this format I have seen. It was enjoyable not only because Jack was able to learn from his mistakes in order to determine what was going on, but because the added value of other stuff bleeding through each loop added a bit of interest to the plot. Not only was it enjoyable, but it was also frustrating to watch.

Until the very end only Jack knew that something was wrong. It was hard to watch him struggle to let everyone else in the town know what the hell was going on. And, when he did tell them, they didn't believe him. I mean, what did he know about the mechanics of time! Sadly, it was too late for a number of people when everyone realized what was going on.

Oh-kay! There was another storyline in this week's episode of Eureka: Jack's sister, Lexxie. Oh yeah, two totally different people. Where Jack has stability, Lexxie has that free-wheeling sense of adventure -- probably one reason why she will fit in well in Eureka. She does bring some baggage into town -- she's pregnant, which will be an interesting plot point as she gets more and more pregnant and Jack begins to react. I can also see some conflict brewing as Lexxie begins to exert some of her influence on Zoe. Something that will probably give Carter many headaches.

Before I conclude, a few odds and ends:

Degree deodorant had at least three scenes as it was given a deliberate close-up in Carter's bathroom. Well, at least they weren't talking about the advantages of the product right in the show.

"He's your Doctor WHO." "That's my favorite show!". -- Vincent getting the reference to the World Health Organization a bit incorrect.

I learned a bit more about what Eva Thorne is looking for in the town of Eureka. It seems she is searching for something under the ground. What that could be is anyone's guess.

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