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Eureka: Clash of the Titans

... in which TINY returns from Titan, Henry and Grace make wedding preparations, and Allison and Carter are subjected to a relationship auditor.

Okay, this is going to sound a little crazy coming from me, but this episode was almost too relationship-focused. Romantic relationships are often an important part of character-based storytelling, but ‘Clash of the Titans’ had way too much emphasis on who was sleeping with whom, and who was or wasn’t in a long-term committed relationship. At times, I felt like I was watching a soap opera. I mean, in addition to the disaster-of-the-week and the continued preparations for the Titan mission, we had subplots about the status of four of our core couples. Four! We had Henry and Grace preparing to get married; Jo and Zane wrestling with his potential departure; Holly and Fargo deciding how to take their relationship to the next level; and Allison and Carter dealing with a government review of their intimate alliance. Too much! Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the Henry and Grace story, as well as elements of the Holly-Fargo and Jo-Zane stories, but I would have preferred if the episode had just featured one relationship story with some small highlights for one or two other relationships, and then focused the rest of the episode on non-romantic stuff.

What I really would have liked, is if they had just dropped the Allison and Carter story all together. I absolutely hate that the writers are bringing in an external threat to force them apart. Especially some government auditor that assesses “intimate alliances.” No one had a problem with Stark and Allison getting remarried, even though they both had extremely high-level positions at GD, and even though they kept a whole bunch of dangerous secrets about Kevin’s connection to the Artifact, which almost resulted in disaster. How is that not an intimate alliance worthy of a red flag? Are we supposed to chalk up this new evaluation to “lessons learned” or to “none of that happened in this timeline”? Or are we just supposed to view this as more fallout from the brain-jacking? Either way, I don’t care. I’m with Carter: this development is absolutely ridiculous.

Almost as irritating as the notion that Allison and Carter now have reservations or doubts or whatever about where their relationship is headed. The whole freaking town, including Carter and Allison, know exactly what they are to each other. They are in a long-term, committed relationship, and marriage is pretty much a certainty. To suggest that neither of them has seriously considered that “endgame” or that they are now confused about how to label their relationship is ludicrous. Jack has been in love with Allison for an incredibly long time, and not too long ago she was giving up her childhood dreams to pursue a “happy family” existence with him. They are fully committed to one another! Sigh. Maybe I’m overreacting. Perhaps we weren’t supposed to read doubts into their discussions with Mr. Hughes or their interactions with each other. Maybe they just didn’t want to discuss the topic with an outsider and were just being playful with each other. I hope that’s the case, because as disgusted as I am with the external mucking about with their relationship, I would be absolutely livid if the writers broke them up over some internal disagreement about where they see their future going.

On a happier note, I liked where they took things with Henry and Grace this week. Henry’s reaction to Grace’s desire to get new rings was very understandable, and I found her initial inability to answer his question about what she planned to do with the old rings quite poignant. “It’s like you're embracing me with one arm, but holding on to somebody else with the other.” Obviously, Grace has fallen for our Henry, but he’ll never be the same man she originally married, no matter how similar he is. Knowing that, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for her to completely let go of the man she used to love. I almost wish they had let the drama play out a little longer. I’d, of course, want her to come around to a “you’re my Henry now” epiphany in the end, but given the significance of letting go of the man she used to know, I wouldn’t have minded if it took more than one near catastrophe to open her eyes. I also kind of wish Henry was struggling a bit more with Grace’s plan to go to Titan. He lost the previous love of his life three times, and it messed him up so badly that he tried to rewrite history to save her. I know he finally made peace with losing Kim, but I would think her death is weighing heavily on his mind as he prepares to send his new wife off on an incredibly dangerous six-month mission.

The basic conflict at the heart of the Fargo and Holly story also worked for me. Of course, Fargo would want to do the whole dating thing before jumping into the sack with the girl he’s sweet on. And, of course, Holly would want to skip that part. She takes social awkwardness to a whole new level, so it was perfectly logical that she’d want to just forge ahead without the “getting to know you” dinners. Fargo reassuring her that she’d do just fine and trying to sell her on the fun and excitement of dating was very sweet (especially the bonding over Star Trek). That said, I didn’t much care for their dewey-eyed flirting during training, Fargo moping to Henry and Carter instead of trying to help solve the latest disaster, or the exceedingly cheesy rescue mission on Main Street.

