Eureka: The Real Thing

... in which Carter, Henry, and Kevin keep the search going for the missing Astraeus crew. Meanwhile, Beverly struggles to keep the crew from discovering the truth of their situation.

Well, things have taken a decidedly dark turn. I know that Eureka has never been all sunshine and puppies. The weird science had quite a sinister aspect to it when the series began; however, despite taking its characters on challenging and often poignant emotional journeys in recent years, the series has largely become a fun adventure, full of laughs, quirk, and heart. So to lose Holly this way hit me like a punch to the stomach. I wasn’t at all prepared for this kind of development, and I was in a state of shock for a good while after the episode ended. Literally. My face felt really numb, and the indelible image of Holly’s lifeless, staring eyes left me a little bit queasy. I shudder to think of what’s it going to do to me when Fargo finds out.

All this time, I’ve been mentally preparing myself to lose Grace. I thought for sure the writers were going to, once again, put Henry through the emotional ringer and he was going to completely lose himself. But not Fargo. I never thought they’d do this to Fargo. I know he’s been perpetually dumped on throughout the show’s history, but that was mostly back when he was a selfish, egocentric pain in the ass. He’s grown so much over the last season, and part of that growth came from his relationship with Holly. Those two had such a sweetly satisfying courtship, and it has been a joy to see them coming together as a couple and helping each other to grow as individuals. They’ve pushed each other to fully embrace life and to become their best possible selves, and I’m heartbroken about what might happen to Fargo in the wake of this tragedy. Dammit, writers! You guys are starting to reach true Joss Whedon levels here!

Is it foolish to hope that Beverly perhaps saved Holly? She certainly didn’t agree with Senator Wen’s decision. Maybe it wasn’t too late to bring Holly back, even if she didn’t get plugged back into the Matrix? Could Beverly actually do something good and decent for once? I’m probably in denial.

Up until that soul crushing ending, I was actually enjoying this episode for the most part. It was great to spend some time with all of our real characters, even if they weren’t necessarily interacting with each other. The disturbing fake versions were much easier to take when we kept getting moments with the real Carter, Henry, and Jo. Plus, the episode had a real sense of momentum, and felt like it was building towards the heroes foiling Beverly’s scheme. I let myself get quite caught up in the near rescue. I honestly thought Carter, Henry, and Jo might make it in time. When they were barreling towards the warehouse, I had a little “Please let them be there, please let them be there, ...” mantra going in my head. Even if Beverly and her minions got away, I just wanted the crew to be saved. But alas, ‘twas not to be this week.

I’m still holding out hope that this ends soon. Grace and Allison are starting to figure things out. Zane and Fargo can’t be far behind. Of course, now that we’ve seen how far the Consortium will go to protect its secrets, I’m also a bit afraid for everyone. If nothing else, this episode certainly raised the stakes and made the jeopardy a little more real.

Other Thoughts

With the color filters and the constant shifting between realities, I sometimes felt like I was watching Awake this week. At least in this case, I know what’s real and what’s a dream. Although the “de-res” transitions into and out of the Matrix got a bit tiresome after awhile.

Good work by Trevor Jackson this week. I thought he was really great reacting to the news that they were calling off the search for the Astraeus, and then pleading with Jack at the mountain overlook to let him keep searching.

At least now we know where Senator Wen stands. I was pretty sure she was in the bag, but not completely sure until the “I’m gonna call for backup” moment. Kudos to Ming Na for convincingly walking the fine line between plausibly sincere and potentially evil.

The Consortium’s plan for this whole shebang is actually pretty clever. When Beverly told Henchman #1 to download the specs for Zane’s new net, I was fairly impressed with how well their plan was working.

After that devastating and brutal ending, it somehow doesn’t seem right to talk at length about the things that made me laugh and smile this week. So I’ll keep it brief:

-- Jo on walkabout. “You don’t bring a cell phone on walkabout!”
-- Dragon!
-- Smart cookies Allison, Grace, and Holly quickly beginning to see through their sham of an existence. You go, girls!
-- “That sounds dangerously like conspiracy to commit a felony, Sheriff.”
-- Covert Ops Andy. “This is so exciting!”
-- The Mission Impossible scoring for the break-in sequence.
-- Jailbird Andy. “Yesterday I was an officer of the law. Today --- I’m a jailbird. A con. In the pokey. Up the river!”
-- Jo busting Carter and Andy out of the pokey. “Isn’t this a pretty picture? I leave you for a few weeks and the two of you wind up behind bars.”
-- Dragon! (Yes, it’s on here twice.)

We also got several nice nods to seasons past, with Carter reliving the botched Astraeus launch using the same technology Henry used to relive Kim’s death over and over. Also, the way Holly’s VR body slowly disintegrated at the end reminded me very much of Stark’s death.

Fake Henry and Fake Carter suck. Scratch that. Fake Henry sucks. Fake Carter REALLY sucks. Evil bastard. I’m glad we weren’t subjected to a whole episode of him this week.

Final Analysis: Better than last week, but far more devastating.

