By Aaron Broder
I hate resolution.
I’ve joked with my friends that in my ideal world, every series finale would end with an abrupt, mid-scene cut to black. A good TV show is a window into a living, breathing, persistent world–one that continues even after the credits roll. When a finale has the gall to put a bow on every situation, it just reminds me that as soon as the episode ends, the characters’ lives are over. Closure is good, but complete resolution feels artificial. Unfortunately, that’s the trap Syfy’s “Eureka” falls into with its series finale.
As the episode title, “Just Another Day,” suggests, the plot is a bit by-the-numbers for “Eureka”: the Department of Defense has decided to shut the town down (as the main character Jack points out, it’s surprising they’ve waited this long, what with the weekly world-ending catastrophes), but right as everyone’s either packing up or protesting, wormholes start appearing, threatening to tear the town apart. The scientists throw out a little technobabble, Jack does something foolhardy and the day is saved. It’s exactly what you expect from “Eureka,” which is comforting in a way, and it manages to hit some nice callbacks throughout the episode.
But wait! Allison, Jack’s wife, is pregnant! And Holly, having lost her memory just last episode, remembers that she loves Fargo! And at the eleventh hour, a character we haven’t seen in over a year saves Eureka! And…and…
And it’s all just a little too perfect.
The last 10 minutes of the episode are dedicated to reveals of this sort. Jo’s proposal to Zane was the rare thing that really felt genuine; not only did it cap off that relationship beautifully, but it served as a strong character moment, a counterpoint to Zane’s (rejected) proposal two years ago and a mark of how Jo has grown emotionally since the lead characters accidentally changed the timeline and reset their relationship to zero. But everything else felt contrived, like an attempt to give everyone a happy ending even if it hadn’t been earned yet.
This was especially true for Holly and Fargo. I’m sure the writers had a much bigger plan for these two–they only found out about their cancellation after the season had already been filmed and were only given one extra episode to wrap it all up–but the constant back-and-forth seemed almost silly. I don’t want to be on the record as having asked for yet another character played by Felicia Day to die, but when it happened, it was completely unexpected and emotionally powerful. Bringing Holly back cheapened that, even though I eventually decided that the writers used the circumstances of her existence in interesting ways. Wiping her memory could have been the start of something great–something that happened off-screen, that implied a life beyond what we saw on-screen–but instead they redacted it so quickly it was meaningless.
Eureka is a goofy show with an emotional core that seems to intimidate its writers. They delve into feelings when it’s appropriate, but they only stay there as long as they have to. Even if the writers were rushed into this finale, they didn’t have to rush out of it, quickly tying up every loose end they found. It would have been more apt to end with Jack and Henry–the two strong forces that hold the town together–sitting and talking about the town of Eureka, an uncertain future ahead of them. Cut to black.