We’ve been watching a little of A Town Called Eureka of late, following the discovery that Matt watches it and so does my mum. We watched the first episode earlier this week, which I found to be well-performed and a great idea… but terribly realised. Nonetheless, I thought to myself, it was a pilot episode and they are often shaky, so last night we watched the second episode.
What follows is my annotated synopsis of the episode. If you plan to watch it, you might want to skip it, but I’d recommend reading my comments and then simply skipping it:
Start Of Spoilers
The episode starts where the last one left off, with Jack Carter having just taken up his position of sheriff in the town of Eureka, Walter Perkins has been killed by a tacyon-related accident, and his wife Susan has been killed in a fake suicide.
During the course of the episode, a partially visible glowing humanoid shape is seen around town, and sightings are accompanied by electromagnetic disturbances which shut down computers and damage lights, but only when it’s convenient to the plot for it to do so. Meanwhile, Susan reappears in town, and it becomes apparent that there are two of them which an atomic-level analysis shows are identical, which, of course, would not be the case even for identical twins or clones because of chemical changes due to diet, lifestyle, etc. A DNA test, which would have actually proven that one was a twin or clone, is not done, because it would be “too primitive” (even though it could conceivably achieve the correct result, albeit with less flashy lights and cool scientific equipment). Curiously, despite never having met and the clone having been made seven years ago, the two women dress identically at all times. It is later determined that one of the women must be a fully-grown clone made by Walter, and a scientist makes a throwaway remark that this would explain why the computer had said that the dead Susan was made of “younger” materials, but for some reason he didn’t bring this up earlier, instead claiming that the two were identical.
Normally rational scientists turn to supernatural beliefs in order to explain the electromagnetic disturbances and the humanoid figure, repeatedly talking about “ghosts”. It later appears that Walter, killed last episode, is not dead but is merely “existing in an alternate timestream” (which by itself is fine – this is a work of fiction, but I don’t appreciate the way that the scientists feel the need to use oversimplistic analyses and excessive buzzwords when talking to each other). In any case, they put him into a device resembling a magic eight ball (which they presumabley had lying around for just this kind of occurance) which will make him all fine again. His former wife, the original Susan, has since pieced together the full story: after they divorced seven years ago, he came to Eureka, made a clone of her, built the house that they had designed together and had a son. In the end, despite the fact that doing so will probably cause irreparable damage to the boy, the original Susan agrees to stay (after all, they only divorced once, then he made a clone of her which, when it died, caused great distress to her family, and now – despite being an intelligent woman, she’s decided that a woman who looks identical to his mother but knows nothing about him is a better adoptive parent for a young boy than, say, anybody else on Earth).
Oh yeah, and Jack Carter moves into a house with a personality and a will of it’s own but no overrides. Well, I suppose comic effect is allowed.
The problem with the show, I suppose, is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be. The idea behind it lines it up perfectly to be a great sitcom, but it’s hard to see the humour because it’s trying so hard to be a gritty drama. Meanwhile, unforgivably awful pseudo-science means that you want to hurt yourself, or, failing that, the screenwriter. The action seems distant from the characters: always as if everything will work itself out in the end and the actors just came along for the ride. Rather than actually having anything to do with the plot they just sit in the foreground and make jokes about the scientific buzzwords that they’re saying, and each other’s inability to comprehend them.
The show pisses me off.