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Eureka: Jack of All Trades

... in which Warren Hughes arrives to evaluate the Astraeus crew’s fitness for duty just as Carter and various crew members begin switching bodies.

Last week it took me a couple days to do my Eureka review, because I didn’t want to revisit that painful ending. This week it has taken me some time to sit down and write, because I just wasn’t sure what to say. ‘Jack of All Trades’ was an enjoyable outing, and I laughed a ton, but for the most part, it didn’t feel overly deep or consequential. Seems strange to say that about an episode that ended with Jack and Allison finally getting engaged, but nearly everything that happened this week felt predictable, inevitable, or like a retread.

Take the disaster of the week. It seemed immediately obvious that the neural transfers were the result of the time spent in the Matrix and Zane’s efforts to analyze its program code. At the end of last week’s episode they made it clear that Carter and the crew were continuing to suffer from “unusual brain activity,” so it was just a question of how long it would take the characters to put two and two together and how Warren’s presence would complicate things. I was actually kind of surprised it took them so long to connect the zeta waves to the mainframe tinkering. Zane should have been all over that, especially after ending up in Carter’s body. I know it’s fun when our luddite hero pulls a House, but I find it a stretch that in this case Carter figured out the connection before Zane. Even if Zane was distracted.

And on that subject … I’m really over all this awkward jealousy between Carter, Jo, Allison, and Zane. The issue was starting to feel played out even before this week’s various body-swapping wrinkles. I feel really bad for Jo in all this. She’s done nothing wrong, and yet her life can’t get back to normal because everyone else is acting crazy. Carter, her best friend, keeps acting like he can’t be alone around her, and Zane and Allison are being petty and jealous. It’s ridiculous. Even worse, Allison gave in to her irrational jealousy and was actively hurtful to Jo! I understand why she did it, and she had the decency to feel pretty bad about it later, but I’m still kind of ticked at her. You don’t hurt Jo that way. You just don’t. Especially when the woman recently saved your child from a burning building!

I get that what Zane and Allison experienced inside the Matrix was emotionally difficult, and that readjusting is going to take some time, but to punish the real Jo and Carter for something that never happened is horribly unfair. Especially when the only reason Fake Carter and Fake Jo were a couple was because they lost the two people they cared about most deeply: Zane and Allison. Thank goodness Jo is sane enough to point out the obvious!

Zane: “… So given the right set of circumstances, you and Carter hooking up is not just possible, it’s probable.”
Jo: “One of the circumstances was me thinking that you were dead, right?”
Zane: “Right.”
Jo: “So don’t make me kill you, and you have nothing to worry about.”

Hopefully, once Allison makes things right with Jo, we can put a pin in this issue going forward.

One development that did surprise me this week was Zane’s discovery of Holly’s brain pattern in the Matrix mainframe. Perhaps I should have seen this coming, because now it feels almost inevitable that this would happen. Regardless, I think it could be a good story thread for Fargo. Assuming, of course, that there’s more to come on that front. It was a very nice character moment when Fargo chose to prioritize Carter’s life over the possibility of finding Holly again (and fairly quickly, at that), but I suspect he won’t let that be the end of things. I can easily see him continuing to pursue the possibility of resurrecting her. Would it feel too “been there, done that” if he created a Holly robot or clone and uploaded her digital consciousness, then had to wrestle with whether he had done the right thing?

Other Thoughts

Neil Grayston and Colin Ferguson did a great job channeling each other’s characters. Their swap probably made me laugh the hardest. I especially loved Neil delivering: “Is this my joking face?! No, this is not my face at all!” Although ‘Zane’s’ horrified reactions to Carter’s hairy body and the bacon cheese scone threat were pretty hilarious, too.

Warren’s delighted greeting for his “favorite couple” was a hoot.

Warren: “Hey, I’m breezy.”
Wallace Shawn’s casual line delivery on this one cracked me up.

Allison: “What if he gets stuck this way?”
‘Fargo’: “Well, Dr. Blake, either you’ll have to date me in Sheriff Carter’s body, or date Sheriff Carter in mine. Quite a Sophie’s choice.”
Allison [panicked]: “Grace, we have to fix this!”

[After Carter and Fargo switch back.]
Allison: “Jack?”
Carter: “Yeah … oh, I’ve literally never been so happy.”
Allison [hugging him with immense relief]: “Oh my god, I don’t think I could have taken Sophie’s choice!”
The way she’s almost sobbing with relief as she says it made it extra funny.

‘Zane’: “Hey, I believe in manscaping. You should try it Sheriff Sasquatch, this is disgusting!”

