23 May 2012

[Review] - Eureka, Season 5 Episode 6, "Worst Case Scenario"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
 Disasters are part and parcel in Eureka; everything causes them. I'm sure a lab of adorable bunnies would find a way to become terrifying in this town. So why would you tempt fast by holding a large scale disaster simulation. They have to realise by now, that's only going to end badly. If nothing else, this show has proven that despite these characters being geniuses, they aren't actually all that smart.

Elsewhere, the Euretrix continues to plague the B-plots, a character returns from the dead, and more manufactured drama and movie references fill in the gaps. Pretty standard, really.

Hit the jump for the spolierist review.

I don't remember previous seasons having as many blatant shout out to popular movies, but this season the writers clearly can't get enough of them. We've had The Matrix, Ghostbusters, Quantum Leap, and a little Merlin. This week were we treated to both Star Trek (complete with wailing klaxon) and Alien. There is a fine line between making a reference and brow beating the audience with homages because you can't think of anything else to do. It hasn't reached Family Guy levels, so there is still hope. The hamster gag was good, though we could see it coming a mile off. And I kept expecting it to rear it's ugly head, but never did.

The two major developments this week were the continued weirdness between Jo, Carter, and Allison. Thankfully, someone realised this was nonsense, and opted to play it for laughs from Carter's end, making him yet again the butt monkey to something he doesn't understand. It's his lot in life, and where he's the best. In fact, with a line of dialogue about half way through, it's as if the past few episodes have been washed away, and Jo and Carter are back to normal. She even name checks him as her best friend at the end, something this viewer deeply appreciated. Hopefully, it will put to rest this terrible plot, and move us along to something worthy of these characters. Though, everyone can stop hugging one another at the end of episodes. We get it, they ll like one another.

Unfortunately, the other major development this week is more likely to be the focus of the future, and I fear my predictions about where Fargo might go with his creepy virtual girlfriend might come true. Because it is creepy, folks. I don't care if Zane's argument about the human brain being a computer is technically true, if greatly over simplified. She's in the computer, Fargo is not. It's not healthy. Like someone listening to the last voice mail a loved one left after they've gone. Except this voice mail says new things.

What didn't help matters were the scenes between Fargo and Holly were blandly acted, featuring stilted, wooden deliveries. There was no emotion expressed from either of them. They were just going through the motions, saying the words, and not providing them any of the passion or desperation they required. These could have been passionate, darkly horrifying scenes, where Holly slowly comes to realise her fate. Instead, they are tossed off and lunch is taken. I don't know what Neil Grayston's excuse is, he's usually much better than this, though he rarely has to do any heavy dramatic lifting. But that scene with Wil Wheaton a few weeks back proved he has the chops, so I'm left to believe that it was down to Felicia Day, who I've said in the past (rather unpopularly), I don't think is that great of an actress. These scenes really showed her limits, and they were scenes that deserved better.

The rest of the episode was standard stuff by Eureka standards. A computer thing went bad, terrible stuff happened, Carter saves the day using a gadget Zane and Henry built at the last minute. What irks me are the plot holes stuff like this creates. I don't care how good the DoD PR is, a unscheduled missile launch into space is going to attract attention from other nations. And the fundamental misunderstanding of how an EM shield works really pulled me out of the action. An electro-magnetic 'shield' would dampen radio waves, hide other EM signatures, scramble the signals of anything trying to look in. What it wouldn't do would act like a physical, Star Trek style shield, detonating the missiles on impact, because there is nothing physically there. At best, passing through the shield might have fried the missiles internal systems, preventing them from detonating. At best.

Where the show excelled, and where it always does, is in the comedy, though I have to say the euphemisms are getting pretty blatant. The sink-hole scene was wonderfully overplayed by Colin Ferguson, and played somewhat fiendishly straight by Kavan Smith. The show does Mayberry so well, I don't understand why they insist on pushing that stuff to the back burners.

The show continues to rebound after a rough start, but suffers the most by revisiting those original plot elements. It's time to move on. Jack and Allison have a wedding to plan, which was only marginally mentioned this week, despite last week's conclusion. Beverly is still out there, somewhere, with the Senator, somehow. Leave the Euretrix behind, and find a new horse to beat on, because time is running out.

Of course, by the time Eureka wraps up, we'll have new Warehouse 13. And that's a good thing.

Sheriff's truck: half sunk into the loose, synthetic soil.

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