Eureka: Lost

... in which the Astraeus crew manages to narrowly avoid a crash landing, only to discover they’ve jumped four years into the future.

So, Eureka is back. Yea? The series returns earlier than expected, and for a shorter run than usual. And unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to be spending a chunk of that time in some sort of fabricated, hive-mind reality that provides Beverly and the Consortium unfettered access to some of the town’s greatest minds. Which means that, instead of getting to have a few more fun adventures in this crazy little town we’ve come to know and love, we get to watch our favorite Eurekans suffer separately for awhile, then maybe find their way back to each other just in time for the big finish. *Sigh.*

If you’ve been following my Eureka reviews for awhile now, you know I love this show. Despite some serious missteps in previous seasons, the creators really redeemed themselves with an incredibly strong Season 4. It had pathos and humor, fairly strong arcs for both halves of the season, and it went out on a high note. But, to be perfectly honest, I was not looking forward to this premiere in the slightest. I’ve actually been fairly grumpy about it since they announced the April return. Some of that grumpiness probably stems from not wanting the end to come so soon, and some comes from having to get used to a regular “reviewing schedule” again. But I mostly blame the teaser trailers for the new season. From the moment I saw the first one, I started harboring some serious reservations about where the show might be headed. “Everything you know is wrong.” What?! We’ve got precious few episodes left, and we’ll be spending them with different versions of our favorite characters? Seriously? Why?!

So my mood was decidedly negative as I sat down to watch the premiere. I gritted my teeth, resigned myself to some shenanigans, and basically hoped that any “changes” thrown at us would get hit with a big, old reset button by the time the hour closed. It made it a challenge to get engaged by anything that was happening this week. I didn’t want it to be true, so I resisted letting myself get “emotionally invested in the reality” we were seeing. They even gave me some false hope that all would quickly be set right, when Zane had those hazy visions of some other reality as Allison was trying to revive him after the MARTHA attack. In the end, they did reveal that nothing we had seen was really happening. But instead of making it all better, the closing notes of the episode just made everything worse. No reset button this week. Instead, Beverly and her goons are going to make us suffer right along with Allison and the others for some indeterminate period of time. I repeat: *Sigh.*

How long are we going to have to endure this “not reality”? I really don’t want to waste more time on sad Zane, really sad Allison, and fake Carter and Jo being lovey dovey (ugh). I don’t want to watch them slowly figuring out their predicament and eventually undermining Beverly. I want to get back to our reality, and enjoy these final adventures with all of our characters. I want Carter and Allison tackling the latest disasters together, not being painfully kept apart. Again.

So are we going to spend next week in real time with Carter and Henry trying to find the missing crew? Is Jo going to return from her walkabout? What kind of headspace will she be in? Will she join in the hunt to find her friends and her lost love? Can they resolve this disaster sooner rather than later? Please?

To be fair, I know the creative team didn’t realize this was the last season when they started making it. If memory serves, they didn’t find out until the season was all but wrapped. So they didn’t know this is how they’d be going out. But still, I can’t help being very disappointed at the way the final season appears to shaping up at this point.

Other Thoughts

My general frustration notwithstanding, this hour wasn’t all bad. I did chuckle a few times, and the geek culture allusions were fun, as ever. I particularly liked the riff with the Andys as Agent Smith from The Matrix. “Mister Donovan.” And the climax with Zane and Jo trying to escape the giant killer robot was certainly exciting.

I also have to admit that --- despite my firm belief that none of what we were seeing was real or permanent --- I did get somewhat emotional during parts of Allison’s story. Salli Richardson-Whitfield absolutely killed it this week. She truly broke my heart when she met Jenna for the first time --- “Very nice to meet you” *sob!* --- and again when she confronted Carter about seeing him with Jo --- “Are you in love with her?” She just did a fantastic job of conveying deeply felt and barely restrained emotion, and, in spite of myself, I was moved by her pain and loss.

I also got choked up when Henry and Grace reunited. I get emotional pretty easily with those two.

The various incarnations of Andy were intensely creepy. I much prefer the friendly deputy over the smiling, yet sinister head of GD security. But I’m sure Kavan Smith had loads of fun changing things up.

Holly (seeing Parrish’s device): “Ooh! It looks like the crown of an orc king!”
Parrish (excitedly): “And this is just the scale model. The big one could turn an entire orc army into a bunch of pussycats!”

Parrish: “… but, I’ve been able to work all the bugs out of my ass.”
Holly: “Excuse me?”
Parrish: “ASS. Adrenaline suppression system. It’s for combat situations.”

Bear McCreary’s score this week was particularly Battlestar Galactica-esque. Fitting, given the abundance of Cylon-like AI’s. Gigantor MARTHA even looked like a cross between a Cylon raider and a Centurion!

Fargo: “What the frak happened?!”
Zane: “Carter stole my girlfriend.”
Fargo: “Seriously?”
Carter: “No. Well, sort of --- Zane, BIGGER ISSUES!”

Carl (Carter’s Jeep) just can’t catch a break, can he? He was blown up by Gigantor MARTHA this week.

Fargo: “We have our town back!”
If only.

I was wondering how much of the fake reality was a psychological construction, and how much was created by Beverly and her minions. Then I looked at the episode title and smacked my forehead. Fitting.

So what can we learn about the Astraeus crew’s hopes, dreams, fears, and unresolved issues from this week's developments? Fargo fears that killer robots will take over the world. No shock there. And Zane and Allison fear getting demoted back to “the friend zone,” or maybe just losing the people they care about most. Again, no shock there. I’m a bit disappointed that Allison apparently still hasn’t gotten past that issue, but I’m glad she realizes that Carter will ensure her children are well cared for, if something were to happen to her. And at least Grace believes in Henry’s love for her, and knows he’ll never give up trying to find her. Let’s hope that happens soon.

