Entertainment Magazine

Review #3019: Eureka 4.20: “One Giant Leap”

Posted on the 21 September 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

The season finale of “Eureka” had the difficult job of trying to blend the launch day of the Astraeus with another stand-alone story. For most of it’s running time, it’s not really what I expected for the final episode of the season, but the final result is an excellent finish to the season. In fact, the inclusion of a threat that’s somewhat unrelated to the Astraeus mission arguably makes the final moments of the episode even stronger, and we’ll get back to that in a minute. But first things first!

Review #3019: Eureka 4.20: “One Giant Leap”

The episode begins with a bit of a fake-out, and I was initially a bit disappointed that the episode hadn’t actually started off with a dramatic assassination attempt on the president by the Consortium (as ridiculous as that could have turned out to be). The episode makes up for this in the final moments, but the stand-alone story turned out to be surprisingly fun. The bitter rivalry between Taggart and Dr. Plotkin was humorous enough, but there were plenty of other great moments to be had with other characters.

A particularly side-splitting moment in the episode comes directly after Cafe Diem gets completely sucked into a black hole. Vincent, visibly upset, says “Well… that sucks.” On paper, it may not sound particularly funny. But the way Vince says it in the episode, coming right after the loss of one of the show’s signature locations; it’s so unexpected and yet so fitting. The way he says the line (with his characteristic lisp), as if he might burst into tears at any moment, is just hysterically brilliant and a bit sad at the same time. I feel your pain, Vince.

Of course, it was a bit predictable that, once again, Jack has to be the one to run into a ridiculously dangerous situation to enact the plan to save the day. But Colin Ferguson’s impressive comic acting talent (along with some great spectacle) once again completely redeems what could have been an otherwise stereotypical scene. I won’t bother to list off all the other wonderfully funny Carter-isms in this episode, but my favorite line deserves a mention: “So first, my PDA has a camera. And now black holes are everywhere? PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS!”

There’s also the expected character advancement in the finale, which is generally handled well. Not surprisingly, Allison has finally decided to move in with Carter. I’m also not too surprised that Kevin didn’t mind, considering how much he likes hanging out with Carter. (Speaking of which, we haven’t seen Kevin since 8 episodes ago.) Meanwhile, Fargo and Holly’s relationship progresses to the next level, just in time for the launch.

I liked both of those character advancements, but I think the episode’s strongest character scenes came from Jo’s decision to leave Eureka for a while. It resulted in a very sincere goodbye scene between Carter and Jo, which nicely sums up how their relationship has developed since the beginning of the show. I also quite liked the scene in which Taggart, while walking out of town, notices Jo leaving and remarks to himself that she’s going on Walkabout (referencing the earlier discussion he had with her), before wishing her a safe journey. I’m optimistic that Jo will return next season, so I see this as exactly what is needed to set up her character for next season.

I’ve already read an excellent overview of Isaac Parrish’s involvement in the episode over at io9 (http://io9.com/5842005/eureka-throws-itself-into-a-black-hole-with-awesome-results), and feel as though they’ve expressed my thoughts on the matter better than I could hope to. But suffice to say, I think the character had his finest moment of the show so far this week, and I hope that Parrish returns in season 5 so the writers (and Wil Wheaton) can continue to develop the character.

I liked the episode well enough for its usual brand of humor and character, which was in top form here. But the final scene is where the episode truly excels. If you hate cliffhangers, then you’ll hate the ending. But I found it to be one of the most spellbinding moments of the entire series, watching Henry and Jack frantically trying to stop the launch (with Jack once again showcasing his penchant for excelling under pressure), and Allison trying to escape the ship before being forced, in the final seconds, to make for the “jump seat”. I had earlier hoped that the season would end with something like this, but by the time we got to that final scene, the episode had lulled me into such a false sense of security. They’d almost convinced me that the launch would go off without a hitch (almost). But I’m so pleased that this was not the case.

This is really a brilliant hook for the next season; so much so that I’m almost worried that they can’t live up to the enormous potential they’ve created here. One can be almost certain that the Consortium had something to do with altering of the Astraeus’s destination (which was probably achieved with whatever technology they stole plans for earlier in the season). I’ve speculated that the Consortium had some kind of interest in the launch, but it never quite made sense that they’d be interested in Titan. It never occurred to me that they might be interested in a different destination. Now I’m rather glad that we’ve been exposed to Titan so much in the lead-up to this episode, given that we’re no longer actually going there.

In retrospect, Senator Wu’s concern over the launch not happening and over Carter attempting to stop the launch could be interpreted as suspicious clues, but I prefer to think that she was genuinely freaked out by everything that was happening. As far as the Consortium goes, I hope their decision to take over the Astraeus mission has something to do with one of the biggest central mysteries of the show: The Artifact. It’s also worth noting that the title for this episode (“One Giant Leap”) now seems even more fitting (perhaps purposefully so), and seems to hint that the Astraeus has jumped much, much further than originally intended.

The great thing about “Eureka” is that it’s usually pretty lighthearted, and yet somehow manages to maintain a dramatic core, as well as the sense that something could actually, seriously go wrong and that people could actually die (it wouldn’t be the first time, though we can be fairly sure in this case that Allison is not dead). It’s this excellent balance between humor, heart, and genuine suspense that makes “Eureka” (in my opinion) one of the most appealing sci-fi shows in recent memory. The season finale was a good episode that became a great episode in the final moments, exceeding my expectations for how things might play out with the Astraeus mission. Next up is the Christmas special, which should be a fun diversion before we get back to our missing Astraeus crew (be sure to prepare yourselves for potential “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space” references, from myself or the show).

Rating: 9/10

(Season 4 Final Rating: 7.7)

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