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Eureka: Shower the People

...in which a new neural networking specialist arrives to help download the data from Kim, just as guests from Allison’s baby shower begin drowning under perplexing circumstances.

The second half of Season 3 started off a little rough for me, with a string of fairly disposable episodes that while entertaining, didn’t really warrant the deeper analysis that past offerings did. I was starting to worry that the rest of the season was going to be fun to watch, but a bit of a chore to review. Fortunately, the last several episodes have really turned things around, with a solid run of engaging and emotionally complex stories.

This week the writers managed to deliver a freaky and perplexing disaster, as well as some incredibly poignant character moments. They took advantage of the typical disaster-of-the-week structure to effectively deploy several red herrings regarding the root cause of the drownings. Usually something shown or brought up at the beginning ends up playing a role in the disaster, so I totally suspected the diapers, then the mimosas, and then the self-sanitizing bottles. I also completely fell for the fake-out with Carter feeling so crappy and suddenly needing to use the bathroom so much. I was certain he’d be the next victim! When he wasn’t affected and the likely suspects didn’t pan out, I was stumped. For some reason, the emotional stakes in the Kim plot were so high and so personal, that it never occurred to me that the attempts to download her data could be tied into what felt like a separate side plot. So the reveal that the high doses of radiation accidentally compressed the syn-water, which then entered the victims through the sauna, came as a neat surprise to me. But the real highlight of this episode, and the reason it really hit the sweet spot for me, was the outstanding character focus.

Oh, Henry. I knew things with Kim 2.0 were bound to end in heartbreak, but I didn’t expect tragedy to strike so soon. Watching Henry and Kim come to terms with the necessary course of action and then say their goodbyes was absolutely heartrending. The first goodbye was bad enough, but when Henry started to break down as the reality that he was losing his love again hit him, I just lost it. (Hell, I’m losing it as a I write this.) Joe Morton and Tamlyn Tomita are fantastic together, and they really sold the hell out of their final scenes.

Henry: “But you’re not Kim. I know that. You do have her laugh … and her mind. And, her spirit.”
Kim: “And she’ll always be a part of you. I’m just a copy, Henry. And you have to let me go. I have a mission.”
Henry: “We both do.”
Kim: “Then let’s see this through.”

Kim: “She loved you, Henry.”
Henry: “And I loved her.”

The real beauty of this story is that, as painful and awful as it was for Henry to lose Kim again, his time with Kim 2.0 was also an incredibly special gift. “Kim gave this to you, Henry. You’ll always have a part of her.” “Yes, I will.” Yes, her personality was only a construct of the computer, but Kim 2.0 still captured the real Kim’s essence and understood her love for Henry. Her existence gave Henry a chance to briefly reconnect with his lost love, but, more importantly, to say goodbye. This time, with his best friends by his side, providing comfort --- at his request. Now maybe Henry, Allison, and Carter can truly lay the ugly past to rest. I think I finally can.

The Henry and Kim story was obviously this week’s biggest tear-jerker, but I was also quite touched by the way they handled the potential Carter, Allison, and Tess triangle. At first, things didn’t look too promising, as we were seemingly being set up for a “tortured love polygon” with the arrival of Dr. Manly(us), Tess’s obvious crush on him, and Allison’s stirrings of jealousy regarding her friend’s interest in Carter. But they brought it back around in the end, by dropping the misunderstandings and jealousies and by allowing people to actually deal with each other like mature adults.

I absolutely loved the scene in which Allison revealed the true cause of Carter’s sympathetic pregnancy and encouraged him to be with Tess. It was so emotionally honest, and Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Colin Ferguson beautifully played the complexity of Allison’s and Carter’s relationship. I’ve become a fan of the Tess-Carter pairing and am glad they are moving forward together, but I have to confess that Allison shutting off the baby monitor and breaking her bond with Carter was a rather bittersweet moment. “We can’t stay connected forever. Life is gonna change for me pretty quickly. And it’s changing for you.” The sadness in Allison’s eyes after Carter asked if she was sure about him going to Tess really got to me. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to let go of her safety net. She must feel truly on her own now. I also felt quite sad for Carter when he realized the bond he thought they were sharing was technology induced. It was obviously quite a blow for him, especially given that he wasn’t around much when Zoe was gestating. Very, very poignant. At least we got to close on a happier note, with Carter giving in to his attraction to Tess and enjoying a very public display of affection.

Other Thoughts

Billy Campbell, no way! (Just for future reference, I first watched this episode the night before the first season finale of The Killing --- the last episode of that show I’ll be watching --- so it was really weird for me to see Campbell in Eureka.)

I enjoyed Jennifer Spence’s brief appearance as Dr. Monroe, the Baby Monitor Lady. It was fun to spend a few moments with a character very reminiscent of Dr. Lisa Park (Stargate: Universe).

The baby shower gifts amused me. Too bad those Draper diapers aren’t real! I could use some revolutionary childcare products like those.

I thought Manlius continually referring to Kim as “it” was a nice touch. Obviously, it was distressing for Henry, but it served as a gentle reminder for all of us that she’s not really Kim. “She is the data.” A piece of technology programmed with Kim’s personality. Not that the constant reminders made her death any easier to take.

Fargo: “Henry is staying with Kim. I’ll be doing the autopsy.”
Carter: “You?”
Fargo: “Henry says I’ve assisted him enough to fly solo.”
Jo: “I wouldn’t fly in a plane with you.”

Fargo acquitted himself well this week. His bedside manner could use some improvements, but I think he handled the autopsies and the investigation pretty well. And, for the most part, he managed to conduct himself professionally. Allison’s right. He does have some … good qualities.

The synthetic water lab was impressive. And somehow freaky. I also found Carter’s interactions with Dr. Rivers very awkward and unsettling. She seemed really odd. And she always looked covered in a sheen of sweat. I kept expecting her to be revealed as the next victim.

Allison: “Come on. Henry wants us in there.”
Carter: “Let’s go for ice cream after.”
Allison: “Two scoops!”

Final Analysis: Another strong episode, which combined both a good mystery with some excellent character stories.

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

1 comment:

ChrisB said...

Wow, but that scene between Henry and Kim was powerful. I found myself sobbing, which shocked me as I do not feel the same emotional connection to the show as I did in the first season. This season's arcs just aren't doing it for me and the Tess/Carter romance is annoying as I am pretty sure they are not the endgame couple. I like her, but it is difficult for me to invest in her emotionally.