Season 4, episode 17: “Clash of the Titans”
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of shout-outs to other science fiction stories within the confines of “Warehouse 13” and “Eureka”, and this episode is no different, beginning with a nod (unconscious or not) to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – beginning the episode with a simulation that foreshadows the coming Very Bad Thing toward the end of the story.
Fargo and Dr. Holly (Felicia Day) are on “Titan” – one of Dr. Huggins’ simulated environments – when Fargo caves under pressure, screws up, and inflicts damage on Holly’s suit so much that she “dies”. Huggins is one of these obsessive types who absolutely has to get the environment right, so he flushes the whole Titan atmosphere (methane, ethane, ammonia, etc.) into the disposal vents because the methane snow is the wrong size.
In the meantime, Global Dynamics gets a visitor: Warren Hughes Ph.D., MA, CPA (Wallace Shawn), who’s on hand to evaluate the relationship between Allison and Carter. Because Allison filled out a form. For realz.
In the other meantime, Henry and the gang prepare to retrieve Tiny, the probe they sent to Titan to set up part of the FTL equipment. Tiny arrives, Henry drops the shields, and the probe promptly blows up. With a very big explosion.
Just another day in Eureka, right?
Henry figures that Tiny’s explosion was caused by a build-up of Titan’s gases within the shield. And while they investigate the explosion, Fargo and Holly have a few sparks of their own. Holly’s figured out that Fargo’s distraction is caused by his desire to sleep with her, so her answer is to just get it over with and have sex so they can concentrate on the mission. Right. Like that’s going to work with Douglas Fargo, Geek Extraordinaire. Fargo, of course, freaks out and goes to the one person he thinks can give him advice in the ways of women: Zane. Now, Zane has been having his own close encounters with Jo, who finally managed to get him a full pardon. So he now has no strings, which must be why he’s all over Jo every chance he gets.
This has the result of getting Jo very OCD about Henry and Grace’s upcoming nuptials. Henry and Grace want something small and quiet, while Jo starts to go over the top. It’s a test of everyone’s patience. Because this is not your usual Jo. She’s really really wanting the happy ending for Henry and Grace, because that means she has a chance for a happy ending with Zane. Right?
And all the while Carter and Allison’s relationship is under a microscope while they investigate the explosion. This is complicated by the fact that Titan’s atmosphere seems to be seeping into every nook and cranny of Eureka. The red mist of ethane gas has started to spread, even catching Jo and Grace in the arboretum while looking for wedding flowers. The gas makes everyone choke, but feeds the plants so they grow exponentially. And if that’s not enough, the combination of methane, ethane and ammonia is starting to cause sinkholes around town.
Henry is stumped as to why this is going on, because Tiny didn’t bring back enough of Titan’s atmosphere to cause these problems. Which means there has to be another source. So while he’s stymied about the big boom, he’s also flustered because Grace wants new rings for their new vows. Feeling he’s still got to live up to the “old Henry” (from the other timeline). he feels like Grace is going to hold him to a standard that he can’t meet.
And speaking of high standards, Mr. Hughes is still wandering around taking notes, finding it interesting that Jo has been living at the house with Carter, and Allison spends the night every now and again. It’s one of those “interesting” things in a way that the Death Star was interesting. You can see Certain Doom coming right for you.
Meanwhile, Fargo is now moping because he’s told Holly he’s not ready, because (gasp!) he wants to actually get to know her before “knowing” her… you know. So she’s now all business, and he’s lost the girl of his dreams because he’s a gentleman. And while moping, he casually mentions to Carter and Henry, that Huggins has been flushing his Titan simulator after every run.
Huggins reveals that he’s done it 596 times. More than enough to overload the geothermal vents and put the components into the soil. So now that Eureka’s hit the saturation point, the atmosphere of Titan is now on Main Street, with the added potential for more explosions.
Enter Fargo and Holly with the portable evacuation unit, which will flush the Titan gases through the vent system to the valve in the ag building. Only they have to get to the ag building. Carter, Allison, Jo, and Hughes race over there while Fargo and Holly set up the evac unit in the town square. And of course, we get a repeat of the earlier simulation. Now the question is whether Fargo will choke when the pressure’s real.
At the ag building, they get the valve open with the help of Hughes, who can bench press a lot, apparently. Just in time, as Fargo and Holly get the evac unit working, but Holly falls and sparks fly. Her suit’s compromised. At least it’s not Fargo’s fault this time. He steps up, hooks her up to his secondary suit system, and saves the day.
So, now the town’s out of danger (this week), and Jo has arranged for a very simple wedding for Henry and Grace, and – surprise! – Hughes is also an ordained minister, so he can officiate. Which adds to the irony because he’s determined that Carter and Allison care about each other too much, and they will either have to resign or end the relationship.
More than most other episodes, this one really got in your face with the relationship themes. Carter and Allison, Fargo and Holly, Jo and Zane, Henry and Grace. This is not always a good thing. It really got out of hand during the run of “Seventh Heaven”. Now, there were a few “Star Trek” shout-outs this week, most notably the simulator setup, but also coming back from a break as Zane and Jo are putting themselves back together. How many times did we see this between Jim Kirk and the beautiful alien of the week? But there were missed opportunities, too. I never once heard “Inconceivable!” And when we find Hughes about to officiate the wedding, I was sure Wallace Shawn would deliver the line “Marriage is what brings us together today.” But no. Sadly, the writers either missed it or chose to ignore it, which is a shame.
Now, we’re on a collision course with the bureaucracy as Carter and Allison have to figure out what they’re going to do in the face of the Department of Defense saying they can’t date. And will Fargo get to second base with Holly? Will Zane finally admit that the only reason he’s still in Eureka is to be with Jo?