Tiffany Vogt

Posts Tagged ‘Debrah Farentino’

Review of ‘Eureka’ – I’ll Be Seeing You

In * By Tiffany Vogt, Eureka on September 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Monkeying around with wormholes has serious repercussions

Violation of the time-travel protocols is the least of our heroes’ problems. From what we have seen, Dr. Charles Grant (formerly Dr. Trevor Grant) (James Callis) has been tinkering with time itself in order to get the result he wants. He may have hitch-hiked back to the future initially out of curiosity, but then, he went back to stop Adam Barlowe (Elias Toufexis) from stealing the Bridge Device blueprints and to save Allison’s (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) life. However, if the baseball he gave Jack (Colin Ferguson) and the opening scene where he was holding a clandestine meeting to prevent the atomic bomb from ever being built are any indication, Dr. Grant has returned to 1947 more than just once. Just exactly how is he doing that and to what end? Is he still working with Beverly (Debrah Farentino) or has he gone rogue? Will he finally learn his lesson and stop toying with the possible Butterfly Effects each time he jumps between the past and the future?

It may look like all fun and games, but each jump causes a tiny ripple which can have large and unintended consequences. Who decided that Dr. Grant gets to play God and manipulate everyone’s lives?

What Worked

It was highly entertaining watching the episode unfold. Jack’s opportune time-jump with Dr. Grant after Allison died was immediately reassuring that she was not gone forever; particularly as killing off Allison at this point in the series would have been too heart-breaking. Thus, like Jack, we were invested to make sure that this 2nd return trip to 1947 worked out so that Allison would be alive and well when he returned.

In addition to the emotional investment, the episode also had us curious whether or not any of their actions would have further repercussions — would the future change again simply because of their return trip? And what is Dr. Grant really up to? Is he indeed just a pawn of Beverly Barlowe?

When Dr. Grant asked Beverly, “You assume I want to go back. Why would I want to leave all this behind?” She told him what she thought he wanted to hear, “I know about your passion. How you formed this consortium of scientists who wanted to protect us from ourselves. This is a chance to restore your legacy.” Interestingly, he responded, “Impossible. Whatever I do will change things.” Charles knew from the start that returning to 1947 at this point could be incredibly dangerous. But Beverly’s persistence in plying him ego-flattering lines, like “Einstein was a visionary — you’ll be a god” and “together you’ll be unstoppable,” seemed to persuade him. It was surprising when Charles said, “Okay, let’s make history” and agreed to go back. Beverly seemed to be preying on Charles’ vanity and fears, a double-weakness, which compelled him to agree to something that he knew was wrong. Playing the time-keeper of fate does not really seem like a role that he would agree to. So why did he?

Did he go back to ensure that Adam Barlowe never stole the Bridge Device blueprints, thereby preventing Beverly from ever having a reason to re-create the device to begin with? Was it his altruistic motive to shut-down this dangerous project once and for all?

But altruism or greed was quickly superseded by the need to save Allison. The 2nd trip to 1947 was not about becoming a god or preventing the Bridge Device from being re-created, it was all about saving the woman both Jack and Charles loved. It was interesting watching to what lengths both would employ to make sure that Allison was alive when they returned. Charles was willing to let Adam Barlowe die, whereas Jack could not simply stand by and let that happen. Yet fate seemed to have something else in mind and made sure that Adam Barlowe lived.

Thus, when Henry (Joe Morton) curiously asked Charles at the end, “Charles, what did you do?” Jack quickly came to his defense and said, “Nothing. He screwed up, but he made it right.” With a hint of regret and insight, Charles added, “I thought I could make things right, but there are certain things in the universe that clearly cannot be changed.” Saving a life is permissible, but perhaps taking a life is not.

While it took a bit of maneuvering to fix the broken timeline and ensure that they did not venture down that same dark path again, it was spine-tingling when at the end Beverly reported to whoever she was colluding with, saying, “I’m afraid things did not work out the way we hoped. But I do have a new target in mind.” She was starring right at Jack and Allison as these ominous words rang out. What in the world is she up to now? That is what we are now dying to find out. Is she truly done with Charles Grant? Or has she found another way to manipulate time to her own ends?

If Beverly is referring to Allison, maybe she has figured out that Kevin (Trevor Jackson) is the one she needs to focus on. After all, the first trip to 1947 successfully cured him of autism and the second trip saved Allison’s life. Maybe Allison and Kevin are the key to controlling time.

Even Henry alluded to that significance when he told Allison, “I’ve known for a while now that you two [she and Jack] were meant to be together.” This was a cool nod to the first timeline that Henry manipulated to make sure that his beloved Kim (Tamlyn Tomita) would not die, but was forced to correct — robbing Jack of the future life he had with Allison. (This was the end of the first season, for those wondering.) Henry has already seen how manipulating time does not work out, but, unlike Jack whose memory he erased of that first timeline, Henry remembers that ultimately Jack and Allison ended up together. Some things destiny will make sure happen. Jack and Allison are destined to be together, no matter what the timeline.

