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September 1, 2014

Eureka: What About Bob?

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 6th 2008 11:20AM

(S03E02) "This is the best season yet!" -- Fargo, speaking about the ongoing adventures in Lab 27.

Now that the storylines for this season have been established by last week's season premiere, and the gratuitous product placement has been introduced, Eureka moved ahead with an episode that was straight out of a Sci Fi Channel original movie. Except, you know, more entertaining. Not that those Sci Fi movies aren't entertaining, mind you. You have to have a very broad imagination to make a movie about Noah's Ark holding evil spirits bent on destroying the world.

But, I digress. What makes Eureka a refreshing change of pace in the science fiction genre is, while everyone in the town is brilliant and talented and unique in their own way, they are human. In other words, they have their own personal feelings and foibles. Yet, in Eureka, they are able to all work together to keep the town what it is. And, when someone or something comes around to throw off the balance these geniuses react.

Such is the case with Eva Thorne, who came in last week to straighten up the town. Now the 'Chairman' Eva is making a number of changes to both Global Dynamics and to the town itself that are upsetting the precious balance that is contained within the electromagnetic shield. For instance, because she liked the cut of Zane's jib, he was named director of Consumer Product Testing for GD (where the blatant product placement was displayed this week). She also decided to place at hiring freeze over at Global, cut out free meals for Jo and Carter at Cafe Diem, add parking meters to the streets in the area, charge for library cards, and close the Eureka museum.

What this did was begin to divide the town up: you were either on board with Eva's changes, or you weren't. Or, the quiet third option ... you were reluctant to make the changes but did anyway to keep everything going. Hence, the reason that Allison was unsure to tell Carter that she was tasked to watch over him (whether it was her own decision or her and Stark's is something I can't recall) due to all of the events that took place since he became sheriff. It initially led to some animosity between the two, which was not something that was healthy while investigating the de-evolution of one of the team members of the controlled bio-system within Lab 27.

It also led to a confrontation between Sheriff Jo Lupo and Eva at Cafe Diem. It was this meeting with Jo that made "The Fixer" reconsider some of her actions. Actually, it was that and something she saw in Lab 27 that made her change her mind. During the crisis in the controlled bio-system, which involved an evolution downgrade and a missing scientist, Eva got to see how Jack, Nathan and Henry (via bio-holographic display) worked together despite the issues they had with one another. It was the particular pairing of Carter and Henry, and how they were able to resolve the danger taking place around them, that made Eva realize that she was toying with a bit too much in Eureka.

It also made her realize that Henry wasn't doing anybody any good sitting in a super max prison. So, after a short period of time (at least in television time) he was given a pardon. This did something to people's opinion of Eva: it made her a human being. Sure, she was still a cutthroat businesswoman intent on making Eureka a leaner, meaner machine. Yet, she still had the sense to realize that the balance needed to be restored for things to work properly. At least, for now.

Switching over to Lab 27. Even though it was still within Eureka it was nice to see Allison and Jack outside the environs of the town. And, for some viewers, it was probably nice to see both of them out of their clothes. Colin Ferguson got this treatment twice as he was shown as an anatomically inaccurate hologram. Even though it was typical science fiction fare (I remember a similar plot on Star Trek: The Next Generation) I enjoyed the way that the producers handled the plot. Rather than have someone people care about de-evolve into some animal-like being the person first infected turned out to be a bit lecherous. As Jack said when the crisis ended "Once a snake, always a snake."

Other other moments from this week's show:

  • "How do you make the rain?" "Recycled urine." -- Jack asking Allison how the rain was made in the bio-system.
  • For Fargo, Lab 27 is the mother of all reality shows. He said it was his Barney when he was growing up.
  • "The insertion of the talent has made the show fresh again." -- Fargo talking about the inclusion of Jack and Allison into the bio-dome. Perhaps an inside joke concerning the addition of characters to this season's Eureka. He was later heard saying, "This is the best season yet."
  • "I'm just glad you have pants." -- Jack talking to Henry's hologram.
  • Henry's homecoming. This was very heartwarming, especially when Jack saw Henry entering Cafe Diem. Any animosity they had against each other looks to have melted away from that moment on.
  • My two favorite scientific terms: macro de-evolution and mutagenic wavelength
  • Allison's engagement to Nathan: it was coming. While she and Carter have a deep connection, Nathan was her former husband and has a unique link with her son Kevin. This frees Jack up to pursue other love interests. And, of course, there's nothing written in stone that says that these two can't connect up. I mean, it's television!
  • We knew that Eva was in Eureka for more than just corporate clean-up, as was shown in the last scene of the season premiere. This time we got some more clues as to what Ms. Thorne was looking for. It seems she was watching an atomic bomb test. But, as the film canister label displayed, the filming of the test was from 1938 and not 1945. So, what's going on here?

Next week: Magma deposits and a wedding dress

Do you think Allison should have said 'yes' to Stark's proposal of marriage?
Yes. They do make a good couple40 (14.5%)
No. She and Jack are meant to be together.165 (60.0%)
Doesn't matter one way or another to me70 (25.5%)

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17 Comments

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Brainfish

So is this deodourant a real product? What are they going to do when it's shown outside of the US?