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

9 comments:

Quachett said...

Greate Post as ever, keep up the good work. I kept saying to myself Holy dont say a thing please dont say anything and then she did, I was just crushed I just hope she will survive somehow. I might be grasping at straws her but if she realised that she was in a dream then there is a chance that she mentally realised she could not die in this reality as its a dream. The theory is if the mind believes that what its experiencing is real then it means when an event that causes death occurs then the mind will shutdown the body thus the person dies for real. In this case When she realised the truth then he mind might create a diffence mechanism to save the body, but just save it and hopefully someone, Maybe Beverley, will rescue her in time.

I Honestly thought Sen. Wen was one of the good guys until the point she tookout her cell phone, my heart just sank as I just realised she was part of the consortium. The way she Killed Holly though completely blind sided me. It was truely and act of pure Evil, I mean for her to just casually kill a person like that and for the reason she gave... she really really was Evil and I agree with your assessment of Carter and Henry, they really are mind numbingly annoying Bastards, I just wanted to punch them in the face.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my god. Dragons, and they buy it. Extra cheap (even for TV) effects. And writers that think that they can pull a Whedon. Have they seen what they perpetrated last week?.

And now I'm afraid we're also having to suffer through Beverly going back to the light side. How original!

If I could give this a -4, I would. And in the end, they're going to get me to stop watching with 6? 8? episodes left.

Way to throw a decent series to the gutter, writers. I hope you get a job writing soaps after this.

Jess Lynde said...

Anon, do you mind if I ask what's been keeping you hanging on with the series this long? I'm honestly curious. Because it seems like you've been deeply dissatisfied with the series for a long, long time, and I actually feel like, overall, the the writing for S4 was some its strongest. I'm not thrilled with the current direction, but that's mostly because we've only got a few episodes left. Several of the characters are still being given great material to play, and they are still bringing the humor and the heart.

I've had my own struggles with Supernatural this season, but haven't been able to completely let go despite some pretty hefty dissatisfaction with the overall story and character directions. I just care too much, I guess. But I remember being able to walk away from Chuck half way through S4, when I realized I just didn't care enough about anyone's continuing story to stay with it any longer. Even if it was only going to be for few episodes. It was apathy that drove me away, not anger.

Anyway, I'm genuinely curious what has kept you with the series all this time. What was it that you used to feel the creative team did well that they now aren't?

Also: If a redeemed Beverly is the price we have to pay for Holly to live, I'm ready to pony up. No matter how awful she's been over the years. :)

Billie Doux said...

Except for the unexpectedly tragic ending, I liked most of this episode. I'd had a feeling Senator Ming Na was one of the bad guys for awhile, so that wasn't a surprise. But the way Beverly fought with her over Holly's demise was cool. It feels like they're setting up Beverly saving the day somehow.

I also really liked Kevin being the one to save his mom, and Carter and Henry supporting him like that. And Andy. I didn't like Andy evil.

So I'm still on board and hoping that we get back to real Eureka soon.

Loved your review, Jess.

inspirejenny said...

oh holly don't finish that sentance....

Jess I was with you in shock! I rewound my dvr twice trying to find a loophole but I don't know... I like the idea that perhaps Holly did "wake" her body systems up in time..

I think its cool to make the characters deeper such as Bev. I would be hip to the idea of having her decide she was not willing to kill these brilliant minds so easily. She seems to be motivated by the search for knowledge so it would be in keeping with who she is that she would not want them dead. Also there was a time when Henry was a bit dark... we forgave him. I am a fan of the shades of gray vs. all good/ all bad...

as for virtual eureka... LAME! for one thing I think if Carter lost alison he would never fall in love again... he did not give up on loving her even when she was going to be married again to stark.. he could not commit to that other girl he dated cause he love ally... I just don't see him going for Jo who he seems to have a big brother/mentor kind of love with...its almost like incest ewww... although I think its supposed to be the world that the crew creates for itself and alison's deep fear could be that she loses her kids and her love.. so she creates that triangle with the only other eligible girl in town

as far as grace... its easy to see that her fear would be that henry would not be her henry again... it happened once before to her so it would stand to reason that she would fear it again...

i think the writers are really showing up this season and last season..

I would like to get the real gang back together soon though as i go through a little grieving period after each episode ends knowing i am that much closer the the total end... boohoohoo...

celticmarc said...

Awesome review Jess

You're NOT the only one who's being shocked and dumbstruck. I hate the turn of events as much as you do, but story wise, very strong ep.

celticmarc said...

And totally agreeing with Jess : very strong 4th season indeed

celticmarc said...

OH !

And Jess ?

Dido for Chuck.

Josie Kafka said...

Okay, dark is good. Death is not good! Not when it happens to a wonderful character!

While I really like the alternate-reality idea, especially when it's contrasted with the "real" world, I do wish they'd kept death out of Eureka.

(Then again, I've only watched Seasons Four and this present one. I get the impression death has visited the quirkiest little town before, but not for me, and not in the same way!)