Eureka “The Real Thing” Review

Eureka "The Real Thing" Review

Last week’s amazing episode left a lot of fans confused but eventually happier with the outcome than where the story was headed. This week hope is fading for finding the Astraeus crew one month after they disappear, though Henry and Carter are not giving up just yet. In the meantime, the Astraeus crew is still in Dreamland, though there are some bugs (or larger flying beings) in the system. Yet Eureka’s writers leave us with another huge twist that may be the riskiest in the show’s history.

The search for the Astraeus continues…but not for much longer

This episode gives us our first glimpse into what has been happening in non-Dreamland Eureka since the Astraeus team disappeared. While everyone’s been working to try to find out what happened, Senator Wen decides to shut down the search citing a lack of leads. Not everyone has given up hope though, and the majority of the action surrounds getting parts for a device Allison’s son Kevin has designed that should track where the Astraeus went. Carter and Sheriff Andy are caught after stealing the last part from the Department of Defense and Senator Wen arrests the two of them. Sharing a jail cell conversation with Andy gives Carter an idea of where the ship went to, and the pair are broken out by Jo, who cut her walkabout short to get back to town. Carter gets to Henry and Kevin in time to change their search area from the skies to the ground, and the device gives them a trail to the Astraeus location.

The non-Dreamland part of tonight’s episode was a lot of fun, especially the Carter and Andy scenes. Kavan Smith does such a 180 from the serious tyrannical douchy Andy in last week’s episode to the normal funny lawman Andy this week and nails both sides of the character amazingly well. Colin Ferguson also did great as Carter, that’s pretty much a given every episode, but he and Kavan just make any scene together awesome. Tonight’s highlight for Kavan and Colin was their conspiring to steal a part from the DOD, Colin did some great physical comedy and there were great dialogue for Kavan.

I wasn’t as on board with the whole Kevin designing a tracker meant to measure strangelet, particles that are very theoretical in nature. My opinion changed as the episode went along as we saw how driven he was to find his mom, and when you remember that he is a super genius. It was also a nice change of pace from having one of the main characters be the savior of the day.

Quick science quiz: A strangelet is a theoretical particle made up of equal parts up, down, and strange quarks. Up, down, and strange refer to the “spin” of the quarks, how many other types of “spins” for quarks are theorized to exist?

Glitches and Dragons in Dreamland, oh my!

This episode actually gives us an explanation for what is the Dreamland the Astraeus crew is trapped in, basically a large alternative reality engine with heavy duty processors making calculations based on the actions of the crew. Barlowe’s team has been driving the Astraeus crew to make discoveries in the Dreamland, all the while recording the data and using it to their benefit. Yet problems start to crop up in the program, leading to glitches in the artificial environment. While the glitches don’t seem to affect the crew (except maybe Allison), things take a turn when Jo and Allison are confronted by a dragon when collecting samples from the Astraeus ship. The reactions to the dragon range from Jo and Carter wanting to kill it to Fargo wanting to trap it to Holly claiming it can not be a dragon. Barlowe’s team drives the team to successfully capture the dragon, thereby showing a new type of electric net that was only theorized, while Holly is injured by the dragon and decides that the dragon must be real (apparently being hurt by animals that can’t exist makes Holly a happy person).

The Dreamland part of the episode was definitely more interesting than non-Dreamland, both for the dragon hunt (Fargo is a dragon fan!) and the constant thought that someone will figure out they are trapped in a program. The whole concept of Dreamland in itself is awesome (once you get over the whole trapped in a fake universe thing) just in how it tries to drive the crew members in different directions while also trying to use the crew’s memories as a basis for what happens. Definitely a great plot device for the writers and producers of Eureka. The glitches were interesting in that Allison seems to have seen a few of them, yet doesn’t seem to be as perturbed about it as Holly was when the dragon glitched in front of her. On Allison seeing the glitches, I think she recognizes them for what they are, but doesn’t want to give anything away until she knows what exactly is going on.

The only part about the Dreamland storyline that seemed to fit well was Henry trying to stop Grace from looking at the mission telemetry (which I’m guessing will give away that they are in Dreamland). It seemed like the system was pretty heavy handed at trying to stop her, leaving Henry acting very un-Henry. I’m guessing this is a tip off for Grace that’s something is up, but maybe we’ll find out next week.

I wouldn’t RSVP for that Fargo – Holly wedding just yet…

The big twist at the end of tonight’s episode is two fold. First, the non-Dreamland Eureka group finds the warehouse where the Astraeus crew was being held, yet Barlowe was tipped off and moved everyone before they could be found. It may not be much of a surprise, but the tip off came from Senator Wen, who has been working with Barlowe and her team all this time. By the end of the episode, Carter is on to her, but it’s not clear what he’s going to do about it.

Second, in Dreamland, Holly is surprised that her dragon wound healed, only to reappear suddenly. This, along with the glitches she saw, lead her to believe they are trapped in a computer program. When she shares this information with Dreamland Carter, though, she suddenly collapses and dies. In the real world we see Senator Wen disconnecting the neural connection between Holly and the system, thereby killing her, over Beverly’s objections. Wen points out that by going from 21 crew members to 20, the system should now run better and less glitches will occur.

The Eureka writers and staff were not joking that these first few episodes were pretty huge. You have the big twist last week and now you have Holly’s death. From the storyline point of view it makes sense that Holly dies, she was likely to be the first one to connect the dots once the glitches occurred in front of her (it’s kind of how her mind works). It also allows some conflict to come into the Dreamland story, since Barlowe didn’t seem happy that Wen killed Holly and also because Holly’s sudden disappearance in Dreamland may lead to more crew members questioning what is happening.

It’s hard to accept the loss of Holly though, both because of her character’s popularity and the timing in the season. Eureka has killed off characters before (Nathan Stark and Dr. Grant) come to mind, but their deaths seemed to come at a natural points (Stark was saving the town on his wedding day, Grant’s story arc was at an end). On the other hand, I think we all could have used more Holly. Since Felicia Day’s guest spot early last season (and then her return as a regular guest star) she was a fan favorite, so why kill off such a popular character? Is it possible that she’s not really dead? Maybe, this is Eureka and things can change, but that seemed pretty final in this episode. Then again, last week I couldn’t imagine the writers pulling off the twist of having the crew in Dreamland and it worked.

My Favorite Parts from “The Real Thing”:

– “Mythical’s just another word for ‘not yet discovered’.” – Fargo
– “You don’t bring a cell phone on a walkabout!” – Jo
– “Holy Stromboli!” – Holly upon seeing the dragon (I’m going to miss stuff like that!)
– “Since when do you know so much about neuroscience?” “Night School!” – Allison and Carter in Dreamland
– Carter being shocked breaking in and out of the DOD station. I hate electric shocks and could sympathize so much!
– “Dig! Robot! Dig!” – Carter to Andy . This was his original escape plan from the jail cell.

What are your thoughts on “The Real Thing”? Was Holly’s death as big a bummer as it was to me? Do you think Allison knows she’s trapped in a program? What do you think Carter will do now that he knows Senator Wen is on Beverly’s side? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.

One next week’s Eureka, Carter receives help from an unlikely source and takes a trip to Dreamland. He may not like living someone else’s idea of a dream. Make sure to tune into “Force Quit”, which airs next Monday, April 30 at 9 PM on SyFy.