Eureka may be no more, but there's still a ton of stories left until we reach the end of the line. In last night's episode, we got an entertaining cat-and-mouse chase between two seriously unlikely characters...and it was kinda awesome.
The episode finds Allison completely under the remote control of the town's recurring nemesis, Beverly Barlowe and her mysterious, still kinda ill-defined anti-Eureka conspiracy. So that he can commit himself to the Astraeus Project, Fargo has turned control of Global Dynamics over to Allison, giving Beverly everything she needs to make her move against the town. She uses some recently administered Astraeus inoculations to send the entire town into a coma, and then she and her two henchmen go after all of Eureka's secrets.
Meanwhile, Jo has picked up Zoe Carter from the airport, who is none too pleased with the fact that Jo is dating her would-be boyfriend Zane. Thankfully, the comatose town interrupts their relationship drama, and they are forced to take on Beverly all by themselves - all the while taking care not to harm Allison, whose body remains very much in the line of fire.
"Omega Girls" feels like an odd episode for a show like Eureka. While this half-season has seen an increase in callbacks and references to past events, but this one takes it to a whole other level. There's multiple discussions about the timeline shift, of course, while Zoe and Jo have to sort out their time-fractured relationship with Zane. There's also random callbacks to the Titan rover and the baby robot from season 4.0, which I only barely remembered was a thing. I suspect there were other references crammed in there, but those were the ones I noticed.
On a more basic level, this is an episode built around a central conflict between Zoe Carter and Beverly Barlowe, who really are at best tertiary characters. (Zoe used to be a secondary character, I guess, but she hasn't been a regular since 2009.) Jordan Hinson and Debrah Farentino both do perfectly good jobs in their respective roles, but they're not really who we tune in to see. Other than Jo, none of the main cast gets all that much to do, especially after the twenty minute mark - indeed, Fargo only gets a glorified cameo in this episode, and big guest stars Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton are nowhere to be seen.
Now, this isn't inherently a bad thing, but it sure as hell adds to the episode's degree of difficulty. It's not just that we haven't seen these characters in a while, it's that these two characters haven't even interacted since the first or second season. When Zoe recognizes that Allison is talking like her old shrink, she's referring to episodes that aired between 2005 and 2007. (Or, at least, their new timeline equivalents, I guess.) That's kind of a daring thing to do for a show that has never really made a priority of long-running continuity. If last week's episode felt like a stylistic callback to previous seasons, then this episode is trying to tap into the relationships and mythologies that underpinned the show's beginnings.
So, the simple fact is that a Zoe/Beverly episode isn't going to be immediately interesting as a Carter/Beverly episode - or, if Eureka was feeling frisky, a Fargo/Beverly episode. Because Beverly has always been such a resolutely mysterious character, I'm not sure she really has any longstanding concrete relationships with any of the main cast - I mean, if you factor out the whole "controlling Allison's body" thing, what exactly would Carter's beef with her be beyond sort of a general sense that she's the enemy?
Of course, I suppose now Carter (and Allison, and everyone else) has plenty of reason to be angry with Beverly. It's a bit of a shame the episode doesn't really follow up on just how much Beverly has violated everyone by stealing Allison's body. That might be followed up on in later episodes, but I suspect it won't be a huge factor. On some level, that's a reflection of who Jack is as the show's protagonist. He simply isn't the type to be consumed by righteous rage or an all-consuming drive for vengeance.
At the end of the day, he's just glad that Zoe and Allison are safe, and they can always worry about the big scary threat some other time. It's actually kind of a neat trick that the show's propensity for procedural storytelling and soft resets is woven into the hero's characterization. If Jack isn't the type to hold a grudge, why should we? (Of course, if the show feels like proving my analysis completely wrong and having Carter open up a can of whoop-ass on Beverly and the Consortium, I so won't complain.)
All of this, I suppose, is a way of saying that while "Omega Girls" is a very atypical episode, particularly in the context of season 4.5, I still enjoyed it a whole lot and, overall, it works very well. The conceit of having Beverly actually physically appear in Eureka is a bit confusing at first, but it ends up working well, and first-time director Salli Richardson-Whitfield (who plays Allison) gets a couple cool moments out of the switches between Allison and Beverly.
Once Zoe and Jo get to Global Dynamics, we're pretty much in Die Hard territory, and there's a reason why that particular action template has proven so popular. (Well, two reasons - it also tends to be cheap to shoot.) Zoe has some great moments in outwitting Beverly's henchmen, and both she and Jo acquit themselves well with the firearms. They also say "bitch" a lot, for some reason.
Speaking of Zoe and Jo, the episode also does a decent job navigating the whole Zane mess. I'm really not a fan of this sort of plot line, but it's decently well-executed here. Indeed, Eureka consistently shows a greater emotional maturity when it comes to relationships than most other science fiction shows. The scene where Zoe delays freeing Jo until she gets an apology is nicely handled, because Jo correctly - and, more unusually, successfully - points out they really don't have time to deal with this if they want to stop Beverly from escaping.
All in all, "Omega Girls" is a fun departure from the scientific mysteries and light comedy that usually comprise Eureka episodes, as we instead head into the action movie/conspiracy thriller territory. It's nice to see the show continuing to try out so many different types of stories in season 4.5, and so far, the results have been very satisfying. The only question now is in the follow-up, as we have to get back on track with Astraeus, figure out just what Beverly is up to...and deal with any potential fallout from Jack telling Zoe the truth about the timeline.
Finally, a quick word about the show's cancellation. I don't honestly have that much to say about it right now, considering we've still got 18 episodes to go between now and the end of 2012 - that's almost a quarter of the entire run of the show. While it's a bummer that a good show is going away, it's had a decently long run, and I just hope there's time to adjust season five (which is currently nearing the end of production) to wrap the show up properly. Anyway, until we get closer to the actual end, I think I'm just going to enjoy what we've got. And thankfully, there's an awful lot to enjoy in the here and now.