EPISODE REVIEW: Eureka: “Have an Ice Day” (Season 3, Episode 17)

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Welcome back to the Eureka reviews after a nice week long furlough (sorry, I’m from California, we’ve been hearing that word a lot lately), apparently so that SyFy could run a rather strange Eureka marathon last week as the opening for their “I can’t believe we got paid to make this crap” B movie labor day marathon. This week marks the absence of Alison as she leaves Tess in charge of GD while she goes on maternity leave, as well as the return of one of Eureka’s more colorful characters, *jumps for joy* Taggart (sorry I’ve enjoyed Matt Frewer’s work since I used to watch him on Max Headroom as a kid).

PLAY BY PLAY

We open with Alison checking on Tess during Tess’ first day as head of GD, with Alison having issues letting go of the reins. We then cut to the Carter household with Zoe studying colleges after taking the SCAT (Student Career Assessment Test) talking about wanting to be a doctor. Zoe brings up Jack’s and Tess’ relationship and offers to leave the house if he wants to have Tess stay overnight; to which Jack tries to avoid having that particular conversation with his daughter. We move on to Jack and Joe doing traffic control to block the road for a special transport to GD, where we find out that Zane has been gone for a month doing something for GD and Joe can’t wait for him to get back. The show then cuts to Zoe and Lucas in Café Diem opening Zoe’s SCAT test scores and she finds that according to the SCAT (which is apparently 99.8% accurate) she should go into robotics. Zoe dismisses this idea calling it a stupid test. Returning to GD we find Zane’s homecoming to be rather rocky with him giving Joe the cold shoulder and Tess calls in Carter to provide security for a huge ice core. And we get a cute scene with Tess explaining the ice core to Jack. She then mentions that the team leader should be showing up soon to give Carter the low down on necessary security and we find that the team leader is in fact Taggart.

We return to Taggart giving everyone a hearty hello except for Joe where there seems to be some lingering awkwardness regarding the past relationship. Zane shows up wearing a specialized cold weather gear called Petro-tek which also is used in the GD building and all the buildings in town. We also find that the ice core was pulled out of Russian territory and thus needs to be signed off by a Russian authority that is visiting GD. We meet the Commissar and he tells Jack and Tess that before he can sign off, releasing responsibility for the ice core he needs to review a list of security information. We move to Café Diem where Taggart is holding court describing his time on the Artic when Joe enters. Taggart breaks off his story telling and he and Joe talk about some unfinished business they have (Taggart’s leaving without saying goodbye, Joe and Zane getting closer right before Taggart left) and Taggart gives Joe a kiss on the cheek saying it’s good to see her, after which Joe notices that Zane was watching from the bar and tries to explain but is brushed off rather coldly. Moving on to the Sheriffs office we see Joe and Jack talking about the Russian Commissar needing information about Eureka’s various disaster plans including “genetically modified super intelligent ferret infestation”. Jack continues to rant about the disaster plans; including something called an “Emergency Pneumatic Vacuum Tube Communication System” which he thinks doesn’t exist until Joe shows him it behind a picture of former President Bush. Jack notices that Joe isn’t doing so well and asks what’s bothering her to which she tells him about Zane’s behavior. We cut to the ice core and see Zane watching Taggart taking measurements and slinking around rather suspiciously. We then move on to Jack presenting the security data to the Commissar to which the Commissar responds that he also needs exact measurements of the ice core based on using a three foot folding ruler (it needing to be done the old school way). Carter enters the ice core room which suspiciously has much more ice in it, looking for Taggart and finds him frozen in a block of ice.

We return to the GD infirmary where they’ve managed to thaw Taggart who describes the ice as attacking him. Carter wonders if there might something wrong with the cooling system. Back at Café Diem Lucas give Zoe a robotics kit because he doesn’t want her to miss some that she might be good at. While investigating in the ice in the ice core room, Carter comes across some of the ice having “black streaks” in it. We find out that Zane says the refrigeration units are working fine and there is nothing wrong with them. We return to the Sheriff’s office where Taggart apologizes to Joe about the way he left and tells her that he would like to remain friends. He then talks to Joe and Jack about the black streaks in the ice being malformed ice crystals that are caused by extremely fast growth and that the ice is still spreading. Jack rushes into Tess’ office and tells her that the ice is spreading just in time for them to watch the GD rotunda into an ice rink.

