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Eureka: Reprise

... in which a representative from Senator Wen arrives in town, just as everyone begins acting a little strangely. Meanwhile, Allison heads to a medical conference, leaving Carter in charge of her kids for the day.

Well, that was a fun little disaster puzzle to piece together! I was able to figure out pretty quickly that everyone’s odd behavior was linked to the music and to Holly’s neural linguistic programming, especially once we saw Vincent getting his drink on first thing in the morning. However, I couldn’t remember what song Henry and Grace had been listening to, so I didn’t see how it was all going to come together (I kept expecting the device they were working on to cause the day to repeat because of their earlier dialog --- “If only every morning could be like this”). Once the pieces started falling into place, I really enjoyed learning what everyone had been listening to and what subconscious impulses the songs were activating: Kevin and the ‘Bad Boys’ theme from Cops (his inner crime-fighting jones); Zane and ‘Burning Down the House’ (his need to get Jo’s attention); Fargo and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ (rising up to the challenge of his rival); ‘I’ll Stop the World and Melt with You’ for Henry and Grace (wanting to live in their perfect, happy moment); and ‘Get This Party Started’ for Vincent (apparently the guy likes to party hearty).

Of course, I can’t quite figure out why Jo was triggered by ‘I Shot the Sheriff,’ and why only after seeing Carter in his uniform. “He put the uniform on. Why did he put the uniform on?” She knows Carter’s the sheriff, whether he’s off-duty or not, so why not pull a gun on him earlier? I’m pretty sure she heard the song as she was pulling up to her burning house, so she would have had the opportunity to shoot Carter at the sheriff’s station prior to seeing him at Henry’s garage. Also, what’s with her pulling guns on Carter this season? Does she really still have that underlying insecurity about him not believing in her? I thought they worked that out back in ‘All the Rage.’ Maybe she just has a subconscious desire to shoot everyone. That’s fairly believable for her.

We also gained some insight into the Kevin-Carter bond this week, and got some good progress on the Jo and Zane front. I’ve been enjoying the developing dynamic between Kevin and Carter this season. Given Kevin’s condition in the other reality, it’s not really a relationship the writers have been able to explore before. I’m sure that, given his feelings for Allison, Carter has always considered himself more of a father figure and protector for Kevin, rather than a friend. Normal Kevin, on the other hand, has apparently always had more of a “buddy cop” vibe with Carter. They used to hang out together all the time, and Carter would take him along on investigations. But now that Carter and Allison are officially a couple, it’s been interesting to see Kevin and Carter try to strike a balance between their perceived “old dynamic” and their new one. As Kevin comes to accept Carter as his mom’s boyfriend and a potential stepfather, Carter is learning more about their past friendship and beginning to see Kevin as his own, highly intelligent and capable person, and not just as Allison’s son.

Meanwhile, our new Zane is becoming more and more the man we and Jo came to know and love in the other reality. This week, we saw that, very much like Other Zane, this Zane refuses to let an issue drop, and he will needle, push, prod, and burn down Jo’s house if that’s what it takes to get her attention and break down her defenses. “Come on, Jo. We have to deal with this.” He knows that some version of himself loved this woman so much that he gave her his grandmother’s ring and planned to marry her. That guy found a connection that’s been missing in his own rebellious and apparently lonely life, and he needs to see if he can find that same happiness. He needs Jo to give their relationship a chance in this timeline. If that passionate kiss is any indication, it looks like he’s about to get his shot. Yea!

It’s tempting to be frustrated with Jo for not immediately jumping at the chance to get back together with Zane once she found out he knows the truth, but I understand where she was coming from. She did her pining for Zane in the first half of the season, and made her peace with losing him. It’s incredibly hard to just go back to your old life once you’ve done your grieving, come to terms with your loss, and moved on. Fortunately for Zane, Jo is still in “everything pretty much sucks” mode (especially since he destroyed her new house), so she’s a bit more open to rekindling that old flame than she might otherwise be if she had truly settled into a happy new situation. Whew!

In other developments, Allison’s seemingly random side adventure turned out to be the first step in a larger arc. I spent the bulk of the episode wondering how Allison’s subplot was going to tie into the primary disaster story, and kept wondering if she was having some kind of hallucination related to whatever music she had been listening to in the car. When it turned out to not be connected to the main plot at all, I was ready to take the writers to task for a such a lame and completely irrelevant side story. And then, when she started complaining about her headache and popping pills, I suddenly got very worried the whole thing was a setup to kill her off via a brain hemorrhage --- and, man, was I bracing to be super pissed! Carter and Allison are finally together and happy! Stop trying to tear them apart! I was almost relieved when it turned out Beverly and her henchman had embedded some kind of electronic bug in Allison’s brain and then altered her memories. I’m looking forward to finding out what that’s all about. I kind of enjoy it when Beverly’s lurking in the background doing nefarious things. Unless her evil plan is to destroy Carter's and Allison’s happiness. Then I want her to crawl back into her hole and die.

