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'Eureka' - The Ex-Files

Therapy should not actually conjure hallucinations of ex's and drive one insane

This article may contain spoilers.

Feeling a bit reminiscent of a M. Night Shyamalan story, this weeks episode allowed each of our Eurekians to delve deep into their psyche and face their deepest insecurities. For Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), his deep dark secret insecurity was admitting that he has been in love with Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) since the moment he first met her 4 years ago. Though I do not get how that is an insecurity, one has to admire a man who has harbored a torch for so long.

For Allison Blake, her insecurity was more of a fear, as she worried that every man she loved died an untimely death. Given that Jack is in such a high risk occupation, this seemed more reasonable.

For Jo (Erica Cerra), her fear was that she never really loved Zane (Niall Matter). This felt crazy as clearly she is head over heels for him.

Fargo (Neil Grayston) was tormented by the idea that he would never be able to stand up for himself. It was certainly nice that he did.

And for Charles Grant (James Callis), he feared that his creation had been subverted by his worst fear: the government was using science he helped create to only design weapons.

Despite the hiccup of having Grace (Tembi Locke) and Henrys (Joe Morton) neural device that they were using to share memories amplified and causing hallucinations for everyone, it was an interesting look at all the raging emotions boiling beneath the surface. It was time for everyone to face their fears -- and it was humorously done as each of them was haunted by someone from their past.

It also allowed them to be distracted to such a degree that they did not realize that a highly dangerous device was being stolen right out from under their noses. Between the ghost hallucinations and things disintegrating around them, no one quite foresaw that the DED device was the ultimate prize.

So it was a nice turn of events to find out that the goal was not to further everyones self-journeys this week, but that the B-story was actually the A-story. Just what is the nefarious Beverly Barlowe (Debrah Farentino) up to this time? Surely transporting Charles Grant back to 1947 is not the entire end game. There must be another deep, dark secret lurking beneath that seemingly altruistic motive.

What Worked

The theme of new beginnings resonated loudly in this episode. Up until this point Jack, Allison, Henry, Jo and Fargo were only trying to fit in to the alternate timeline. This was the episode where they actually embraced their new lives. Henry and Grace are giving life as a married couple a chance. Jack and Allison have started dating. Fargo is not pretending to be the boss and is now starting to BE the boss of Global Dynamics. And Jo is letting go of the life she lost.

As for Charles, he is still a man trapped out of time. He is not quite willing to embrace his new life. He does not want to be Charles Grant, the librarian at G.D. He wants to be Trevor Grant, world-renown scientist in 1947. Perhaps losing Allison to Jack has untethered him and he is searching for a way back; thus, presenting Beverly Barlowe with the perfect opportunity to manipulate him into aiding in her treachery.

So, in this time of new beginnings, we have the couples, Jack and Allison and Henry and Grace, Fargo in charge, Jo silent on the sidelines, and Grant hovering wondering where the hell he has landed.

It was also the perfect time for a few ghosts from the past to surface to address the lurking fears and insecurities. The return of Tess Fontana (Jaime Ray Newman) and Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) was inspired. Nathans opening line, Hey, Carter, miss me was perfect. As Jack stammered, "You're undead, and Nathan calmly responded, "No, not a vampire," it was a nice nod to Ed Quinns work on "True Blood."

It was then deliciously followed by the scene where Jack and Allison are at Cafe Diem and Vincent (Chris Gauthier) asked, "What can I get you two?" and Jack incredulously asked, "Two? Do you see anyone sitting there?" To which Allison cautiously replied, "I see Tess sitting there, what do you see?" The discovery that both had been hallucinating their exs was priceless! It fooled the audience as much as it fooled them and it was a delight to discover.

Plus, the "Battlestar Galactica" shout-out was nicely done too when Charles said that he had been seeing a tall leggy blonde in a slinky red dress. The entire episode felt like a funny scene right out of the BSG verse.

In addition to the ghosts from relationships past, it was quite a treat to see the gang all together for a casual BBQ at Grace and Henrys house. It was nice to see everyone kicking back and having a nice time together for a change opposed to only seeing them all together in times of crisis.

While the hallucinations of Tess and Nathan were playful and fun, it was remarkably spine-tingling watching the scenes between Jo and the ghost of Zane past. Unlike with Tess (who had moved away) and Nathan (who had vanished into the ether), Zane was someone still very much present in Jos life. So when ghost-Zane first appeared, we were just as confused as Jo. It was a brilliant portrayal by Niall Matter who could shift flawlessly between old-Zane, new-Zane and ghost-Zane. So when Jo had finally had enough and threw the engagement ring at him, his bewildered, "What are you doing with my grandmother's ring, Jo?" that moment felt all that much more poignant.

Another nice touch in this episode was a deft performance by Kavan Smith as Deputy Andy. His use of physical comedy was pitch-perfect and not as over the top as prior episodes. In fact, this was the first time since they changed actors that the integration felt flawless. Thus, when Jack quipped, "That never stops being creepy," as Andy shut down, it felt natural as well as funny.

What Didn't Work

Given how smart and clever as Dr. Grant is, it was hard to believe that he was so easily duped by Beverly Barlowe. She only had to ply him with rhetoric that he used to be a part of a group that served as the watchdogs working to control scientific developments - anything to prevent another tragedy like what happened in 1945 when nuclear weapons were invented. Thus, when Beverly persuaded him that the directed EMP device (DED) (a satellite based electro-magnetic pulse ray which eradicates all electronic devices within a 1,000 mile radius capable of sending an entire country back to the Stone Age) is a weapon of domination, Charles should not have believed her. As they kept reminding us, the DED is not a weapon, it is a defensive counter-weapon in case of electrical attack. It is only an electro-magnetic flux generator. Charles should have known that. Plus, why wouldnt Charles have trusted the people who have protected him thus far and who befriended him and not asked them about Beverly Barlowe?

As everyone was experiencing hallucinations, Charles should have explored the possibility that Beverly was a hallucination too. After all, she was preying on his fears that he had become a "nobody" -- irrelevant.

The final reveal that they needed the DED as a power source to go with the rebuilt Bridge device and with Beverly saying, "This is your chance to change the world. We're sending you home" -- that was also too good to be true. She was offering him a dream come true, to not just be the librarian living in a magical world, but to go back and make the world as he envisioned it. She was once again merely preying on human frailties and fears. Charles should not fall for this obvious political manipulation.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

"The Ex-Files" was written by Amy Berg and directed by Chris Fisher. "Eureka" stars Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra, Neil Grayston, Chris Gauthier, Niall Matter, and Trevor Jackson.

"Eureka" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

About the Author

Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer for Airlock Alpha, writing the column 'The TV Watchtower' and lives in Los Angeles. She loves science-fiction and is addicted to sci-fi films and television shows and attends as many conventions as her busy work schedule will allow.
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