Eureka: One Small Step

... in which various things around town and GD begin melting, and Deputy Andy accidentally gets sent to Titan.

This season, especially the back half, has been very focused on romantic relationships. (I’m still reeling from the sheer number of relationship subplots in ‘Clash of the Titans’!) ‘One Small Step’ initially appeared to be more of the same, but ultimately became more about the individuals within various relationships.

You could argue that a large part of the episode was devoted to the romantic relationship between Deputy Andy and SARAH. I would counter that those story elements were used not to further develop the SARAH-Andy relationship, but rather to illuminate Carter’s and our understanding of their bond and their status as unique individuals. At the top of the episode, Carter treats Andy and SARAH’s relationship as an uncomfortable amusement and minor inconvenience, not as something as substantial, meaningful, or real as his relationship with Allison. “No, because we’re human and it’s my house.” Andy’s, SARAH’s, and Jo’s reactions quickly clue him in to what a colossal jerk he’s being, but it takes Andy’s predicament and Henry’s explanation that Andy is one-of-a-kind to make Carter truly see that SARAH and Andy are more than friendly and endearing pieces of machinery that could be easily replaced or restored, if lost or damaged. They may be highly advance technology, but they have developed cognitive pathways based on unique experiences, feelings, and memories. Each is an individual, and the bond they have developed is every bit as real and meaningful as his love for Allison. Colin Ferguson beautifully played Carter’s realization and his emotional distress at having to relay messages for the two lovers who may never see each other again. His delivery of Andy’s message for SARAH, and his admission that he didn’t treat their relationship with the respect it deserved, was incredibly moving. “He’s asked me to tell you, that you’re his casita bonita. I guess he really cares about you. I just didn’t appreciate how much.”

I also found myself completely gripped by Carter’s fear for Andy on Titan and for SARAH after the bat guano damage. I was terribly concerned that they might permanently kill off one of these characters or irrevocably change them. I never really fear for the safety of our regulars (even after losing Stark), but here I was actually holding my breath when they rebooted SARAH. I seriously considered the possibility that she wouldn’t remember Andy or the love they shared. What a heartbreaking, tragic twist that would have been! Fortunately, I got to breathe a huge sigh of relief when she welcomed Andy home with open doors, and then chuckle heartily at the look on Andy’s face as those doors closed. Whew!

Jo and Zane got the other relationship spotlight this week, as they coped with the aftermath of her decision to remove herself from consideration for the Astraeus team. Like the Andy and SARAH story, this subplot didn’t focus so much on Jo and Zane as a romantic partnership. Rather it approached them as two people who care for one another, but are struggling to figure out what they want as individuals and how they fit into each other’s lives. I love that they are taking this very different approach to the Jo and Zane relationship this time around. I’ve always loved them together, because they have an incredible chemistry and play off each other very well. But it is so much more satisfying to see them become friends and come together as two fully developed characters, finding ways to combine their dreams and desires and potentially build a life together. I can’t deny that I wanted Jo to tell Zane she’d wait for him, but her reasons for refusing to make that promise felt legitimate and not like a stalling tactic. After all the changes she’s been through, then discovering that Other Jo turned down a proposal from Taggart (“Because that’s what I do”), she’s got to be seriously questioning herself about a lot of things. So as frustrating as it was to not get a happy resolution, I absolutely loved Jo and Zane’s tete a tete in CafĂ© Diem. Nothing makes me happier than a good, honest conversation between people in a relationship (or whatever it is they have)! And Erica Cerra and Niall Matter really sold the deep, conflicted emotion behind their words. The pain and longing in their eyes really got to me. I hope Jo embraces her “journey of self discovery,” finds some peace, and is able to commit to a future with Zane. (Maybe Taggart can give her some walkabout tips.)

Other Thoughts

In the previously on, they changed Parrish’s parting shot to Fargo from “I weep for Titan” to “My condolences to Titan.” Weird. I don’t understand why they would change something so small. (Yes, I’m a freak for even noticing the change.)

Taggart! I hooted out loud with glee when he first showed up, and his greeting ritual with Carter had me grinning from ear to ear. It actually took me a few minutes to realize that we’ve never really encountered him in this timeline (unless you count the Christmas episode), and thus had no idea what sort of history he had with Jo. I was rather surprised to learn the two of them got serious enough in this timeline that he proposed to her. Of course, we did see a version of that relationship in the alternate timeline that Henry created, so it isn’t so unbelievable. Still, I kept expecting to learn he’d “proposed” that they should lie naked in the grass together, not marriage.

Grace did make the Astraeus team. Even better, she’s been made ship’s captain! Awesome! I loved seeing her and Henry working together as the two mission leaders. Please, oh please, don’t let this be some kind of awful prelude to Henry losing the woman he loves again. I couldn’t stand it, and I don’t know how Henry could take it. We could end up right back at him trying to change history to save his love. Please, no!

