EPISODE REVIEW: Eureka: "This One Time In Space Camp" (Season 4, Episode 18)

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It is six weeks before Astraeus takes off for Titan and the trip’s aspiring crew members need to pass one more hurdle before the final list is done. Senator Wen heads a panel that interviews each aspirant separately, asking a variation of the question “What makes you want to go to Titan so bad that you are willing to let us use a brain interface that lets us watch your deepest memories?”

We catch glimpses of some of the characters’ younger selves, notably a 5th-grader Zane committing his first felony and a tomboyish Jo trying to keep up with three brothers. Fargo and Parrish hilariously share the same memory at space camp, with both depicting the same version of an egotistic bullying Parrish.

Meanwhile, Warren Hughes (Wallace Shawn) is back, this time promoted to a supervisory position at the DoD. A mere two weeks (in the Eureka timeline) after he recommended that Allison and Carter terminate their “intimate alliance” because it will potentially interfere with their respective jobs in Eureka, he has been sent back to hear their appeal of his own ruling. He uses the aforementioned brain interface (they call it a bio-cortex or neuro recorder) to capture and record Carter’s and Allison’s memories that are supposed to help their case for his review.

(As an aside, if I am ever going to head a supersecret research facility populated by practically unsupervised geniuses, there will be three big rules: 1) everything has to have multiple system redundancies instead of one centralized control panel that can easily be incapacitated, 2) all experimental electronic systems have to be impervious to liquids, and 3) everything can be remotely turned off. I know this will effectively kill off 99% of all the potential plots in the show, but I won’t be threatening to destroy the world or kill half the residents of the town every other week. Now back to the review.)

An accident involving coffee and the brain interface zaps Warren which allows him to (involuntarily) acquire some of Carter’s memories. He starts re-living the recent highlights of Carter’s life, like an avatar in a Carter video game as Henry puts it.

This is actually a clever way to recap the season. This show has had its share of episodes filled with flashbacks, but this is probably the most unique one yet. There is a lot of comedic potential in Warren talking, thinking and behaving like Carter while wreaking havoc in town, and Carter having to deal with someone who thinks and talks like him is just funny.

By the end of the episode, we have a resolution on Carter’s and Allison’s situation, and we know which of the principal characters passes the final test and could be going to Titan.

One curious thing: Although Grace has talked in previous episodes about going to Titan, she is never shown taking part in any of the tests for the trip, and even with the final list that comes out at the end of the episode, we still don’t know what her status is.

Once again, the writing is excellent in this episode (with the usual caveats on some of the science) and a lot of laugh out loud moments, at least for me. With all the great lines, though, I have to say that Colin Ferguson delivers the funniest moments this time. There are many scenes that stand out, from his hesitation to use the neuro recorder (with bonus Ghostbusters and Monty Python reference), to telling Henry about keeping a spare key in the jail cell in case he locks himself in, to comforting an uncontrollably sobbing Warren who thinks that Allison is dead (“Who’s the big boy?”). Even just his flirty moments with Allison are too cute by half.

It’s not so much that the lines on their own are funny, but Ferguson’s delivery and timing is almost perfect. He is definitely the character that most people would identify with in this show, and when he mutters, "This is a ridiculous town," you can't help but sympathize and root for him.

The other characters are more or less upstaged by their younger versions. Great acting on the parts of the kids. They very convincingly portrayed the characteristics and mannerisms of their older selves, especially Fargo and Parrish. Felicia Day still pulls off the bubbly bubble-headed genius well. I keep waiting for her to cross over to barf territory, but she really is good in this role. Jo and Zane have a great moment at the end when they are faced with the possibility of separating because of the Titan trip.

With two episodes left in the season, I’m getting curious about how they will work out the Titan trip. Next episode involves Deputy Andy getting stranded on Titan, so we have to wait for the season finale to see how the Astraeus arc ends and if any character returns next season.

It is kind of moot, though, to worry about which characters get taken off the show because there is only one season left before the show’s cancellation. (The show was cancelled after they finished filming all the scenes for the last season (Season 5) and they, I think, get to create one more episode to wrap things up and end the series properly.)

Some scenes that stood out for me:

Carter:”It’s not like you’re going to fire a warhead to see if it works, are you?”
Henry: “Unfortunately, no, not today.”

Holly and Fargo playing Dungeons & Dragons in bed to relax before their interviews.

Senator Wen: “You have a history of making questionable choices. The most recent includes wormholing Dr. Martin.”
Fargo: “No, no, I swear, we’ve only just kissed!”

Camp counselor: “You’re all fantastic. There is no second place. You just don’t get a trophy.”

Young Fargo: “Don’t you get it? I blew it.”
Camp counselor: “Maybe. But it was awesome!”

Isaac Parrish: “You played D&D together? She told me she wasn’t into role-playing.”

Carter getting trapped in the chemical decontamination room. Who in their right mind follows a trail of anything to an obvious trap? And falls for the trap?

Wallace Shawn acting out Carter’s life. It is funny that he uses the ultra advanced bio-cortex recorder in this episode when he was all about using paper and pencil in the last episode.

Will conservatives like this show?

There is nothing that is overtly anti-conservative in the show that stood out to me. Libertarians might get squeamish at the idea of bio-cortex recorders, though, and the almost casual way that the characters allow even strangers access into their innermost thoughts and memories (although, as a bone, Allison does say that you only share the stuff you want to).

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