Sunday, July 25, 2010

James Callis on Eureka: "All The Rage"

Season 4, episode 3. I didn't love this episode, to be quite honest. I didn't hate it; it wasn't a bad episode, but it felt a bit like classic Eureka, and not in a good way. I.e., it followed the story frame of "scientific experiment goes awry; chaos ensues and Carter/Allison/Lupo have to figure out which experiment got messy and why. After this, return to status quo." This kind of story arc is a bit disposable. If you miss an episode, it doesn't matter, because nothing really happened. I loved the fact that the two first episodes tied together so well. Oh, I've got to give kudos for the "previously" by Carter though. It was fun. He refers to Grant as "Dr Old Spice", and mentions him as an afterthought, which I loved.

Wil Wheaton's guest spot wasn't as overpowering as I had expected, and he was integrated to the show pretty organically. He's not visiting the town, or someone's long lost uncle, or anything like that. He simply works at General Dynamics as a scientist, so he's always been there and just hasn't been shown. This was good. (He will be doing more episodes, as was announced at Comic Con, and I'm actually pleased.) Carter worries over Tess' feelings and ends up breaking up with her in a nicely understated scene. I also liked that Fargo is kind of a douche in this timeline, and his tyrannical leadership has caused problems at Global Dynamics. But the "everybody becomes possessed with a violent rage" part? Not that keen. James is not even in that storyline, though, so I'm going to gloss over it here. I didn't mind it, but would have preferred some time-travel/alternate reality discussion.

This episode did feature a B story with James that addressed the time travel stuff a bit, even if it didn't turn out to lead anywhere much. But I don't care, because
a) We got Grant admitting how lost he feels in this time, and
b) James and Joe Morton are SO GOOD together. Seriously so good, I hope they get to do many more scenes. Joe's face is apparently a treasure trove for great expressions, just like James', and they really played together seamlessly. Loved their scenes to bits.

But first, a brief scene with Carter. (Still no one-on-one with Allison. But some people have theories about Grant getting wounded and being treated by her, so maybe soon?) Carter's just been talking to Tess who is moving in with him. Even if they broke up in the "real" timeline, and he's got feelings for Allison again - it's a mess.

As Tess walks out, Grant shows up with a mug from an unidentified coffee house. I've seen James with one of those mugs so many times - he likes Starbucks - but somehow, since this is Grant from 1947, I felt like the mug looks futuristic and out of place in Grant's hand. I think I really believe in this character on some level. Good sign.

Grant likes the ladies, as we already know. He seems to particularly approve of Tess, whom he ogles and then declares "peach", whatever that means. Hee! Carter, for whatever reason, tells him about the whole moving in thing. Grant tells him - calling him "sport" again! Hee!!! - that Carter should tell Tess, not him.

"Not that it's any of your business - but I don't want to hurt Tess," Carter says. "Sometimes you can't be the good guy," Grant says. "Not that it is any of my business."

I hope Grant isn't going to be one of those characters who sit around spewing wisdom at the regular characters. Like, you know, the cowboy in The Big Lebowski. He's pretty awesome and it's an awesome movie, but he doesn't do anything other than drink sarsaparillas and say wise things. This scene read a little like that: Grant only shows up to give Carter something to think about, because the universe is all about Carter. But then, James got his very own B story in this episode, so I'm happy.

Should I confess to something? *ponders* OK. I found the accent a little bit distracting in this episode. In the two previous ones, it seemed less noticeable. I wonder why it suddenly seems thicker here - maybe just a bad accent day? Do actors have those? *feels bad* I have to stop being so soft. I hate criticizing anything about his performance.

Grant shows up at Henry's workshop. Um, wasn't he mayor now? Or was that just something he played for Founders' Day? I'm confused.

Now that he has a "new name and a new identity" - when did this happen? -, Grant wants something to do. Specifically, he wants to work on the machine that sent them back in time, and see if they can fix it.

"What do you say buddy - for old times' sake?"
Grant already has a trademark "charming smile" when he wants something. He did this with Carter in the cell, and now this. This is what James can do: building a character through faces and gestures in three episodes. I love him.

Henry agrees, and Grant takes his coat off. And there is no vest this time! So he's really stripping gradually, episode by episode. First the hat, which he hasn't had on since episode 1. Then coat off, like it was last episode. Now vest off. The next logical step is shirt off, and his belly is looking pretty juicy, so I'm all for it. I'm hoping we'll see him naked by the end of the season, but I can be patient.

