Eureka: Up In The Air

Last night's episode of Eureka, Up In The Air, has my favorite moment of the entire season in it. I don't think it played as clearly in the edit as it read in the script, but it's when Carter gets so incredibly excited for a traditional bank robbery investigation, and then finds out from Andy that the bank was, literally, robbed. As in: it isn't there any more. When I read that in the script, I laughed so hard, I peed a little. In fact, I just had to go ahead and put on an adult diaper for the rest of the episode, because Colin's physical comedy was so perfect.

Even though we shot it a year ago, this episode stands out in my mind quite clearly because on the first day of production, during the first run through of the first setup for the first shot, I twisted my ankle so severely I had to walk with a cane for a month.

Remember when team Bravo is running those tires? Set dressing put them on uneven ground, and I was first in line, so while I was attempting to high-step through them, hold my sides, stay the correct distance from Felicia and the camera while rehearsing, I didn't see the slope underneath me. I'm not the most coordinated person in the world*, and I was probably at -10 or more to make this one … so I ate shit. The crew all thought I was having a laugh (I have a certain reputation for comedy on the set), but I guess something about the way I was writhing in pain on the ground convinced them that I was serious, and not just committing to the bit.

So, to review: we haven't shot a single frame of film on this episode, and now I'm hurt so severely I can't stand up unassisted. The entire day is about us doing physical activity, and I'm in every single scene.

That sound you heard was the production manager having a heart attack.

The show, as they say, must go on, so we did some minor rewriting, changed the blocking on some scenes, and generally ensured that Doctor Parrish wouldn't be doing any physical activity**. In fact, if you watch the first scene with the three of us, you will see that I'm bent over, giving the impression of having just run the tires. In reality, someone from the crew is supporting me so I didn't put any weight on what was my rapidly-swelling ankle. When Fargo comes out of the tree and it looks like I walk away? I actually take one step, grab my cane from a PA, and take one more step so I'm completely out of frame.

Ah, the magic of making movies!

This episode also has my favorite pure character moment of the season in it, but it was cut up so much there's no way anyone in the audience could see it: when we're in the GD rotunda with Carter and Henry, talking about my Higgs Disruptor, Joe Morton and I had this exchange that I just loved. Doctor Parrish is talking about how his Disruptor is signed, but the authenticity of signatures from that era is questionable. You can barely see it, but during rehearsal, Joe and I realized that we're both scientists, and we're talking about a piece of antique equipment that was signed by Higgs himself! We decided that, being nerdy scientists, we'd get excited about that, and temporarily forget that there's a bunch of antimatter hanging out above Eureka waiting to deliver an Earth-shattering KABOOM***. Carter sees this, puts us back on track, and we figure out that he needs to go Up In The Air****.

It was exciting to us, as actors, when we found these beats during rehearsal, because we turned a scene that was pretty much an infodump to the audience (that set up the third act) into something that was an infodump with some real character moments behind it. In the final cut, though, a couple of lines were lost (I'm almost positive that the show was running long), and while the intention is still there, the exact character beats aren't. I'm sure this is a little Inside Baseball, but I learned a lot about who Parrish was during that scene, and how he feels about the people he interacts with at GD and in Eureka. Those little unexpected moments where I get some XP like that are one of the greatest joys for me as an actor.

In fact, this episode was when I finally got completely inside Isaac Parrish's skin and mind, and knew exactly who he was. I'm grateful to Colin, Joe, Felicia, Neil, and our director Alexandra for making all of that possible, because I could relax and enjoy being Doctor Parrish for the rest of the season.

Finally: Fargo is such a wanker! Way to abuse your power and force Isaac to do inventory so you get another shot at the girl, Doug. This isn't over. #TeamParrish

If you have any questions about this episode, please ask them in comments. I'll do my best to respond to them today.


* DEX is my dump stat.

** Doctor Parrish will be appearing at Kamp Krusty August 23-30.

***Doctor Parrish also owns an Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator, but he won't show it to you until the third date.

**** <familyguy>AHHH! There it is. </familyguy>

89 thoughts on “Eureka: Up In The Air”

  1. Thanks for the fun behind the scenes info, Wil, and I’m sorry about your ankle. Glad it’s better now!
    PS: I picked up on the character bit between Parrish and Henry. You’re right that the cut does make it less strong, but it still comes through that Parrish is geeking out about the signature, and that does, in fact, let us know a lot more about him (and how he is a bit like us after all). Thanks!

