Eureka, Season 5, Episode 4, “Friendly Fire”
Written by Amy Berg
Directed by Mike Rohl
Airs Mondays at 9pm ET on SyFy
Things mostly get back to normal on Eureka as the main characters work together to resolve the case-of-the-week. “Friendly Fire” has the perfect mix of sci-fi, drama, and comedy that has kept Eureka a consistently entertaining show for several years.
This week’s major issue involves a fiery element created by minor character Dr. Parrish (Wil Wheaton) that escapes the labs and attacks heat-emitting sources throughout town. It turns out all of the characters who were tapped into the Matrix in the previous few episodes are continuing to emit “zeta waves” in their brain which are having negative effects on things like the fiery element and Carter’s house S.A.R.A.H. It is unclear at this point whether these residual zeta waves are internally dangerous, but they may address that in future episodes.
Besides the zeta waves, there is another residual effect taking place from the Matrix storyline. The characters who were in the Matrix are struggling to adjust to certain aspects of their real lives. This is mainly in the form of interaction with those who were not in the Matrix but unpleasantly portrayed by the program. Grace is unable to allow herself to get close with her husband Henry as the virtual Henry almost killed her in the Matrix. Carter is awkward around Jo after kissing the virtual Jo and seeing her naked, while Zane is mad at Carter and Allison is uncomfortable with Jo for those same reasons. Henry and Jo notice these changes but are not initially aware of what went on in the Matrix to cause these feelings.
Though by the end of “Friendly Fire” all of these relationships appear to be moving towards getting back to normal, one has to wonder if there will be long-lasting effects. Zane points out that though the Matrix wasn’t real, the algorithms that helped create the Matrix were based on the highest probability scenarios. So he sees Carter and Jo romantically connected in four years as a logical possibility. This brings back the debate of whether Carter should end up with Allison or Jo in the end. Though it seems everything is back to normal, there are definitely small nuances to make the viewer believe there are underlying feelings between Carter and Jo and that the characters may be realizing that as well.
One final observance from this episode is that Dr. Parrish is around a bit more. He has appeared very briefly throughout the last several episodes, mostly as a nuisance to Fargo. This week, however, he has a very touching moment with Fargo, who has been coping with the death of Holly. For the first time, Parrish isn’t portrayed as an annoying and aggravating character. In recent appearances on other shows, Wil Wheaton has taken a similar trajectory. He appeared throughout seasons three and four of The Guild as an aggravating character, but after being absent for most of season five, he appears in a helpful and meaningful way. On The Big Bang Theory, Wheaton plays an exaggerated version of himself. He starts off as a nemesis to Sheldon and even finds ways to purposefully aggravate him, but after three appearances in two seasons, the fourth appearance brings a different side of Wheaton that is kind to Sheldon. So Wheaton has portrayed three characters on shows in the last few years that have taken similar paths. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Parrish continues to be portrayed more positively or not.