August 12 2008 at 6:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K.V.C

How can the date be shocking?
They mentioned historical dates as being wrong many times.
I remember them saying the moon landing was 1962 and other stuff, look for the Fargo frozen in time capsule.

August 08 2008 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

Maybe I'm stating something obvious here, but if the canister above has the correct date on it, and it was a real recording of an A-bomb, then Eva would definitely be surprised. The date on this canister is 1938, 7 years before the first A-bomb test in July of 1945. Maybe that's what's supposed to be shocking?

August 08 2008 at 1:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Martin

The scene in the lab where the guy walks in with his arm on fire then puts it out, and its the Degree that protected him, isn't that similar to one of their old commericals. I thought that was actually good use of the product placement, the other uses were kind of stupid, but don't bother me too much.

August 07 2008 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry Schultze

I just re-watched on Hulu, and to me it looked like Eva was bored looking at the film, maybe trying to learn more about Eureka, and was surprised to find footage of atomic bomb tests. Then she quickly looked at the film canister and looked shocked.

August 07 2008 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Earl

I agree that the product placement is over the top. The reality is that this is how it is going to be from now on. This is not exactly the only show that uses this, and it will become more common. If them sliding Degree into a scene helps make Eureka profitable for Sci Fi, Sci Fi most likely will renew the show. Remember that it is a business. Sometimes you have to put up with some crap to get what you want. Whining about it won't make it go away. I actually see it more as a joke. Try that.

August 06 2008 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K.V.C

The season so far doesn't look good. The Eva storyline is idiotic. The secret military think tank town has to make a profit?!?! Have they invented nothing profitable, in 50 years?

The product placement is stupid! (Tell me why a company would pay for advertising in a SECRET TOWN!?!?!?)

And the first two episodes have been sub-par.

August 06 2008 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nickmagoo

yes, the degree product placement is so strained and it looks like the actors hate speaking the lines - it's painful and ruins the show for me for several minutes as i keep thinking over and over "NEVER BUY DEGREE."

carter's daughter's concern was touching, she's the only one watching the feed who fully grasps like it's reality, not a tv show. i disagree with your assessment regrding henry being over the past - the music as they embraced was haunting and henry did not look like his anger had 'melted away.' i expect much more in this area as the season(s) progress.

August 06 2008 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nickmagoo's comment
Jennifer

I enjoy the actors looking as pained about this as we feel. Plus, totally in character and fitting to have them all annoyed about it (unlike Psych and the donuts and coffee crap last week).

So far, if they absolutely at gunpoint must be doing this, at least the show is somewhat acknowledging that this is annoying, via the actor's reactions. And given the setup of The Fixer MUST GET MORE MONEY NOWWWWW, it at least makes sense in the plot. Corporate evil and advertising go together like a horse and carriage.

August 07 2008 at 1:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Chichian

I don't think Thorne set things back out of the goodness of her heart. She wanted something ut of the museum and the only way she could hide that fact was to include its closing in with a laundry list of changes. When she had what she wanted it was easy to "make nice" and reverse some of those changes

I could handle the constant ads for Degree if they followed the format of the Made in Eureka that one of them aired as. As to the product placement in the show yes it is annoying but then so was seeing Cisco systems on every computer monitor last season.

August 06 2008 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan Chichian's comment
Tucker

Yeah, but that at least remotely makes sense. Giant crates of Degree deoderant? Give me a break! I don't care how flimsy a premise they concoct for it (oooh, their slogan is over-engineered! come on.), it's got no place in the show, and the writers should be spending time writing more clever dialog and believable situations rather than trying to work in the product placement quip of the week. I've never cared two craps one way or the other about Degree, but now I want to go about actively boycotting it. Imagine if their sales went *down* as a direct result of this overbearing product placement? That'd send a message.

The ads I'm fine with, throw four million ads in there if you want. But "integrating" it into the show like this is terrible, and it's not like it's gotten us shorter ad breaks or anything. The end result is turning that hour on sci-fi a giant Degree ad with a few quick breaks for Eureka.

August 06 2008 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

This episode was a great example of why I get so annoyed when everyone in the town treats Carter like he's some kind of cretinous sub-human, intellectually. It was his idea to bring Henry in as a hologram, and it was his idea to modify Zane's gun to use on Bob Nobb (great name--Arrested Development quality).

This is something Carter does regularly: come up with the big picture idea that the scientists can then execute. The scientists are rarely the ones who have the initial impetus. So, can't he be recognized for that ability?

August 06 2008 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
Benjy

Yeah, I'm pissed about the way they treat Carter as well. When Thorne showed the chart and said that all the crazy incidents in Eureka corresponded with Carter's arrival, no one jumped to Carter's defense! Stark, Allison, and the others know damn well that most of those crazy incidents were caused by either Stark or Henry's secret meddling with The Artifact, but none of those cowards would step up and say it. If I was Carter, I'd be pissed considering how many times he's bailed the town out.

And yes... the Degree product placement is silly and annoying! In show poduct placement should be limited to objects in certain background locations. Eureka is the worst example of integrating advertising to the point of distraction. I've never seen advertising actually take away from the story until now. What's next? If Degree doesn't pay further fees, will the Degree logos be blurred out and the Degree references be bleeped on the DVD set?

August 08 2008 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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