Review: Eureka 3.14 – “Ship Happens”
Original Air Date: August 14, 2009
Rating: TV-14 (Recommended for people 14 or older)
We start this episode with our heroes checking out the Columbus, which is the space ship that landed in Eureka at the end of the previous episode. It turns out this is an experimental unmanned space ship that Henry worked on 20 years ago. Its mission was to explore space, and come back and report, but it was completely lost and presumed missing. Carter and Tess have a little scene where Tess basically tells Carter she is going to be a regular character, and Carter seems to like that and asks her out on a date. So, they’ve gotten past the sexual tension thing, and it looks like we are going to see in the upcoming season of full blown courting. I’m not sure where that leaves the love triangle that seemed to be forming with Carter, Dr. Blake, and Tess.
But that’s just a little side issue. Henry explains that his experimental spaceship had a biological mainframe that was programmed to improvise in its mission to explore the galaxy (or, at least, as much of it as one can explore in 20 years). Henry finishes his explanation just in time for an unconscious woman who looks like his former partner Kim to pop out the bottom of the ship. It turns out Kim was the scientist who worked on the mission with Henry 20 years ago. She also is his wife who died 2 years ago. So, if Kim died 2 years ago, how can she be on this ship?
But we’ll come back to that. For now, it’s time for Jo and Sheriff Carter to return everyone’s stuff. Back in the previous episode, the ship was sending radio signals that zombified the town’s teenagers, causing them to steal people’s stuff in order to build the Boson cloud exciter. The Boson cloud acted as a catcher’s mitt, allowing the ship to land safely. That was exciting, but now it’s time for everyone to get their stuff back. Jo and Carter are returning blenders, and kitchen sinks, and 200-Petavolt boost converters. Dr. Lieber owns that last little item, and he does a great job of being an arrogant jerk when Carter asks him what it looks like.
“It’s about this big, and green, with little circuits in it. Otherwise, it looks like any other boost converter.” That gives Carter a great chance to do one of those looks he sometimes gives to the genius of the week. You know the look, right? The one that says “oh, right, I feel like an idiot for asking you that question, but now that I think about it, maybe I’m not an idiot, and you’re just a jerk. Am I going to have to save you from your own lack of common sense at this episode?” You know that look, right? So, he gives that look. And he gives back the boost converter, but not before Dr. Lieber chides Jo for using a PC.
“PCs have too many viruses,” he informs her, “that’s why I switched to organic computers years ago.”
Back at Global Dynamics, Kim has been revived. She is on one side of a glass plate (presumably in quarantine), talking to Tess, Henry, and Dr. Blake. Through a scene that is surprisingly unannoying for having so much exposition, we learn that the onboard computer, since it was programmed to improvise, must have created Kim. What must have happened, explains Henry, is that when the computer was damaged, it created a clone of Kim using DNA from some errant skins cells. No matter how much you scrub the ship before you launch it, there must have been some hair follicles or skin cells left of Kim, since she was the one working the most on the ship’s systems. So, this new cloned version of Kim not only is a clone of the original human being, but also has the knowledge of the shipboard computer, and is herself a biological computer.
Cut back to Jo and Carter, exhausted from having to return all those toasters and hand soap dispensers to arrogant, short-tempered geniuses. Fargo shows up to complain that Carter gave him the wrong boost converter. Fargo’s uses a Y chip, while the one they gave to Fargo uses an X chip. What!!! I personally don’t see how Carter could have made such an obvious mistake, but he did. So, Sheriff Carter and Jo head over to Lieber’s house, since that’s the only other guy who’s got a boost converter, to swap them out.
They first stop by Global Dynamics to return Dr. Blake’s blender (it turns out not to be her blender), then head over to Dr. Lieber’s pad.
“If Lieber and Fargo disagree whose boost converter it is, I say we make them settle it in a cage match,” quips Jo.
“I’d put five bucks on Fargo. He’s scrappy.” Scrappy indeed.
