Review: Eureka 3.12 – “It’s Not Easy Being Green”
Original Air Date: July 31, 2009
Rating: TV-14 (Recommended for people 14 or older)
We start off with the Carter family getting ready for another day in Eureka. Lexi and Zoe are talking about Duncan when Sheriff Carter walks into the kitchen. In a classic example of why you shouldn’t talk to people before you drink your coffee, he points out that Lexi totally made the wrong move by ditching Duncan when she found out she was pregnant with his baby. Of course, his is quickly made to realize that, as her brother, it’s not necessarily his job to point out to Lexi all the mistakes she’s made in her life.
Cut to Café Diem. Turns out Fargo is heading the local bowling team in a major rivalry with the folks over at Area 51 (cue subplot A). We also get to meet the Area 51 version of Fargo. His name is Bismarck, and this time Bismarck means to win the big annual bowling tournament. This year, Fargo’s got a secret weapon: Big Ed. Big Ed (who’s about 7 feet tall) is the cleaning guy. Bismarck insists that Big Ed can’t join, because he’s not a scientist, but Fargo points out that the rules only require the bowling team members to be employees. They don’t have to be scientists. So, even though he’s only a cleaning guy, Big Ed qualifies.
Plus, he’s a great amateur biological chemist (anybody notice the foreshadowing there? I didn’t at first. I must be slowing down in my old age).
But just as the geeky insults start getting good, and the geek-testosterone starts to build, Carter gets summoned to Global Dynamics.
It turns out Dr. Blake needs the Sheriff to help Global Dynamics gather all the globidium (artificial plutonium, created — of course — by Global Dynamics) in town. Being a town full of scientific mad geniuses, there are people all over Eureka borrowing the local supply of globidium for their little pet nuclear projects. Now Global Dynamics needs it back. Of course, Dr. Blake won’t tell Carter why.
In a masterful display of the sexual tension first introduced in the previous episode, Sheriff Carter tricks Tess Fontana into revealing the real reason all the globidium needs to be gathered up. There is something out there in space, and it’s coming right at Global Dynamics! Are they aliens? Are they pan-dimensional beings? Could it be William Shatner’s first toupee? Nobody knows. Global Dynamics needs the globidium to power the super doohicky that will allow them to figure out what it is.
Back to Subplot A: bowling night. Fargo sets up a force field in front of the pins, preventing the competition’s ball from hitting the pins and getting a strike. This triggers the declaration “Hey, Fargo, you know the rules! You do whatever you want to your balls, but you can’t mess with the other guy’s balls.” Fargo feigns a truce, and shakes on it. But it turns out that the competition has outdone Fargo. The handshake leaves a green spot on Fargo, which eventually turns the entire team green. They also become radioactive with gamma rays.
But they won’t turn into geek hulks (gulks?). They are going to be okay, but they’ll just be green for a few days. Perhaps it wasn’t intentional.
The audience gets a special treat this weak, because the writers decided to give us an extra subplot. That’s right, we get not just a subplot A, but a subplot B too! So, cut to subplot B: Duncan shows up back at the Carter household. It turns out that, once Duncan had some time to think, he decided to come back and figure things out with Lexi instead of running away from his responsibilities like a scared little schoolboy. Lexi, of course, isn’t so sure (otherwise this week’s two-subplot treat would be rather short-lived).
“I’d give up anything for these kids, but I don’t expect you to,” says Lexi.
“Isn’t that my choice?” asks Duncan, looking especially responsible.
“No,” states Lexi, showing not only her ignorance of the law, but also of human nature. But don’t worry about Lexi. Subplot A still has legs.
Cut to Sheriff Carter. He’s been going around trying to gather up all the globidium, but it’s all missing. It’s starting to look like someone has been stealing the globidium. But who could it be?
Back to Subplot A: Duncan decides to head over to Café Diem, and starts to have a little heart-to-heart with Zoe. But he spots the green bowling team walking around, and does a great WTF look. His WTF is not as good as Sheriff’s Carter’s, but still it’s pretty good. So Duncan does his WTF look, but not for the reasons you might think. It turns out that Duncan has seen this sort of thing before in his duties as a doctor for the World Health Organization in Siberia. As fate would have it, he concocted a great little cure.
This is the part where subplot A and subplot B intersect. This is some great writing, because structurally speaking, having the main plot, plus the love interest plot, plus the green bowling team plot could have just been too much plot. But the writers have obviously studied their storytelling theory (or whatever it is writers study so they can get a cool job like writing Eureka), and came up with the brilliant idea of merging the subplots. It’s like butter.
Having seamlessly simplified the story, we cut to Global Dynamics. Tess and Dr. Blake are gathering the power cells they were able to put together. Dr. Blake has confidence that Carter will find the stolen power cells, and Tess (because of the whole “I like him but I can’t admit it to myself so I’ll just have a bunch of sexual tension” thing) accuses her of having a thing for Carter. Hmm… Tess and Dr. Blake arguing over Carter? Nice.
Back in the first few seasons, Dr. Blake and Sheriff Carter had a bit of sexual tension going. But then Dr. Blake started the process of getting back together with Stark. There was a nice little love triangle brewing, and the resulting tension between Carter and Stark made for some interesting drama. Now that Stark is gone, that’s been missing.
But wait a second. What if they introduced the same dynamic, but in reverse? What if it were a man in the middle, with two women at each other’s throats because of him? Cool. I’m sure we’ll get to explore that over the rest of the season. For now, let’s get back to the story.