Allison: “Zane, are you alright?”
‘Zane’: “No. Do I look alright?! I’m hideous! I’m half Scarecrow, half Andy Griffith!”

It was so obvious that Carter and Allison were going to switch bodies right in the middle of surgery.

So did anyone really think Warren’s blanket redactions would stick? I was rolling my eyes on that one. Almost as much as I was when he reversed course after seeing how well everyone worked together to solve all the problems they inadvertently cause. Seriously? Just like that? However, I was surprised that Warren’s presence only tied into the disaster resolution and wasn’t somehow part of the cause.

So Grace is going away for awhile. Sigh. I understand why she needs this, but I wish she wasn’t shutting Henry out of her healing process. Hopefully, she’ll be ready to come home soon.

Does anyone else ever wish they could eat at Café Diem? My mouth starts watering sometimes when Vincent brings out orders.

And, of course, we finally got Carter proposing to Allison. Woo hoo! I’m glad those two are moving forward, but I wish the shadow of what Allison did to Jo earlier in the episode hadn’t been hanging over the whole thing. It made it hard to get totally caught up in the emotion and sweetness of the moment. Grrr.

Final Analysis: Definitely not as weighty as more recent outings, but it sure did make me laugh.

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

9 comments:

  1. Oh, Jess, I found this so funny I didn't really care about anything else. I thought all the actors did a great job playing each others characters. I guffawed so many times I lost count. For me, a really enjoyable, fun, light episode. Kinda nice after all the weightiness of GoT.

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  2. Yes, it wasn't meaningful or weighty, but it was fun. Definitely a "love letter for the fans". I think they were pushing the whole Carter and Jo in the Matrix thing just to fuel this episode. It'll probably go away now.

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  3. OMG

    Yes it was a huge LMAO ep. But it was a great way to (finally??) round up the issues stirred up by the Matrix Arc.

    I'm giving this a 5 out of 4. Yes, one of the top 5 ep's of the entire series.

    If it keeps up this way, this final season will be simply magnificent.

    Wow, still being flabbergasted.

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  4. I'll admit that I laughed in first half of the episode, but the second half made me so angry that it sank this to a 1 out of 4.

    This stupid relationship square has to end. There are no reasons for it (other than sloppy writing), and all 4 of them should be mature enough to understand it. However, the writers artificially create this situations to put them in awkward positions, and when even that doesn't work, they throw everybody's established personalities out the window. Zane and Allison in this episode acted like they were effing thirteen. And that final act between Allison in Jack's body and Joe practically destroyed her character for me. And Zane and Jack arguing like they were both 10 was just pathethic.

    If the writers are trying to make me happy that Eureka didn't get renewed for another season, they're certainly doing a hell of a job. If they keep like this, I won't even wait to the end to pull the plug.

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  5. Greate review as usual. I found this episode quite funny but I was a bit suprised by how little they focused on the posibility of Holy being Alive. The body and mind swotching was not only funny but Finally somebody got it right for once. So many movies and some TV shows have failed to truelly do what Eureka do, just have fun with the concerpt.

    As for eating in Cafe Diem, I would love too if it wasnt for the fact that Cafe Diem is like Carl they just cant help stay away from being destroyed. I love to have my meals in peace I wouldnt wanna eat with half a mind to duck, run or jump

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  6. I want to give a shout out to Colin Ferguson as he played the different characters, especially Fargo.

    But I agree that the square relationship was weak. Henry and Grace have real problems that justify their actions; Jack/Jo/Allison/Zane should be more mature.

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  7. Great episode .. However, i don't get how people couldn't see how messed up Jo was acting. I mean could you really blame Allison for feeling the way she does, especially after that little omission of Jo's about how she thought about hooking up with her man? On top of her reaction when Allison/Carter told her he never thought about it.. The most obvious was after Carter proposed to Allison, and Jo being the only person that wasn't clapping, and seemed almost hurt about it.. So yeah , forgive allison for feeling a bit suspicious of Jo after her clear contemplation of considering her feelings for Carter, after she found out about the Matrix. Poor JO my well you know..
    Seriously, and poor Zane has been in the dark about it all. Wouldn't he feel just as threatened givin how often Jo has gone back and forth about her feelings for him? Jo should realize earlier on, that Carter has been chasing Allison since day one. So there's really no reason people should defending her, while calling out Allison for having perfectly good reason to be suspicious. It's not like she blamed Carter really.

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  8. Thanks for commenting, Tiff. I love getting different takes on an episode! Even though I'm going to have to stick with my "I feel really bad for Jo" position on this one. :) (At least based on what I wrote in the review. It's been a long time since I've seen it --- or any other episodes --- so it is hard for me to remember all the context at this point!)

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