Eureka 5.7 Review: "Ex Machina"

By John Keegan and Gregg Wright

eurekasigniconIt took a while, but "Eureka" seems to be finally giving us an indication of what the overall season (or half-season) direction will be. What I'm discovering now is that I underestimated the actual importance of the whole "Matrix" situation. It's leading me to think that the writers were more clever than I'd thought, and had an intriguing story arc in place from the start. My first reaction to the Matrix situation was that it didn't matter at all, because it was just some arbitrary simulation of what some program believed was a believable future version of "Eureka". But I was wrong.

In fact, the algorithms used to predict the simulated future Eureka in the Matrix may have been far more prophetic than anyone thought possible. Maybe Zane was right to be worried about Jo and Carter. But worse yet, this seemingly paranoid vision of a Eureka ruled by DOD security and an evil Deputy Andy may be a highly probable future, and one that the residents of Eureka will have to fight against in the very near future. Of course, having seen and experienced this future for themselves, they now have a good chance of stopping it.

The involvement of Senator Wen, a representative of the DOD, in the creation of the simulation may well have given the predictive algorithms the extra, insider information they needed to see what was coming. Predicting the future based on probabilities is a tricky thing. The more factors that are involved, the more complex and difficult it becomes to accurately make a prediction. But it wouldn't be too much of a stretch, from a sci-fi perspective, if the simulation was based in insider knowledge about the direction the DOD was heading in.

Eureka-Ex-Machina-Season-5-Episode-7-2-550x366I was also pleased to see that the Z-waves are still a matter of interest for the characters. Apparently, the potential ramifications for what one could do with these Z-waves are pretty huge. Many things were mentioned, but all I heard was "telekinesis". In order to unlock these potential abilities, Carter agrees to help Henry with a series of experiments, on himself. Of course, Carter ought to know better by now. But he doesn't, so we get to see Carter getting shot a bunch of time with a paintball gun. What fun! I just love that Carter can be so consistently relied upon to find himself in situations that involve personal physical abuse.

The Matrix and the Z-waves are undoubtedly an important part of the season arc, but this episode is mostly about saving Holly. It's the day of Holly's funeral, so everyone finds it a bit odd that Fargo doesn't seem even remotely interested in the proceedings. It does't take long for Fargo to spill the beans about Holly. Most are open to the idea that Holly might really still be alive, and try to help, except for Jo. She has personal reasons for wanting Fargo to simply let Holly go. I was amused to see that Jack, of all people, had the least amount of trouble accepting that Holly was alive. To him the question of synthetic vs. organic is largely irrelevant, given how many of his friends are non-organic.

It's nice to see everyone banding together to help Fargo out, and the fact that helping Fargo out means defying the DOD military presence seems like a pretty strong indication of what's to come. I was actually a bit perplexed by the final resolution of the issue in which Henry somehow manages to rebuild the "memory lattice", which I'm assuming is the fried hard drive that Holly was finally contained in. It seems like a bit of a cheap, quick fix. It was blatantly obvious that Holly wasn't gone for good, but I guess I expected a less contrived solution. I'm assuming now that the only reason Henry needed Carter's help was in the use of his house as a new platform for Holly.

One of the best things I can say about the episode is that every story thread seems to be part of a multi-episode arc. It's an absolutely essential piece of the ongoing story. The more stand-alone "Eureka" adventures are often great, but I was really starting to wonder when the season's myth-arc aspects were going to present themselves. Now that they finally have, I'm impressed at how well these new developments seem to be justifying the three-episode Matrix story arc that introduced the season. In a sense, the season's direction was there all along, and I just didn't see it.

John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision. Gregg Wright is Critical Myth's reviewer for Eureka.

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