  2. I started watching Eureka last year after the announcement that you and Felicia would be recurring characters this season. I watched them all just to get completely caught up, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the show. Until now. The addition of you and Felicia to the cast has been awesome, but with this episode, the show official now goes to 11.

  3. ***Doctor Parrish also owns an Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator, but he won’t show it to you until the third date.
    (Unless you’re Doc Marten, I guess. Then you get to see the equipment the first night out. XD)

  4. You know, I thought television and movies were done confusing the words “galaxy” with “solar system” by the early 80s. Seriously, who wrote that line that Felicia’s character Holly delivered, and why was it not caught by anyone at all before it aired?
    Titan will allow us to explore beyond our own galaxy? Really? A little moon still within our own solar system will make a difference to going the million light-years-or-so to another galaxy? *sigh* They’d never have made that error on The Big Bang Theory. For shame Eureka! For shame!

  5. I was thrilled to see more of Dr. Parrish and I’m excited to see his character developing. I love the work you are doing and I can’t wait to see more.
    And the Carter/Bank Robbery sequence? Gold-pressed Latinum! Colin Ferguson’s performance, especially his physical comedy, has kept me tuning in to Eureka for four years now. The show just keeps getting better and better.
    Thanks so much for all your work, and please pass my thanks to the cast and crew!

  6. “In fact, this episode was when I finally got completely inside Isaac Parrish’s skin and mind, and knew exactly who he was.”
    That explains then why this was also the first episode where I wasn’t thinking “How cool is it that Wil Wheaton’s on Eureka”, but instead “Parrish is such a d*ck.”

  7. I did let out an audible laugh at the scene were the cars and light poles are gently gliding back to earth and then the bank falls straight through the frame. LOL Great acting all around this episode as well.

  8. I totally agree on the Carter moment in the beginning of the episode. Probably my favorite moment of the series, I even went so far as to explain it to my GF who doesn’t watch it since she wanted to know why I was laughing so hard xD

  9. I was so tickled by the whole show…so what do you get when you cross a Higgs Disrupter and an Explosive Space Modulator? Surely more than an earth shattering KA-BOOM.

  10. I started watching the latest episodes because you and Felicia Day are in them (I’ve never watched before). Enjoying them immensely. Oh, and I laughed out loud at PROMO that used Carter’s line (and again during the actual episode).

  11. My husband and I are huge Eureka fans and hearing about you and Felicia guest-starring was just icing on an already delicious cake.
    I loved this episode and I had no idea you were injured. That’s some fine filmwork and acting there.
    I also LOVED how excited Carter was about the bank robbery. I was laughing so hard my eyes were watering.
    Also I did notice the excitement about the signature but now that you mention it, it did seem like the scene got interrupted or cut short.
    I think you really bring Parrish to life and Felicia is doing a wonderful job as Holly. The characters aren’t Wil and Felicia, they are definitely Dr. Parrish and Dr. Marten.
    My husband (who is unaware of your more recent pursuits) commented: “I don’t like Wesley Crusher being an asshole! It’s weirding me out!” So take that as a compliment as well.

  12. Sorry, but I joined Team Fargo after Dr. Marten (Felicia) tells him that Isaac (YOU!) is going to check her for ticks…
    Loving this season of Eureka, and this week’s ep was my favorite- perhaps of the whole series. When Carter shimmied through the window up in the air… I was snorting I was laughing so hard. Keep up the good work!

  13. I think the best Carter moment was the girly little scream he lets out while he’s struggling his way into the bank window, closely followed by his moment of glee when they tell him that there’s been a bank robbery.
    I also noticed that you seemed more into the character this week. There was far more dimension to him than before. He’s still a dick, but you see much more than just the pompous brainy dick there. The nerdiness of excitement over owning a signed Higgs disruptor gave him more humanity. And it seems he’s got at least some game with the ladies (at least Holly.)
    Kudos on working through the pain so well. If you’d never told us what happened, I wouldn’t have known that you’d hurt yourself.
    Despite loving seeing you in the part and the advances in his character development, I’m sorry to say that I’m currently on #teamfargo. Even though Fargo can be dickish too, I have to feel for the little guy and root for him. Come on, he had a thing for Jo and lost her to Zane. Can’t the poor little geek finally get a geek girl to love him?