When they enter Lieber’s house, they find that he has been electrocuted. In fact, he’s so electrocuted, all his skin burned off, and you can see his blackened skeleton. It was pretty cool. They also find out that the boost converter is missing. They bring Fargo back to the station to question him, and he admits that he stole the boost converter. When they inform Fargo that it may have caused Lieber’s death, we get to see Fargo in action. He starts flipping out, worried that he’s going to the big house! The slammer, the hoosegow! But Jo slaps him in the face, and orders him to “MAN UP, FARGO!” It’s classic Fargo.
Let me just insert a thought here. You know how, if a TV show is over budget, they’ll do an elevator episode? That’s where they the entire episode is about a few cast members being stuck an elevator, or the family hanging out in living room, or wherever it is that the budget will be really low for that episode. Well, if they have one of those episodes, it should be based on Fargo and Jo being trapped somewhere together. Am I crazy in this thought? Leave some comments and let me know if I am going off the deep end here. I just think that Fargo is a great Jerry Lewis to Jo’s Dean Martin. They have good timing.
Anyway, back to the show. It turns out that, if the Kim-computer-clone-person-thingy transfers all her knowledge she gathered while in space, then it would take 2,135 years, 69 days for her to write out all the knowledge she has stored in her biological computer cells. But the information is amazingly useful, so they have to find a better way to download it. Dr. Blake orders a team to be put together. Kim-Clone suggests they put together the original team, including Henry and Kim. Dr. Blake has to inform her that Kim died two years ago. Kim-Clone-Thingy, in a super creepy voice because it has no emotion, states “that’s unfortunate.” I just got chills. Did you get chills? I just got chills.
In other news, Henry figures out that Leiber’s computer didn’t electrocute him. Instead, Leiber electrocuted his computer. According to Henry’s findings, Lieber’s own body spontaneously generated enough electricity to fry himself and his computer. That’s really weird. Carter heads over to Dr. Blake to tell her the bizarre news, just as Zane is trying to use a new method to download information from Clone-Kim. Suddenly, he gets electrocuted, just as Lieber did. It takes a while, but the gang figures out that it is a virus from the spaceship’s original computer. The reason the space-board computer was damaged to begin with was a computer virus. But it wasn’t the kind of virus that freezes your Windows Vista operating system. This is a virus that will freeze up a biological computer. Or, more accurately, will cause it to build up a powerful electric charge. And since it’s a biological computer virus, it’s being transferred to all the people in Eureka. Lieber and Zane were the first to be affected only because they were the only people with biological computers. There’s another problem. Because this is a bio-computer virus, we humans have no immune response.
Henry has to deal with the problem. He has been avoiding the Kim-Biocomputer-Doohickey, but now he has to put his emotional needs aside, and figure out what to do. By collaborating with Kim, he comes up with a computer program that will eradicate the virus. He will have to use optic pulses. Henry rigs a system, and lets the light fly. It doesn’t work at first, because Fargo stole his boost converter (again). After taking a few seconds to scold Fargo for stealing his boost converter just as a pandemic is about to start and they need the boost converter to save everyone, they try again. This time, it works.
There is one last scene as Henry tries to reconcile with the Kim clone. He has to figure a way to safely download the information stored inside Kim, so Henry and Kim have a lot of work to do, together. Kim says “let’s get started.” I can’t be sure, but I suspect that is a double entendre.
The good news is that the one hour Subaru commercials that they tried to pass off last week as an episode of Eureka is over. Aside from a few shots of Jo’s super cool brand new Subaru, they didn’t shove that stuff into our faces any more. The other good news is that they figured out how to shake things up this episode without it all falling apart. The normal formula is to have a genius of the week who creates some experiment that goes haywire, with Carter having to come to the rescue. This time the genius of the week was a regular character: Henry. His experiment going haywire was the spaceship with a bio computer coming back to Eureka after 20 years. So, having a regular character cause the trouble was a departure, and so was the solution. Carter did his part, but it was the whole gang solving the issue: Carter, Henry, Zane, and Kim.
Last episode, they broke with the normal formula and it backfired. This time, they broke with the formula, and it turned out okay. This is because, even though they threw out the normal formula, they still had the people of Eureka behaving in character. This was a good recovery from last week.