I also got rather irritated by Jo and Zane dancing around the issue of his departure. I hate that passive-aggressive nonsense. At least, here, as annoying as it is, their behavior feels very rooted in character. Zane has probably never made any significantly life-altering decisions based on how he feels about a woman, and the idea of a long-term future with Jo probably scares the heck out of him. Now that he’s finally got his freedom, I can understand him feeling conflicted about whether to stay. I can even understand his reluctance to openly discuss the issue with Jo. I also get why she wouldn’t just ask him to stay. Obviously, she desperately wants him to stay, but it’s not her style to put herself out there like that. She’s also not ready to make a long-term commitment to this Zane yet, so how could she ask him not to leave? Moreover, I don’t think Jo would want to influence his decision that way. It’s his choice, and if he chooses to stay, she’d want him to come to that decision on his own. She wouldn’t want to make herself the reason he stays. Sigh. Even though I’m reasonably confident that, in the end, Zane will stay and those two crazy kids will make it work, right now it is a bit frustrating to watch it all unfold.

Other Thoughts

Poor TINY! She’s always been a bit of a problem child, but that was a hell of a way to go out. I wonder if they’ll put her back together, or if she’s served her purpose and they’ll just move forward with the data and samples she collected.

How delightful to see Wallace Shawn! Even though he told Allison and Carter they have to break up or resign.

Dr. Leonardo (the florist) was last seen in ‘Welcome Back, Carter.’ She was a dendrologist, who was developing superfast growing trees. She’s a lot friendlier in this timeline.

I got a kick out of Fargo going to Zane for advice. The two of them bonded a bit after getting launched into space, and it is nice to see that friendship continuing to develop. Of course, Zane initially gave him utterly horrible advice, but he turned things around in the end by acknowledging that his approach wasn’t the right one for Fargo. A nice moment between those two.

Allison (re: Carter): “He is the most level-headed, even-tempered person in a town full of huge egos.”
Hughes: “Oh? You have a huge ego?”
Allison (pauses a moment): “Yes.”

It was nice to see Allison immediately defending Carter’s smarts.

Carter: “You nervous?”
Henry: “Well, the idea of being sucked into a giant sinkhole is not exactly pleasant.”
Carter: “I know. Marriage is a big commitment.”

Jo being so obsessed with Henry and Grace’s wedding was somewhat annoying, but it made perfect sense, given where she was at with Zane. Plus, we learned back in early Season 3 that she’s always been into weddings, so her behavior here was consistent with past characterization. Huzzah!

Allison: “It’s funny. I didn’t realize how difficult it is to define what we are to each other.”
Carter: “It wasn’t, until he got here!”
Seriously, dude. Seriously.

Gee, I always love it when we get our dose of Suburu product placement. Watch Jo’s car rapidly accelerate, effortlessly corner, and zip to the site of the emergency! Isn’t Suburu awesome?

Loved the music playing when Jo first surprised Henry and Grace with the wedding! It’s from Bear McCreary’s Season One Battlestar Galactica soundtrack.

Final Analysis: Several enjoyable elements, but there was entirely too much relationship drama this week (which I just wrote entirely too much about).

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

6 comments:

  1. Princess Bride cast member, and they did get the word "inconceivable" in there! I can't remember who said it, but it wasn't Wallace Shawn. I just knew someone would have to say it. :) Eureka is such a geekfest.

    I agree with the artificial "let's break Carter and Allison apart somehow to create dramatic tension" bit. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, it was Wallace Shawn's charactor, Vizzini, who said it.

    From the IMDb:

    [Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]
    Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    ReplyDelete
  3. TusconBarbara, I meant that Wallace Shawn didn't say the word in this Eureka episode, but they had another character say it. I'm a huge fan of The Princess Bride and I know Wallace Shawn says it in the movie.

    http://billiedoux.blogspot.com/2011/06/princess-bride.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the assist, tucsonbarbara, but I think Billie meant in the Eureka episode it wasn't Wallace Shawn's character that said "inconceivable." (I didn't notice anyone saying it, so I don't know which character it was either.)

    We're all obsessed with The Princess Bride here (Billie reviewed the film for the site this summer), so we know Vizzini said it in the movie. Many, many times. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oops! Overlapping posts. Sorry for the double response!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oops! My bad.

    It was Allison who said it in episode.

    ReplyDelete

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