  14. It was a playground ball, so I don' think it weighed more than a couple of pounds.
    I wax happy to see that I sold the weight of it, though.

  15. I'm all the way through this season (4.5) and I'm currently shooting season 5. I'm not sure how far my arc will go, but I'll keep doing it as long as they keep asking me.

  16. Think of it as a launching pad for further exploration, sort of the way the moon could potentially do the same for exploration to Mars.
    And we're a Science Fiction show, with FTL technology, so we can go wherever we want! Titan is Earth-sized, and could be a great staging area for exploring other galaxies.

  17. I’d also like to jump in and say that I too noticed the brief geeking out moment that Henry and Parrish shared. Apart from Carter’s short-lived excitement over a “normal” crime, it was one of my favorite moments in last night’s episode, and definitely helped me connect with Parrish’s character. I’m absolutely loving the work that you and Felicia are doing on the show! This season has definitely been my favorite so far, and it’s awesome to see the series go in so many bold directions.

  18. Actually, Titan wouldn’t make a single bit of difference from Earth when it comes to that. Exploring beyond our solar system, yes.
    It was clearly an error by the writer who shares an apparently common misconception about space. In something from the 70s, I find it amusing, but in something written now, it is just disappointing.
    Not your fault, of course. It just makes me nerd-sad.

  19. The Carter moments are PRICELESS! I love his Dick Van Dyke-esque physical comedy. The scene with the gravity what-cha-ma-call-its was hysterical.
    My favorite Dr. Parrish moment was the subtle facial movements that spoke volumes when Parrish and Felicia were in Cafe Diem early in the show.
    Awesome job!
    Hey, how did your meeting with the agent go?

  20. I had the same reaction as Wacko42 for both you and Felicia. Looking beyond you guys and seeing the characters instead. There’s something about the current episodes that is drawing me in like the show has not before. I mean, I’ve always loved it and watched but it’s been particularly great lately.
    Also, I LOVED the scene from opening of everything floating in the air. I got so giggly.
    Great episode all around and I am so excited to see your continued work on Eureka!
    Oh and #TeamParrish ATW!

  21. I have to say that Parrish is growing on me. (I understand there’s an ointment for that, but that it requires a prescription. But I digress….) This episode was the first where he didn’t feel like just an Arrogant Scientist stereotype to me. Which is good, because I like characters that develop. I’m looking forward to more Team Parrish-Team Fargo shenanigans. And frankly, I’d rather watch you and Neil Grayston than Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner any day.
    I’d also like to say that, in addition to Colin Ferguson bringing the funny, Kavan Smith has me falling over every time. Deputy Andy makes an excellent partner to Sherrif Carter.

  22. Hopefully they develop your character a bit beyond the “kindof a dick” foil to Fargo. It smacks a little heavily of the “kindof a dick” foil to Sheldon character on BBT, and the “kindof a dick” foil to everyone on the Guild.

  23. Ed,
    The Big Bang Theory has an experimental particle physicist, David Saltzberg from UCLA, who not only vets all of the science in the scripts, but is actually present on stage during the show tapings (and does all the equations on the white boards you see in the guys apartment). So there’s less chance that an error like this will occur because David has multiple opportunities to catch mistakes. Plus co-creator Bill Prady is a bit of a science geek himself, so he also notices errors.
    While I’m sure Eureka must have a science consultant, I don’t know that it’s someone on set making sure everything stays accurate. More likely it’s someone they consult during the writing process who then reads a draft of the script. While I totally understand how something like this bugs when it’s your field, understand that tv scripts go through so many changes and rewrites at various points that sometimes errors like this slip through despite everyone’s best intentions.

  24. While it was good to see you finding your way into Dr Parrish’s skin, this episode was Colin’s. I’ve rarely had as many belly laughs, starting from the stolen bank, via the bit of him being crushed by the gravity generator to the fantastic sequence inside the bank.
    I would love to see some behind the scenes footage of the latter. I assume the set was actually tilted? While Colin’s physical acting skills are superb, I don’t think he’ll actually be able to hang sideways.
    I’m also slowly edging towards #TeamParrish because Fargo was actually being a bigger dick in this episode. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this rivalry pans out.
    Eureka’s really going from strength to strength. Allison being remotely controlled is also nicely done.

