Earlier this week, I wrote about an episode of Psych, explaining just how disappointed I was that a show that prides itself on details would have, to me, a glaring continuity error. I went on to argue about how “when I watch a mystery and notice little things that don't make sense, I have to be able to trust that the writers and producers have made things not make sense on purpose — that there is a reason for the inconsistencies.”
Last night's episode of Eureka actually provides a perfect example of exactly what I'm talking about. At one point in the episode, Henry Deacon is sitting in a lab monitoring an experiment, and he decides that in a small window on his computer monitor he is going to watch some wrestling. The scene ends with Henry sitting having the small TV tuner window open on his screen. It is a small moment, but one that I perked up immediately at, especially in light of my Psych article. The action of watching wrestling is completely uncharacteristic for Henry, particularly when he has a job to do. Are the writers of the episode simply being sloppy about introducing a new facet to Henry's personality, or is there something deeper at work? I assumed that there was, in fact, something deeply wrong with Henry and not with the writing of the episode. I gave Eureka the benefit of the doubt.
Happily, a few minutes later the episode returned to Henry and his television watching, though now he was completely ignoring the experiment in order to watch TV. Something was in fact deeply wrong with Henry and, as it turned out, the rest of the town of Eureka. The show had in fact put forward an odd moment, something to jar the viewer, and had done it on purpose.
It is true the Eureka always has odd logical leaps in its solutions to mysteries. There are things that don't make sense, that can't make sense, that never will make sense, but in its initial setup of the problem in this episode, people losing their intelligence, the first inklings of trouble were well presented.
So, while the end of the episode was a little too fortuitous and silly (I do not wish to belabor the ending because it involves much explanation into some of the peculiarities of the show and an overly in-depth recap of the plot), the writers of the episode were clever in revealing the problem. The first time there was an idea of a problem presented on screen it was a small, nothing little moment, something that could very easily have been overlooked. Yet, an astute viewer (or myself) is rewarded for paying attention to the show, its characters, and the “normal” events that take place in the town.
And, that's exactly how it should be.