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Eureka: I'll Be Seeing You

...in which Allison’s life is on the line while Grant and Carter go Back to the Future, Part 2.

Although Allison’s sudden death provided the narrative momentum for the bulk of this mid-season finale, it was actually a pretty fun episode, and I guess that bizarre juxtaposition is my primary quibble with the story. Allison died part way into the episode, devastating Carter, Henry, and Grant, and yet I didn’t find myself remotely moved or otherwise torn up by this development. Moreover, my residual impression of the story was that we’d just taken a fun, breezy romp Back to the Future. I never had any doubt that Allison’s untimely demise would be reversed, and because things quickly took a comedic turn once Grant and Carter went back in time, I never really felt the full impact of her death on Carter. Sure we got a few moments with him holding her lifeless body next to the Jeep, then going into angry, vengeance mode, but that pathos was quickly abandoned and, for the most part, everything that happened in the past felt like a fun adventure to avert the latest disaster-of-the-week, instead of a desperate effort to save the love of Carter’s life. I know Eureka is often at its best in lighthearted mode, but shouldn’t an episode in which Carter faces the very real possibility of losing the woman he loves --- especially so soon after finding happiness with her --- feel more substantial? Shouldn’t we share his agonizing grief and feel emotionally engaged by his plight? I guess that kind of dramatic weight is just too hard to carry when the audience is pretty well convinced the “death” is only temporary and that the success of the mission is never in doubt.

All that said, I did rather enjoy revisiting the season premiere through a Back to the Future, Part 2 lens, and thought we got decent closure for Dr. Grant’s arc. It makes sense that given all he’s experienced in his time in the future that Grant would somewhat hesitantly take the chance Beverly offered to set things right. As a man out of time, he’s certainly struggled to fit in and to find a sense of purpose, and he’s understandably less than thrilled with the way his dream of “protecting us from ourselves” has turned out. Beverly’s offer gave him the chance to hit the reset button on all these things. To change history and make a difference. To be “the me that never was.” Even without Beverly’s “you’ll be a god” ego-stroking, how could he refuse this chance?

So, I didn’t begrudge Grant his choice, but was certainly glad to see that his good intentions didn’t mean a damn to him, once he learned he’d inadvertently killed Allison. She and Henry were the two true friends that he’d made in the future, and I think the thought of losing her made him reassess his priorities and realize that he wasn’t as much “a man out of time” as he thought. When it came down to it, preserving Allison’s life and her future, and getting back to the place he’s started to think of as home, were what really mattered to him, even if it meant taking Adam’s life to ensure success. “He’ll die.” “She’ll live. You want to choose?” Fortunately, it didn’t come to that --- especially since that likely would have made it difficult for Carter and Grant to return to the same future they left --- and Grant learned that, for the most part, you can’t remake history or take back the things you’ve done. What’s done is done, and the best you can do is learn from your mistakes and focus “on what we can do to change things moving forward, not looking back.”

Other Thoughts

I liked the reveal that Grant and his cohorts were planning to use the bridge to jump back in time and prevent the atomic bomb from ever being developed. It provided some interesting context for his personal epiphany about the dangers of looking to the past, instead of the future.

Fargo: “Hello, cop types? Bad guys ain’t gonna find themselves.”
[Jo and Carter exchange looks and start walking away.]
Carter: “Is he getting bossier?”
Jo: “I kind of like it.”

Andy keeping an eye on Zane in the holding cell was hilarious. “What?”

Jo and Henry being so tickled about Allison and Carter finally getting together made for some nice little character moments.

So, did anyone out there really believe that Allison would stay dead? I know Eureka hates to let its couples be happy and all, but as I’ve said before, it’s no Joss Whedon show.

Grant: “Now look what you’ve done. And, thanks to you, I lost my hat!”
Carter (angry disbelief): “Your HAT!!! You --- killed her.”
Grant: “What?”
Carter: “Allison’s dead.”

Grant: “I swear I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Carter: “No, you just helped Beverly Barlowe steal the doomsday device to travel back in time.”
Grant: “Hey, I’m not here for Beverly. I’m here for me. Jack, I’m a man out of time. This was my chance to fix things that got broken the last time I left.”

Carter: “Excuse me. I’m looking for a naked man.”
Doctor: “You don’t say?”
Carter: “Erg. I’m looking for a … little naked fella. Th--- okay. Y--- I’m good.”

Carter: “What is it with you guys and ‘theoretically’?”

Carter (driving at full speed towards the gorge): “I trust me. I trust me. I trust me. […] Oh crap! I DON’T TRUST ME!!!”

So why did Grant and Carter morph into themselves in the future, before they had a chance to go back to the past? Doesn’t that negate the loop? Wouldn’t they still need to go back, so they could make the recording, so Carter could hear the recording, then save Allison? Why didn’t the writers just have Grant and Carter disappear, then pop back onto the scene a few minutes later? Didn’t they just create a paradox?

Sigh. I’ll never understand the time travel philosophy on this show. Sometimes it is a “whatever happened, happened” approach. Sometimes it is a “you can overwrite history” approach. Sometimes it is a “you can create a parallel timeline that will eventually collapse into the original timeline, thus destroying the universe” approach. Consistency, thy name is not Eureka.

I loved that the key to saving Allison was giving her those few extra seconds to latch her seat beat. Seat belts save lives, people!

Henry: “Well, I think we can all relate to making bad choices with good intentions. Well, at least, I can at any rate.”

Some good incremental development on the Jo and Zane front. Of course Zane wouldn’t let the business with Jo having his grandmother’s ring go. “I’m not stupid. I know something’s happened with the five of you, and part of it had to do with us." And, despite the Zoe roadblock, I’m sure he’ll keep on pushing to find out what’s going on. Yea!

Zane: “Tell me what we were to each other.”
Jo: “Nothing. I gotta go.”
[He grabs her and they kiss passionately.]
Zane: “Then why didn’t that feel like a first kiss?”

Grant: “I’ll be seeing you, sport.”
Carter: “Hey, don’t call me ‘sport.’”

I was rather sad to see Grant go at the end. He’s really grown on me, and even though this was a fitting conclusion for his story, I’ll miss him. I hope he’s right, and we will be seeing him again, somewhere down the line.

So Beverly has a new target in mind. Carter or Allison? Or Carter and Allison? What exactly is she targeting them for? Does she think they can help her change history and make the world a better place? Or is she just trying to expand her base of power and influence in the present? She’s always been presented as an evil, manipulative bitch, and I just can’t accept that she’s really got the world’s best interests at heart. I suppose time will tell.

Final Analysis: A bit of a jarring disconnect between plot driver and the overall tone, but still an enjoyable mid-season finale.

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

2 comments:

  1. Actually felt like a finale unlike the last ep of season 3. Grant is rich and can do whatever he wants but I bet he'll return for an ep or two.

    ReplyDelete
  2. While I didn't love the episode, I did like where it left the story.

    I would like to have seen more attention paid to Mansfield's investigation of the DED theft, either in this episode or the next.

    (Jess, it must be difficult to write a retro-review without referencing information revealed in subsequent episodes. . .clearly I could not)

    ReplyDelete

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