Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eureka - "Crossing Over"

Jack (Colin Ferguson), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), and Henry (Joe Morton) stand in awe as Dr. Grant (James Callis) lets his magnetic personality shine through.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake

Season 4 - Episode 5
"Crossing Over"

With the cheekily named “Crossing Over,” we get back to our comfort zone where our characters are all involved in some way with the episode’s major plot, which plays directly into the season’s over-arching storyline.

Beyond its reference to the major plotline, the title of the episode is doubly relevant in this case, as we also get to enjoy a character crossover from an entirely separate show--‘Warehouse 13’.

Now, I haven’t previously watched any of Warehouse 13, but I did check out their Eureka crossover show, which aired the same week. I’ll just mention that “13.1” was an enjoyable episode, and that Warehouse 13 kind of strikes me as a less dark and “gritty” American ‘Torchwood.’ Or a modern, comedic X-Files... it fits somewhere in there. I loved the scene in “13.1” where Fargo and Claudia mod the laser cutter into a lightsaber, and proceed to kick ass, ‘Star Wars’ style. One thing I did miss, however, was some recognition on Fargo’s part on meeting Artie for the first time... since Saul Rubinek played Dr. Carl Carlson--a recurring (though not regular) character in Eureka’s first season. I thought they could have at least had a little beat in an early scene to tweak the long-time Eureka viewers.

Anyway, we’re here to talk about Eureka.
Despite the crossover angle, and Fargo’s major role in that, this episode is really more of a Dr. Grant episode. Maybe... Dr. Grant, then Henry, then Fargo in order of impact.

James Callis gets some great scenes in the first third of the show, first when he’s in Henry’s Garage listening to 70’s disco and dancing and singing along. The beat between him and Henry about his smoking and Henry’s asthma was just impeccably delivered. And seeing the 1940’s Dr. Grant making modern “street” gestures and saying “Off the Hook” was seriously funny.

Later, there’s a scene where he’s in his office, playing piano and smoking, a very lovingly 1930s/40s vibe, and Allison, of course, gives him grief over the cigarette. His perfectly delivered response is “It’s my last one, have a heart.” I have to tell you, I am just loving Callis as Dr. Grant.

The actual plot of the episode is fairly interesting, with things randomly appearing from the 1940s, and they handle it well, especially when Lupo gets “shot.” I have to think, though, that someone, somewhere eventually has to put two and two together... it’s not like any of them go to any great lengths to keep their conversations private when they’re talking about their time travel and the alterations to the timeline IN Cafe Diem, out in the streets, or walking through the halls of GD, just in a normal conversational tone... You can’t tell me that none of those hyper-competitive science nerds in Eureka are eavesdropping. It’s only a matter of time before someone catches on and calls them out.

Speaking of which, at least twice this episode Henry seemed moments away from telling Grace exactly what’s been going on. I’m sure sometime soon she’s going to learn what’s happened, and something’s going to hit some kind of fan somewhere.

The crossover aspect of the episode is more of a cutesy thing than anything, with Fargo crushing hard and that actually not backfiring on him. The best thing about the crossover, I suppose, is getting to see “geeky but down to earth” Claudia getting her first taste of Eureka, and we, the viewers, getting to see it through her eyes. This would, perhaps, have had more impact in an earlier season, since we have recently gotten to meet Eureka again ourselves, as if for the first time. Still, Claudia got to interact with the major characters, and get her hands dirty. Her presence wasn’t crucial to the plot though, which I suppose is both a bad and a good thing. She didn’t come in as a Mary Sue, but she could have helped a bit more to solve the dilemma. It might have also been interesting if she had picked up on some of the weird “we time traveled and changed the past” vibes, since the plot was directly tied in to it. It might have provided fuel from which to generate more future crossover episodes.

I was thinking that I’d hate to see Eureka dealing with more “mystical” artifacts, but since the first season dealt heavily with “THE artifact”--some nearly god-like hunk of matter from the big bang or something--I suppose it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Eurekans to deal with artifacts that are science... adjacent.

All in all, I liked this episode better than “The Story of O2,” and enjoyed the crossover, and the feeling of a more expansive universe that it provided. It would be nice, now that we know they share a universe, to see a little, occasional interplay between the two shows. Also, I may have to put Warehouse 13 in my queue to catch up on--it seems like a fun show that I’d enjoy.

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