Review of EUREKA – All the Rage (2010)

With zombies, killer bees, gummy mines, and disappearing tools, Eureka fights for its sanity

Out of chaos comes a cleansing of repressed emotions and lurking fears. Jack (Colin Ferguson), Jo (Erica Cerra), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Fargo (Neil Grayston) and Henry (Joe Morton) are still acclimating to this new world where everything they love and cherish has been turned sideways. Even Dr. Grant (James Callis) seems a bit bewildered finding himself out of time, with everyone he loved and cherished long gone. The foundations of their lives have been fractured, and finding stability and security again seems so elusive.

So when a defective G.D. project intended to calm raging emotions has the opposite effect, it is not just rage that surfaces. Internal fears rise up and those affected by the mood-gun succumb to their darkest desires.

But even drug-induced volcanic eruptions of emotions do not serve to keep secrets buried. Tess (Jaime Ray Newman) finally figured out that Jack’s feelings have changed; and Jo’s insecurities about her new position as head of security at G.D. also reared their ugly head. These unhappy truths needed to be expressed and known, though a bit painful for all involved. It is said that transformation is never painless — for change always comes at a price. This price is the pain of revelation.

Allison, Jack and Tess may be the only ones not under the rage-gun’s influence, but that only gave them a moment of clarity to see each other and assess their relationships. For the first time ever, Allison had to sit on the sidelines and wait for Jack and Tess to figure their relationship out. But her patience is likely to be rewarded as Jack finally had to admit that no matter how hard he tried to avoid it, he had already gone through one failed relationship with Tess and their current alternate-timeline relationship was rapidly headed down the same path.

It would appear that it does not matter what reality our heroes find themselves in, soul mates are still destined to be together — and poor Tess drew the short end of the stick. She was not Jack’s soul mate. He knew it the minute he returned from 1947. Tess did not understand that the man who came home that day was not the Jack she knew and loved. Alternate realties are brutal that way. Thus, when Jack sadly told Tess, “I wanted to save you the pain of watching it all unravel,” she could only softly reply, “Too late.”

Perhaps the biggest curse in this new reality is not that Jack, Allison, Jo, Fargo and Henry remembered their former lives, but that those they came back to do not understand what happened to the people they knew and loved. Tess could only feel that Jack was a different person — she did not understand why. That abrupt change haunts her because she does not know what happened. At least for our heroes, they know what happened and can adjust. Ignorance is not always bliss. For pain is always pain, but pain with understanding can cushion it.

The true paradox will be trying to figure out which is better: knowing or not knowing. This season of “Eureka” will undoubtedly explore this very question.

What Worked

After wondering what had happened to the Fargo we know and love — the one who miraculously comes through in a pinch and saves the day — it was refreshing when Fargo offered himself up as the focal point for all the rage and fear for those infected by the rage-gun. It had begun to be a bit tiring watching Fargo trying to live up to his alternate timeline egomaniacal self. So seeing him shed that fake persona and be loveable, helpful and selfless Fargo again was super cool.

While understandable that our heroes need to try to assimilate and blend into their alternate-selves lives, it feels a bit like they are turning into their alternates. Jack was trying to be the good boyfriend for Tess; Allison is trying to be just a mother; Jo is focusing on her security job; Fargo is trying to run G.D.; and Henry was pretending to be the dutiful husband.

Dr. Grant is the only one with no prior life in 2010 Eureka and he was a bit envious of the lives they were all living. Yet he missed his old life too. In 1947, he was the famous Dr. Grant working with Einstein on a whole array of cool scientific projects, and he was set to be one of the founding fathers of modern day Eureka and to win the Nobel Peace Prize. But in 2010 Eureka, he was just Dr. Grant with no recognizable name, no scientific achievements, no pending projects, no lab, and no colleagues or family. His little adventure into the future was only cool initially to see what fun things the future had in store. But now that he was stuck living in it, it held a lot less allure. As he sorrowfully told Henry, “Everyone I know is gone. . . Everything I might have done is erased. So you see Henry, this machine, it’s all I got.”

Fortunately, Henry needed a distraction from the life thrust upon him and was only to happy to try to create another Bridge device. It will be intriguing to see if they can successfully re-create a reverse wormhole to connect to the 1947 Bridge device. Will Dr. Grant then actually want to go home? Will he willingly abandon the world of super toys that Eureka has to offer?

Dr. Grant was also surprisingly the voice of wisdom as he reminded Jack, who was complaining about his relationship with Tess, “you can’t always be the good guy;” and when he told Henryh, marveling over Grace’s (Tembi Locke) perfect blend of beauty and uncanny intellect, “You know, if I was married to a girl that knew how to build an electron gun . . .” But as Henry reminded him, “I’m not the man she married.” Even Grace had begun to notice as she told Henry, “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but will you let me know when you are yourself again?” A wife always knows if the man she married is not acting like himself.

By allowing Dr. Grant to be privy to these very private moments in both Jack and Henry’s lives, they have established that he is no longer just the parasitic hitchhiker that got caught in the future, but instead he is one of their inner circle who they trust and confide in. Dr. Grant’s inclusion in their private lives has also given him a unique vantage point on the dangers of messing around with alternate realities. He can see first-hand how miserable and unhappy they are with this seemingly-perfect reality.

Fortunately, in the midst of all these deep, dark themes, there were also moments of levity, such as when Henry’s tools kept disappearing and they began to suspect that anything they touched would be sucked into a black-hole. When Henry’s screwdriver disappeared right before their eyes and Dr. Grant’s incredulously asked, “Does this kind of thing happen around here?” it was pretty funny. Then, once they began to realize that only objects they touched were disappearing and Dr. Grant worriedly said, “Oh my god, it’s us,” the look of absolute horror on their faces was hysterical!

But, by far, the best comedic moment was when Grace informed them that she was the one who had painted Henry’s tools with a dematerialization paint in order to pay him back for magnetizing her kitchen pans. The look of shock and admiration on Henry’s face was priceless; and as Dr. Grant noted, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you had a little crush on your wife.” Blossoming love is a beautiful thing — particularly when Grace can go toe to toe with Henry in practical jokes!

Finally, it was a nice nod to another relationship that has been severed by the twisting hands of time, when Jack explained to Jo, “If I’ve stepped on your toes it’s because I miss you. I miss my deputy.” Responding to his heartfelt admission, Jo quietly acknowledged, “We make a good team. We always will.” It was a rare moment of genuine affection between the two and it recognized the strong bond that Jack and Jo have established working together — for it is also not so easy to let go of your work partner either.

The sacrifices our heroes have had to make in order to make their new lives work feels palpably painful. They are truly living to regret their greatest wish: to go home again. They just never envisioned that home would be so different once they got there. Time travel is not perfect and the fractures in time are only widening the longer they are stuck there.

What Didn’t Work

The “rage against the machine” storyline was a bit extreme, but still a useful tool in bringing out the dark side in everyone. It just seems a bit inconceivable that Jo would ever pull a gun on Jack, her partner even under the influence of the zombie-juice.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“All the Rage” was written by Kira Snyder and directed by Michael Rohl. “Eureka” stars Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston, Chris Gauthier and Niall Matter. “Eureka” airs Fridays at 9:00 pm on Syfy.


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