With tonight's episode, Eureka launches a long storyline about a space mission. The show's focus on space exploration started with Fargo's recent impromptu space voyage — and it came right after the final Space Shuttle Mission.
We talked to producer Jaime Paglia about how Eureka is emphasizing a "can do" spirit of space exploration at a time when America is feeling less sanguine. And we learned what to expect from the rest of season four. Spoilers ahead...
"The timing was kind of nuts," Paglia tells us. "We actually premiered our episode a week before the final Shuttle launch... I think there was a little bit of the planets aligning for us."
The fact that Eureka started sending its characters into space, and planning a huge space mission, right after the final Shuttle launch was just a huge coincidence, Paglia says. Another coincidence: Eureka's music composer, Bear McCreary, was asked to do the music for the final Shuttle mission, so the two events share a common musical feel as well.
Eureka is about "dreaming big," and proving that "there are endless possibilities," says Paglia, and this new space mission storyline underscores that.
When we caught up with Paglia at the Syfy/E! party at Comic-Con the other night, he told us that the show would never abandon the alternate timeline, because "we're so inspired by the changes that have happened.... to press a button and undo it, and it never really mattered, we wouldn't want to do it." The network had some trepidation about the idea of not going back, "they got on board." And the audience response has been great. Among other things, the alternate timeline has created some really fascinating romantic relationships for the characters.
Instead of having a major villain or "big bad," this season, Eureka is having a big mission which spawns all sorts of storylines, including the complicated preparations, and the competition to take part. And there will be "huge surprises" coming up, Paglia promises.
And Paglia insists that Fargo is really qualified to be in charge at Global Dynamics, because of the huge growth his character has seen. "We always wanted to grow him into that role," says Paglia. Thanks to the alternate timeline, we got to see that overnight and throw him into the deep end and see whether he could man up. "Neil Grayston is such a great actor, he's been able to play that arc believably," going from abject fear to confidence. We've seen Fargo gain maturity over the past season and a half — and it was great that Fargo got to be the one who stayed calm in a crisis in the midseason opener "Liftoff," while the macho Zane showed some vulnerability.
When we talked to Colin Ferguson (Jack Carter) and Grayston himself, Ferguson echoed the confidence that Fargo has what it takes to run an organization that takes in $20 billion in government money. "In season four, he really had to step up and be a man and stop being a little boy," says Grayston. Ferguson adds that Fargo is a really versatile actor, who was locked into being the "goofy guy" for a long time, so it's great to see him get to branch out.
We wanted to know if Fargo being in charge meant less nudity and less weird goop being spattered on him — and Grayston says this promotion means that Fargo has moved up to being in his underwear, and being lit on fire. Which is definitely a move upwards.
In this season, Dr. Holly Marten (Felicia Day) arrives to figure out if Fargo is wasting $20 billion — and winds up in a love triangle with Fargo and Wil Wheaton's character, Dr. Parrish. Grayston joked that "Fargo's wiles" might be seducing Dr. Marten, and that perhaps the underwear and self-immolation are how Fargo seduces people.
(And yes, Wheaton's character manages to be far more pompous than Fargo, thus exploding the laws of the physical universe.)
What's wrong with Allison?
In tonight's episode it's revealed that something's going on with Allison Blake, and she's not quite herself. Is it a weird entity? Is it mind control? We don't know. But Ferguson tells us that it will definitely have an impact on her relationship with Jack.
And Salli Richardson-Whitfield elaborated. "There's something going on. Something's been done to me. I can't say more than that. But it does give me something a little more interesting... it's something that's going to go on for a little bit. I'm not going to all-of-a-sudden be a crazy wigged-out person for the next year." And this keeps the Jack-Allison relationship interesting, an avoids the "now they're together" stagnation that hits television relationships.
But there are other bumps in the Jack-Allison relationship, including the conflict between their personal and professional relationships, and the fact that Jack sometimes steps on her toes because he has to do things his own way.
Meanwhile, Jack's daughter, Zoe, comes back in an upcoming episode, and they have a discussion with her about the alternate timeline "because she senses that something's up," says Ferguson.
Will we ever see Nathan Stark again? Richardson-Whitfield says she always says "Never say never" — but they're not a soap opera, and generally, dead means dead.