This column may contain spoilers for Syfy's "Eureka."
Who knew that 1947 would be the most important year in Eurekas history?
When we first heard that Eureka had been founded in 1947, it barely registered. It was a forgotten memory as soon as we heard it. But ever since Founders Day, we have learned that 1947 means everything to the residents of Eureka - - both past and present. It was not just the year that Eureka was founded and paved the way to create the world that our well-beloved heroes now live in, it was the year that everything changed.
Due to some small hiccup in time, whether triggered by a young autistic boy who wanted to use the butterfly effect to undue a birthright that left him developmentally challenged, or by someone else with a darker motivation in mind, that time hiccup drew our five heroes out of their peaceful everyday lives in 2010 and took them back to 1947 where they scrambled to find a way back home again.
However, that is the magic of the butterfly effect. No matter how small the influence, any influence will change the future. And 2010 was not the same. A divergent timeline had been created. It was impossible to go back and fix it and it was impossible to recapture their former lives that had been lost in the ever-shifting sands of time.
For Jack (Colin Ferguson), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Henry (Joe Morton), Jo (Erica Cerra) and Fargo (Neil Grayston), life would never be the same again. This past season has allowed them the opportunity to see what life would have been like if things were different. Nothing too big, but how small changes in everyones lives can feel as big as the Grand Canyon when inserted into someones personal life: Jack was forced to look at which woman he wanted to spend his life with; Allison gained a son no longer constrained by a developmental disability; Henry found himself forced to give up his bachelor ways; and Fargo was suddenly the man in charge.
Very much like the story the Wizard of Oz, Jack was forced to find courage to declare his love for Allison; Allison was given a heart and a second chance to be a mom; Jo had to choose between the love of her job and the love of a man; Henry gained wisdom to see that living life alone is not living; and Fargo was given power to see if he knew how to use it wisely.
So as our heroes acclimated to the new and improved 2010, there was a small wrinkle in time that complicated things. This wrinkle came in the form of Dr. Trevor Grant (James Callis) - - promptly renamed as Dr. Charles Grant so that the unsuspecting brilliant minds of Eureka would not wonder about the man who suddenly appeared out of nowhere living in their midst. Dr. Grant was truly a man out-of-time.
Having absconded with Jacks converted cell phone which would have transported him safely back to 2010, Dr. Grant made the time-jump into the future. He thought he could just play tourist and observe all the amazing discoveries and technology that the future held. But only having been given a one-way ticket, he was stuck. Losing out in his bid for Allisons affections, Dr. Grant was easy prey to the likes of any scavenger looking for someone just like him.
Enter the long-forgotten Beverly Barlowe (Debrah Farentino) - - who, once unmasked at the end of the second season as being a traitor in their midst, took off for parts unknown. Seeing the opportunity to return and use Dr. Grant for their own ends, Beverly was quick to woo and win over the lost and lonely Dr. Grant. Perhaps being too distracted by their own personal problems was not the wisest thing for Jack, Allison, Henry, Jo and Fargo to do - - they left a potentially devastating scientific mind open to manipulation.
It was no wonder that Dr. Grant was only too happy to be given another opportunity to make a time-leap - - this time hopefully back to 1947. There is truly no place like home and not being able to integrate fully into 2010, he happily made the leap. But how dangerous is it to have a brilliant scientist who has not only glimpsed the future, but who has played with all its wondrous toys and learned how it all works, to return to the past where he could be virtually unstoppable in recreating the world as we now know it? Do the inhabitants of Eureka truly want yet another alternate timeline created by this little foray into the future and back again? Was it not hard enough adapting to the new reality and all its changes? And would they even know it, if time itself shifted and they merely shifted along with it?
Looking at the Founders Day timeshift, one wonders if it helped our heroes out of stagnant lives from which they did not even realize they were trapped. Both Jo and Fargo have benefited from being allowed positions more worthy of their talents and the chance to openly be recognized as well. They are no longer overshadowed by Jack and Allison and seem to be thriving professionally. It is debatable if their professional success cost them in their personal lives as both lost their love interest at the time.
But perhaps those relationships were unhealthy or not going anywhere. Being unshackled and out from behind the shadows of their former superiors has let them thrive in their lives.
Additionally, Jack, Allison and Henry were stuck in their quasi-bachelor-like lives unwilling to make a change and take a risk on personal happiness. Henry, like Jo and Fargo, received a distinct bump up professionally since he is no longer just a garage mechanic tinkering on science projects and is now the mayor of Eureka. But his change was to allow him to both gain a professional and personal life as he had neither in the old timeline.
As for Jack and Allison, they needed a big push to get past their lets just be friends stance that had gone on for far too long.
For each of them, the timeline shift shook them out of their complacency. They would have never made these changes in their lives without a big push from fate. So it would seem that this alternate reality has actually been a good thing for them. Painful and disorientating, but ultimately perhaps just what they needed.
As for the yet unknown fate of Dr. Grant, perhaps he will always be a man trapped out of time. Even if he were to return home again to 1947, what he has seen of the future will have changed him irrevocably. He will no longer be a man with just vision and ambition, he will be a man with definite knowledge of what lies ahead.
Knowing the future can hinder vision and ambition. It can change a person into one who demands and expects opposed to one who simply hopes and wishes for a better world. The intent of the heart has been warped and it may warp the future as well. We can only hope that Dr. Grant is wise enough to know that he will become the butterfly effect once again if he chooses to return to 1947. Choose wisely Dr. Grant!
The fourth season journey of Eureka has been mesmerizing. It is only half over, but until it returns again, we are breathless with anticipation to see what lies ahead. Will time stand still or bow before the hourglass which has turned yet again?
Either way, well be watching.
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