Other Thoughts

I liked that Fargo’s initial actions towards Holly linked back to the previous episode (FTL drive) and the season’s overall arc (the connection to the bridge device). And we got a little future momentum with Zane’s proposal to disguise the device’s origins to help cover for Jo, Fargo, and the rest.

Dr. Holly Marten is quintessential Felicia Day. Her mannerisms reminded me very much of Codex, Day’s character on The Guild. Will Holly’s FTL evaluation continue into subsequent episodes? She’d be fun to have around for a few more weeks. And she poses a potential threat to the big time travel secret if she continues to poke around at the FTL and discovers its link to the bridge device.

Loved getting a mention of Dr. Parrish! “How about because I hate his stupid face and I can’t stand his whining?” Especially in this episode, given Wil Wheaton’s role as antagonist to Felicia Day in The Guild.

It has been six months since the events of the ‘Founder’s Day.’

How old is Jenna supposed to be? If she was about a year or so in the season premiere, and it has been six months since then, then she should be about 18 months now. That age roughly fits with her appearance (although she looked a bit older than that to me), but didn’t seem terribly consistent with the way everyone was interacting with her. Carter and Andy treated her like a baby that just eats, sleeps, poops, and spits up, which is pretty far from the truth with an actual 18-month-old. I’ve got a daughter that age, and she certainly covers those basic activities, but she’s also a real tornado of curiosity. Not a passive infant, by any stretch.

I did get a kick out of Andy telling Jenna the police codes for various offenses. “And now Zane has to watch over Jo committing a 187, after he 1071’d her house!”

Zane: “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Carter: “You set Jo’s house on fire to get her attention.”
Zane: “Okay. I see your point.”

Loved Carter’s reaction to Kevin stealing the Jeep a second time. “SERIOUSLY?!!!” His facial expression and the change in his voice was priceless.

Carter: “You can’t drive! Okay?”
Kevin (unperturbed): “Not legally.”

Embarrassing confession: When Fargo started playing his “game face” song for Jo, Zane, and Holly, I unconsciously started bopping my head to the music. When they cut back to Fargo doing exactly the same thing I was, I burst out laughing. It’s something about that beat! You can’t resist it!

The visual effects that accompanied the stasis field were pretty cool. I particularly enjoyed the frozen landslide and the cat poised in mid-leap at Grace and Henry’s place.

So was their device designed to not create a field in its immediate vicinity so that it could keep functioning? Because I don’t understand how Kevin was able to get in the garage and shut it off. Shouldn’t that have been the epicenter of the field’s effects?

Final Analysis: A fun puzzle that gave us several hilarious moments and solid character beats, and laid some groundwork for future developments.

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

5 comments:

  1. My initial 5 minutes reaction:

    - Oh, NICE, Felicia Day!
    - That spiced music is SO going to wreak havok in everybody
    - Henry wants to recreate Groundhog Day?. Bad news.

    My next 35 minutes:

    - Felicia Day, WOOHOO!
    - Told you!!!
    - Ok, not groundhog day, but close

    And my final 2:

    - Oh, god, NO. Not Beverly again!. No.. more.. Beverly, goddammit!

    Last week's ep was so much better. Seeing who's in the arc, I'm losing faith quickly for this half season :(

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  2. Regarding Jenna's age: In 'New World' Andy said he'd been Carter's deputy for 322 days, arriving during 'Welcome Back, Carter' and Allison looked to be about six months along then. I assume a full-term Jenna was born during 'You Don't Know Jack'. Making her about seven months old on 'Founder's Day'. She was however sitting up (unaided) alert and verbal in her stroller so. . .
    I should mention here that I have absolutely no personal knowledge of babies' developmental milestones nor can I accurately judge fetal age by looking at the mother. Of course it's always possible that adorable little actress was cast solely based on looks and is being asked to fudge her age. (It does start early)

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  3. I enjoyed this one, too. Like you said, Jess, it was fun mystery to work out.

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  4. RE: My previous post on Jenna's age. . .Andy actually said he'd been deputy for 312 days and 16 hours. I also noticed there are two toddler girls playing Jenna, you may even catch the change within a given scene.

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  5. Thanks for the input on the age thing, Anon. My primary concern with using Andy's "how long I've been deputy" is that we have no way of knowing how that corresponds to the original timeline. He may not have shown up around the time of 'Welcome Back, Carter' like he did in the original reality. Obviously things didn't play out the same, since he was given Jo's job as deputy in this timeline.

    So, I'm working off Carter's comments in 'A New World' that he and Tess had spent a year trying to make things work in the other timeline. To me that means the time between the Season 3 finale and the Season 4 premiere was about a year. And Jenna was born maybe a month or so before the Season 3 finale.

    As you'll all see in my upcoming retro reviews, the passage of time in the Eurekaverse has gone completely wonky in recent years and is a bit of an obsession of mine. So prepare yourselves for assorted commentary on it!

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