From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Eureka: “Insane in the P-Brain”

Welcome to the weekly glimpse into the weirdness that is a town called Eureka. This week Allison Blake asks Carter to talk to one of her scientists who is obsessed with his new discovery: almost-proof of the spirit realm. Scientist-Guy makes a nuisance of himself and it is affecting a project Allison would rather not have anything distracting. An incident at Café Diem suggests that there might be something to Scientist-Guy’s theory. Further ghostly incidents cause Carter (and others) to accept that something weird is happening. In Eureka? No!!!

Yes.

In other news, Lexi Carter’s baby daddy shows up in Eureka wanting to get back together. Because she’s wearing some hyper-technological shirt that hides her advanced pregnancy (it’s crazy effective – it makes her tummy completely flat), the guy doesn’t know she’s pregnant and Lexi doesn’t want to tell him.

In yet other news, Allison Blake invited a former colleague of hers to work on a highly secret project. It’s so secretive that only four people know of it and Carter isn’t one of them. At least not at first. Carter figures stuff out by the end of the episode. He’s not a Eureka-level genius, but he is smart.

The big revelation of the episode (and it occurs in the first half of the episode, so it’s not a spoiler), is that Allison Blake reopened Section 5. That would be the crazy section where all the research that caused the first season’s problems took place, the one where they studied the artifact. Yeah, that’s open again. That just seems like a bad idea. Note to scientists and the government: I know that inherently knowledge isn’t bad and the perceived gains of research are a benefit to national security and can make piles of money, but when one particular section is the cause of all sorts of problems – you don’t reopen that section. It never ends well.

Here’s the kick of the episode: Something happens to Carter and Tess (Allison’s friend) and it isn’t obvious at first exactly how or what, but they end up in some alternate plane of existence that looks just like GD but nobody can see them. Carter thinks they might be dead. They spend the rest of the episode trying to get back.

Ya know, it’s good. The character interaction between Carter and the crazy-smart but nervously chatty Tess is excellent. Tess is a great addition to the cast and if she sticks around, she could really work out (in a way that Robocop from the previous episode never would have). Getting the focus back on Carter and how he interacts with various characters is the soul of this show.

This is the sort of episode that folks watch Eureka for: filled with snappy dialogue and great character moments. It’s Carter-Centric and even though we don’t care about the “ghosts” at the beginning of the episode, we care very much about Carter and we begin to care about Tess when we see her interact with Carter.

Actually, I wonder if that isn’t part of how Eureka works. On their own any one of the characters is sorta-kinda interesting and compelling, but only when they share the screen with Carter do they really shine. Even the best characters (Jo Lupo, Allison Blake, Henry Deacon, and Nathan Stark) are BETTER when they are with Carter. This suggests just how good Colin Fergueson is in his role as Jack Carter. Not that Erica Cerra, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Joe Morton, and Ed Quinn don’t nail their roles on their own, but with Carter, everyone is better.

Joe Sherry lives near Minneapolis. He blogs at Adventures in Reading.

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