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October 9, 2015

Eureka: I Do Over

by Richard Keller, posted Aug 20th 2008 12:06AM

Jack ponders Allison's wedding on the latest episode of Eureka

(S03E04) "Ohh, dude." -- Jack Carter, on learning he would have to memorize a formula for the next time loop shift.

Boy, I do loves me a Groundhog Day episode! No, I don't mean an episode of a show where they pull a helpless groundhog out of its hole in the cold of winter just to "predict" what's coming up in the next six weeks. I'm talking an episode that features some sort of time loop where a character or characters relive a particular day over and over again. As they go along they learn from the mistakes they made in previous loops. Eventually, through some way that usually isn't understandable, the time loop is closed and things move forward. It's been done on past shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The X-Files.

Now, Eureka joins their ranks with another Groundhog Day episode. At first, I was looking forward to the episode. And, as it progressed, I really enjoyed how the story expanded and how Carter put the pieces together. Then, came the solution and....Oh, no no no no no! (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Look, I wasn't the biggest fan of Stark. He was a bit too smart for his own good, he was always at odds with Carter and, as Jack said in this week's episode, his ego was too big to fit in the building. But, deep down inside he was a caring, loving individual who cherished Allison and her son. Plus, he was starting to warm up to Jack this season. Though, that wasn't very apparent for most of this episode. I chalk that up to wedding jitters.

Now, Nathan's gone. Oh sure, he can come back at any time -- this being a science fiction show and all. It was just the suddenness of Stark's "demise" that was so shocking. I thought that all of the good-byes he was saying to Jack were just precautionary. I guess he knew more about what was going to take place than either Jack or Fargo knew. When Nathan was shown suspended in time I knew something was going to go wrong.

I have to applaud the writers and producers of Eureka for throwing us this curve ball. The episode was set up to make the ending seem like the wedding would go on with Allison and Nathan becoming happily wedded while Carter watched on in, if not approval, at least acceptance. It was practically telegraphed with Carter's statements to her after the last time jump. Plus, when the promo said that the town would 'lose one of their own', it added up to the loss of Leo, who handled Time Maintenance for Global Dynamics and died trying to stop the time loops from happening.

Things will definitely be changing on Eureka. At least for the time being. It will be interesting to see how Jack reacts to this. Being that he doesn't have an opportunistic bone in his body, I can't see Jack jumping in to fill the gap that Nathan left when he disappeared into the time stream. He will be there for Allison, no doubt about that, but he will probably stay a safe distance away. Especially since he watched Nathan sacrifice himself for Allison. Whether Allison will remain distant to Jack is another story entirely.

Let's talk about Jack's adventures through time for a moment. After watching these type of episodes on a number of different shows, it seems that you can't really screw it up too much. That's because the story can stretch and grow as each instance is shown. The biggest pitfall is missing something someone mentioned in a previous loop. Carter's little journey over the same day was one of the better versions of this format I have seen (although, the ST:TNG time loop episode is one of my favorites). It was enjoyable not only because Jack was able to learn from his mistakes in order to determine what was going on, but because the added value of other stuff bleeding through each loop added a bit of interest to the plot.

Not only was it enjoyable, but it was also frustrating to watch. Until the very end only Jack knew that something was wrong. It was hard to watch him struggle to let everyone else in the town know what the hell was going on. And, when they did tell them, they didn't believe him. I mean, what did he know about the mechanics of time! Sadly, it was too late for a number of people when everyone realized what was going on.

Oh-kay! There was another storyline in this week's episode of Eureka: Jack's sister, Lexxie. Oh yeah, two totally different people. Where Jack has stability, Lexxie has that free-wheeling sense of adventure -- probably one reason why she will fit in well in Eureka. She does bring some baggage into town -- she's pregnant, which will be an interesting plot point as she gets more and more pregnant and Jack begins to react. I can also see some conflict brewing as Lexxie begins to exert some of her influence on Zoe. Something that will probably give Carter many headaches.

Before we conclude, a few odds and ends about this week's Eureka:

  • Degree deodorant had at least three scenes this week as it was given a deliberate close-up in Carter's bathroom. Well, at least they weren't talking about the advantages of the product right in the show.
  • "He's your Doctor WHO." "That's my favorite show!". -- Vincent getting the reference to the World Health Organization a bit incorrect.
  • We learn a bit more about what Eva Thorne is looking for in the town of Eureka. It seems she is searching for something under the ground. What that could be is anyone's guess.

