Season 4, episode 20: “One Giant Leap”
Oy. I’m really not sure where to go with this one, so let’s focus on the two main plots first: Jo leaving and the Super Black Hole.
We pick up where last week’s episode left off: a discussion about Allison moving in with Carter. She’s hesitant, mainly because of the kids, and it’s a big step, yadda yadda. So it’s on the table for now because Allison has to get the Astraeus crew briefed on their bio-pods, which will keep them in stasis until they reach Titan. (This is the Alien shout-out. Has to be.)
There are a lot of great character moments in this episode. Rightly so, since it’s a finale. At times, it feels like the end of the show in its entirety, despite the fact that we have one more season to go. Jo and Fargo get a nice bit, setting up Jo’s arc for the episode – and it certainly looks like the payoff for last week’s setup between Jo and Taggart.
Senator Wen (Ming-Na) is back this week, and she’s very much determined that this launch go without a hitch. Naturally, we get a hitch at the outset, when the Presidential limo gets blasted by a giant energy pulse.
Now, without getting into the politics of things, I’m going to disagree with the folks over at io9 about this being a cheap shock setup. Remember, we’re already in an alternate timeline, so what happens in Eureka doesn’t necessarily reflect reality in our dimension. So I can accept the possibility that Obama’s limo gets zapped by a giant death ray. It makes for a good setup, both visually and as a counter-point to Carter just finding out that his PDA has a camera. Point, click, boom.
Of course, the resolution is that it’s just an advance team, and the president isn’t even in the car, giving Carter several opportunities for “Faux-bama” lines.
So, we now have setups in place for all of our plots: Jo’s departure, the Astraeus launch, and the Death Ray.
As things ramp up for the Astraeus launch, the crew is in final preparations and Henry is taking everyone through the paces of powering up and checking every list twice, while Carter and Jo track down the Death Ray – which ends up being a bunch of energy collectors devised by Dr. Plotkin (guest star Dave Foley). Plotkin denies any harm could come from his devices, which are meant to collect energy and store it, as Plotkin’s a reformed weapons designer and now just wants everyone to get along. Of course, he doesn’t get along with Taggart, who loses his special truck to a great big sucking red vortex. Not a good day.
Meanwhile, back at Global Dynamics, Allison is giving Kevin a tour and broaches the subject of moving in with Carter. Kevin, typical teenager, only has one concern: “Will SARAH clean my room?”
And Captain Grace gives the crew a final pep talk – this really feels like the end of the series, not just the season – and everyone goes off to do their last-minute trip preparations. Fargo and Holly have decided to be the first in the “Billion Mile High Club” and are so looking forward to
getting it on… erm, getting on Titan.
Carter and Jo are in the midst of collecting Plotkin’s energy rods, and it’s really nice to see them have a friend moment here, where Jo hints to Carter that she’s having self-assurance issues. Jo’s clearly the one who’s had the most difficulty adjusting to her place in new time line, and it’s only right that she’s most comfortable with her old boss. Erica Cerra has really been given a lot to work with this season, and as Jo comes to her self-realization, it’s nice to see just how the relationship between Carter and Jo has evolved into this compnaionable friendship.
Henry is in the midst of engine start-up, when one of the batteries starts to leak power. Senator Wen is really wanting that ship to launch. This is the first time we’ve seen her lose her cool, calm demeanor. Which begs the question: just why is she hell-bent on a launch?
Of course, that all becomes secondary when Cafe Diem is sucked into a singularity. Yikes! What will Vincent do?
Henry and Allison figure out the energy from the ship’s leaking battery has charged the air around Eureka in a way that allows the singularities to form. And that’s what’s causing objects like Taggart’s truck to “Spaghettify” (yes, it’s a real astrophysics term). So Carter and Jo set up Plotkin’s energy rods to contain the singularities over the lake until the energy can dissipate. Of course, this is Eureka, so the singularities start to gather together into one big singularity.
Yes. A black hole over Eureka.
The resolution on this was a fun bit: using the antimatter from the bank (the one that floated a few episodes back) in a missile designed by the peacenik to blow up a black hole before it sucks up the town. And of course, Carter’s the only one who can do it. Right? Why? I’ve never understood this conceit of the show. Out of all the people in Eureka, Carter has to be the least qualified person to do anything. So, does that mean he’s the only expendable one in town? It’s a fun bit, and Colin Ferguson again gets to play some nice physical comedy (and scream a bit), but it’s bending credulity to have this same thing happen every single week…
But I digress into “niggling point” territory. I shall resume…
The singularity plot gets wrapped up with about 15 minutes to go, and then we get the end of Jo’s arc, where she shows up in Carter’s office and tells him she’s got to leave Eureka. For so long, she’s been doing things based on what others think of her. She’s got to go find herself. Carter gets it. And it’s a solid place to leave the audience hanging when she drives out of Eureka. It’s poignant and final and leaves you with the question of her return.
In another moment that feels series ending-ish, Fargo and Parrish actually have a moment of mutual respect. While Wil Wheaton has really been playing up the punk aspects of the character, his “You have no idea” in answer to Fargo’s ribbing just opens the window to his pain at being left out of the mission. That one brief moment where Fargo extends his understanding and sympathy, is one of those moments that make this episode feel final. But it also leaves you feeling satisfactorily complete.
So, then we have the final few minutes of the episode, where Allison gets everyone in their
Botany Bay chambers …erm, bio-pods, and the ship starts to amp up. Only the leaking battery is still not quite back to full power yet, so Henry calls for a hold. Only the hold doesn’t take. The ship’s launch cycle has been hijacked. The coordinates are reset in front of everyone, and Allison is still on the ship!
Now, I’m watching this last scene with a growing sense of dread. I’m thinking to myself, “Surely Syfy wouldn’t be going down this path with this show?” A spaceship, with something going wrong during launch, and when it’s gone, no one knows where it went…?
Jupiter 2 , the Voyager, uhm… the Destiny … crap. The ship disappears. Yep. They did it. They went there. And I really hope they don’t stay there. This trope has been done so many freakin’ times… and I don’t believe it’s the setup to a spinoff. I think it’s a gimmick. And from bits I see in the promo for the next season, I’m going to call it: The ship isn’t in space at all. It’s been hijacked and stuck in a warehouse, where the crew is hooked up to machines that make them think they’re lost in space…
Speaking of that, I call “shenanigans” on Syfy’s promotions department as well. You don’t end a season with the departure of a major character, and set up the question of her return, and then show her in the promo for the next season!
Carter: “Your death ray nearly killed Faux-bama.”
Jo: “Doctor Plotkin stuck his rods in the strangest places.”
Carter: “Off to storm the black hole.”
Plotkin: “I have a girlfriend. Her name is Science!”