From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Eureka: “You Don’t Know Jack”

It’s just another Friday in Eureka? Sure, if it’s Groundhog Day.

Eureka presents viewers with their first (and hopefully last) flashback show. It is under the guise of some contraption that somehow takes your spoken memories and projects a visual interpretation. Like a clip show.

The other half of the “You Don’t Know Jack” storyline is some contagious amnesia going around GD. Folks are forgetting stuff (hence amnesia, I know). Is this about the duality of memory? Forgetting and remembering? Meanwhile, GD is about to undergo a sonic cleaning, which will purify and reduce to sub-atomic matter anything organic. Like people. So, that’s a problem if anyone gets stuck in GD just before the cleaning. Hmm, a telegraphed plot development.

Sigh.

Is this episode really necessary?

Flashback shows are lazy. Even well done clip shows (which are never that well done), which is what this is, generally lack narrative punch. Even with the memory loss stuff, “You Don’t Know Jack” is the equivalent of getting lost in the woods, and reminiscing while waiting for rescue. At least when Clerks: The Animated Series did a clip show they had the grace to do it in their second episode and show just how absurd clip shows really are.

Right now I really wish the Eureka writer’s blog was still running because I would love to get more behind the scenes look at how and why some episodes came to be. That product placement episode back in Season Two? They’ve got commentary. We could use some explanation for this mess.

The best thing about this episode is getting Nathan Stark flashbacks. Eureka needs more Nathan Stark (yes, yes, he’s dead). Ed Quinn is awesome.

There are other things going on in this episode, namely that Alison Blake goes into labor and gives birth to a daughter, but the fact of the matter is that “You Don’t Know Jack” is only half an episode. I want my other half back. My only hope is that this was done as a cost-savings move so that a future episode (the finale in a couple weeks, maybe?) will be extra awesome and special-effectsy. One can hope, because this was kind of lame. Jack’s love will save them all?!!? Aaaargh.

One final question. What happened to Kevin? Why does he not show up? Alison has talked about being a single parent this season, but you’d think the kid would make an appearance sometime.

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

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