Final Analysis: A disappointing start to the final season.

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

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to give a kick in the nuts to whoever in the writer's room thought that Beverly and her effing consortium were even remotely interesting. They already tainted a lot of Eureka, and now we have to stomach them in the final season, when time is gold?.

My god, what a &%$&%"&&/ waste.

celticmarc said...

I haven't seen the ep yet, but I'll say BOOYAH ! For Eureka's return.

But, after seeing your rating and the previous comment, I say....oups....

...to be continued...

Sooze said...

I am with you on this one Jess. I was seriously PO'd to see them separate Carter and Allison yet AGAIN...I am not interested in seeing this dream-version....let's get everyone back pronto, please. *SIGH* is right!

Billie Doux said...

Well, it most certainly wasn't boring. And I think they achieved a personal best with movie and television references. I particularly liked the 2001/Terminator combination scene when Fargo was removing Hal's memory piece by piece and Sarah Connor was crawling away from Andy. :) You're right that they had no idea this would be the final season. Are we getting it in two installments?

Quachett said...

Glad Eureka is Back on and you are on you game with the reviews, Much Love!!!

Well, I saw this coming so I wasnt suprised and Im actually interested in how this will shape up with Beverly now fully Evil. I have some few points though about this season:

First, I am not sure you are going to like this but Logically I cant see this plot taking less than 7 episodes. Beverly has been too much of a nuisance and its about time that Eureka fully address the threat of the Consortium. I have always criticed Eureka for ignoring this plot as Beverly has continually caused problems and The plot almost forgets about her the minute her threat subsides. Its high time the COnsortium comes into full focus and be delt with. Given how they breached Eureka in the way they did, I cant see them being a pushover villian that can be delt with in a few episodes, at best Carter and Deacon, hopefully with the much needed support from the Baddest woman on TV JO, might be able to locate them rescue them then the season will focus on the fight between Eureka and the Consortium. Its the only way I can see Carter and Allison Unite soon rather tha later.

Second, Zane's comments and actions in this episode were interresting, He seemed to sense that something was wrong and not just with the crippy AI take-over but a sense of reality being wiered. his brief flash when he was shocked seemed to suggest the fact that he woke up for a bit and the shoke was them trying to put him under. I am sure that He will catch onn quickly and it is interesting how they will handle that.

Finally I feel sorry for Allison, She will go through the emotional hell of loosing Carter and Having her child attach to someone else than her only to find out when she is rescued that all this was in her head meaning she will have to go through another hell of emotional stress to just deal with this. Poor Allison

NB It really is time to address the threat of Beverly that woman has caused too much grief and they keep letting her off the hock each time

Quachett said...

I forgot to say, Why is Syfy Cancelling one of thier top rated series, it just doesnt make sense. I can understand show writers and creators saying this is it but for a network to cancell a show that is actually good on ratings is strange to say the least

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the comments, all! I was a bit concerned that my festering negative attitude had colored my reaction to this premiere too strongly. Glad to have some company on the "not especially thrilled with this development" couch!

Quachett, I agree that it would be nice to finally address the whole issue of Beverly and the Consortium. She's been a thorn in the town's side forever, and it would be great to get that threat resolved at long last. I just wish a fake reality storyline wasn't the avenue for addressing things. Erg. Maybe they'll dispense with her within a couple episodes and both Anon @ 2:46 and I can be happy! :)

Billie, Mark Greig said in our premieres thread that the final season will be 14 episodes, and that SyFy will probably just air them all at once. I don't know for certain, but I suspect they are eager to just get it done with and move on to new stuff. :(

celticmarc said...

Jess,

I wasn't disappointed.

Stellar performance by Salli Richardson-Whitfield.

cScott said...

I'm still trying to figure out exactly who is (and isn't) in the "shared reality" and when they were taken. At first, I thought it was just the Astraeus crew, but it looked as though there were a lot more people than that.

Were they intercepted after/during launch? or were they taken before that (and never even really launched)? Are the non-crew people (Carter, etc) just a simulation or were they taken too?

Based on the previews for next week, I suspect that the Astraeus crew is "missing" because they're being held in the fake reality (which means Carter and the others are just simulations there), but that doesn't explain who all of the other people are that we saw at the end of the episode...

Jess Lynde said...

The Astraeus crew was 20 people. Plus Allison, that makes 21. The big Brain Trust Circle at the end appears to have room for 21 people. (I went back counted, but some of the pods were a bit obscured, so I can't be certain of the total count.)

My understanding is that Carter, Jo, Henry, Parrish, Andy, Vincent, and SARAH were all fake in this episode. Only Allison, Zane, Grace, Fargo, and Holly (and the other 16 crew members we probably don't know) are "real" in the simulation. My assumption is that we'll get some time in the real world, in which the real Carter, Henry, and Jo search for the missing team. Guess we'll see tonight!

cScott said...

Ah... that explains it, thanks!

Josie Kafka said...

I loved this one! I don't watch SyFy much, so I didn't see any previews for this season. Because of that, I had no idea that what I was watching wasn't "real" in any useful sense of the term. And because of my inner darkness (which it countered, of course, by my adorable love of all small furry animals), I particularly enjoyed the dark elements of the alternate reality.

I do agree that an entire season that isn't "real" will be horrible, and will feel like a cheat on par with that infamous season of Dallas. But right now, I'm enjoying the darkness and they way it counterbalances some of Eureka's overly-twee leaning.

Heather said...

I didn't like this turn of events either. The whole 'fake' thing bugged me. I wouldn't have minded the 4 year jump ahead and 1984-like takeover. That could have been really interesting especially if they left out the Joe/Carter romance. But having it all fake was just not what I wanted.