Friday, September 10, 2010

James Callis on Eureka: "The Ex Factor"

Episode 8, "The Ex Factor". This week: James' final episode on the show. Sniff! In fact, it's today (US time) or tomorrow (my time). I'm almost not feeling like watching it because I want to savour this - yet it sounds like a really interesting episode, so I will probably be squeeing tomorrow. I hope.

Grant meets Beverly Barlowe. We're continuing from the same scene that the last episode ended with; Barlowe has been waiting a long time - in fact she says "we have been waiting", so you can tell it's not just her. In the original timeline, she was working for some evil corporation that had infiltrated Eureka. But I'm not sure what to make of her in this timeline. She's played by Debrah Farentino, who can really do that devious "can you trust me or can't you? Either way I'm very tempting" smirk. She reminds me of Marcia Cross.

Grant is not sure what to think - his smile reads kind of like "I want to show you that I'm no fool, although really I believe you and am freaked out." Another layered expression from James here. Awesome.
And here he's beginning to truly believe her and has to show it, because it's so shocking. Turns out Beverly is the daughter of Adam Barlowe, Grant's old friend. They had an ideal together - they wanted to prevent another nuclear bomb from happening.

You can tell Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still fresh in Grant's memory. (And they would be, since for him only two years have passed.) This is really good and accurate for a 40's person.

Adam has been dead for ten years, but Beverly is continuing his legacy. Global Dynamics are preparing a weapon that would wipe out all electronics for a whole country - "a weapon of control". Grant can't believe this.

Let's stop here for a moment, because I'm very, very happy with this plot. I've been hoping for something like this all season, and my only regret is that it comes so late. This gives Grant an actual personality beyond "guy from the 40's". We learn something about who he truly was - an idealist who wanted to use his inventions for the good of mankind. I think we're moving away from "ethically gray" and more onto what James was describing - a good guy. Grant really cares about the greater good, and he's willing to work for the vision he had about the future.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the whole "Grant quits smoking" storyline and his indulgent side; I love the gentlemand and womanizer side too. But what I've wanted to see is some kind of deeper essence or history to him, and here we finally get that. Thank the gods. This was also a consistently good episode, which I enjoyed even outside of the James stuff. It's true of only a couple of episodes - Founder's Day, The New World, and Crossing Over, specifically. So I've ended up enjoying half of the episodes so far. It's really much better than I had expected.

Now for Fargo's barbecue. He's jamming to the music, which is hilarious, like almost everything Neil Grayston does:

Grant shows up a little late. Henry and Grace are still being awesome, and now they're totally falling for each other.
..but there's a powerful electricity thingy and suddenly their ears are hurting. Awww, look at James touching his ears!!! They are so cute and mushroomy. (I actually had a discussion about this once with M, and she said they are totally NOT mushroomy. This is the kind of quality discussion fans have about him.)

(Mushroom. Just saying.)
They toast for "new beginnings", like Carter gleefully hollers. Here we have something I'm not so crazy about: Carter and Allison being all lovey-dovey and Grant ... not really even reacting to it? He doesn't look happy, but there's no real confrontation, and I wished there would be. Oh well.

Later, the device is tested. Grant comes to take a look, and when Zane expresses concern, he agrees. Nobody else seems to care though.

Cheek hollow FTW! I think he's losing a little weight here, which.. I'd say it's a shame but he looks so damn sexy no matter what. Um, yeah, I'm focusing on the plot here, totally.

(It looks a bit like he's going for her ass here. Heh heh. Oh god, I'm mentally 12. I also giggled out loud when Fargo's hallucination called him "Farto". Hah hah, farts. *hangs head in shame* Let's move on.)

So the machine malfunctions and flings Fargo at the wall. But he's fine! Totally! There's this military guy present who's in charge of everything, and Fargo doesn't want him to end the project. Because Fargo is a total kiss ass and can't stand up for himself. Until the end of this episode. It was kind of awesome, actually.

Grant approaches Allison. I loved this scene so much. Their dynamic is a bit different than in Crossing Over - now Grant has the moral high horse and she has to respect that and really defend her view.

Allison is preparing a way to make the nanobots that helped him quit smoking - attack cancer cells. Grant could look a little more impressed at that. But he's still thinking of the device.

A gratuitous shot of her great gams. (Which apparently means legs. I thought at first it meant buttocks. Live and learn.)

Grant wants to know about the "weapon" they're building.
Allison: "The DED device?"
Grant: "Well, see you're doing it as well now."
Allison: "Doing what?"
Grant: "Avoiding calling it a weapon."
Allison says this is "a DOD facility". (DOD = Department of Defense"?)
Grant: "Yeah, but it shouldn't be, it's not what I... It's not how we envisioned the place to be."

The pain on his face - is it because his friend is dead, or because he feels so bad about this military Eureka? Either way, it's very touching. Grant is passionate about what he believes in. I love this character so much.

Allison: "I distinctly remember being in 1947 and seeing more soldiers than scientists."
Grant: "That was right after the war! We were trying to get this place off the ground!"
Allison: "So you think we should just scrap the whole project?"
Grant: "I think science should be about discovery, not about who can build the biggest gun!"

OMG, I loved this. There are two points of view here, both presented in an intelligent way. Neither one is condescending; Allison is listening to his views respectfully. The best part: this doesn't read like TV talk, it seems like genuine dialogue. It's a conversation. Bravo!

Allison explains that without things like the "device", they couldn't get funding for things like cancer cures. The nanobots, like Allison reminds him, saved Trevor's life too.