Henry's wife-in-this-timeline, Grace, walks in. Henry introduces Trevor as "Dr Charles Grant", who has just been hired. And that's how we know he's now Charles. It doesn't really feel sufficient. Maybe it's because I'm a name nerd, but just a brief scene would have done, for goodness sake.

-Why Charles? Is it his middle name? His father's name? Just a regular enough name that it doesn't arouse suspicion? (Trevor isn't equally common.)

-Why are they keeping Grant? Is he supposed to be a descendant of Trevor Grant, in case anybody asks?

-If Grant never was there to found Eureka, in this timeline, how come Eureka exists and is almost exactly as it was and they still celebrate Founders' day... Sorry, am I applying too much logic into the time travel arc? ;)
(I do actually enjoy the time travel arc. But still. I do feel like Grant would have needed a few more exposition-y scenes.)

Grace asks if they're building an electrone (electrode?) gun, and wants to join them. Henry says suuure, but it's not very interesting, ehh... Grace gets the hint and leaves them to it.

One more thing - she apologizes to Grant for these old, old tools. (I wouldn't worry about things seeming old to him, dear.) "Sometimes Henry acts as if he's been a bachelor his whole life!" Grant laughs rather too forcefully at this: "Ha ha ha!" Grace leaves.

"If I was married to a gal like that and knew how to build an electrone gun...," says Grant and rolls his eyes as if he's saying something very naughty. Grant, this is 2010. We talk about sex a little more candidly these days.

"But I'm not the man she married," Henry says.

Grant gets excited as they unveil the machine and turn the power on. "We're in business!" (Is that a 40's phrase? Actually, maybe it is. I don't know what phrases were in use then.)

But when Henry applies a tool to the machine - the tool disappears. It got a bit Twilight Zone-y here, which is cool. Of course, they first think it's the machine doing this.
Later, they've figured out it's not the machine. Grant suggests he try it.

He tries to touch an object.. and it also happens to him. (I did take a screenshot, but it doesn't look awesome at all when you don't see the thing disappear. What does look awesome: James' belly, that tie and those suspenders. So feast your eyes on those.)

Grace brings the boys some lunch. I don't seem to have any pictures of Grace, but that just means she didn't stand next to James in any pictures, and I reserve the right to be James-centric in a blog dedicated to him. That's some of her hair though. It is black and curly.

The guys ask her what she thinks, theoretically, might cause for things to evaporate..? She rattles out a few scientific reasons. The guys say it could be that, yes...or possibly a rift in space-time...? "Well, yeah... but that's impossible," Grace laughs. Riight, right, impossible, totally so. How do James and Joe hit the same exact looks like this? Did they rehearse it?

Grace leaves and Grant is devastated that he may have no way home.

(There's something I really like about this picture. The distance between them, the camera being a fair bit away from James, all creates an idea of how alone Grant is and how desolate he must feel.)
A big emotional moment for Grant: he's looked himself up and - he hasn't done anything in the past, because he wasn't there. "I was here. I mean, I am here." He's all alone, everyone he knows is dead. It's like it finally hits home, how dumb it was to come into the future.

"This machine - is all I have."

Poor sad Trevor. (L) I feel like through this episode, he really becomes more of a character. Apparently I define character by "someone I can relate to". These would be precisely my concerns if I were stuck in the future; his scientific excitement over the new gadgets wasn't as relatable to me. (Even if it was amusing.)

"Don't come closer!" They panic as Grace walks in. Watch these two make faces in this scene. I love love love how they play together.

Grace immediately knows what the problem is. For a moment it's like - she knows about the time travel thing? But no. Turns out she has painted all of Henry's tools with [science babble] and human body heat and that thing will make them evaporate! Whew! (What? I didn't get that and maybe it's not even really possible, but hee! Didn't see that coming.)

Nice symmetry here. James' face covered by hand, Joe laughing...

Joe's face covered by hand, James... not laughing but looking damn relieved anyway.
Grace says she's getting back at him "for magnetizing" her pots and pans. It's a good thing she said that, because of course, Henry wouldn't know he's done it in this life.

Henry: "You see... this is something we do."
Grant: "Oh, is it? Okay."

(James is pretty good at pretending to be acting within the show while he's acting in the show argh whatever.)

"If I didn't know better... I'd say you have a little crush on your wife." Hee!! I'm not a huge fan of the "if I didn't know better" only-on-tv phrase. But this use of it I heartily approve of. I love how he works those eyebrows.

Next week, when Eureka airs, I will be out of town, so I won't be able to watch the episode until Sunday. In the meantime, looking forward to more con updates!

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