Thank you, SyFy, for making Mondays something to look forward to! My husband has completely stopped watching Warehouse 13 and hasn’t started watching Alphas, but it’s still a joy to share Eureka with him.. and we got to squee geekily together, which is always a great thing. However, this week’s episodes of all three were a bit on the serious side (though the Eureka version of serious is never actually THAT serious).
Eureka Episode 412: Reprise
Ahh.. now we get down to the good stuff. In some ways last week’s episode of Eureka was a bridge between Seasons 4 and 4.5. The alternate timeline story arc, though lurking, was largely untouched and a new potential story arc isn’t introduced until the very end of the last episode. I have not been staying apprised of too much Eureka news, so I don’t know how many episodes Senator Wen will appear in, but congressional oversight has always been a potential threat (or boon) to Eureka.
This week we finally are graced with the delightful presence of Felicia Day! She plays Dr. Holly Marten, a giddy and socially awkward super genius sent by Wen to check up on the FTL drive that had its first successful deployment last week. But, as usual, something is a little bit off about the citizens of Eureka. Though the cause of the town’s current trouble was immediately obvious, it was still adorable (yes, I just called a scientific fluke adorable). Basically, a neural linguistic “hypnotism” type program encoded onto Holly’s iPod infects the entire Eureka system and causes people to act out on the music (Fargo listens to “Eye of the Tiger” and decides to destroy Holly, Zane listens to “Burning down the House” and.. well.. burns down Jo’s house). All of their actions play on deep seated emotions, so we get an amplification of how these people already feel about something. There’s also the added danger of a stasis field created by Henry and his wife in order to “stop the world and melt with you” (great soundtrack, by the way).
The most heartwarming translation of the neurolinguistic hypnotism is Kevin listening to “Bad Boys” and becoming a crime solving bad ass (plus car thief) in order to reconnect with Carter, who has always been somewhat of a father figure. My favorite part of the new timeline is that Kevin isn’t autistic. They never really dealt with it properly in the first place and the show is better off for still having a teenager to keep everyone on their toes.
The worrisome part of third episode is Allison’s storyline – on a trip to a medical conference she seemingly has an encounter with a car accident victim. She is able to help save him and comes away feeling satisfaction for using her skills as a doctor, but what she doesn’t know is that it’s all in her head. The entire scenario is concocted by Eureka’s old arch-nemesis Beverly and due to the injection of memory controlling nanites implanted in her brain. Who knows what their purpose is or the long term effects, but expect to see more of this. Plus, now we know that this secret organization that at one time was seeking the artifact is still in operation. They didn’t give up after their failure last season to steal the bridge device. Which is good, because Eureka has always suffered from a lack of long term thinking.
All in all a much stronger episode than last week. The narrative was a little bit tighter, but there were fewer laugh out loud moments. Eureka was definitely trying to strike a more serious tone and the best part of all? Jo and Zane are back together! Yay!
Warehouse 13 Episode 3.2: Trials
Apparently it’s “Let’s get serious” week on SyFy. Warehouse 13 followed the dark and worrisome conclusion of Eureka with their own take on exposing characters deeper emotions. Myka’s departure was due to her own emotional ordeal, but what did Pete really feel about it all? And now that there’s another new pro-agent, does Claudia think she is worthy of being an agent at all?
It appears the secret evil organization revealed last week is on hiatus, which means that Warehouse 13 gets to spend the week exploring people doing the wrong things for the right reasons. Myka and Pete are on the case of an artifact that destroys peoples memories. A pilot forgets how to fly and a neurosurgeon forgets how to operate, but their memories erode through the ages, from adulthood to childhood, until their body eventually forgets how to function. Pete is, of course, a victim of the artifact, but this gives Myka the opportunity to discover Pete’s issues of abandonment and to affirm her own ability to function as a capable agent. It was sweet seeing Pete acting childlike on one hand, but what kid automatically trusts complete strangers and spills their guts to that extent? Not one. It was a good case though, that dealt with questions of who forms the truth in our media driven world.
Meanwhile, Claudia and Jinks are hunting down a cleaver, owned by Typhoid Mary, that transfers illness. Claudia is highly aware of her status as agent in charge and makes a huge deal of it, but only because she desperately wants to prove herself to Artie (and probably to Jinks, the more experienced law enforcement agent). Things don’t go smoothly, of course, and she soon discovers that Artie is keeping tabs on her, but his pride is obvious and he soon leaves them to let them handle things on their own. Claudia solves the case with her usual ingenuity and Jinks discovers that things aren’t all black and white. That and we find out that Jinks is gay.
First, mad props to Warehouse 13 for having a gay character, second, for not having a stereotypical hollywood gay character, and third, for not creating another potentially romantic duo like Pete and Myka. I was totally expecting it and they slapped that outta there. I still expect a fun partnership, but it won’t be one that relies on the moonlighting style snark of the other pair. Thank the gods. Plus, I’m still hoping the geek spy from last season comes back, or that Claudia hooks up with Fargo. Both would make me exceedingly giddy.
Alphas Episode 2: Cause and Effect
It always cracks me up when sets change to something fancier right after getting picked up for full seasons (the episode after the pilot). Though they give a totally valid reason for it, it was still a bit disappointing that the Alphas would no longer appear like a low-budget, not obviously paid for by the government, group of super powered people in need of therapy. They also added a new character, since the old Agent in charge obviously failed to appease screen test audiences (and apparently got another job). This is likewise disappointing, because I liked Agent Wilson’s aloof, you-Alphas-are-a-pain-in-my-ass-and-babysitting-you-sucks, attitude.
This week we learn a ton more about Dr. Rosen’s role in the government oversight of Alphas scenario – he is tasked with the difficult job of deciding which Alphas are a danger to themselves or society. He obviously feels guilty about having to do this and a past decision comes back to haunt him. Marcus Ayers is an Alpha who has the ability to predict the future and to manipulate that future. Think of him as both the chaos engine who tells you where the hurricane will be after a butterfly flaps its wings AND the butterfly itself. This makes him what should be a completely insurmountable foe and his delusions of persecution mean he’s pretty much a psychopath (after all, if you can predict a conclusion that leads to your incarceration, then a seemingly innocuous event was obviously designed to lead you there, even if the other person doesn’t realize it).
Luckily Marcus ia just trying to reveal that Dr. Rosen has been complicit in the evils that are being done to Alphas at Brighington (something like that, or “the compound” as Nina calls it). This institution is where they send the broken Alphas, those discovered by the sytem and found to be a danger. It is supposed to be a place where Alphas are helped, but something much darker is occurring and Marcus is sure it is the first stage in a war upon those with abilities (he’s a bit of a Magneto to Rosen’s Professor X). And yes, these characters are falling into familiar superhero paradigms, but they’re genuine enough that it’s more like reading Alan Moore comics than it is watching the X-Men movies. This is not an explosive show even when explosive action is happening. Alphas big risk will be in the subtle character study, like when Rosen tells Cameron that his power is similar to Marcus and when Marcus gives him a quietly worried look, Dr. Rosen adds the caveat, “but not the same.” And Bill’s first concern at the new office is security. These are not exaggerated characters, they are composed of seemingly casual glances and carefully constructed gestures. The cast is doing a superb job making themselves relateable and understandable so I really hope that aspect of the show isn’t lost in tthe quest for big action and excitement.
There isn’t a lot of character development this week, but that’s because, for now, Alphas is making the viewer work for it. My concern is that we’ll eventually end up with episodes dedicated to one or another of the characters so that we learn all about them at once. I don’t want that. Life isn’t composed of single events, it’s composed of moments and, so far, Alphas is all about the moments.