Finally, the time had come for Zane (Niall Matter) to figure out what was really going on. Being a genius himself, it did not take him long. Jo’s (Erica Cerra) inadvertent slip when she threw his grandmother’s engagement ring at him helped put the pieces together: this was not the same Jo that he had known; this was a different Jo from a time when they had meant something to each other. So when Zane said, “When this is all over, we’re going to talk about that ring,” we knew that he had figured it out. Jo tried to dodge him, but in the end he cornered her saying, “You’re not getting off that easy. . . I’m not stupid. I know something’s happened with the five of you and part of it had to do with us.” When Jo stood silently not denying or acknowledging anything, he prodded her further saying, “You had my grandmother’s engagement ring, Jo. Come on. Tell me what we were to each other.” When she finally reluctantly said, “Nothing,” Zane decided to push the matter and kissed her. He then flatly said, “Then why didn’t that feel like the first kiss?” Zane knows that time has been changed, but how and why; and Jo does not want to jeopardize him by telling him and including him in a possible government prosecution of a time-travel cover-up. At this point entirely too many people know about the time-travel breach of protocol: Charles, Beverly, Andy (Kavan Smith) and now Zane. That’s too many people to keep a lid on our heroes’ time-travel excursions. Will it matter that only Charles and Beverly are actually guilty of deliberately participating in such an egregious violation of protocol? Or will those who were inadvertently caught up in it be charged with treason as well? All these questions guarantee that we will be holding our breath to find out until “Eureka” returns for the second half of the 4th season.

What Didn’t Work

After teasing us at the beginning of the episode with the scene of Dr. Grant meeting with a woman and man plotting to prevent the atomic bomb from ever being built, that particular timeline — story strand was left hanging. While not an obvious cliff-hanger, it still leaves us feeling unsatisfied about what that was all about. Let’s not have hanging-chads tickling our brains. For as the other man said, “Traversing a wormhole into the past, not much work.” To say it like that, he must have done it before. So since when has time-travel become such an every day occurrence? When Grant said, “Let’s make history,” perhaps he was referring to more than just going back to 1947. Maybe he has perfected that art of traveling into the future and then back into that past? It is mind-boggling to conceive.

While Zoe’s (Jordan Hinson) presence served to heighten the moment between Zane and Jo after he kissed her, it was unnecessary. It is enough that the audience resents Zoe for ditching her high school boyfriend to pursue Zane. But to now make her down right despised for getting in between Jo and Zane is uncalled for. It was funny when Zane was clueless that he and Jo were involved before. Now it just feels painful.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“I’ll Be Seeing You” was written by Jaime Paglia and directed by Michael Robison. “Eureka” stars Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston, Chris Gauthier, Niall Matter, and Trevor Jackson. “Eureka” airs Fridays at 9:00 pm on Syfy.

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Review of ‘Eureka’ – The Ex-Files

In * By Tiffany Vogt, Eureka on August 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Therapy should not actually conjure hallucinations of ex’s and drive one insane

Feeling a bit reminiscent of a M. Night Shyamalan story, this week’s episode allowed each of our Eurekians to delve deep into their psyche and face their deepest insecurities. For Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), his deep dark secret insecurity was admitting that he has been in love with Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) since the moment he first met her 4 years ago. Though I do not get how that is an insecurity, one has to admire a man who has harbored a torch for so long.

For Allison Blake, her insecurity was more of a fear, as she worried that every man she loved died an untimely death. Given that Jack is in such a high risk occupation, this seemed more reasonable.

For Jo (Erica Cerra), her fear was that she never really loved Zane (Niall Matter). This felt crazy as clearly she is head over heels for him.

Fargo (Neil Grayston) was tormented by the idea that he would never be able to stand up for himself. It was certainly nice that he did.

And for Charles Grant (James Callis), he feared that his creation had been subverted by his worst fear: the government was using science he helped create to only design weapons.

Despite the hiccup of having Grace (Tembi Locke) and Henry’s (Joe Morton) neural device that they were using to share memories amplified and causing hallucinations for everyone, it was an interesting look at all the raging emotions boiling beneath the surface. It was time for everyone to face their fears — and it was humorously done as each of them was haunted by someone from their past.

It also allowed them to be distracted to such a degree that they did not realize that a highly dangerous device was being stolen right out from under their noses. Between the ghost hallucinations and things disintegrating around them, no one quite foresaw that the DED device was the ultimate prize.

So it was a nice turn of events to find out that the goal was not to further everyone’s self-journeys this week, but that the B-story was actually the A-story. Just what is the nefarious Beverly Barlowe (Debrah Farentino) up to this time? Surely transporting Charles Grant back to 1947 is not the entire end game. There must be another deep, dark secret lurking beneath that seemingly altruistic motive.

