Eureka: God is in the Details

... in which the town begins experiencing events that could be interpreted as biblical signs of the apocalypse.

I really enjoyed this one. It tackled an interesting subject, delivered an engaging disaster-of-the-week, and provided some forward momentum on several continuing fronts, including Carter’s wiped memories, Henry’s grief, the Stark-Allison-Kevin situation, and the budding relationship between Zane and Jo.

I’m really glad they broached the subject of how religion fits into Eureka (or doesn’t). “Is there still a place for faith in a world of science?” is a really fascinating question for a town built on scientific discovery. I’m not convinced the writers did a great job exploring the topic in any depth, but I give them credit for at least trying. I also give them credit for striking a good balance with the believers and non-believers. Reverend Harper’s congregation wasn’t just full of non-scientists, and those resistant to church weren’t solely the brainiacs.

That said, I’m marking them down a letter grade for exploring the topic solely through a Judeo-Christian lens. I’d think the faithful in a town like Eureka would favor a more Unitarian Universalist or holistic approach that doesn’t focus so much on one world tradition. I actually found the frequent Bible-pushing a bit off-putting. Perhaps the writers went this route because they knew they wanted the disaster to manifest as potential signs of the Judeo-Christian apocalypse, but I prefer when story elements like this are character-based and not plot-based.

I’d mark them down another letter grade for the whole “now everyone’s a believer, let’s all sing Amazing Grace together!” ending, if they hadn’t made it clear that wasn’t really what was going on. It was more the community temporarily coming together after the town’s latest catastrophe and finding comfort in song and each other. Folks like Stark, Carter, Zane, and even Larry weren’t suddenly religious converts. I imagine the reverend will get some permanent new congregants, but suspect that most residents will return to their secular ways before too long.

As for the disaster-of-the-week, I decided before the opening credits that either the reverend or the organist would be the culprit--- you can’t put a recognizable face like Teryl Rothery in the mix and expect me to believe she’s a minor player in the story --- but I still I enjoyed watching the disaster unfold and Carter’s search for the cause. Plus, I was really glad it didn’t turn out that Diane was trying to simulate the apocalypse to fill up the reverend’s pews (which I started to suspect after her conversation with Carter about the reverend saving her). The events being an unintended consequence of her attempts to reunite with her deceased husband was much more resonant and satisfying.

Even better, Diane’s “gateway to the multiverse “ tied into both Carter’s and Henry’s ongoing stories. The temporal rift clearly presented some serious temptation for Henry, and, unfortunately, it probably fanned the flames of his anger at Carter over Kim’s death. Here he was again, with his love possibly within reach, and Carter prevented him from going to her. In this case, Henry reluctantly agreed that it was the right thing to do, but the whole situation has to serve as an all-too-painful reminder of what Jack has cost him. Ironically, it might also serve as a possible reminder for Jack of what Henry has cost him by wiping his mind. Obviously he didn’t remember using a similar temporal rift to stop Henry’s attempt to save Kim, but he did tell Diane, “You just have to have a little faith,” which is exactly what he said to Alt-Allison before they parted. After the sonnets book triggered some additional memories of his confrontation with Henry in the garage, I can’t help thinking this choice of words was no coincidence and that even more of his memories may start coming back. Exciting stuff!

Other Thoughts

Dire circumstances prompted Stark to confess to Allison that he loves her (yea! and duh!), but they also forced him to use Kevin’s growing abilities to save her. He later tells Allison that Kevin is evolving and expanding his connection to the Akashic Field, but I have to wonder if his actions in this episode accelerated that process.

I really loved the insight into Jo’s problem trying to make a relationship work in Eureka. “Bottom line: he’s brilliant, I’m not. Story of my life trying to get a date in this town. […] How long before he realizes I can’t keep up with him?” I can understand why she’d develop this particular self-esteem issue --- she practically gets a daily dose of brainy science types dumping on Carter for a perceived lack of smarts --- but I think she’s being overly sensitive and selling herself short. Besides not all guys want a partner who’s as book smart as they are; some want partners who challenge them in other ways. She should give Zane a chance before undermining her own happiness because of an intellectual inferiority complex.

