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Eureka: The Ex-Files

...in which Grant struggles with Global’s role as a Department of Defense facility, while several characters are visited by figures from their pasts.

Well, that was a very fun and full episode. Lots and lots of developments to ponder. After much wrestling with how to approach things, I’ve decided to just break down my thoughts by character/development.

Carter. I love the idea of our characters having to confront manifestations of their fears and insecurities, and it was wonderful to have Stark briefly return, but I’m not entirely convinced he was the best representation of Carter’s unresolved issues. Actually, scratch that. It makes sense that he would manifest Stark, given that Stark was his competition for Allison’s affections for so long, and that he ultimately lost out to Stark. I can understand Carter feeling a certain level of inadequacy regarding the “shoes he had to fill” to win Allison’s heart. After all, he’s only getting his shot with her now, because Stark died. But it didn’t make a lick of sense that the way Carter “resolved” his fears and made Stark vanish was to confess his long-standing love for Allison. So telling her you’ve always loved her eliminates your fears of inadequacy? Really? I guess I just don’t get how revealing that would suddenly put Carter’s mind at ease and help him move past his fear.

Allison. I’m also not quite sure that Tess was the best representation of Allison’s fears. If her chief concern was feeling guilty for hooking up with her friend’s ex, then I’d get it. But the fear holding Allison back was the possibility of losing another man she loves to tragedy, and contrary to Head Tess’s claims, she wasn’t actually around when Allison lost Stark. Regardless, this issue was a really fantastic one to tackle. As noted previously, I considered the possibility that Allison would harbor reservations about getting involved with Carter because she wouldn’t want to risk losing her best friend if the relationship soured. It never occurred to me that Carter’s job would be a stumbling block. But, after losing the fathers of both her children, of course Allison would be terrified not just of losing her best friend, but of losing the man she loves too soon. I would think, given the extreme hazards he faces almost daily, her fear of losing Carter would be practically paralyzing! Fortunately, Allison is a far braver woman than I am, and she is not “too scared to miss out on us.” Yea, for breakfast!

Jo and Zane. I’m really glad that Jo’s hallucination inadvertently led to her revealing a bit too much to the real Zane. (I should have been expecting that the whole time, but it wasn’t until she started unburdening herself that I realized what was about to happen.) I’m not particularly thrilled with the conclusions that she reached during her soul searching, but I’m glad that Zane (once he gets out of his current jam) is going to have lots of questions, forcing her to confront this issue a bit more. Because, I’ve gotta say, I’m not buying this notion that Jo and Zane don’t work, and that she’s just romanticizing what they had. She accepted Other Zane’s proposal before she realized things had changed, because she was ready to marry him. They were together for two years, she loved him, and they were perfect partners for each other, warts and all (which is what they learned like a year and a half ago, back in ‘Your Face or Mine?’). I think maybe she’s just trying to find a way to accept her loss and move on, because Zoe is in the picture now and Jo knows this isn’t really her Zane. “We don’t fit. I’m over it. I’m over us.” She’s telling herself that they don’t work and that they never did, but it is total B.S.

Fargo. I don’t have too much to say on this one. The little girl was incredibly annoying, but it was lovely to once again see how Fargo’s really growing into his leadership role and starting to believe in himself. And it was pretty sweet to see him stick it to this version of General Mansfield. That guy is such a dick.

Grant and the Consortium. While I enjoyed all the good character stuff in the other threads, I found Grant’s part of the story the most intriguing. I was totally blown away by the reveal that Grant and Beverly’s dad were the founders of the Consortium, and that the whole basis for the “movement” was “science should be about discovery, not about who can build the biggest gun.” It felt like an unexpected twist on a long-running theme for the series. Back in Season One, Henry always made the case that Eureka wasn’t living up to its scientific ideals, which were about bettering the world, not turning noble ideas into weapons. One of my favorite moments from that season was Henry and Stark arguing about the necessity of working for the government in order to make it possible to discover and create the things that will enrich and better the world (a point that Allison argued here). But given that Beverly and the Consortium have always been presented as the enemy, I was rather stunned to learn that the organization was founded on the same idealistic philosophy Henry espouses. Moreover, all their machinations are supposedly in service of preventing another tragedy like nuclear weapons being deployed in 1945. They might actually be the good guys!

Of course, given our history with the Consortium, I’m highly skeptical. Do we really believe they want to send Grant home so that he can prevent GD and Eureka from becoming slaves to the DoD? That they’re really working in the best interests of scientific discovery? That they want to “make a difference” and “change the world”? Really? Having come to know Grant, I absolutely believe that “noble ideas, not weapons” was the founding philosophy of his group, and that he had the best intentions. But I’m not sure the group has subsequently come to represent his ideals. Much like Eureka seems to have turned out “not how we envisioned the place to be,” I suspect that the Consortium may have lost its way, too. Beverly certainly isn’t making a good case for herself with all the lies and subterfuge.

Other Thoughts

When it turned up a few episodes ago, I just knew that Grace’s memory recovery device would somehow enable her and Henry to get to know one another better. However, I never imagined it would also play a key role in allowing several of our time travelers to come to grips with their current reality. Nice twist.

Grant: “Nuclear weapons. Technology’s most regrettable achievement.”

I enjoyed Fargo giving Zane a hard time about Zoe. He was assertive and looking out for his friends!

The first time I saw this episode, I was disappointed when Stark turned out to be a figment of Carter’s imagination. I thought it would have been incredibly cool to have Stark return from the ether, remembering the original timeline. But now, I’m glad he was just a hallucination. It would be cool to introduce someone from the original timeline at this stage of the game, but I’m tired of waiting for Allison and Carter to get together. No more monkey wrenches!

That said, I was still super jazzed to have Stark back for an hour! I really miss the dynamic that he and Carter had. It was delightful to have him driving Carter nuts again! Plus, Ed Quinn is a very fit and fine looking man.

Jo: “What? You don’t think we should be able to defend ourselves?”
Grant: “I didn’t say that. We build weapons to defend ourselves, forces our enemies to create new weapons to defend themselves. Where does it stop?”

Fargo: “Dr. Stark is here? Has he said anything about me?”
Stark: “Awww. At least somebody misses me.”

I absolutely loved the in-joke about Grant’s hallucination! “Tall leggy blond. Slinky red dress.” I was so caught up in the story, his history with Adam, and his role in creating the Consortium that the meta-ness of “head” friends didn’t even occur to me. Too, too funny!

I wonder if Zane hacking into the DoD system last week is partly responsible for making him look like the culprit in the EMP theft. Hopefully, whatever papers he tossed at Jo will exonerate him.

Final Analysis: Another really strong episode. Great character work, and very solid arc progression.

Screen cap credit: rawr-caps

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


  1. Yes bringing back daed characters is never my favorite plot so i'm glad Stark was just a hallucination. Even though he is fun and plays off carter extremely well.

  2. Probably my second favorite episode of 4.0 (after A New World. . .'Dude! She has lost her mind' still takes it).

    Stark(to Carter): 'You all done playing doctor with your bro-bot?'

    Carter: 'You likey the science talk'
    Allison: 'A little bit'
    Stark: 'I likey to barf'


    The look Jo gives the kid who rats her out to Fargo for locking them in a cell while she went to the bathroom. She 'had to go'

    Jo telling Fargo to 'suck it up'

    . . .among many other memerable scenes.

  3. And as critical as I have been of the re-pairing of Allison with Stark, it would have been nice to see the real Stark's reaction to his daughter Jenna.


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