Synopsis: A scientist spontaneously combusts while eating a bowl of super hot chili. You know, your ordinary chili cook-off...in Eureka.
Review: I was highly anticipating season two of Eureka after the fun season one had been, but the season premiere was quite disappointing building on the rather disappointing finale of the first season. Eureka could be described as Andy Griffith with robots and space shuttles. The strength of the series lies within that genre-bending framework. It is at its best when it replicates the fun of Andy Griffith but adds a robot here and a space shuttle there. This episode as well as the finale it's following up on both take a decidedly darker turn. It's okay to want to imbue the series with depth, but darker does not equal more in depth. Maybe the producers are trying to duplicate the success of Sci Fi's very dark (yet very boring) Battlestar Galactica.
It appears Eureka has come down with a virus that plagues many television shows and movies. The symptoms are evident in the closing scene where the increasingly menacing Henry well on his path to supervillainy memory wipe flashes Carter and subsequently bashes the memory wipe flasher intended for himself with a hammer. There is nothing wrong with a memory wipe. It is used effectively in Men in Black and should be right at home in this series except for all of a sudden the show is taking itself too seriously. It's effective in Men in Black, because the movie never takes itself seriously, which is not to say the movie lacked depth.
The series is looking for depth in all the wrong places and lacking it in all the important places:
Every episode starts out as average (5 out of 10). It must prove itself exceptional to rise above that but will dip if it is below average. We've already established the story arc continuing from last season is bunk (-1). Rooting out the cause of the spontaneous combustion could have been turned into a fun mystery but instead it was tied into the bunk story arc giving the episode zero standalone potential (-1). Finally, the episode took itself far too seriously (-1). Tally it up, folks. That's a measly 2 out of 10. I sincerely hope this episode isn't a sample of what Eureka has in store for us this season.
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)