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Eureka: Smarter Carter

... in which Carter gets a brain boost just as Allison’s brother visits to check out her new husband.

‘Smarter Carter’ was a fairly run-of-the-mill episode of Eureka. It had various problems to be solved and an assortment of funny moments, but it didn’t contain anything that requires much in the way of deeper analysis. Of course, after my “flaming mad” reaction to last week’s episode, I’m fairly content to walk away from this one “mildly amused.”

The primary plot, with Kevin accidentally turning Carter into a heartless brainiac, was an interesting variation on Carter’s fears that Allison is embarrassed by his lack of super smarts. I liked that they started from a place where he seemed fairly comfortable being who he is, despite Marcus’s constant digs, and then played his reaction to the brain boost as excitement over a chance to finally fit in, not a chance to be “good enough” for Allison. “For the first time I fit in. I don’t want to go back to being the dumb old sheriff.” It harkened back to his relief when Zoe lied to him about having an IQ only slightly higher than his. He may be relatively comfortable being the regular guy in a town full of geniuses most of the time, but he still can’t help occasionally wanting to be on everyone else’s level, instead of being the guy who has to have every little thing explained to him.

On the Holly front, I was glad they decided to explore how Holly’s current circumstances are affecting her psychologically. When she first got transferred to SARAH, I knew it was only a matter of time before it began to feel more like a prison than a home. Of course she’d want to get back to a corporeal existence, if at all possible, and the sooner the better. “I am not safe. I am trapped. I’m just photons and sound waves. I’m sharing a body with a stupid house. Doug, if I’m not happy with what I am, how can you be?” And it also makes perfect sense that Fargo would be hesitant to push the envelope too far for fear of losing her. Any shred of the woman he loved is better than none at all, so, for him, the need to hold her and touch her doesn’t yet outweigh the risk of her dying again. He’s probably still not ready to take the risk, but he is willing to put her need for happiness above his own, which is yet another sign of the amazing growth Fargo has experienced since being thrust into this new timeline. It makes me yearn to see him get a much deserved happy ending.

Other Thoughts

Marcus was played by Dondre Whitfield, Salli Richardson-Whitfield’s husband, which made some of his territorial interactions with Carter a little bit creepy. (Although certainly less creepy than it would have been to have her real-life brother playing her husband.)

Carter: “What the hell is a reproductive clause?”
Andy: “Well, Boss, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, they ---“

Zane and Henry’s attempt to resurrect Holly sent me scrambling back to ‘Ship Happens’ to see if they were going the Kim 2.0 route. Turns out they are using a slightly different approach. Kim 2.0 was an organic computer grown from skin cell. Her cellular structure wasn’t actually human; rather she was a “biological organism encoded with binary information instead of DNA” and programmed with a personality profile. With Holly, they are going to fabricate a human body over an organic computer lattice and download her consciousness to a neural processor. Her mind will use a “neural prosthetic” to control an externally human body. “The real me won’t look like a creepy department store mannequin, right?” So probably more similar to Andy than Kim 2.0, but still a unique new being.

Jo: “Ah, so you are officially joining the mad scientists union.”
Henry: “It’s not mad. It’s the next logical step in brain-machine interfacing.”

Is anyone else troubled by the ethical implications of what Zane and Henry are doing? I admit that part of me still wants Holly to live and have a corporeal existence, but this new way of extending life is incredibly disturbing. Of course, so is a lot of the weird science they do in Eureka. They need some kind of ethical oversight council in that town. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Jo running interference with Parrish was kind of amusing. I was impressed with her initial attempt to convince him that she wanted Zane removed as head of Section 5, too. Her suggestion that she was sexually attracted to him, on the other hand, was rather squicky.

Marcus: “We didn’t even know you were dating.”
Allison: “Well, it wasn’t exactly planned. We were about to drown.”
Marcus: “Why am I not feeling reassured?”

The Nathan Stark Memorial Hallway exists in this reality, too. Poor guy couldn’t get a building wing or a lab in this timeline either. Sheesh.

Andy’s eagerness and excitement to be Jack’s lab rat was cute and frightening, especially given Carter’s disregard for his safety.

Carter may have only gotten a brief chance to play in the genius sandbox, but it looks like his time there will have a lasting impact if his photonic processor design ends up being the key to recorporealizing Holly. That’s kind of awesome. For Carter, that is. It's cool that he got to be smart and help a friend. The implications of re-corporealizing Holly are still disturbing.

