Genre: Sci-Fi | Drama | Comedy
Air Date/Time: Monday, April 23 at 9/8c
Creators: Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia
Director: Paul Robison
Writer: Bruce Miller
Eureka seems like any other cozy, Pacific Northwest town, but is actually a secret community of geniuses assembled by the government to conduct top-secret research. What they’ve unwittingly created is a place where anything imaginable can happen … and does. Eureka stars Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter) Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison Blake), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon), Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan). Returning for the final season will be popular guest stars Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the contentious Dr. Parrish and Felicia Day (The Guild, Red) as Dr. Holly Marten. Co-creator Jaime Paglia and Bruce Miller are executive producers. The series is produced and distributed by Universal Cable Productions.
It is entirely possible that I like this episode even better than the season premiere. It’s slightly darker than last week, and for me darker is almost always a good thing for Eureka and every other Syfy show that tends to lean towards Sci-Fi Lite. Darker usually means more compelling, and I get more invested. Last week’s episode was dark for Eureka, but yes there was room for it to go darker and still retain its Eureka-ness. It doesn’t hurt that there is even less silliness. There are excellent developments and a sharp smart premise, especially welcome in a show about geniuses.
Now that we know why things are how they are, instead of the oh-no-not-another-reboot fear we all had until the closing moments of the premiere, this episode is a different viewing experience from last week. It nevertheless still feels new, fresh, and interesting.
I must say that I love that it’s funny without a lot of the eye-rolling goofiness that threatened to cut last week’s tension too abruptly. This means that there is a distinct lack of Fargo in this episode. I know this will disappoint some fans, but I’m relieved. I’m happy for Fargo that his character went through a bit of redemption when the timeline was rebooted in Season 4, but his previously slightly evil outlook was replaced with flat out immaturity that has become the font of all Eureka silliness, and I find it tiresome. Happily, Felicia Day’s lines this week are less Fargo-silliness-enabling and are instead simply enthusiastic, and one time even edgy, which is an excellent and welcome tweak. I am hoping for some sort of tweak for Fargo in the near future as well.
Wow, Colin Ferguson. Red-eyed and weary. In this episode he demonstrates his ability to handle dramatic work exquisitely and with quiet depth and maturity; this week his pain is meant to be a month old and is completely believable. Happily, his comic delivery is equally refined. He is earnest instead of snarky and therefore much more – well, delightful. His few bits of physical comedy in this episode actually made me laugh out loud, and trust me, that’s unusual. I have always really enjoyed Colin Ferguson’s work on Eureka, but this is absolutely a new level.
The effects are also terrific this week. There’s a big one that is excellent that I won’t spoil; yes I know that not all of you will like it, sorry, but I really do, I think it’s a treat. Beyond that, the visual and sound effects used to demonstrate switches between the two worlds is nicely done. It isn’t at Awake level, where the two color washes give a constant visual aid as to which world you’re in, but it’s at least up to the level of the Lost “whoosh” and the Fringe “shake and show something that’s an obvious variant”.
As an aside, the thing that helps the viewer keep track after each switch is remembering who is hooked in to the Matrix and who isn’t. This requires the viewer to think and pay attention. I love being asked to think and pay attention. Seriously. Please, I ask all shows, give me a reason to think and pay attention. It’s a hallmark of an A-list show.
Direction, sound, lighting, editing, music, all supportive and unobtrusive, melding perfectly into the onscreen storyline. And I just have to mention, there’s a GREAT shot in the sheriff’s office, you’ll know it when you see it, that’s a sweet visual. Kudos once more by everyone involved in this production.
Although parents who like to watch this series with their young children will not appreciate some aspects, I found it to be one of the best episodes of the entire series. Thank you Eureka for bringing us your best in this final season.
I give Eureka: Season 5 Episode 2 “The Real Thing” Five Out of Five Stars.