It’s time for Season 3.5 of Eureka: Eureka, the town that Global Dynamics built, affectionately called GD in the hamlet peopled by scientific eccentrics and iconoclasts. It’s the town that we love to call home.
Flashback to Season 3: When last seen, our beloved and much maligned Sheriff Carter was fired. He helped Eva Thorne, the Fixer, to sneak out of town on a bus, after she shape-shifted into a most putrid stereotypical icon: the Corporate Hooker with a Heart of Gold. I couldn’t bring myself to review the mid-season closer here on Fanaticspace. It was revealed that Eva Thorne was 107 years old. Surprise! She was “A victim” too.” The writers had two scripts nixed by the network, and were forced to write the script as they went along. I had a little more sympathy after I read their explanation. Still, the mid-season finale was a cop-out. But enough! Time to get over it. Farewell, Eva. Farewell Frances Fisher. Farewell Sheriff Carter. What? Nah, we all knew they couldn’t actually say buh-bye to Carter. Didn’t we?
Colin Ferguson does a brilliant job on Eureka as Sheriff Carter, no doubt about it. His Everyman persona permeates the entire show, and that’s fine. I personally would like to see a little more of the old Eureka style story threads with some juicy stuff for the rest of the ensemble cast. But what do I know?
The Season 3.5 premiere episode, Welcome Back Carter has an obvious homage in its title. It also introduces Sheriff Andy, Carter’s android replacement (played by Ty Olsson, no stranger to sci-fi). That Andy is doomed to fail somehow at some point is obvious from the beginning. This makes it no less entertaining to watch Sheriff Andy bumbling along on his less than Data, and more than A.I. fashion.
The scene in the Sheriff’s Office when we first meet Sheriff Andy is ideal, including Jo’s refusal to work for “a thing.” She’s no Eurekan Barney Fife! That would be Fargo, who compares the new Sheriff to a Furby, then steps up with a smile to shake hands with the DOD appointed droid.
With such a ripe garden for corny homage already set up, why didn’t they exploit it a little more? Absurdity is common, even revered in Eureka; why not this time? Ah, opportunities lost...
Dr. Fielding and Lexie are experimenting with a gravity reduction chamber for Lexie’s twin home birthing. After an awkward handshake between the former Sheriff and Fielding, we move on briskly with an emergency phone call.
Trees are falling. That is, they have fallen and blocked the road, narrowly missing taking out Allison and her unborn. Carter arrives on the scene before Sheriff Andy, and shields Allison from yet another falling tree. Sheriff Andy takes over, and guilelessly investigates the “accident.” Jack is officially shut out of the process, but continues to investigate, with the help of Jo and informants who defy federal law.
A convenient plant geneticist is circumstantially implicated for a little while. The answer is not so simple as collateral damage from a science scion. Instead, there’s plenty to interest us closet physics fans: tonight’s episode is about “gravity wells.” Gravity wells, it seems, are popping up around Eureka. Sheriff Andy is the target of specific gravity wells. He endures two assassination attempts. Carter is not amused.
What the heck is a gravity well, you might ask? That’s part of the fun of Eureka. Even if I weren’t going to completely geek out and smack myself in the head repeatedly to understand what it is, I could still enjoy the story with the thin explanation given on camera. However, a quick perusal of the wikipedia page with high-flown formulas sent me to dig deeper. As an English speaker, I use my inferior parietal cortex (among other regions) to understand the math. Sadly, my parietal cortex is more inferior than most. I don’t entirely understand gravity wells, but this is a pretty simulation.
Doctor Fielding’s infant low gravity chamber seems to be the problem. Fielding is duly called upon to fix his gravitational gaff. This is going to be a typical “oops” episode, right? Not this time. After a botched attempt when everything is nearly FUBAR, Global Dynamics denizens discover that Fielding was not working alone. Enter the cyber scientist, and Fielding’s mentor/crush, Marguerite Von Dieter.
Meanwhile, there are a few entertaining moments when Sheriff Andy’s databanks are scrambled after his catastrophic damage. He scrambles names, and he speaks supposed Dutch. It soon becomes apparent that SARAH is aka Marguerite Von Dieter. She’s targeting Sheriff Andy to eliminate him, and keep Zoe and Jack around. “I apologize, I let my artificial emotions get the best of me.” You GO, GIRL.
Henry Deacon, not only the smartest man in Eureka, but also the Mayor, tells us: “Gravitational wells are coming together into a single massive event. IF that happens, they will suck in any matter that comes close.” Yes, indeed…a black hole. Apparently, a black hole is like gravity well without a bottom. Throw all the pennies in it that you want, and you might get your wish, but you’ll never see the pennies again. Now imagine the west coast of the US as the pennies, and you get the idea.
SARAH admits, “I no longer have graviton guidance. Doctor Fielding’s misguided attempt at a solution made the problem grow far beyond my control.” It’s at this time that Henry further geekificates: “If these wells come together into a singularity, then evacuation won’t help.”
Carter, ever the cop, suggests, “If a bullet won’t work, how about a bomb?”
The roller coaster ride finally begins. A graviton pulse explosion is required to return to normal gravity. Overloading a tensor field is apparently just the ticket. Are your eyes crossed yet? No fear. A tensor field is essentially expansion and compression. Hence Zoe’s nearly gleeful, “If you overloaded the tensor field, it could make a wicked gravity bomb”
Carter is ready to go, but Henry exclaims, “Birds will be hitting the ground like cannonballs.” Everyone assumes Sheriff Andy will come to the rescue of Mayberry, uh, Eureka, but it’s not to be. Sheriff Andy’s Eureka database tells him that he’s not required to participate because it’s 93% likely he’ll be destroyed in the process.
Carter thinks those aren’t bad odds for Eureka, and Dudley Do-Rights it into Fielding’s lab, where all the little gravity wells are coalescing into one big ‘un. A gravitational well takes the extra power source battery in Carter’s hands and weighs it down until it is dropped. Carter can’t move because he effectively weighs many hundreds of pounds now, and yet his internal organs don’t collapse. Amazing. Sheriff Andy rides in like a toaster, and with A.I. feeling, saves the day, despite the risk to his person, um, cabinet, uh, housing. Whatever, anyway, the two are blown back not quite to Kingdom Come, but near there, and Eureka is safe once again.
Sheriff Andy ends up riding his blender into the sunset, but not before helping Mayor Henry Deacon to reinstate Carter, who was terminated against the rules of Eureka’s charter. I’d like to see Sheriff Andy return to Eureka again. Deputy Lupo returns to duty, despite being unfairly bypassed by man and machine, and status quo is status in Eureka…EXCEPT that there is a signal coming from the outer limits in space, beyond the final frontier, and it’s headed straight for Eureka.
There are plans for yet another love interest for Carter in the person of Dr. Tess Fontana. It’s generally thought that Allison can’t have a love life while pregnant with her dead husband’s progeny. (Yes, she was really pregnant during the filming.) Stark is now a vampire on another network, so he won’t be coming back to Eureka this season. That wraps it up for this time, and my TV hometown is asleep in Warehouse 13 for another week.
Wait, wait, excuse me! If SARAH was targeting Sheriff Andy, and so no one else was in danger until after Fielding’s botched Mr. Fixit attempt, WHY DID THE TREES NEARLY GET ALLISON? Hellooooo, can anybody hear me? Hello?
(Note: All images contained in this post are screen captures)