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"Eureka" Update

I ranked the first two episodes of the SciFi Channel's Eureka as "mildly amusing, does not suck." But last night's episode was quietly and surprisingly awesome.

Written for the screen by John Rogers of Global Frequency, the episode dealt with a creep of a scientist using a memory-wiping device to blank other his colleagues' memories and steal their discoveries. Watching the characters repeatedly lose their short-term recollections thanks to him, and piece together the mystery several times over, was fun enough.

But the episode took a huge leap in quality when the scientist's also-brilliant wife began to question whether he'd used the device on her: to keep her from leaving him, to take credit for all the advances she'd actually come up with, and even possibly to erase all the memories she had of her one true love. To its credit, Rogers' script deliberately left those unsettling questions unanswered. It was all written subtly and intelligently, deftly working in the theme of memory throughout the episode, and sold with some really strong and moving performances by the series regulars and guest star (and possibly new recurring character) Tamlyn Tomita.

Plus, they had a 12-year-old Warholesque theater impressario, more of the increasingly funny smart house, none of Matt Frewer the crazy dogcatcher, and a high-school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Barbarella-style costumes and functioning jetpacks, which, well, you can't go wrong there.

I'm hoping this episode was less of a one-off fluke, and more an indication of a series finding its footing. (Angel vet David Greenwalt's presence as Eureka's consulting producer happily suggests the latter.) The series is still no Battlestar Galactica, but this week's show was smarter, more entertaining, and more honestly touching than large chunks of the most recent season of Lost.


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