[Review] - Eureka Season 5, Episode 3, "Force Quit"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal

Mere minutes into this episode, I had to stop and make certain that I hadn't fallen asleep for eleven weeks. Because everything in this episode screamed season finale. The heel turns, the twists, the sheer size and drama of the situation all felt like the pay off you would get after a season's worth of build up. And yet, here we are, only at episode three. The writers of Eureka certainly aren't fans of decompression.

What it is though, is a marked improvement over the past two weeks, and a definite sign that tings can still be the way they once were. So, in that regard, I'm happy that we're not at the end just yet, and I'm happy to see the end (please let it be the end) of the holo-Eureka story line.

Hit the jump for the spoiler-ic review.

Jumping straight to the end for a moment, the special hell the senator found herself trapped in may well have been the darkest thing this show has ever done. Having said that, it didn't make a lick of sense. Eureka had the senator, and the MMORPG technology. So, how did Beverly get her, and get her into the simulation? Or, was the digital Beverly yet another method of torture? If so, who in Eureka, or in the government, would do that to a person? Honesty, as much as I like this show, it's plot holes are big enough to fly a space ship through (even one that was logistically unnecessary).

One aspect of this show I've never been happy with is the treatment of Beverly Barlow. She's been with the show since the very beginning, and yet the show has never seen fit to really explain her, or her motivations. Yes, we get a scene here where she attempts to sway Henry to the dark side, proclaiming that she is working for the good of humanity, but in terms of consistency, the character has been something of a mess. Sometimes, she's in charge of the so called "Consortium". Sometimes she has little power at all. She started out simply malicious, then turned pure evil, and now she's what, a victim? I feel that she's become a comfortable figure to use when the writers want the audience to feel an immediate reaction without having to set up specific motivations, despite the audience not really knowing why they should feel they way they do. It's a dangerous lazy tact to take, because there stands a real chance that she'll never be properly explained.

It's a wonder the Consortium has been a problem for Eureka this long, considering their methods are suspect at best. Exactly how long did they think it would take before one of the trapped crew members left town, and realised they were in a geographic Groundhog's Day? Or have the NPCs turn into terminator at the slightest hint of questionable behaviour. This story line did afford the main cast the opportunity to try out their serial killer routines, which was fun to watch, I'll admit.

The real story with this episode though, is the return to form. From the minute Carter steps into holo-Eureka - OK, here's a small thing that bugged me. The episode had a lot of Matrix parallels, which the characters all hung very lovely lampshades on for about half the episode. Then, it seemed that the writers forgot they were mocking the situation, and started referring to the scenario as the Matrix Eureka seriously. Plus the hilariously terrible TRON-grid "behind" reality; are those really the only two computer pop culture references there are?

Back to the good stuff, as soon as Carter steps into the dream, it felt like old times. If this show has consistently done something well, it's make Carter look dumb, make Carter uncomfortable, and make Carter sound crazy. And they hit all three dead square in these forty odd minutes. Writing instructions on his hand, the awkward, clumsy technobabble he can't remember convincing Zane he's real, and especially the seduction scene with Jo. It's nice to see that Carter is as uncomfortable with the idea as I was, the whole thing seeming incredibly icky from the intro. The child-like amazement he showed while looking around his house in 'the future' was great fun to watch. Possibly because, we any of us in the same situation, we might like to think we'd comment on the resolution, or the frames per second, but really, we'd just obsess over how good our bat looked.

As I mentioned at the start though, it feels like this is the end. Beverly's turn against her employers, and convenient escape. The retrieval of the crew, and the reestablishment of the show's key relationships. Jo's line about not knowing if she'll return to her walk about especially reminded me of Inara's line at the end of Serenity. Poor Fargo grows a little, and has to come to terms with his loss. It all had a very final episode feel to it, wrapping up story lines, and even character arcs to the point where, if this were it, it would seem organic. Which is just bizarre. What's the logic behind wrapping up what could have been a larger story line so quickly. Is the status quo, something I never felt Eureka had much of an attachment to, so important? Aside from Holly's death last week, what did all this achieve? What will be the lingering effects, other than a distrust of Jo on Allison's part (which seems pretty petty to me, but what do I know)? The plot should move the characters forward, making them into fuller individuals, for good or bad. Considering how contrived the last two felt, I get the feeling that their long term effects on Eureka will be negligible.

Unless they're in yet a larger Matrix... trapped in the forties... on Titan... yes, that will do.
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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.


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