Time Travel, Temporal Anomalies, & Television Part II

Eureka and a Stark Reality

We’ve been told that someone will die in Eureka…

I Do Over

(Spoilers ahead…)

It’s about time, as they say. It’s Allison and Stark’s Wedding Day and Monkey (I mean Jack) is supposed to walk Allison down the aisle. Hello, Allison, what were you thinking? In this curiously Arthurian triangle, Lancelot, er, I mean Carter, hasn’t actually slept with Guinevere/Allison, but the analogy holds.

The Wedding Triangle

Allison has to work on the Global Dynamics budget the morning of her big day. Corporate redaction (aka firings) is underway, and Eva Thorne needs Jack Carter to give out pink slips to those whose security badges will be disabled by 6PM.

Stark and Fargo are at GD to supervise the delivery of a new uber clock. With Fargo’s assistance, Carter locates Weinbrenner’s digs in the basement, misunderstanding the man’s role as the custodian of time. After a painful flash of blue light, Carter blows off talking to Weinbrenner, and heads to the wedding.

Enter the “Time/Temporal Loop” and Carter, not unlike like Sisyphus, spends much of the rest of the episode condemned to replay Allison’s wedding day sans the “I now pronounce you…”finale. After the first loop, Carter makes repeated attempts to convince Stark, Allison, Fargo and company that they are in a Groundhog Day scenario. Each iteration of the timeline brings a more battered Carter back into the shower. We are repeatedly treated to shower scenes with Carter and Degree antiperspirant “product placement,” which dovetails nicely with GD’s corporatization.

When Weinbrenner implies that Thorne is responsible for the timeline mayhem, we all The Fixerwant to believe him. Thorne’s “Fixer” character has developed… somewhat. The puzzle pieces to her real agenda are slowly being revealed. Meanwhile, her external actions remain stereotypical: Layoffs, BPR (business process redesign), apparently vindictive payback for not being invited to the wedding, and micromanagement of seemingly simple processes. I harbor a hope that she will turn out to be a hero of sorts, however unlikable her external demeanor. Even her pardon for Henry in “What About Bob?” is too quickly revealed to be self-serving. The Eureka writers haven’t been this ham fisted before…let’s hope Thorne’s actions turn out to be a setup for us, the fans.

Thorne had Henry scan an area we know she identified from WWII era nuclear experiment films. Her excuse is that she wants to erect a hotel on the parcel. She advises Henry to stay mum. Later, Carter independently follows Thorne based on an overheard conversation at GD. He steals her imaging device just as the time loop goes for another circuit.

But red herrings have become a popular plot device in Eureka. Henry determines that the Red Herringdevice is for geological imaging. It seems there’s a large underground facility. Is that the cause of the heretofore theoretical type of radiation discovered by Henry? How can it be that an underground facility could exist while all the technology and attendant geniuses in Eureka remain unaware?

Henry also tips Carter that Weinbrenner used to work with him at NASA, and was working on backward time spinning. (Ah, if he only had a Stargate.) Carter belatedly remembers something us viewers may have noticed earlier: Weinbrenner knew about the firings before Thorne had given Carter the list.

Once confronted, Weinbrenner spills his substantial guts, and confesses that he was just trying to finish his experiments in faster than light time travel. Carter was caught in a backwash of that light, and thus her remembers the previous loops. Unfortunately, the fabric of time is in danger of destruction, and there are only two loops left before the end of the world as we know it. Ironically, Weinbrenner had no time to create a timer. Adjustments must be made to the new clock that made Weinbrenner’s job obsolete to start with Carter has to learn the equation for the speed of light. Weinbrenner’s lecture on ultra indigo light is bogus, however moving light in reverse at a speed faster than itself is legitimate. Weinbrenner is literally toasted in his at tempt to right the world. Is this the Eureka death we have been awaiting?


Carter convinces Stark that time is out of whack by singing the aforementioned light equation to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (too bad that’s not on the Eureka soundtrack).

Fargo tries to fix the problem by remotely syncing up with the new uber clock, but the vacuum seal shatters. It will have to be done manually. Fargo heroically offers to perform the job, Carter volunteers as well, but Stark steps in. He tells Carter that there’s no song for this one. We know he’s the logical candidate.

At first, you think that Stark will succeed, and come out of the little chamber smirking with a snide aside for Carter. Though their relationship has been intermittently less rancorous lately (notably Best in Faux), Stark can’t help but be himself. In the last moments before the repair, Stark shows a bit of the fellow he must have been when Allison fell for him the first time. He advises Carter to tell Allison that he saved the world for her and that he loved her. Awww…

Success! The fabric of time is repaired. Then Stark’s photons accelerate right into the universe.

The last we see of him is a beatific expression that disintegrates and floats away. Stark goes somewhere in timeI gasped when this happened. So did you. You sucked wind. Admit it. The stark [sic] reality is that we loved to be irritated by Nathan Stark. We loved to watch the territorial imperatives played out between Stark and Carter in their quest for Allison.

Carter has to show up at Allison’s wedding just one more time…but this time there’s no groom. Two foreshadowing sentences have permeated the episode: Carter’s “I’ll always be there for you, no matter what,” to Allison. Allison’s “Everything will work out the way it should” to Carter.

Is this where the previous alternate future from “Once in a Lifetime” kicks in? We don’t know yet. Have we gone temporarily from Arthurian saga to Moonlighting? Hmmm…meanwhile I guess we can continue to count the Bill Murray and Doctor Who references.

If it were me, I would use the Light moving backwards simulation to create a clone of Stark that is brought back to the Eureka present — bending the Arrow of Time postulations and their expansion/successors — returning Stark, but not Stark. It would allow for new nuances of character, and the creation of more Arthurian twists in Eureka. They could call it “There and Back Again”… oops wait, that’s Bilbo Baggins story.

My opinion makes no difference. They have all the season’s episodes in the can. We have to (groan) wait and see…HG Wells Time Machine

In the end, I’m always a sucker for a Time Travel story, on the big or not so little screen. Aren’t you? Stargate, Star Trek, Heroes, Eureka, ad infinitum. The first time I saw the old “Time Machine” movie on television, I was five years old. I spent many nights secretly trying to construct my own time machine. We all did that, didn’t we? No? Well, I think I told you a while ago that one of the reasons I love Eureka is because it reminds me of my family…and in an alternate timeline I can probably perform higher math calculations that go beyond how much to tip the restaurant server.

2 thoughts on “Time Travel, Temporal Anomalies, & Television Part II

  1. Pingback: Time Travel, Temporal Anomalies, & Television Part I : FanaticSpace

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