Eureka Review: "O Little Town"

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Every year there at this time, there are those holiday shows that you watch again and again, even after seeing them the year before. I may have to add "O Little Town" to my list.

Allow me to start with what a great combination of imagery and storytelling the entire production staff did with the presentation of this episode. When Sherriff Carter walked over and got cozy in a high-backed chair by the fire to tell the kids a Christmas story, I was hooked!

A Eureka Christmas

However, the holiday imagery aside, this episode really raised a lot of questions for me. To be honest, I think the amazing job the season finale did of wrapping everything up is partly to blame for me being curious about a few things:

  1. Sherriff Carter’s story took place “a few years ago,” so why was everything like it was after the time travel this year?
  2. Where was Henry’s new wife? As it was clearly taking place after the time travel, why was she not shown in an episode about celebrating family? 
  3. Why was Taggart (the animal expert) suddenly an expert in physics and having his own lab?
  4. Why were a bunch of genius-level kids sitting around Café Diem bored? Doesn’t Eureka have Xbox, PS3, World of Warcraft, or the Internet? 

I know what you’re thinking: “It’s only a TV show, Jim, cut it some slack.” To that, I have to say: “No way!”

This show received my first and only perfect, five-star rating for the season finale; and, with that, comes higher expectations for plot and story. Or, failing that, at least some average expectations on continuity. Is that really too much to ask?!?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Actually, I think Carter may have stretched the truth a bit and that the episode actually really fit in the timeline. I think the events he described took place that day. 1. All of Vince's decorations in Cafe Diem were the same in the story and before & after. Not only were they the same, but everything was in the same place. Now, a character like Vince who is constantly trying new things wouldn't just hang the stars in the exact same location every year. 2. Jack didn't get his Secret Santa present until after he finished the story for the kids. 3. After he finished the story, the core cast got together in the cafe for egg nog (or so it looked) and they were wearing the same clothes as in the story. The Sheriff and Jo always wear the same thing. Zane I could buy if he plays "Santa" every year. But everyone? 3. The star at the end.

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I will be honest here. I started liking the show less when they overdid the "genius thing" when someone (I think Allison) and Zoe chit-chatted about how hot Zane was for helping her with physics (I think it was something along the lines of "Oh my God, Zane helped me with Quantum Mechanics" "That is so hot"). Then came the time travelling, which made the episodes go into an alternate timeline. I was going to stop watching after this one. This got me right back into the show. Everything everyone said was right. This was a great episode.

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In the the first few minutes... Does the kid say Dad, do we have to? or were my ears just playing tricks on me?

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Nice review. It was a fun episode it hit all the notes of family and giving and did it in Eureka style - good mix of both. Who wouldn't want to live in Eureka?

Jimg

Hi Jaime Paglia, Welcome to TVFanatic! I am honored that you took time to reply and thank you for your awesome feedback on the thoughts that went into the show. As I started the review with, it is an instant classic and I was hooked. It will certainly be added to my list of Xmas shows I watch each year. I loved the interaction with Carter and the kids, and it really does have that classic "Christmas Fairytale" feel to it. I appreciate your patience and understanding as to why I was a little critical on the episode. While I have you here, I will suggest that adding a short voice over intro right at the beginning (watch Jim Carey's Grinch for a good example of this effect) could have been used to introduce it to be more of a Christmas Tale and this episode would have been another five star episode. Ps. I couldn't figure out where to mention it in my review, but Jo talking about her brothers being in harms way at Christmas really brought a tear to my eye as I spent two tours doing that very same thing... Bravo on the nod to our service men and women. Jim

Fortyseven

A good Christmas episode that I'd want to watch next year.

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Okay, Jim, here’s the method to our madness, which I just posted in response to our friend, Carissa, who had similar questions. We’ve wanted to do a Christmas episode for a while now. Something that could potentially become a perennial for the series. This year presented the unique challenge of our time-line shift. We didn’t want to undo the changes of the first half of the season, but we also wanted the show to be potentially enjoyed for years to come. It had to be timeless. After lengthy discussions in the writers’ room, we decided to focus on only our core characters and let this episode exist somewhat on its own as a fable for the show (which also allowed us to push the boundaries of the science a titch with the shrinking of the town). After all, this is a town full of genius scientists who may not necessarily believe in Santa Claus (though we certainly do!). So, having Carter tell a story that may or may not be a bit exaggerated, from some time in the future of our show, felt right. Like faith in general or Santa in particular, we wanted the viewer to decide. Carter says, “I’m just sharing the story. Believe what you want.� As for Taggart, if anybody in our technological town would believe in Santa, it's him. And I know, just like I know that Santa Claus exists, that he'd find a way to prove it. Hope that clarifies things a bit. Merry Christmas. With warmest holiday wishes, Jaime Paglia
co-creator/executive producer
“Eureka�

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Actually, I think Carter may have stretched the truth a bit and that the episode actually really fit in the timeline. I think the events he described took place that day. 1. All of Vince's decorations in Cafe Diem were the same in the story and before & after. Not only were they the same, but everything was in the same place. Now, a character like Vince who is constantly trying new things wouldn't just hang the stars in the exact same location every year. 2. Jack didn't get his Secret Santa present until after he finished the story for the kids. 3. After he finished the story, the core cast got together in the cafe for egg nog (or so it looked) and they were wearing the same clothes as in the story. The Sheriff and Jo always wear the same thing. Zane I could buy if he plays "Santa" every year. But everyone? 3. The star at the end. And I agree with Elie's comments about the kids. Also, most parents I know in those professions really limit their kids exposure to such activities. Taggart also was involved with the ice core project. That's not animal. But he did have his own lab before. Also Allison is a medical doctor. She may have done some coursework in physics, but to be as knowledgeable as she is? I just go with it. Besides, Santatology....I want to major in that. ;-)

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I can conjecture on at least one of those points. Eureka kids probably beat all those Xbox, PS3 etc... games when they were 4 or 5. And 2 everyone can get bored with the same ol thing sometimes.

Eureka Season 4 Episode 10 Quotes

Taggart: I am going to need a little helper.
Carter: I am not wearing a pointy hat.

Fargo: Maybe someone outside of Eureka will see how small we are and try to help us?
Jo: Like who? Oh, like a big-hearted elephant?

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