Carter (re: the contents of his jar): “I’ll give you a hint: what’s black and white and dead all over?”
Oh, so groan-inducing!

As for this week’s disasters, I thought it took way too long to connect the bat guano to the liquefaction. It seemed immediately obvious that the connection between the cow and the Jeep was the critter “doody.” They were both in the barn, yes? “What do a cow and a Jeep have in common? What would cause them both to melt?” Um, the gross stuff you had to clean off your Jeep, maybe? Especially when you add in the melted bat crates. Hello? Once Taggart saw that the crates were melted like the cow and the Jeep, he should have started suspecting his genetically modified bats. I suppose he was distracted by the notion of sabotage, and wasn’t considering experiment-induced disaster. But still. It is Eureka. First logical suspect should always be experiment failure.

I got pretty choked up by some of the Andy and SARAH stuff, but this episode was also screamingly funny. My two biggest laughs were Lenore, the liquefied cow, and Carter’s girly screams at the bats in his house. Colin Ferguson has the best girly screams! I also rather loved Andy in those childish pajamas getting all “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” about his and SARAH’s relations. “We use the evening hours to engage in … intimate activities.” The goofy smile just kills it!

Holly (re: whether a man or woman should be the first to set foot on Titan): “You guys got the moon! We should get Titan! It’s even steven!”

I kept catching weird little strains of music reminiscent of some of the themes from Lost. And strangely, I first noticed it right after Taggart told Jo about his "walkabout" (one of Lost’s very best episodes). I wonder if the allusion was intentional.

Jo (a bit sarcastically): “I am sorry for not knowing exactly what I wanted.”
Zane: “Well, that’s the crappiest apology ever, isn’t it?”

Zane (re: Fargo and SARAH): “I know how attached you are. In a not-at-all-creepy way.”

I really loved Fargo and Zane discussing the situation with Jo. First, it was nice to see that friendship continuing. Second, it made me smile to see Fargo standing up for Jo. Third, it is really lovely to see Fargo continuing to behave like a mature adult. He’s grown so much, and I just love that he’s become the kind of good friend that can give sound and genuinely helpful relationship advice. Remember when he was just the petty guy who wouldn’t return his boost converter and Allison tried to defend him by sheepishly noting that he had some good qualities? You’ve come a long way, baby.

I didn’t care for the way the Parrish thread resolved. I know he was a pompous d-bag with the champagne and blinis, and it was kind of fun to see him foiled again, but when he was revealed as an alternate, I didn’t expect him to literally fall by the wayside so quickly.

Jo (to Andy): “No one ever said being a deputy in Eureka was easy.”

Jo: “I am sorry, if I let you down. Less crappy apology?”
Zane (smiling): “Yeah, a little.”

So, it looks like Carter and Allison will be moving in together. Yea! Logistically, it actually makes more sense for him to move in to Allison’s house, so that her kids don’t have to be uprooted. But SARAH likely would spiral into a depression if he moved out, as noted back in ‘Once in a Lifetime.’ Even though she does have Deputy Andy now.

Final Analysis: This one made me laugh out loud many times over and nearly brought me to tears. A typically solid Eureka episode.

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

5 comments:

CrazyCris said...

The reviews here of the previous Eureka seasons are what got me to give the series a chance this summer (I gave up after a couple episodes back when it originally started). This time around I managed to get all caught up in time to watch most of the 2nd half of s4! So thanks for that! :o)

Great review to a really funny episode! And yeah, I was pretty sure either Andy or SARAH was a goner... very relieved to find myself mistaken! :D

"Colin Ferguson has the best girly screams!" LOL! YES he does! fabulous moment!!! :o)

Anonymous said...

You forgot Holly (to Parrish): "First alternate is still an amazing achievement. It's like you're almost a winner"
*smiles*

inspirejenny said...

great episode.. loved Carter's affection for deputy andy.. man that deputy andy is great! his mannerisms are spot on for a humanoid robot.. love the goofy smile... i think we all need a deputy andy in our lives.

also SO EXCITED that Carter asked Alison to move in... I love them together.

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! Anon, I did miss that quote. Too funny. I must have been taking other notes and it slipped by me.

CrazyCris, I'm so glad our coverage of Eureka led you to give the show another chance, and I'm even happier that you discovered you really enjoy it! (Side note: Once the current season is done, I'll finish posting the reviews for the older episodes. With any luck, I'll actually be able to finish the first half of S4 in time!)

Inspirejenny, I would love to have a Deputy Andy! Such an unflagging positive spirit would be a daily gift. Plus, he's a robot, so he's got lots of nifty skills. Cool!

Billie Doux said...

Girly screams! That was too funny. I was also sure that it was curtains for either Andy or SARAH or both, so I was relieved that we got a happy ending. For everybody but the cow, that is.