Eureka – Season 5, Episode 1, Story 65 – Written by Jaime Paglia; Directed by Matt Hastings – Something goes screwy with the Astraeus launch and the ship crash lands back in Eureka, only four years later. They find that Eureka and Global Dynamics are a very different place: SARAH is running GD, Andy is the Security Chief, Jack and Jo are dating, Henry is a nutty, paranoid who took the blame for the disaster, and it’s all a very oppressive state. Plus, it’s a big jerk around because it’s all a simulation run by Beverly and the Consortium.
I am of severely mixed emotions about the opening episode of EUREKA’s final scheduled season. It is a very enjoyable episode that introduces a new status quo to the show. Much like the earlier swerve in the series’ run that saw our principals jump back in time and then forward to a new reality where things were almost the same but noticeably different, LOST sends the Astraeus crew four years into the future where things are less the same and even more different.
Except it’s a big, fat swerve.
The Astraeus comes back to a world with decidedly authoritarian overtones: SARAH, the former house computer, now runs Global Dynamics. Andy, the former aw shucks robot deputy, is now head of GD security (and copies of Andy are his security staff). Sheriff Carter and Jo are now dating and raising Allison’s kids. Henry took the blame for the Astraeus disaster and is now back living in his garage, where he conveniently wears a pair of overalls that say “Henry’s Garage” on them. We go through this whole episode of learning the new reality and watching Allison and Zane struggle with Jack and Jo’s new love for one another, and then we get to the end of the episode and find out that Allison, Fargo, and the other “greatest minds of Eureka” are plugged into a Consortium-controlled machine that inserts them into this false reality where they unwittingly now work for Beverly Barlowe.
So … yeah. All that stuff we just watched – it’s all a big bit of nothing. The fate of the Astraeus crew now resides inside that machine, believing fully in their new reality. The fate of the non-space flight folks (Jack, Henry, Jo, and the rest of town) is unknown.
What’s ultimately important, of course, is that this was a good episode with a good story, but I’m a bit hesitant as to where this goes. If we get a lot of the Eureka+4 universe, we’ll be watching, we’ll be watching our characters operating in two worlds and in emotional pain: the real folks will be desperately searching for lost loved ones we know are being held by the Consortium, and the virtual reality folks will have their new lives be nothing more than a resource for evil.
Resource for Evil? Good band name. Maybe not a great end of sentence phrase.
Now, I’ve enjoyed EUREKA way more than not over the previous four seasons so I’m more than willing to see where this goes. The fact that it’s the final season makes me even more willing to follow this show wherever it wants to take us because there’s only a limited amount of episodes left. But I’d be lying if I said I was an immediate fan of this new status quo. I suppose it saves them from having to build a Titan set, and saving money seems to be SyFy’s primary reason for wanting the show gone, but there is a bit of wear and tear starting to show around EUREKA’S edges. I think the show lost something when Stark left, and I know I’m in the minority on this, but I’ve always thought Jack and Allison worked better as unrequited lovers rather than a couple. Allison being with Stark and Carter being with Tess brought more to the show than having Allison and Jack together.
That said, one thing I’ve loved about EUREKA right along is that it’s not afraid to push the story forward. It would be totally easy to always sit in the comfortable middle and just have wacky things happen each week that causes Jack to use his common sense approach to fix geeky problems, and while that’s always going to be the show’s bread and butter, EUREKA is willing to get out of its comfort zone.
I dig that, and that’s why, even though I’m not totally crazy about the swerve at the end of the episode, I’m more than willing to see where it goes. After four full seasons of this show what’s most important for me is following these characters through to the end of their collective story.