Especially since I really don’t think Zane meant to imply that she was stupid or that he thought less of her in any way. I think he was just trying to make a distinction between the rush he associates with theoretical research (“that’s the real mind candy”) and the excitement of physically building something. He’s sees a different appeal in coming up with the ideas, rather than putting them into practical use, but I don’t think he was trying to say the “engineers” of the world are dumb and worthless. He certainly seemed baffled by her reaction.

I absolutely loved Jack’s responses to Zoe asking for the tattoo. First the laughing “no,” then the deep-voiced, straight-faced “no” when she said “This is serious.”

S.A.R.A.H.: “I don’t understand the appeal of painting oneself permanently.”
Zoe: “Maybe because in your case it would be considered graffiti.”

Jo: “Try anything and I’ll deviate your septum.”
Zane (smiling): “That is so hot.”

I love that Seth returned in Episode 10 --- exactly the same point at which we met him last season. I also enjoyed his sniping at Carter for the Apocalypse Now assault on his plants!

The bioluminescence made the already gorgeous Allison look positively transcendent.

I really enjoy the sisterhood that has developed between Jo and Zoe. It lets Jo indulge her girly side, and gives Zoe a mediator of sorts with her dad, when needed.

Larry: “What if GD was built over a hellmouth?” This show has such great Buffy shout outs!

So, is Diane’s temporal rift different than the ones created by Walter Perkins and Alt/Future-Henry? This one was described as “the place where different points in dimensional space-time converge.” Henry said she may have “discovered” a gateway to the multiverse. This sounds more significant than the relatively generic tear in the fabric of space-time presented previously. Interesting.

Jo’s second church outfit seemed wildly inappropriate. Who flaunts that kind of cleavage in a house of worship? Jo, apparently.

Final Analysis: Very enjoyable episode with a central disaster that intrigued me as much as the ongoing story elements.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

At the risk of continuing to annoy the anonymous reader who doesn't like my comments about religion, I agree, Jess, that this one focused too much on the Judeo-Christian. But it was an interesting episode. I really like Eureka. Although the plot structure is often repetitive (science gone awry), they go in interesting directions with it.

Quachett said...

This almost a year late but i've just rewatched the episode and thought I'd comment.

As both a Christian and a Scientist (Well I am an engineer but I work in physics related fields) I like this episode, I am not usually a fan of Holywood trying to tackle the relegious question because 99.9% of the time you can tell that the person who wrote this has no clue about the teachings in The Bible, Qur`an, Talmud/Torah, Buddhavacana etc... nor a basic understanding of the theological differences separating each religion, Most always take the politically correct route which eventually paints religion usually as nothing more than a copying mechanism that in reality is a fantasy and nothing more.

This episode atleast, though limited to judeo-chistianity text, seems to have done a bit of research, I might be biased though because much like what the reverend said I believe science is simply the discovery of what laws GOD used to govern the world, this is not the place for the discussion so I'll leave it at that.

As for it focusing on too much Judeo-Christianity, I got to disagree a bit and say it focused on Abramic religions as all share the referenced plague, its just that the text they refered to was the bible but the Qur`an and the Torah all mention the plagues in almost the same way as the bible. It would have been better for them to incoparate this and more to broaden the view.

Colehead said...

As an atheist scientist. This episode almost made me stop watching the series. There has been way to much god in my scifi and I had hoped this series would buck the trend, but unfortunately, no. The whole akashic field theory I was willing to have a suspension of disbelief as every show gets one good by. However a blatant religious inference to a Christ child and a holy roller episode made me angry. I had suspected the artifact as a god theme but was hoping I was wrong as the structure resembled a neuron synapse. As a research psychologist the entire mess with their understanding of neurology ( especially the whole crap idea with humans only using 10% of their brain therefore psychic powers takes 5 minutes of research to debunk- we often only use 10% at a TIME but we use ALL of our brain). I will only be giving this show another couple of episodes before it goes in the dumpster with Battle Star Galactica and Promethius as religious poop in my scifi chocolate.

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for commenting, Colehead. Having watched the whole series, I can assure you that overtly religious themes don't often come up in the show. (There are actually times when they probably should come up more overtly, given the issues they are facing, but don't.) So I wouldn't let your reaction to this episode taint your view of where the series might be headed. I suspect the questionable science will give you more stomachaches than any religious themes.