Aptly named, A New World picks up directly after the game-changing events of last week, which saw the show’s six central characters return to a reality, that on closer inspection, is certainly not the one they left behind.
Although the faces are familiar, a game of time-travelling musical chairs appears to have taken place, with Fargo now the director of G.D., Jo as his head of security and Allison the Chief Medical Officer (I’m almost certain that she holds a different title, but I’ve been watching a little too much Star Trek this week). Tess is back in the picture and provides the newest obstacle to the ever-teasing sexual tension between Jack and Allison. Zane no longer wants to Marry Jo and has reverted to the behaviour we witnessed on his arrival to Eureka. Even Andy, the slightly unconvincing, but reassuringly comical android has returned as the new Deputy. But possibly the most significant evolution is the absence of Kevin’s autism, making it possibly for the show to entirely reinvent his character. This last alteration to reality is one of a selection of details that has each character devloping conflicting responses to their new situations. Jo is heart broken to have lost the man she loves, but Allison can finally communicate and interact normally with her son and by her own admission, will do whatever she can to cling on to that possibility.
However, the job shuffling is not the most refreshing aspect to the upside down Eureka, that comes in the form of new character Dr Trevor Grant (James Callis) whom, if you read last weeks review, you will realise I have a dangerously homo-erotic obsession with. Grant’s manipulation of events in Founder’s Day has led to his arrival in the future (our present). His childlike excitement to all of the wonders that G.D. has to offer is reminiscent of the enjoyment we experienced watching Jack’s eyes-wide amazement in earlier seasons. Thank goodness he appears to be a regular addition to the cast, as opposed to a fleeting guest appearance. His interactions with Jack bring back a similar dynamic to the one between Nathan and the Sherriff and he delivers some great one-liners, most notable being his exclaimation that he would love to see under Deputy Andy's uniform.
The majority of the episode revolves around an attempt to revert to the original reality whilst the characters struggle to decipher their new roles and responsiblities. The first half of the episode left me rather worried that the entire situation would be resolved by the time the credits roll, leaving us back in the Eureka we’ve watched for 3 seasons. Thankfully, this is was not the case and some classic Eureka anomalies leave the device that sent them across time obsolete. There is a side plot involving a runaway robot, but it feels very much tacked on and the anti-matter generating, particle-lightning thingamabob is entirely forgettable, merely acting as a means to draw a proverbial line under their time travelling adventures.
The real enjoyment comes from watching Jack and Co. stumbling through awkward moments as they try to uncover everything that has changed. Henry’s new wife has put a cheeky smile back on his face and as long as she doesn’t die (please let’s not go through that again), should provide a nice contrast to his thesaurus-swallowing, disaster-averting escapades. Kevin provides some promise, but is currently so unnaturally overconfident, that he verges on obnoxious and it feels a little forced at the moment. He will probably perform the role that Zoë used to provide of 'overachieving, but down-to-earth' teenager. But at present, he simply seems to steal a lot of food from people and where I come from, that’s a hop skip and a jump away from a serious beating.
A great episode, but with a mediocre problem for the team to overcome. The real highlight was being reintroduced to Eureka after space-time picked it up and shook it like a snow globe. All the old faces are still present, but with their new jobs and relationships come A New World of possibilities. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such a fundamental mix up of characters in a TV show before and it will be interesting to see if, when the dust settles, Jack and the team embrace their new positions, or if they eventually revert to their traditional ones. Whatever the result I shall certainly be watching, if for no other reason than to work out whether my fascination with James Callis is dangerously homo-erotic, or just mildly gay.
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