Carter and Jo and Blake and everyone start having a brainstorming session. Who would want to steal all the globidium? Big Ed might want it. Carter is like “What, the cleaning guy?” And Tess is like “Are you an idiot? This is Eureka. Of course he’d want it.” And Dr. Blake is like “Hey, he’s not an idiot.” And Tess is like “Your pregnant hormones are making you want to jump Carter’s bones, so you aren’t realizing that he’s a buffoon. But he’s a buffoon. How did he get to be Sheriff of this town? He doesn’t even have a Masters degree.” And Dr. Blake is like “Well, Big Ed cleans things in Eureka. One of the things he cleans is radiation spills, so maybe he was stealing globidium in order to conduct experiments on whatever his latest cleanup technology is like?” And Carter is like “See, Tess, why didn’t you just say that? Your always calling me dumb just before I save the day is getting on my nerves.”
I was paraphrasing. They didn’t actually say it exactly like that, but more or less that’s how the conversation went down.
Anyway, Jo and Sheriff Carter head over to Big Ed’s office. They discover the stolen canisters of globidium, but they also discover that Big Ed’s been melted into a little puddle of goo. At first Carter and Jo worry that Big Ed was melted by radiation, and perhaps they were exposed too. The gang consults with Henry, who concludes that not only were Jo and Carter not exposed to radiation, it also turns out there is a total absence of radiation in Big Ed’s remains. This is weird because even normal people have at least a little radiation in their body. But those are his remains: a big puddle of radiation-free goo. Also, all the power cell canisters are empty.
Let’s check in on the bowling alley. Fargo and Area 51 Fargo are arguing, of course, with the geekosterone at an all-time high. Carter decides to take them in for observation.
Meanwhile, back at Café Diem, Duncan is curing the green skin problem of some of the bowling team members. Lexi shows up, and shows a bit of remorse that perhaps she shouldn’t have rejected Duncan like that. She won’t admit it, of course, and leaves, but not before seeing that Duncan’s formula works!
Back at Global Dynamics, Sheriff Carter is getting some schooling on how things work in this town. Why would a “cleaner” want to steal a bunch of globidium? Of course, this is Eureka. You see, he’s not just a cleaner, he’s THE cleaner. A single dustmite could destroy massive experiments. Big Ed has developed all kinds of chemicals that are designed to turn organisms into their original compounds. That’s why Big Ed, as the clean up crew for Eureka, has to be so good at chemistry, even if it is just a hobby. Wait a second, thinks Carter. Could Big Ed have developed a chemical that would get rid of radiation? Maybe an organism that would eat it all up, and leave a radiation-free goo in its wake? (I just have to mention that this is a great scene of Carter using common sense, and the geniuses having no clue. It’s especially nice because in this case because Tess up until now has been insulting Carter’s intelligence).
We have to cut real quick to the bowling team. They are getting together to use Duncan’s formula to remove their green skin. It smells really bad, so that’s good for some laughs.
Back to Carter and the gang. They figure out that Big Ed had been developing an organism that eats radioactivity. Furthermore, they discover that it escaped through (cue the Scooby Doo music) the plumbing.
And, to make matters worse, it’s coming up the drain, ready to eat the radiation off of the green bowling team! Carter runs in at the last minute, getting Fargo out in time, who runs naked (but covered in foul-smelling green-skin cleaner-upper) into the middle of Global Dynamics. Hilarious!
Cut to subplot B: Duncan catches up with Lexi in the hall. “Why are you pushing me away?” he asks. “Because there are a lot of people out there for you to save, and I am not one of them,” replies Lexi.
Carter and Tess head back to Tess’s lab, to see that the organism has eaten all the power cells they have stored up in Tess’s lab. And it’s gotten bigger. The organism rushes at them, but they slip back into the elevator at the last minute, and head back to the control room. They have to figure something out.
They rig a gun that shoots subzero-Kelvin ice, and Carter has a nice little Aliens scene, but his gun doesn’t work. It slows the creature down, but doesn’t stop it. Henry surmises that the creature stopped and fled when Carter shot it, not because of the cold, but because it dried him out.
Because of the chemical compounds within the organism, they should be able to stop it with a huge amount of salt, which will dry it out and reduce it to its component compounds. They create a plan to flood the plumbing system with salt, but realize the organism has left Global Dynamics. It’s chasing after Duncan. Duncan has been helping the bowling team get rid of their radiated green skin, but in the process, he radiated himself. The organism is hungry for his radiation.
Duncan shows up at Carter’s house, to talk some sense into Lexi. “You make me crazy. You’re not the only decider,” he declares. He makes a great speech, but Lexi doesn’t believe he’s going to change his nomadic ways. Suddenly, the organism arrives and attacks Duncan’s leg. Carter shows up with a bowling ball. He explains that it’s a salt center with a gamma radiation shell. The radiation will attract the organism, and then Carter will set off the explosives, and the salt inside will destroy the creature.
Carter bowls it straight into the organism, explodes the bowling ball, the salt blows up the creature, and everything is okay. Duncan and Lexi even kiss and make up. Lexi decides she’ll need to leave Eureka and hit the road with Duncan.
The only thing left to resolve is the bowling tournament. It’s down to the wire. Fargo is up. He has a split. How is he going to get it? Cue the music. Cue the slow motion. Fargo kisses his bowling ball, bowls, and… the ball splits in two. Fargo engineered the perfect bowling ball. Perfect engineering!
One last thought: the last three episodes have talked about this mysterious signal coming from outer space. There is quite a lot of anticipation. The previews for next week promise that we will see what this thing is, which is a good thing because I don’t think they can drag it out much longer without annoying the audience. I hope it turns out to be good.