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>