This article may contain spoilers.
Helicopter parents were the theme of this episode with both Jack (Colin Ferguson) hovering over Zoe (Jordan Hinson) freaking her out at Harvard and Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) hovering over Kevin (Meshach Peters) and nearly killing everyone in the process.
Jack merely wanted to surprise Zoe at Harvard to reassure himself that she was the same Zoe as she was in the previous timeline. Other than a hair color change, she was. But being the same Zoe, she was rightfully suspicious of Jack's motives for suddenly showing up on her doorstep. Jack, to his credit, did not waiver nor did he reveal the alternate timeline debacle. So even as they circled around each other wondering what the other was thinking, it was reassuring to see that their relationship was intact.
Allison and Kevin, on the other hand, were not growing closer as Allison had hoped. This Kevin, in the alternate timeline, was independent and frustrated having his mom wanting to be involved in every aspect of his life. He just wanted to build his rocket in peace. But Allison, being way too over-protective, could not leave well enough alone and had to tinker with Kevin's rocket by adding TAP fluid to enhance the fuel propulsion. Not only was this added mixture detectable by the helpful Charles Grant (James Callis) who could tell the difference in the color flare behind Kevin's rocket, making it obvious that someone was cheating, but it also left behind a residue of excess self-replicating oxygen at the launch site that was creating a whole host of lethal problems.
The expanding oxygen cloud had intoxicated poor Zane (Niall Matter) who was blamed for OD'ing on a substance and crashing a $150 million hover craft motorcycle into the General's limo. It also killed a number of birds who went blind because of it and nearly incinerated Deputy Andy (Kavan Smith) whose arm caught on fire when he tried to use his cellphone. As if all that was not enough, the oxygen cloud was a ticking time bomb for the returning rockets. Once one of the rockets returned, igniting the oxygen cloud, all of Eureka would be consumed by the explosion.
So while Jack's good intentions of spying on Zoe only resulted in an invisible cat that they remedied by giving kitty a bath, Allison's short-sighted motherly intentions nearly destroyed the entire town.
This was definitely an episode highlighting the problems with helicopter parents and how their good intensions can back-fire. Fortunately, Zoe was not too offended by Jack's spying charade and Kevin was able to remedy Allison's deadly error. Parents need to learn to back off and trust their kids -- especially kids as smart as Kevin and Zoe! Thus, this was a case where over-protective parents do more harm than good.
This was the Jo (Erica Cerra) and Zane episode that everyone had been hoping for. It finally addressed what their relationship is like now that only she remembers that they were on the verge of getting married. Zane may not remember loving Jo, but he still seems to feel a residual echo of that love. They are still magnetically drawn to each other and the dance of attraction is palpable. Zane may not understand it, but he cannot resist it either. Their lives are intertwined no matter what timeline they are living in.
As Zane noted, the former Jo was constantly busting him for his out-of-control behavior, but it was never anything serious. But this time, with the threat of return to federal prison hanging over him, Jo could not just willingly hand him over. Zane quizzically asked, "I don't get it. You love busting me. You've busted me tons of times. Why do you give a crap now?" To which Jo wearily replied, "Because you don't have to be that guy -- and this time they are sending your sorry ass back to prison." Not sure why she should suddenly care, Zane gently said, "Lupo, you're wasting your time." But Jo, because she loves him, could not face the idea of him in prison and offered him his freedom. She was clearly devastated when he took it, yet was relieved to find that he could not go through with it. So when she asked him, "What changed your mind," he could only say with surprise, "I don't know. Nobody's ever stuck their neck out for me before."
Perhaps it is this belief in him that will bring them back to the point that Jo wishes for more than anything: bringing back the Zane she knew and loves. One such small sign that her wish may come true was when Zane inadvertently called her Jo-Jo. This is what her Zane used to call her. Perhaps the universe is slowly finding a way to remedy the wrongs created by the divergent timeline.
Another fun aspect of the episode was the cloaking mist aka "Match Mist" that rendered Zoe's cat invisible. Normally, in the world of Eureka, if there was something as fun as invisibility spray, it would have involved a human being. To have it inadvertently used on Zoe's super-aggressive science project was just good comedy.
Last but not least, Jamie Kennedy's guest-starring appearance was nicely done. He did not overshadow the role and fit in beautiful in the wacky world of Eureka and its array of mildly mad scientists. His exchange with General Mansfield (Barclay Hope) was hysterical when the General asked, "Dr. Ramsey, what would possess you to create something so potentially catastrophic?" and he responded, "Man, don't blame the TAP, it's harmless on Earth." As Henry further explained, "To be activated, it would have to be radiated somehow with a very specific wavelength." To which Dr. Ramsey happily exclaimed, "And until then -- harmless!"
What Didn't Work
As smart as it may seem to have renamed Dr. Trevor Grant as Dr. Charles Grant so that no one will catch on that he is the same man, it is a tad confusing for those of us trying to keep track of everyone.
Another switch that was startling was meeting the new Deputy Andy as played by Kavan Smith. While robots can be re-skinned to look like anyone, Ty Olsson really owned the role of Deputy Andy and it is hard to adjust to another actor in that role.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"The Story of O2" was teleplay by Eric Tuchman and story by Jill Blotevogel and directed by Colin Ferguson. "Eureka" stars Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston, Chris Gauthier and Niall Matter. "Eureka" airs Fridays at 9:00 pm on Syfy.
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