[Review] - Eureka, Season 5, Episode 2, "The Real Thing"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
After last week's disappointing return to Eureka, I was hopeful that the show would rebound. Become again what it has been for years. And I can definitely say that this week was an improvement, but not much of one. Even the writers recognise this; "we're pushing the logic processor too hard" indeed. The Real Thing is only that by half, struggling with it's own existence as either a standard episode of Eureka, or just a dumb one.

Hit the jump for the spoilergasmic review.

We pick up where we left off last season, with Carter desperately trying to prevent the launch of the ship, and I'm suddenly reminded of the second season premier, where a despondent Henry watched Kim's death over and over in glorious holovision. Which concerned me. Have the writers run out of ideas, or are they just taking a trip down 'call back' lane? But, we're back in Eureka - actual Eureka, not the Matrix - and very quickly, things are as we remember them. Carter is cracking jokes, Henry is putting on a brave face but remaining sensible, and a month has passed since the ship disappeared. The episodes best moments came from this setting, as Carter and company struggle to find this ship as the DoD puts on the brakes.

Unfortunately, the writers are just as captivated by the digital environment as the crew are, and insist on spending the bulk of the episode inside the Matrix Eureka - the Eurektrix? - or following Beverly around her rave den. Complete with really terrible digital render cut aways, and frustrating editing. Problem is, the writers clearly have no idea what to do with the characters once they're inside, so this week they hunt a dragon. Everyone involved says it makes no sense, so the writers were clearly aware of the issue, and yet here it is all the same. In the promotion of the season, Colin Ferguson said of the entire run, he was most proud of what they've done this year. Clearly, he must be referring to something down the line, because he can't mean this. Surely?

The Eurektrix concept is rife with problems. They still insist on setting up character motivations for people who aren't real, but besides that, are the non crew members avatars for bad guy operators? Or are they AI? In one scene, fake-Carter and Fargo are having a conversation, it cuts to real world Beverly giving an order to another human, then cuts back to Carter, with no time having passed in his conversation, giving the same order. Did the writers intend for it to be so choppy and senseless, or was there some bad editing involved?

And considering how much trouble a single additional user was causing within the environment, how were they able to disconnect everyone, move them, and reconnect them without the system crashing? And how come such a massive and obviously sophisticated system can be flummoxed by a single additional user? It's already rendering an entire artificial environment, one designed by the bad guys, despite last weeks inference that the crew was building the world themselves, is one additional user so bad.

It's almost like the writers are contriving situations so that they unfold how they want it, not letting the characters lead the events. Perfect example: Felicia Day's eleventh hour Sherlock-style leap in logic that they are being held captive in a computer. It's not a train of thought that one leads to, and by showing the cookie crumbs that lead her there, the writers do themselves a disservice because it's still too far fetched for her to make the leap. It would have been better for her just to blurt it out. Either way, she's dead.

Now, I'm going to say something fairly unpopular here, but I've never been a fan of Ms Day. I get that she was discovered by Joss Whedon, and that she's a red head that plays video games, but none of these things equal talent, and I've never considered her a strong enough actor to deserve all the attention she gets. Last season, she consistently bothered me, and yet I'm sad to see her go, if only because poor Fargo will be sad. Luckily, his true love is still alive and well over on Warehouse 13. But even so, her death was a pointless exercise in contrived drama. No one in the real world knows she's dead, so it won't have an impact for episodes yet. If fact, the only people who know about it is the audience, so we're the ones expected to react. We're expected to believe the situation the crew is in is serious, despite the fact that all of them are beginning to suspect something. Can we expect all of them to get unplugged? Of course not. Holly's death was fiction death at it's worst: selfish. Of the show to try to make a moment happen, instead of allowing one to develop naturally.

Highlights for me once again include Kavan Smith as Deputy Andy, back to his hyper happy and much less creepy self. His touching moment with Carter in the prison cell, telling the Sheriff to let go was well performed and wonderfully underplayed by both actors. And made all the better by the enthusiastically delivered line "dig, robot, dig," moments later. Erica Cerra as real-Jo is always a treat, especially the cellphone mantra on her walkabout, but is done a disservice by cutting her character's self discovery, one of the highlights of the season finale last year, short. Really, the writers have the attention span of squirrels it seems. They try to set things up, but end up knocking them over before they're finished. Jo gets about two minutes to discover herself, which could have lead to a series of stand alone humourous moments, before she finds herself heading back to Eureka in, again, a horribly contrived way.

This Eurektrix concept needs to go away, and fast. This show can be, and has been better then this, and that's the show I want to watch next week. As it goes, I'm only getting half of what I want, and that's not enough.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


  1. "Last season, she consistently bothered me, and yet I'm sad to see her go, if only because poor Fargo will be sad. Luckily, his true love is still alive and well over on Warehouse 13."

    Thank you for this!!! That's exactly what I was thinking :)