  25. I appreciated your scenes in this episode, but for me, my favorite moment was Colin’s scene in the bank. My favorite section of dialogue: “Do I have to lick the lock?” “You can if you want, but that would be weird.” “You– SOMEBODY PUT HER IN FRONT OF A CARTOON!”
    Colin is a master at portraying carefully controlled insanity, in my opinion.

  26. I definitely giggled at the questioning of the signature’s authenticity, I’m glad that moment wasn’t completely lost in editing. I also lost my shit when Carter got excited about the bank robbery! Glad to see we’re on the same page, and I look forward to more #TeamParrish awesomeness. You and Felicia are perfect additions to show!

  27. Just started reading your blog last week and it’s awesome. I really must start watching this show Eureka. Don’t have SyFy though so I’ll probs get whatever seasons are on DVD then wait for this current series to be released too.

  28. I really love the love triangle going on between Holly, Isaac and Doug. I hope we’ll get to see a lot more of that because it’s really funny!
    And I was wondering isn’t it strange to work with an actor you’ve already worked with on another show before? You and Felicia already worked together on The Guild and your characters on Eureka are to a certain point somehow a bit similar. You also play kind of a dick and Felicia is the cute, clever girl whose heart you want to win. Do you see those parallels too? Do you think of the stuff you’ve already done when shooting those scenes or don’t you even think of it?
    The whole episode was awesome by the way! I think Eureka gets better and better.

  29. I don’t know what you get paid for the guest/regular appearances on these shows, but it’s not nearly enough.
    Eureka is the third show that I’ve become a regular viewer of because I checked out your guest appearances.
    I think the first was Leverage, then Big Bang Theory, and now Eureka. I’ve watched every episode of all of them I think, except maybe leverage because my DVR is recording too much stuff during that timeslot. I’ve been meaning to catch up on last season though.

  30. I think Colin improvised that line, because I don't remember it from the script. It's currently my favorite line of the season. Running in a close second is my line, "He hears a lot of things," which I improvised during rehearsal.

  31. Working with people I know is great, especially when that person is one of my best friends. I don't think our characters on The Guild cross into our characters on Eureka (at least not consciously), but I know that our friendship makes it easier for us to work together because we can completely trust each other, look out for each other, and feel comfortable taking chances in rehearsal.

  32. “Those little unexpected moments where I get some XP like that are one of the greatest joys for me as an actor.”
    Whenever you gain XP, I picture you on the set and suddenly a big green +5 XP appears over your head, floats up and fades out.
    Do you hear the Final Fantasy Battle Victory music in your head when that happens too?

  33. If you have Netflix, the first three seasons are available on Instant Streaming. I think both Hulu and Sci-Fi (sorry, I won’t do the new spelling either) have the episodes on their site, though I know the last two weren’t available yet for free, so I paid and downloaded them from Amazon VOD.

  34. Love Eureka and am thoroughly enjoying the unfolding of your story arc.Thanks for an excellent performance and I look forward to the evolution of your character.

  35. Just have to chime in and remark, that even in shortened form, the geeking out about the signature is a great character moment!
    It helped to flesh out the character and make it a bit more likeable. Nevertheless sorry, I am all for #teamFargo, for now at least.

  36. Glad I found your blog! There’s an article over at Discovery News about this episode that has a quote from this blog. I’ve been watching Eureka since it debuted, and I was so happy when you guest starred on it. Now I’m ecstatic you’ve got a recurring role as Dr. Parrish. I hope they make you a regular soon! (How can they not?!)

  37. The part about the shared moment of geeky excitement at the Higgs signature got me laughing, ’cause I had a similar experience a few years ago.
    I was working as a volunteer at the Yale Peabody Museum, in the Historical Scientific Instruments collection, while my wife was a grad student and I was waiting for my work authorization. Most of it was just generic old brass instruments, but I opened up this one box and inside was this rather unremarkable cardboard tube sealed at both ends with black wax, with a slit cut into the cap at one end.
    I turned it over, looking for some kind of identifying mark, to tell why this cardboard tube was in some Yale professor’s collection (beyond it likely being for diffraction), when I come across some pencil scrawled along it…
    “Made by Lord Rayleigh who gave it to me July 28 1918, H.A.B.”
    I was holding in my hand something that Lord Effin’ Rayleigh himself had made! I was geeking out quite a bit at that, which my supervisor thought was pretty amusing.
    If you’d like to see it, look up “Rayleigh Scattering Tube” at this site:

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