We return to the Commissar giving Tess and Jack gifts but refusing to sign the release because they obviously don’t have enough security or disaster plans in place to keep the ice core safe as evidenced by ice all over GD. Taggart is subjected to a tirade by Tess regarding the lack of positive outlook concerning the growing ice. As Taggart leaves Jack realizes that Zane is the only one not working toward a solution and decides to talk to him. We return to Zoe and Lucas at Café Diem where Zoe is having trouble putting together the robot kit Lucas gave her and she gets him to admit that part of the reason he’s pushing her is because he would like her to go with him to MIT. At GD, Jack and Joe confront Zane as he makes himself a cup of coffee to which blows them off and Joe tells Jack the Zane is not the same person and Jack realizes that Zane managed to freeze a cup of coffee frozen solid in a matter of seconds. They run after him and find him collapsed and freezing cold on the floor.

We once again return to the GD infirmary, and we find that Zane had ice crystals inside is body including his limbic system causing his shift in personality. Tess and Jack try to figure out where the problem is coming from and Jack wonders if the problem isn’t the cooling units but rather the ice core itself. Taggart finds a fungi and Carter confronts the Commissar about the reason he’s dragging his feet to sign the paper releasing the core to GD so that he can continue his vacation instead of going back to a “town full of crazy scientists” in an area full of “ice, snow and more ice”. We return to the infirmary where Zane starts acting more normally and he and Joe make up and Zane decides to help Taggart figure out what’s wrong. Zane and Taggart start working on the ice core and Taggart is trying to unsuccessfully keep Tess in a positive frame of mind. Jack then realizes that the difference between Taggart and Zane was Zane Petro-tek jumpsuit. We find out that the Petro-tek acts as a fertilizer for the fungi which acts as a conductor for the ice. At this point the building starts to shake stressing the structural instability the ice has created for GD. Jack brings up that the rest of the town is Preto-tek and Zane mentions that even the roads are infused with it. At which point Jack gets a call from Zoe and Café Diem saying that the walls are icing up and it’s getting colder.

We return to everyone in Tess’ office with Taggart and Zane having come up with a solution. The problem being that the solution is a fungicide that will only work if the fungi doesn’t mutate too much (unfortunately it has a rapid mutation cycle) and there’s no way to get the fungicide to all the buildings in time. Jack comes up with the idea to use the earlier mentioned Emergency Pneumatic Vacuum Tube Communication System to transport an aerosol version of the fungicide to every building in town. Taggart takes Carter on a dogsled into town to rescue Zoe and the other people at Café Diem. At Café Diem, Vincent is trying to cut their way out through the ice with a butane crème brulee torch and Zoe and Lucas take stock of their chances. Back at GD; Zane and Tess have started pumping the fungicide through the vacuum tubes. Taggart and Jack show up at Café Diem and find it deserted until Jack checks the walk in frig which was where Zoe had everyone go to stay warm since its regulated temperature was higher than the temperature in the rest of the restaurant. Jack locates Vincent’s vacuum tube outlet and the fungicide kills the fungi and miraculously melts the all the ice. We return to Café Diem that evening and Joe has order Zane soup and hot tea to make sure he gets better. Zane and Joe finish making up and Zane and Taggart call a truce. Zoe manages to get the robot to work but Lucas tells her that she is going to go to Med school because that was what her instincts told her she should do just like her instincts told her that they should hide in the refrigerator. Jack and Tess finish dinner at his house and she mentions that she should get back to work. As they are kissing good night Zoe walks in and averts her eyes, grabs something and mentions that she’s spending the night with a friend and that they should have fun. Tess reconsiders heading back to work and she and Jack curl up watching the fireplace as the closing credits roll.

OBSERVATIONS

-All in all this was really a standard Eureka episode, really it’s introduce new project that will go wrong, introduce new technology that will help it go wrong, introduce new technology that will help fix problem, Carter puts pieces together, smart people solve problem, rinse and repeat

-But being a standard episode it was still pretty good just don’t ask me how a fungus becomes a super conductor for ice crystals

-I have to say that I really like the Tess character especially when she gets high strung and takes a strip off Taggart

-I rather liked the Taggart/Tess thing that was going on. He’s all trying to keep her in a positive frame of mind and she’s acting all “we’re all doomed!”

-I really hope they bring Frewer back some more episodes because the Taggart character is so over the top

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