This evening Eureka (Syfy, 9/8C) concludes its five season run with an appropriately entitled episode, Just Another Day.
Eureka fans know the story: Syfy announced a sixth and final season, comprised of six episodes, to bring the series to a natural conclusion – then changed its mind and canceled the series as of the end of the fifth season. By this time, the show was mapped out to a season ending cliffhanger – the announcement that the town of geniuses was being shut down.
An impassioned plea from the show’s showrunner and co-creator, Jaime Paglia, got the smallest of reprieves – the show would get one extra episode to wrap things up. The problem was that the show’s writers had a week to come up with a finished script!
Just Another Day is that final script and – not unlike Sheriff Jack Carter’s (Colin Ferguson) facility for pulling the town of geniuses’ fat out of the proverbial fire – it takes what should have been a six-week farewell tour and condensed it to one hour that works really, really well.
Following last week’s announcement that government funding of Global Dynamics was being pulled and the town was being shut down, Just Another Day opens with a flurry of events: Carter and his new wife Alison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) pondering what they would do next; Vincent (Christopher Gauthier) panicking over having a warehouse of organic perishables to get rid of, and the arrival of movers at Global Dynamics – the paperwork was screwed up and the move would be starting immediately!
While Fargo (Neil Grayston) tries frantically to find some way to save the town (and GD), Zane has begun downloading the company’s classified data for transport and Jo (Erica Cerra) is trying to wrangle all the scientists’ orderly packing up and moving (‘It’s like herding cats!’). And when Zane isn’t trying to get stuff packed and data downloaded, he’s trying to help Holly (Felicia Day) regain her memory.
The whole process becomes unglued when a series of wormholes, each less stable than the last, pop up all over town – rendering pretty much any activity potentially deadly. Yes, it’s just another day in Eureka.
For the series finale, Zoe Carter (Jordan Hinson) returns and there are several cool (and nicely timed) cameos – my favorite being Matt Frewer’s Taggert (‘I’ve got treats…’) and series villainess, Beverly Barlow (Debrah Farentino), whom Henry (Joe Morton) asks to intervene on behalf of his wife, Grace (Tembi Locke). One gloriously brief cameo deals with the fate of the town. You’ll have to see that to believe it. It’s both initially surprising and then… not so much. And it makes perfect sense.
Somehow, Jaime Paglia and Bruce Miller came up with a story that did everything that the series finale needed to do and Paglia pounded out the teleplay in that one week period.
All our favorite regular cast members – from Deputy Andy (Kavan Smith) to S.A.R.A.H. (still weirdly voiced by Fargo!) – get some good character moments and the cameos all fit organically into the story. With so much going on – in so many different places – somehow Matt Hastings managed to do more than direct traffic as director. He finds ways to stage all the ongoing chaos and fit all the necessary character beats into the mix without it feeling disjointed or in any way awkward.
Pause here for a bit of reflection.
It’s been almost six years since I received the screener for the Eureka pilot. Before I got it, all I knew was Eureka was taking the timeslot of the much loved Farscape (one of my favorite shows of all-time). I was not happy about it.
The pilot was nothing like what I expected. It wasn’t Farscape, but it was a nice mesh of scientific genius gone awry with character driven stories. Unlike Farscape, I didn’t plunk myself down in front of the TV to watch every episode in realtime, but I did watch every episode.
Somewhere in the third season, I realised that Eureka was frequently affecting me as much as the best eps of Farscape, and in the same manner – through attention to detail in the development of the show’s characters and relationship. And don’t get me started on the massive paradigm shift that season four!
Anyroad, after watching Just Another Day a few times, I believe that it is absolutely the right way for the series to go out – on just another day in Eureka. And, as the series has always done for me, it surprised me and made laugh and cry.
As for Just Another Day, I’m giving it a…
Final Grade: A-
Photos from Eike Schroter/Courtesy of Syfy