Synopsis: During the town’s Founder’s Day celebration, a mysterious device transports Jack, Allison, Henry, Jo, and Fargo to 1940s Eureka.
Review: Unlike that excruciating “artifact” story arc from season 2, the high concept, time travel plot framing season 4 is fun, exciting, and already full of promise. For the past three seasons, every episode of Eureka has followed the same simple structure: something weird happens, practical Sheriff Jack Carter—the only non-super genius—solves the problem on the most basic level, and then the mega-brain scientists rattle off some technobabble and actually solve the problem. The formula was tried and true and somehow managed to be thoroughly entertaining from week to week. Transporting the series’ trademark quirk to Eureka circa 1947 for this premiere episode injected new energy into the show. As the season progresses and the present-day ramifications of the gang’s time travel adventure are revealed, Eureka is bound to change in ways that will thrill fans. If this episode is any indication, season four is probably going to be the series’ best.
The most blatant (and mind-blowingly awesome) development is of course the introduction of Battlestar Galactica alum James Callis as Dr. Trevor Grant. The character, a 1940s era scientist, spits out words like “gams” and “sport,” already seems to have “a thing” for Allison, and was apparently brainier than Albert Einstein. Grant has a slick, noir edge about him and as the premiere episode comes to a close we see that he was able to hitch a ride back to present-day Eureka with Jack and the gang. He’s a wildcard and watching him pursue Allison should be good for a few chuckles. Grant will also undoubtedly provide us with some information about Eureka’s military past, which was alluded to in earlier seasons.
As every time travel enthusiast knows, it’s almost impossible to visit the past and then come back to the present (or future) without having altered things. While trapped in 1947, Allison, who poses as a nurse, revives an injured soldier using resuscitation techniques that haven’t been invented, Jo runs amok, Fargo walks around naked (in a cute Terminator homage), and, as I mentioned earlier, Dr. Grant, a man who was instrumental in the development of the town, ditches the 40s for present-day Eureka–all of these things no doubt changing the future in subtle ways.
In the episode’s shocking conclusion, the gang gets back home by fiddling with the 1940s analogue of the mysterious device that transported them through time. In this new version of present-day Eureka, Jo and Zane are no longer an item, Henry is married, Kevin, Allison’s autistic son, no longer has autism, and Tess Fontana, Jack’s season 3 love interest, is back in the sheriff’s life—that last development being particularly aggravating because Tess is just one in a long line of characters who have been used to postpone the inevitable Jack-Allison union. Right before they return to the present, Jack and Allison kiss. Passionately. And it looked as though they might finally (finally!) get together. Television history is rife with these will-they-won’t-they relationships and delaying the union is supposed to be part of the fun. But this Jack-Allison thing is frustrating. Overall, though, this episode was a great start. In a way, season 4 is like a Eureka reboot, which might make it the perfect entry point for first-time viewers.
Odds and Ends
– Doesn’t it seem like Kevin is only hauled out whenever it suits the plot? Allison barely ever mentions him. This season, though, it looks like he might play a more integral role. The gang is going to have to try to restore things to the way they were before the time traveling incident. For Allison, this will mean the return of Kevin’s autism. The stakes have been raised.
– It was beyond bizarre hearing James Callis speak with an American accent.
– I can’t decide if I dislike Tess because she stands in the way of Jack and Allison’s happiness or if I just dislike her.
– Perpetually unlucky-in-love Henry is married! Should be interesting. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t actually fall in love with this woman only to have her ripped away from him. How much heartache can one incredibly brilliant man take?
– I’d like to see Jack and Allison end up together, but I’m still sort of hoping that Nathan Stark will somehow reappear.
Eureka airs Fridays at 9/8c on SyFy