Eureka: Friendly Fire

... in which the town continues to wrestle with the lingering effects of the Astraeus crew’s time in the Matrix.

Aftermath! I love dwelling on the aftermath! Even when it makes me cry. Or, perhaps, especially when it makes me cry. As much as I love the humor and quirkiness of Eureka, it is the characters, their relationships, and their emotional journeys that keep me coming back for more. I care deeply for my favorite Eurekans, and I want to share their joys and triumphs, as well as their heartaches. I’ve always appreciated that the writers seem to recognize this need, and when they bring the pain, they give the characters the space and time to grieve, allowing us to grieve with them.

And yet, much as I want and appreciate a good grieving period, those closing moments between Fargo and Parrish made it awfully hard for me to psych myself up to rewatch this episode. They’ve done such a good job of occasionally showing the soft human underbelly for Parrish, that I knew Holly’s death had to be quite painful for him, too. Seeing him reach out to Fargo, both to offer and seek some measure of solace, was incredibly poignant. What more fitting memorial could those two give Holly than a game of Dungeons & Dragons? Perfect, and perfectly heartbreaking. I sobbed quietly for a good long while when the episode was over, and it took me a couple days before I could watch again.

On other fronts, ‘Friendly Fire’ mostly continued to play out the lingering consequences introduced at the end of ‘Force Quit.’ Allison and Carter remained somewhat uncomfortable around Jo, Grace continued to be unsettled by Henry, and Zane was miffed at Carter and wondering where he stood with Jo. Andy no longer seemed to be getting the stink eye, but now Jo and Henry have moved into his position: trying to be understanding and supportive, but struggling to cope with their closest friends and loved ones acting all weird around them, while refusing to talk about the reasons why. “Why won’t they just tell us whatever it is?”

My thoughts exactly, Henry. I especially didn’t understand Grace’s reluctance to tell Henry about her experience. After all they’ve been through, she knows full well that keeping things from each other can be the death of a relationship. She shouldn’t need Allison to tell her she needs to talk to Henry. Plus, I really wanted them to explore how awful it had to be for her to once again discover a stranger wearing her husband’s face. Maybe that explains why she just wanted to avoid him all together. It had to be tough to come home and just act like everything was normal after being put through that particular emotional wringer again --- especially since this time, instead of rediscovering her lost love, she ended up having to kill him. “And tell him what? I, uh, sort of killed you, but you were trying to kill me, so you sorta had it coming?” Perhaps they’ll get into the issue a bit more next week.

The Allison, Carter, Jo, and Zane stuff was mostly played for laughs, but it does seem like they have introduced a new wrinkle in Jo’s efforts to find herself by revealing that the Matrix simulations were based on a set of probabilities and that she may be destined to be with Carter. Was it just me, or did she still seem somewhat conflicted about committing to Zane? She didn’t strike me as fully happy and invested in those closing moments at CafĂ© Diem. It was like she was suddenly looking at Carter differently and wondering if Zane is truly what she wants. I completely understand why Zane needed Jo to put up or shut up, but now I’m worried he just ruined his shot with her by forcing her to commit too early. Aaargh! I want those two happily together when it all ends. We’ve earned that happiness as the show sails off into the sunset. And so have they.

I didn’t mind the roadblocks so much when Jo needed to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life as an individual. That made sense to me, and felt rooted in character. But to have her suddenly wonder if Carter is her destiny is frustrating. Those two do not work as a couple. Even if Allison was out of the picture. I just don’t see Jo and Carter having that kind of relationship. They are friends. Comrades in arms. Besties, maybe. But not lovers. As a commenter noted previously, it just feels incestuous. And the idea that she may now be pondering it is aggravating and gross. Way to potentially ruin a perfectly good friendship, writers. Aargh! (See what I mean about being deeply invested in these characters?)

