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TV Review: Eureka – “The Story of O2″

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In a town like Eureka life never flows perfectly. In fact, having a place where geniuses make up the majority of citizens pretty much ensures things will go wrong just about every day. Take this week’s rocket competition as an example — various townspeople are encouraged to send up said rockets, only here they’re supposed to go the moon and back. Whomever’s rocket returns most quickly, wins. Simple, right?

Not exactly. New citizen Dr. Ramsey, aka Jamie Kennedy, makes an appearance. Fans to the show understand this is pretty much how a debacle gets started. Ramsey has created self-sustaining oxygen, which promptly gets stolen. Who takes it is a surprise, to a point anyway. The reason for the theft however probably isn’t.

For an actor known to play a variety of characters and who can pull off elaborate pranks, Kennedy is underused in the role. There is also a levity in his character which rings false against just how serious the situation becomes.

The seriousness is clearly demonstrated with the scenes at Global Dynamics. Tensions are high as the characters have anxious moments tick by while trying to figure out how to solve their problems.

Additionally, this week General Mansfield returns! Barclay Hope is more or less being set up as the villain in this series, which he plays with a gravitas of near perfect tone. I understand why he is there — the Department of Defense requires strict adherence to their policies and he is ensuring that adherence. Shorter doses of him are better, though. Mansfield should only be around from time to time rather than in a continuous run.

Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) and Jack (Colin Ferguson) take center stage this week, as two adults trying to navigate the field of raising a teenager. For Allison, there is the extra condition with her son Kevin having Autism (except that he doesn’t in the alternate reality our characters now inhabit). Being his parent has never been easy, but Allison also is a widow… twice. That hardly helps. Richardson-Whitfield carries off the uncertainty between trying to be a good parent and knowing when to let go.

The scenes with her and James Callis are some of the best parts of the episode. Although both actors have kids in reality, Callis doesn’t have any in his role as Dr. Trevor Grant. He is still trying to understand the town in which has become a part. Watching Callis say “you trust your kid” is a sweet touch — there is a reproach in those words but it is also said with a gentleness which softens the blow.

Christopher Jacot is also back as the annoying fussbudget Larry. Having his rocket named The Blue Streak is apt as he lets loose many a zinger. Apparently, tact is not one of Larry’s best qualities. I wonder how long it will be before he gets thrown out as the assistant to Fargo (Neil Grayston)?

Relationships also play a large part this week. Zoe (Jordan Hinson), Jack’s daughter, is off at Harvard getting her degree. Hinson and Ferguson hit some good lines as they work out the relationship between the kid who is growing up at a fast rate and her dad who needs to adjust to that fact. They also have an invisible cat to contend with, which provides a good deal of the humor.

Jo (Erica Cerra) and Zane (Niall Matter), on the other hand, act like they’ve never been in love. Of course, they haven’t (in this reality). The troublemaker is warming to the prickly head of GD Security, though. This week, together, they must work on clearing his name after a spot of trouble. Zane is only partially responsible, but you’ll have to watch the episode in order to find out what really happens.

This is Ferguson’s directorial debut, and it would be nice to seem him do return to that role. Everything works, even the tension scenes with just the right amount of awkwardness.

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