I get rather irritated by Carter’s fears that he’s not smart enough for Allison --- he should know better by now --- but it is still heartwarming when she reassures him that she loves him just as he is.

Carter: “It was nice, though. Being on your level for once.”
Allison: “Jack, you’ve always been on my level.”

Final Analysis: Just an average episode, but so much better than last week.

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

9 comments:

  1. Programming note: I won’t be able to watch the 6/25 episode until at least 7/2. I will do my best to post reviews for both the 6/25 and 7/2 episodes the week after next. Sorry for the delay!

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  2. Like you, in comparison to last week's episode this was better. Was it great, no. But it was fun for the most part.

    But in a similar manner that Allison's fears in last week's episodes didn't make sense after everything they went through, neither do Jack's fears at this point either.

    Yes, he lives among geniuses. Yes, he has to have a lot of things explained to him. But consider it's usually his everyman approach and abilities that helps come up with solutions to the problems that the town generates. Henry understands this about him, so does Allison, as well as Zane and Fargo.

    Considering how many times he's helped save the town, Carter really shouldn't care anymore that he's not as intelligent as everyone else. Intelligence is one thing, the ability to use one's knowledge to the best of one's ability is something else entirely. And that's what makes Carter special, he doesn't think the same as everyone else, so he can think of solutions that the others may not think of.

    And I guess the other message Carter was suppose to get besides to be happy with who he is is that he would lose what made him him with his gain in intelligence.

    I'm assuming that happy ending for Fargo and Holly won't happen to the finale b/c whatever they're doing for her in the next episode seems like it's going to go wrong also. I wonder if that does involve the photonic processor design that Carter came up with in this episode. And considering we saw what that design did to Andy, maybe that's what causes things to go wrong for Holly.

    5 more episodes till the end.

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  3. Forgot to mention, loved the runaway legs scene, especially them bouncing up and down on the bed in the jail. :D

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  4. Awesome and funny review Jess.

    No need to stress over the "delay" : hopefully we're ALL forgiving and patient. And its summer (and hotter in Montreal now than Albuquerque NM, crazy)

    Quoting you :

    "...another sign of the amazing growth Fargo has experienced..."

    Hey ! This is why I love TV so much people : character development LOL

    Matthew, loved the legs too.

    Tee minus 5 eps and it's the end of an era. Time will tell if Eureka become a cut series or not...

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  5. Good episode but as we are drawing to a close I really am looking for some momentum in terms of Eureka as a whole some plot that sort of draws out the whole city get some ol characters back in the mix while resolving some loose threads.

    Saw the preview for next week, and I think they are going to deal with the ethics you mentioned. Holly will be back but she seems a bit evil bit robotic and ruthless.

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  6. I don't have any problems with what Zane and Henry are doing for Holly. Unfortunately, that's the kind of scientific breakthrough that certain people would try to take advantage of, which is where my concerns lie. Previews can be very misleading. I still have hopes that Fargo will get his happy ending. I'm definitely going to miss this show when it ends.

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  7. This one was okay. I did fall asleep while it was on, though. :) Dan thought they could have done something more long term and interesting with Carter finally being as smart as everyone around him, but they didn't.

    The Holly plot is sort of fascinating, and I'm wondering where they're going with it. Eureka can be complicated and dark. I think I'm waiting for it to be complicated and dark again. Unfortunately, they're running out of time.

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  8. I actually thought it was cool that at one point Alison thought in order to fix everything they had to think like Carter... that was awesome, it really alluded to the fact that the folks who love him are not humoring him when they say he is smart... his IQ may not be through the roof but his emotional intel. (EQ) as well as his quick street smarts are off the charts... I thought it was also a sweet nod to how much Carter really means to Kevin, that Kevin wanted to "protect" him from his uncle's snobbery... Carter has really been there for those kiddos and I love that Kevin loves him too...
    all in all I liked it!

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  9. The thing about Carter's ability to save the town pretty much every episode is based on I his resourcefulness in the true sense of the word. The resources he uses are the brilliant people around him. His EQ ability to look at the big picture and connecting the dots at the simplistic level, while the brainics take care of the super-technical minutiae (irony intended).
    If you don't know how to take full advantage of the genius-ness around you, you don't know Jack!
    P.S. Not so warm in Montreal right now.
    P.P.S. Also fitting that to contribute my comment, I have to check off the "I'm not a robot" indicator. Good thing my internal processor is able to do that.

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