Other Thoughts

Bunny therapy, huh? It’s an amusing idea, but I’m as skeptical as Fargo on that one. However, I thought the way they balanced the heartbreak and the humor with Fargo this week was well done. I even enjoyed the laughs they managed to wring out of his attempt to fast track the grieving process, because his reasons for doing so were rooted in his very real pain.

Parrish’s goofy pride and excitement over his I-Fire was strangely endearing.

Carter: “But the remotes will work when we get them outside of GD, right?”
Parrish: “Theoretically.”
Carter (deep sigh): “I … hate that word.”

Zane (re: the Matrix Carter-Jo hookup): “You haven’t told her yet, have you?”
Carter: “It’s not important.”
Zane (as Carter walks away): “No, you’re right. Staring at her and acting all creepy --- much better plan.”

I totally fell for the mid-episode fake out with Carl. I thought he was about to get blown up at the lake, and was very surprised when the fireball, er, firefly, dove into the lake instead.

Fargo: “Maybe we should just bow down to our new fireball overlords while we still can. Maybe they’ll spare us.”
It’s the ‘what the hell?’ look that Henry gives him that really sells this one.

Is SARAH going to be okay? I’m worried about her.

So, is the unusual brain activity the first sign of a larger problem? I’m guessing, yes.

Final Analysis: A solid, if painful, aftermath episode.

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

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I honestly don't think that they're setting anything up with Carter and Jo. The two of them are just uncomfortable with what happened in the Matrix. I think. And with Carter and Allison in happily ever after mode, there has to be couple drama. That's falling on Jo and Zane, Grace and Henry. Grace and Henry have been so happy together that I sort of forgot that it was the second time Grace had to deal with a Henry she didn't know.

The Fargo plot was done really well. I was glad to see Wil Wheaton get to do more than act like a jerk. It was touching.

Good episode. Terrific review, Jess. I'm so going to miss this show.

Quachett said...

Once more great review and I agree with you on why Eureka is so adictive, its the one show on TV, at least for me, that knows how to write characters u care about. I dont know how many times I have had to tell myself they are not real. Too bad the Region 2 DVDs arent out for season 4.5 yet.

Anyway I dont think they are really going to go after the Carter - Jo Story line, my guess is this was a version that has a possibility of happening if, and only IF, Zane and Allison were not there. I think that if Carter becomes a single parent to an increadibly young daughter he would need help and as Jo is a trusted friend she would make the Ideal sorogate mom. Jo's own desire to find who she is and be at peace and not always out do her brothers will more than likely push her into taking care of Jenna as its a unique experience that will help her deal with her own issues as she tries to raise a daughter. Naturally being in such a situation Carter and Jo will more than likely end up together because they do have some chemistry, and the situation just screams out lets be a family. But like I said things have to happen this way for there to be a chance for them to get together. I think she knows how much she needs Zane so chances are her fear was She didnt want to screw it up beacuse finding yourself can coz some friction with your loved ones. anyway Im not a writer so I can just be talking nonsence, besides since im in England Im used to the english culture, I might not know how US culture deals with these situations

Sorry about the long post and the spelling errors, I wrote this in a hurry

celticmarc said...

Kudos Jess

Another great ep of Eureka. Poignant and the scene between Fargo and Parrish at the end was brilliantly played.

Great balance between laughter and "drama" (the catastrophe of the week) and the characters' inner turmoils.

Wow. I mean it, wow.

If they keep at it, this will be a very strong season.

MathManTP said...

Okay so I'm arriving at this party REALLY late.
First, Jess, thanks so much for writing these reviews. I only started watching this show last month (I had seen one season 5 episode about 4 years ago). I started from season 1 in early Feb, recovering from shoulder surgery. I'm loving almost all of it, but with no one to chat about the episodes, or throw around the predictions or "what if" ideas.
But your entertaining reviews and the comments are wonderful.
I wonder if this is the last we've seen of Beverly and look forward to the last bunch of episodes. I have heard hints that the series finale rewards its faithful audience.