That's it for this week. Next time on Eureka -- Mummies, Mummies everywhere

Did you expect the ending of Eureka?
No way! A total shock.581 (75.1%)
I kind of suspected something like that would happen.163 (21.1%)
Oh, you knew it was going to take place as the episode began30 (3.9%)

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I have to say, this episode was really well written. It was good to see all the same things being said in a different context showing that the time can't really be messed with.

Nathan is definitely coming back. He is now stuck in a time loop until he figures out how to get himself out. Which he will.

I can't believe that this is only the 4th episode lol

August 22 2008 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't really 'get' all the physics involved etc., etc., however I think that they will have Stark in future episodes. If he was in the chamber when the photon was pushed forward in time, then I can only assume that Stark went forward as well. The way they showed his body as small pin-points of light eeking away instead of frying up like the maintainence guy, I would guess that he will pop up at some point in the future when the world in 'real time' catches up with him. Just my guess.

This was one of the best episodes of the season so far. No where in the previews for next week do they show Allison so I guess that maybe things will cool off with them for a few episodes. I also wonder how Carter's guilt will affect him - essentially he was the one to step into the light and get caught with the time guy in the loop and Stark had to help him get out if it - there has gotta be some guilt there.

PS - My favorite groundhog day epi was Stargate SG-1's Window as well. Love how O'Neill took the opportunity to go a bit crazy!

August 21 2008 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The photons sent him in to the future. It was mentioned that they could make the photons go to faster than light resulting in time moving forward, they wouldn't really kill off Stark, and there's no body, just a bunch of... photons.

August 20 2008 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Argus's comment

Wouldn't it be cool if he came back with knowledge of what happens to the people of Eureka in the future, or some future scientific knowledge?

Regardless, I'm sure he *is* coming back, and that he will be a changed man (for better or worse) when he returns.

August 21 2008 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimmy stamp

Interesting idea, but would he come back or would they just "catch up" to him at some point? If that was the case, he really couldn't have any idea of what would happen in the future. I wonder if his plot will tie into Thorn's (I think I'm obsessing over what she's up to).

August 21 2008 at 1:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I purposely don't watch the "coming up in the next episode" teaser at the end of each show because, like George's father, "I like to go in fresh!"

Obviously, I was caught by surprise by Stark's demise, but I don't think for one second that he won't be back, perhaps in time for the two-part season finale?

I did enjoy this episode more than most.

August 20 2008 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jigsaw hc

Wow. I did not see the previews for this week and that ending caught me off guard. I hope Stark is not gone for good. The show needs someone we love to hate.

August 20 2008 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimmy stamp

I'm surprised no one's discussing this, but what the hell is Thorn up to? Any guesses? Was she X-Raying the ground? Her hologram thing looked like some sort of spaceship. Combined with the atomic testing videos (maybe used to create a crater?) and the unique radiation signature of the site, could there be a crashed alien ship that the gov buriend and she wants to dig up? Maybe to reverse engineer in order to provide the government with more advanced technology? Or could this be her own pet project? Independent from any official agency? It's nice having a new extended mystery in the show.

August 20 2008 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jimmy stamp's comment

looked like she decided to move her hotel underground

August 20 2008 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you sure about that? I just went to imdb and his last episode is August 19th. Can you post where you found that?

August 20 2008 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did I miss something, or doesn't Jack's house only have a "sonic shower" with no water? They mentioned that several times in season one.

August 20 2008 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Stark's not gone. I believe he is listed in the IMDB credits for next week's episode.

August 20 2008 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gosh, I really love this show.

I'm with @Jake, though: the promos indicated it would be one of the regulars, and since there was no way the writers were going to let Allie marry Nathan, I expected it would be him. Although I was also faked out by Fargo! I thought the way they did it was incredibly touching: as I watched the frozen, smiling Stark slowly dissolve away, I got a little teary.

I agree that the loss of Stark as a character--although I really loathed him as a person--could well harm the chemistry of the show. But I trust the writers. I feel bad for the actor, though--I understand he and Ferguson have become quite close friends, and it always sucks when a friend stops working with you.

The Degree product placement was incredibly clumsy, though. Practically makes me want to see subliminal advertising become legal again.

August 20 2008 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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