Grant: "I see I'm not going to win this argument."
Allison: "I didn't realize we were arguing."
Grant: "I'll let you get back to your work."

Here's a non-James scene I liked so much that I wanted to include it. Because of an energy surge-whatever, everyone who was at the barbecue is seeing a hallucination. A person from their past life, someone they have unresolved issues with. This is the scene where they realize they're hallucinating.

Allison sees Carter's ex Tess, and Carter sees Allison's dead husband, Nathan.
Vince: "What can I get you two?"
Allison and Carter: "...."
Carter: "Do you see someone sitting there?"
Allison: "I see Tess sitting there."
Vince: "Uh.. huh... eh..." *leaves*

Heee! This was a great scene. I loved this hallucination plot overall. It was well executed and fun.

Looking at the device again, James looks very Gaius all of a sudden. Maybe it's the glow of the screens, or the fact that his hair is beginning to grow out.

He suggests shutting down the whole device, because the risks are too high. But the military guy shows up and tells him to go catalogue some books, since he's just a librarian. Oo, burn. -Hey, wait, there's nothing wrong with being a librarian! I don't seem to have any screenshots of Military Guy, but this post is already so big.. OK, just moving on. I'll mention his name though: General Mansfield, played by Barclay Hope.

Grant meets Beverly Barlowe again, and we get to his hallucination: his old friend Adam Barlowe.

..but when he looks behind him, there's no one.

Barlowe: "I was happy to get your call. You checked out the information we gave you."

Grant: "I did. Seems the department of Defense is calling the shots. Douglas Fargo is a good man, but GD needs someone who can stand up to that."

Barlowe: "Eureka used to have a leader like that."

Grant: "Times have changed. I'm nobody now. I don't even have a name."

Barlowe: "We could give you that voice again, Dr Grant."

I really love the dialogue in this episode. Strong, to the point, dramatic but not overly so.

Adam speaks to him: "We failed to make a difference 40 years ago, Trevor. Now we get a second chance." This is powerful stuff. (He's played by Elias Toufexis. Intriguing name.)

Cheek bones FTW again. (That's the very handsome Niall Matter and the hilarious Neil Grayston next to him. I see I'm beginning to slightly fangirl the other actors on this show too, as the season goes on. Not necessarily a bad thing.)

Grant is left alone with the console, and Adam appears to encourage him to action.

You can tell he's thinking and feeling conflicted - can he betray his friends for the greater good? He can, and he types in the code Beverly gave him.

..and the machine goes boom and he ends up injured. Awww!

Awww, don't hurt my James! :( *tries not to think about real-life painful appendix operation*

"You're lucky to be alive," Fargo says. But he's luckier than that - no one guesses he caused this.

On to another great scene between Grant and Allison. She's healing his hand with some kind of... futuristic Eureka device.

Adam: "Sure, with you she's gentle. Me, she kick starts with jumper cables." Heee! I love that he referred to the first episode. I didn't recognize him as the same guy, actually, so it's a good thing he did.
Allison asks if Grant's hurting, since he's shaking.
"I'm fine," he says in a hoarse voice. "Never better." Aww, 40's macho man.
Adam: "You did the right thing, doc." The other's hallucinations are kinda taunting and haunting, and his is much nicer. Which is a nice departure from HeadSix.

Hallucination-Tess tells Allison: "Look at him! He is adorable. A gentleman and he's safe." In the earlier scene she said, "Seriously, you haven't hit that?" Which is awesome, and yes, the viewers wonder about this too.

Grant realizes Allison is seeing Tess again.
Allison: "What about you? You were at the barbecue. You haven't said anything about who you're seeing."
Adam: "The guy whose life she saved sixty years ago."
Grant: "Tall leggy blonde, slinky red ress." (L)!!!
Allison: "An old girlfriend?"
Grant: "I could tell you about her, over drinks..." but then Carter walks in and his Hallucinatory Nathan goes, "Who the hell is this?" Heee!

I loved loved loved the BSG reference. I was hoping he'd refer to Gaius at some point. What I like most about it is that it was done subtly, and not in a way that shouts "I PLAYED GAIUS BALTAR IN BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!" Very organic and fitting for the episode. Good job, James. And writers.

And look at them smile at each other!

So Carter and Allison go into the woods to figure out what happened - turns out the whole hallucinatory energy surge thingy was a distraction, so someone - or some group, more likely - gets to smuggle the device out of Eureka.

But who could it be? Someone in the inside must have helped them out. Grant looks suitably guilty but nobody notices...

Back at the Depot, he's furious. They used him! All they wanted was to snatch the device.

Beverly admits that they kept some parts of the plan secret. "Plausible deniability, Doctor Grant, that was your mantra."

They needed the weapon for its power source.

"We've rebuilt the bridge device. This is a chance for you to do what you intended to do 63 years ago: change the world. We're sending you home."

Wow. OK. So this could be really good, or really bad. My concern is that they just reboot everything back to the original timeline, in which Trevor Grant never even came to 2010. In that case, his role would have been a bit...null and void? I really hope they will at least remember Grant. Since James said he might do a few more episodes, that could mean he's still in the timeline and in their lives in some way. I'm really intrigured and nervous about the next episode, and can't wait for tomorrow when I get to see it.

1 comment:

Nicole Anell said...

One of my favorite eps of this season! Thanks as always for the picspam and recap.

(waits anxiously for tonight's episode)