What Worked

The theme of new beginnings resonated loudly in this episode. Up until this point Jack, Allison, Henry, Jo and Fargo were only trying to fit in to the alternate timeline. This was the episode where they actually embraced their new lives. Henry and Grace are giving life as a married couple a chance. Jack and Allison have started dating. Fargo is not pretending to be the boss and is now starting to BE the boss of Global Dynamics. And Jo is letting go of the life she lost.

As for Charles, he is still a man trapped out of time. He is not quite willing to embrace his new life. He does not want to be “Charles Grant,” the librarian at G.D. He wants to be “Trevor Grant,” world-renown scientist in 1947. Perhaps losing Allison to Jack has untethered him and he is searching for a way back; thus, presenting Beverly Barlowe with the perfect opportunity to manipulate him into aiding in her treachery.
So, in this time of new beginnings, we have the couples, Jack and Allison and Henry and Grace, Fargo in charge, Jo silent on the sidelines, and Grant hovering wondering where the hell he has landed.
It was also the perfect time for a few ghosts from the past to surface to address the lurking fears and insecurities. The return of Tess Fontana (Jaime Ray Newman) and Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) was inspired. Nathan’s opening line, “Hey, Carter, miss me” was perfect. As Jack stammered, “You’re undead,” and Nathan calmly responded, “No, not a vampire,” it was a nice nod to Ed Quinn’s work on “True Blood.”

It was then deliciously followed by the scene where Jack and Allison are at Cafe Diem and Vincent asked, “What can I get you two?” and Jack incredulously asked, “Two? Do you see anyone sitting there?” To which Allison cautiously replied, “I see Tess sitting there, what do you see?” The discovery that both had been hallucinating their ex’s was priceless! It fooled the audience as much as it fooled them and it was a delight to discover.

Plus, the “Battlestar Galactica” shout-out was nicely done too when Charles said that he had been seeing a tall leggy blonde in a slinky red dress. The entire episode felt like a funny scene right out of the “BSG” verse.

In addition to the ghosts from relationships past, it was quite a treat to see the gang all together for a casual BBQ at Grace and Henry’s house. It was nice to see everyone kicking back and having a nice time together for a change opposed to only seeing them all together in times of crisis.

While the hallucinations of Tess and Nathan were playful and fun, it was remarkably spine-tingling watching the scenes between Jo and the ghost of Zane past. Unlike with Tess (who had moved away) and Nathan (who had vanished into the ether), Zane was someone still very much present in Jo’s life. So when ghost-Zane first appeared, we were just as confused as Jo. It was a brilliant portrayal by Niall Matter who could shift flawlessly between old-Zane, new-Zane and ghost-Zane. So when Jo had finally had enough and threw the engagement ring at him, his bewildered, “What are you doing with my grandmother’s ring, Jo?” that moment felt all that much more poignant.

Another nice touch in this episode was a deft performance by Kavan Smith as Deputy Andy. His use of physical comedy was pitch-perfect and not as over the top as prior episodes. In fact, this was the first time since they changed actors that the integration felt flawless. Thus, when Jack quipped, “That never stops being creepy,” as Andy shut down, it felt natural as well as funny.

What Didn’t Work

Given how smart and clever as Dr. Grant is, it was hard to believe that he was so easily duped by Beverly Barlowe. She only had to ply him with rhetoric that he used to be a part of a group that served as the watchdogs working to control scientific developments – anything to prevent another tragedy like what happened in 1945 when nuclear weapons were invented. Thus, when Beverly persuaded him that the directed EMP device (DED) (a satellite based electro-magnetic pulse ray which eradicates all electronic devices within a 1,000 mile radius capable of sending an entire country back to the Stone Age) is a weapon of domination, Charles should not have believed her. As they kept reminding us, the DED is not a weapon, it is a defensive counter-weapon in case of electrical attack. It is only an electro-magnetic flux generator. Charles should have known that. Plus, why wouldn’t Charles have trusted the people who have protected him thus far and who befriended him and not asked them about Beverly Barlowe?

As everyone was experiencing hallucinations, Charles should have explored the possibility that Beverly was a hallucination too. After all, she was preying on his fears that he had become a “nobody” — irrelevant.

The final reveal that they needed the DED as a power source to go with the rebuilt Bridge device and with Beverly saying, “This is your chance to change the world. We’re sending you home” — that was also too good to be true. She was offering him a dream come true, to not just be the librarian living in a magical world, but to go back and make the world as he envisioned it. She was once again merely preying on human frailties and fears. Charles should not fall for this obvious political manipulation.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“The Ex-Files” was written by Amy Berg and directed by Chris Fisher. “Eureka” stars Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston, Chris Gauthier, Niall Matter, and Trevor Jackson. “Eureka” airs Fridays at 9:00 pm on Syfy.

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