Episode Title: "Do You See What I See"
Writers: Amy Berg & Eric Tuchman
Director: Matt Hastings
It's time for another continuity free "Eureka" Christmas special! This year, Sherif Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is apparently finally living with his love, Dr. Alison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) as her son, Kevin (Trevor Jackson), her young daughter, Jenna and Carter's daughter, Zoe (Jordan Hinson) all at Carter's house on Christmas Eve. As a special treat, Carter has even arranged for a special snow-making device to give his family and the town of Eureka a white Christmas. When Allison also departs the house to retrieve an object from GD, Zoe and Kevin allow Jenna to open one of her gifts: an interactive storybook.
Using an experimental power source, Kevin activates Jenna's book; which in turn interacts with the device being prepped by Carter's friends. Suddenly, the entire town apparently exists in the form of computer animation. Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) and Dr. Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) theorize that the change is simply their perceptions being altered by the device, but there is no explanation that really covers this. Carter and his trusty android deputy, Andy (Kavan Smith) attempt to find the machine and fix it; only to run into problems when Jenna plays with her book and creates snow ninjas for them to fight.
As the animation styles continue to change. Carter's jeep even comes to life, calling itself Carl before driving off alone. Carl apparently feels under-appreciated by Carter. During the big battle with the snow ninjas, Carter and Andy are saved by Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra); who looks like a Disney princess, complete with tweeting birds that follow her around. Back at GD, Allison, Henry and Fargo eventually work out that the cause of the animation effect is coming from Carter's home; which is protected from the events outside by a force field. When Andy is lost, Carter and Jo run into Jim Taggart (Matt Frewer); who has apparently become a polar bear in the new animated reality.
Meanwhile, Allison flags down "Carl" and convinces him to bring her back to Carter. Along the way, they pick up Andy and reunite with Carter. Soon enough, Carter and company come across Dr. Noah Drummer (Chris Parnell), the man Carter has previously suspected to be secretly Santa Claus. While Drummer's help proves to be valuable, the snow ninjas reform as a giant and it lumbers towards Eureka with an eye towards destroying it. Finally realizing that Jenna's storybook is effecting events outside, Kevin and Zoe change the animation style to Anime, making Henry and Fargo into great warriors.
The change also makes the giant snow ninja more formidable, but Carter and Jo destroy it with a well placed bomb, ending the story and saving the town. As the town returns to its normal live action, Carter gets his wish for a White Christmas with his family and friends, who pour into his beloved house. As Dr. Drummer, he rides off in his sleigh; which appears to take off in a very Santa-like fashion when he is out of sight from everyone but the audience.
"Eureka" is a series that I don't usually review because every episode tends to have the same premise: Wacky science goes wrong in a town full of geniuses, with only Jack Carter and his friends on hand to save the day! In fact, that was basically the premise in this episode as well.
But the animation gimmick of "Do You See What I See" was enough to draw my attention back to the show. The nods to Rankin and Bass, Anime and other animated styles was irresistible. It's unfortunate that the "South Park" and "Simpsons" styles were only around for seconds at a time. An extended sequence in those styles could have been a lot of fun. To be clear, there was nothing in the explanation about this phenomena within the episode that made any kind of sense. And it didn't matter. This was Eureka pseudo-science at its best: entertaining if not quite believable.
The animated incarnations of some the regular characters was pretty inspired. Carter's Dudley Do-Right may have been dull, but bobble-head Fargo, pull-string Henry and Princess Jo White were all amusing. Deputy Andy's archaic Warner Bros. style apps were hilarious and there was also an incredibly surreal sequence in which Fargo was taunted by anthropomorphic buttons who urged him to press them. Even Jim Parsons as Carl the jeep was fun to have around; especially with his eventual over-the-top reconciliation with Carter. Edward James Olmos also made a nice guest appearance as a talking dog named Rudy… who was clearly a stand-in for Rudolph.
However, it was Taggart's polar bear alter ego that provided most of the laughs in the second half of the episode. Although Matt Frewer and Neil Grayston seemed to be the cast members who are best suited for voice acting; I honestly didn't have any complaints about the performances of the rest of the animated cast. The only segments that seemed to drag down the show were the cutaways back to Zoe, Kevin and Jenna in live action. Those scenes weren't particularly fun or interesting and the episode would have been better served without the majority of them.
The highlight of the episode was the Anime battle at the end between action versions of Fargo and Henry and the giant Snow Ninja. I'm not sure who provided the animation for that sequence, but it was really well done. An episode this insane shouldn't have worked as well as it did. And yet somehow it was only fitting for "Eureka."
Potential "Eureka" Season five spoilers ahead!
Did anyone else notice that Carter and Allison were wearing wedding rings while living together with both of their families? That seems like a potentially huge spoiler from the upcoming fifth and final season. Niall Matter's Zane was also notably missing from this episode; which could mean that Zane either got pointlessly left out of the Christmas show again… or something happened to him on that space mission that prevented his return.
That's just speculation at this point. But we'll find out next summer, when "Eureka" makes its final bow.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.