OpinionReviewsTelevision & Film

EUREKA Gets Back to Reality

Episode 503 “Force Quit”

[photos: Eike Schroter/Syfy]

To start with, for the record, I think Beverly Barlowe is a weak character. She’s never been a fully-developed villain. It’s almost like the creators of the show wanted a villain, but then either didn’t have the time or the desire to really flesh her out. And then she was gone in the midst of season one and the show became what everyone knows it to be – quirky and fun science fiction with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

So, to have Beverly back as a villain again just feels… off, somehow. Because she’s such a weak … scratch that. She’s just aconvenience character.

After last episode’s game changing death of Codex Dr. Holly Marten (which still feels a little contrived), we know the stakes are high. We know that death is a very real possibility for the crew of the Astraeus. And we know that somehow Sheriff Jack Carter – not the smartest guy in the room – is going to be the one to fix things. This is the way of Eureka, and it’s why the show has been so popular.

We start off with a little deus ex machina of sorts, because as Carter and Jo are figuring out that the “hijack the ship” virus would have come from Beverly when she hijacked Allison’s body last year, who decides to show up in the police station? Yep. Beverly is conveniently there to turn herself in and help Carter get the crew back, because Senator Wen has just gone too far, killing Holly and making the determination that the crew’s lives are expendable, as long as they get the new technology they want.

Let’s set aside the contrivances and hand-waving for a moment.

Henry and Beverly figure out that a high enough energy spike in the virtual world would cause a cascade failure of systems, making the kidnappers easy to find. In order to do that, Jack gets zapped into the VR, just as Zane is figuring it out as Holly did.

A little bit of fun as the “high alert” Jo tries to distract what she thinks is virt_Carter, who’s actually real Carter, who got told just before he went under, “Oh, by the way, you’re dating Jo.” And while it’s fun to see these alternate versions of the familiar characters, it’s also nice that we didn’t stretch this scenario out more than necessary. Even though there’s plenty of hand-waving in this episode to explain the amount of detail in the virtual Eureka, it’s only a matter of time before it gets past the point of “willing suspension of disbelief”.

The plan involves blowing up the virt_Astraeus and then Jo helicopters her team into wherever the Consortium has everyone. But it doesn’t quite go the way it’s supposed to go (remember, it’s Eureka) and the clock starts ticking as the explosion and subsequent energy spike cause the environment to de-res completely.

Figuring they don’t have very much time, Zane volunteers to get zapped in the hopes that he’ll wake up in the real world and be able to pull everyone out before they die. Of course, Carter’s jacked in from another location, so it’s one of these last minute rescues, and everyone’s out safe and sound.

And Jo gets to be the one who breaks the news to Fargo. You gotta feel for the guy. And it makes you wonder what sort of arc this sets up for him through the rest of the show. (And does this set up Fargo to find love in a certain warehouse in South Dakota?…)

The end scene is an interesting one. Beverly has Senator Wen trapped in a virtual sheriff’s station, where every door leads back to the sheriff’s station, and the good senator is trapped. But where is this? Beverly just conveniently has one of these VR beds lying around?

Overall, a solid episode. Necessary, to get everyone out and back to a single Eureka environment for the rest of the season. And if it means Beverly is out of the picture, fine. Let’s concentrate on the characters we all know and have come to respect over the past four years.

[Official Show Site at Syfy]     [Previous Episode “The Real Thing”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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