Celebrating the holiday season with Secret Santas, Santa-ology and holographic reindeer
When last seen at the end of summer, “Eureka” was saying good-bye to the delightful Dr. Charles Grant (James Callis) and wiggling its way back through the worm-hole. Now permanently stuck in the alternate timeline where Fargo (Neil Grayston) is in charge at Global Dynamics, Jo (Erica Cerra) is chief of security, and Jack (Colin Ferguson) and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) have decided to pursue a relationship, things are a little different in Eureka. So it came as no surprise that, just as Jack and Zoe (Jordan Hinson) were attempting to escape to spend the holidays with relatives, the world needed rescuing once again.
In a funny approach to reinventing the story of Santa Claus, “Eureka” did it with a bit of panache and style. Taggart (Matt Frewer) was back with a flying red sleigh and holographic reindeer – and a ray gun which miniaturizes gifts so that their mass is temporarily transferred into an alternate dimension and then can be brought back to full-size once delivered; and Jo pretended to be Scrooge to hide the fact that she was playing Secret Santa so that she could deliver the perfect Christmas gift to each of her friends.
It was with a bit tongue-and-check and a gleeful spirit that “Eureka” poked fun at some of the holiday traditions. Taggart, in hopes of catching the elusive Saint Nick, had become a Santa-ologist – studying all things Christmas in order to prove that all the mythology could be scientifically explained. However, with a sly appearance by Saint Nick posing as a condensed matter physicist, Dr. Noah Drummer (Chris Parnell), made it all feel that it was done with a twinkling spirit.
Who knew that a tiny “ornament” sized ball of cystallized hydrogen that posed such a monumental problem would become the Eureka “night star”?
While Jack should surely know better, it was still priceless watching him get zapped as he tried to walk through the malfunctioning electro-magnetic shield that protects Eureka from prying eyes. Colin Ferguson’s gift with physical comedy makes such moments a lot funnier than they would normally be.
Also delightful was Erica Cerra’s nuanced performance as the dual-Scrooge/Secret Santa. We fully believed that she would be grumpy about this particular Christmas since she and Zane (Niall Matter) are no longer a couple due to an unfortunate wrinkle in the alternate timeline. Thus, finding out that she was the one delivering the perfect gifts was beautiful; her carefully hidden Christmas Angel shone ever so brightly when no one was looking. Also fun was her snarky comment to Fargo, “It’s the time you geeks let your freak flags fly every year,” and his quip, “No, that’s Comic-Con.” It was a nice shout-out to one of the biggest geek-fests of the year.
Another well-done moment of levity was the scene with the giant red bow blowing through town followed by the giant red ornament rolling down Main Street. The visual of it all felt both whimsical and comical at the same time. It is definitely a sight one would only find in “Eureka”!
The appearance of the mysterious Dr. Drummer who wandered about in plain sight at the G.D. holiday party in a Santa suit was also fantastic. When he told Taggart, “It shouldn’t always be about science. Some things are better left unexplained,” he was reminding Taggart that the world needs a bit of mystery.
Even the normally scientifically-inclined Allison, wanted to preserve the mystique of Christmas. When she told Zoe,”I just think we could all use a little more magic in our lives,” she knew that without it, life feels a bit more dull. Allison’s delight in discovering that Secret Santa had brought her pink bunny slippers invoked the child-like joy that everyone should feel for the holidays.
What Didn’t Work
It felt inconceivable that Jack would plan to spend Christmas away from Allison. He would have been dragging his feet about having to spend the obligatory holiday with his family. Instead, the episode portrayed him having no qualms about it. It was not until Allison shared her desire to have a traditional holiday that he changed his mind. It just did not feel like the Jack Carter we all know and love. Thank goodness, it all worked out in the end!
Also just missing the mark was the crazy gift for Carter where Taggart gave him the gift of Christmas cheer in the form of a singing trio of holograms in the form of Vincent (Chris Gauthier), Zoe and Fargo. The joke played out pretty quickly and felt disjarring each time it popped-up.
Also, a few faces missing from the episode were sorely missed. Where was S.A.R.A.H., Deputy Andy (Kavan Smith) and Grace (Tembi Locke)? Surely, a moment or two could have been spared to include them in the holiday festivities. It just did not feel as complete without the entire “Eureka” family to share in the fun.
Finally, this would have been the perfect opportunity to slip in another unexpected surprise, such as Zane could have also been pretending that he had not noticed Jo’s pain and then secretly gave her a Secret Santa present. The joke would have been priceless since Jo was the one leaving presents for everyone – and then for her to receive one in return, that would have been the true essence of Christmas.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“O Little Town” was written by Eric Tuchman and directed by Matt Hastings. “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.