By John Keegan and Gregg Wright
It's a bit odd to think that this was intended to be the season 5 finale for "Eureka". If this were an episode from somewhere in the middle of the season, I might have thought of it as being one of the more memorable ones of the season. But as a culmination of the "Matrix" storyline, I found it sorely lacking. And it would have been absolutely inexcusable for this to be the series finale. It sure doesn't help that certain threads are left dangling that were presumably meant to be resolved in a further six episodes. The series finale sure is going to have its work cut out for it.
On a certain, superficial level, I enjoyed the creepiness of seeing all the NPC doubles taking over Eureka. It's especially fun to see Carter and Vincent gone evil. There are thrills and humor to be had here, and as I said, if this were just any other episode of "Eureka", I'd probably think of it as a fun and above-average episode. But I really did expect the whole Matrix storyline to build up to something far more compelling. "Double Take" is fun, funny, and creepy, but nothing much beyond that. It does virtually nothing for the characters. Where's the dramatic depth that I've come to expect from "Eureka"?
And that's really been the core of the problem for the entire season. After the opening Matrix situation, the season never really went anywhere interesting with the larger story arc. The pieces were all there, but the writers just played around with them and never let them coalesce into a stronger whole. Even the character development and episodic stories were weaker than usual. Relationship squabbles dominated far too much of the season, and the continual attempts to recover Holly were just not enough on their own to fulfill the myth-arc component.
Arguably, the most emotionally challenging aspects of the finale occurred after the main threat was resolved. I'm not exactly intrigued by the idea of seeing Fargo forced to win back a memory-wiped Holly, or of seeing Eureka getting finally shut down by the DOD. But these issues at least illicit something resembling an emotional reaction from the viewer. The problem now, though, is that a single episode is not nearly enough to deal with all the lingering story and character threads. Six episodes might have been sufficient, but there's just too much for one episode to bear.
Then again, we've been in this situation before, with "Stargate Universe". Instead of three more seasons, "Stargate Universe" had to find a way to wrap things up in a single episode, and it did so by giving us a bittersweet goodbye to all of the characters, and by planning the episode around the inevitably open-ended feeling of it. "Eureka" ought to do something similar. I wish that the season leading up to it had spent more time crafting a compelling story arc, but there's still a chance that the final episode will satisfy on an emotional level.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision. Gregg Wright is Critical Myth's reviewer for Eureka.