Review: Eureka — All the Rage / The Story of O2

By  · Published on August 9th, 2010

Synopsis: In “All the Rage,” a glitch in a crowd-calming ray developed by a disgruntled scientist (Wil Wheaton) starts a rage epidemic at Global Dynamics and in “The Story of O2,” a cloud of self-propagating oxygen endangers the town during their Space Week Festival while Sheriff Carter visits Zoe at Harvard.

Review: I’d like to apologize to the faithful Eureka fans for neglecting my Eureka review duties for the past two weeks. But, in a way, my irresponsibility was kind of a good thing because it has given me the opportunity to veer away from the usual review format and compare and contrast the two episodes that I missed, paying special attention to the guest stars, the emotions underpinning all of the quirk, and those trivial subplots that seem to pop up in every episode.

The Guest Stars

“All the Rage”: Wil “Wesley Crusher” Wheaton.

“The Story of O2”: Jamie “Don’t Be Hatin’” Kennedy.

I doubt that anyone writing for FSR is a bigger Trek nerd that I am and I still harbor a Wesley Crusher crush after all of these years, but Wil Wheaton cameos/guest appearances are a dime a dozen these days – the novelty has worn off, even for the Trek obsessed. Not to take anything away from his performance, which was perfectly fine, but as it was, his appearance just seemed like stunt casting – pandering to a geeky audience by casting the ultimate geeky actor. Every second that Jamie Kennedy was on screen, however, was fabulous, albeit in an ironic way. Watching Kennedy all wide-eyed and dopey, saying things like, “doz kids took it,” forces you to ask yourself if donning a lab coat is enough to transform an actor into a scientist. I may not have understood why Kennedy was on the show – whereas uber-geek Wil Wheaton’s appearance made complete sense – but he was so goofy and out of place that the casting was actually kind of inspired.

The Less Important Subplot

“All the Rage”: Henry and Dr. Grant discover that objects they touch dematerialize. Believing this to be related to their time travel adventure, they freak out. Fortunately, the whole thing was a prank perpetrated by Henry’s alterna-verse wife.

“The Story of O2”: Jack and Zoe chase a cat coated in invisibility spray.

I don’t mind misdirection, but spending any amount of time on a storyline that ultimately has no significance – other than to show that Henry and his wife have a playful relationship – is annoying. The Jack and Zoe subplot, on the other hand, actually shook the entire foundation of the show. The self-propagating oxygen crisis happening in Eureka while Jack was at Harvard was solved without his help. The episode basically proved that Colin Ferguson’s character is unnecessary and that Kevin should be the sheriff.

The Emotional Undercurrent

“All the Rage”: Jack and Tess split up for good.

“The Story of O2”: Allison, who is used to caring for an autistic son, struggles with alterna-verse Kevin’s independent spirit.

When Tess agrees with Fargo’s mocking interpretation of Sheriff Carter’s folksy “everyman” logic, Jack is visibly hurt and it’s clear that their relationship is a wrap. I haven’t necessarily been pro-Tess, but after watching the conclusion of “All the Rage” – Jack suggests that Tess should take that job in Australia while she leaves and simply says “I love you” – I couldn’t help but think that Jack was making the wrong decision. The beauty of the moment was that the emotions felt genuine. Allison’s struggle to trust Kevin also rang true (although it did seem a bit odd that in a town of geniuses, Kevin was the only one to think of using those balloons to neutralize the oxygen). Everything was wrapped up in a neat little package by the end of the episode and it would be a shame if Allison didn’t continue to struggle to understand this new Kevin.