EPISODE REVIEW: Eureka: “The Ex Files” (Season 4, Episode 8)

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Last time, as you’ll recall, the Space Family Robinson had traveled through time to the year 1948, where they were mistaken for aliens by the local rednecks. However, as that was another show, and had nothing to do with the time travel incident that kicked off this season of Eureka, we’ll ignore it. Also, it took place a year afterwards.

Meanwhile, in the actual show this review is about, Baltar meets with a returning character from season 1, who informs him there’s a top secret pacifist cabal of scientists and scientist-related people (Canadian hookers and that guy in the quartermaster corps who purchases test tubes in gross, mostly) who are attempting to make the world a better place by doing stuff that probably would have seemed sensible in the ‘80s, but is hopelessly dated and goofy now. In essence, they’re afraid of Nuclear War (Yawn) and that a defensive weapon’s race will bring it about. Whatever. These hippies are worried about an EMP cannon that GD is developing. The chick from season 1 claims to be the daughter of Baltar’s right hand man in 1947, who coincidentally turns out to be the guy Allison jumpstarted back in the past, though I’m pretty sure that guy was actually enlisted, so this doesn’t make much sense. Still, as Baltar started the hippie peacenik cabal back in the day, he rolls with it.

The EMP Cannon test goes off without a hitch, though they need something to pad out act 1, therefore Fargo gets hurt. Then they all go to a barbeque at Henry’s house, where Jo lets her hair down. Literally. This is pretty much the only time I’ve seen it out of a ponytail, excepting her occasional shower scenes. Just felt I should remark on that. Henry and the new Mrs. Henry have hooked up some kind of telepathic doubletalk device that allows them to share memories from their respective timelines and thereby speed the “Getting to know you” phase of their relationship.

Predictably, this goes screwy, and the rest of the cast start hallucinating various irritating people: Fargo is haunted by a little girl who bullied him in sixth grade, Jo is haunted by a creepy romance novel version of Zane, Jack is haunted by Stark, and Allison is haunted by Tess. Baltar is haunted by his long-dead best friend, the guy Allison jumpstarted back in ‘47, though when asked about it he claims he’s seeing “A tall leggy blonde in a slinky red dress.”

Hey, whaddya’ know: an in-joke that was actually pretty funny, appropriate, and didn’t talk down to the audience! Wow!

Meanwhile, stuff is getting all ‘splodey over town: a bridge collapses, Deputy Andy gets maimed again, Henry’s garage partially collapses, Jack’s jeep goes blooey. Unlike most episodes of Eureka, the mystery surrounding this is actually pretty mysterious, and watching Jack work it out is actually pretty fun. Unfortunately, he’s too late to foil the plot, and the EMP cannon is stolen by persons unknown.

Excepting to Baltar, who realizes he’s been a patsy. He confronts the returning chick from season 1, who tells him they wanted the EMP dealiewhacker for its power source, which they intend to use to send him back to the past with his knowledge of the future so as to change stuff.

THE END

At first I was annoyed by the hippie group, and Baltar’s reaction to it, particularly as it made no real sense. But as the episode progressed I realized that this was largely a reaction to his own fears from the early cold war, and not anything realistic, or even current. It’s clever that they never actually drew a bead on this one to point it out, but let it emerge naturally from the story. This is consistent with the theme of the ghosts representing some irrational fear:

Baltar fears a future threat that is already past, and never happened anyway.
Jack fears confessing his feelings to Allison for fear that she’ll reject him for someone who’s a better match.
Allison fears that Jack will die since both her previous loves have.
Jo fears her romantic past with Zane that never really happened anyway, but was mostly a product of her own mind that she couldn’t hope to live up to.
Fargo fears his basic social and authoritative impotence.

Once these issues are resolved - mostly - the ghosts disappear. This is an oooooooold saw that has been used a lot. Just off the top of my head, I’m gonna’ pick “The Restless Spirit” episode of Space: 1999 (Gosh, I do hope we start reviewing that show again soon) in which Koenig has to face his fears over abandoning some friends to die on a pre-Alpha mission. Yawn. Yeah.

The narrated intro to the series follows a basic format, but changes a bit with every episode to include developments in the arc.

With them talking about sending Baltar to his own time, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s an actual cast member now, or if he was just an arc character, much like Tess, who’s on hand for a specific purpose, and not an ongoing thing. I hope not, as I really like the new reality and the spins they’ve spun on the characters. I don’t really want it going back to the generally stupid status quo. Basically there were a whole lot of actions in this ep that will have significant repercussions, and I really hate the idea that the show might just sidestep them all by fixing history.

Speaking of Baltar, this is the first episode where Callis’ accent hasn’t bothered me at all. In fact, I didn’t even notice it.

Zoe is still in town, and still dating Zane. Jo accidentally confessed her once-and-former love to Zane, and gave him his grandmother’s ring back, which confused him quite a bit. I’m assuming we’ll be seeing more of this.

Am I out of line in saying that Zoe has never really appealed to me, and I’ve never really gotten what it is that everyone else has always seen in her?

I have actually really missed the back-and-forth between Stark and Jack. Jack did too, apparently. I liked his line about how even though Stark was his nemesis and a pain in the ass, he misses the guy.

Next ep - two weeks from now - is allegedly the Season Finale. Presumably this is just the Summer Finale, as the series was signed for 22 episodes this year, rather than their normal ridiculously low number. (What are we, English?) What I don’t get is why they’re breaking the season in half at episode 9, rather than a more logical 11. Presumably that’s got something to do with the nature of next week’s episode, which I’m guessing will be a cliffhanger.

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