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. Unfortunately I live in UK so NetFlix can’t be used here :( or at least it wasn’t available last I tried. I’ll probs get them on Amazon instead.
    I know what you mean about the ‘SyFy’ spelling. I love the bit in the Big Bang Theory when Leonard says;
    ‘Is it supposed to be pronounced Sih-Fee?’
    Or something along those lines.

  2. I totally get the DEX stat dump. Personally, DEX and PER are mine worst, but they balanced out so beautifully that I never know exactly why I am falling, or what caused that large purple bruise developing on my calf. Which is amusing… in retrospect.
    I normally don’t watch Eureka, but after seeing this blog, I will have to give it a chance!

  3. I’ll go ahead and third this. Wil should be getting all sorts of kickbacks for drawing people to these shows (though I have to add the Guild to your list and delete Eureka–I was already a regular Eureka viewer).

  4. My wife and I definitely cracked up quite a few times during the episode. It will definitely be cool to see the Dr. Parrish character get elevated beyond Fargo’s foil however it’s only been two episodes and it’s the obvious way to establish the character. It must feel good to finally be able to write about the episodes that were filmed months ago,eh?

  5. This episode made my 2nd time literally LOLWS. The first was last season when James Callis’ character mentions a tall, leggy blonde in a red dress (Baltaar anyone?). This episode actually gave us the reason for the intro we’ve been seeing now for 4 years. That they also threw in the theme music was over the top. I’m guessing that you are not looking for any ST:TNG Easter Eggs. I doubt the writers plan on turning Dr. Parrish into a small styrofoam dodecahedron! Or maybe just a bit of dialogue with “FARGO: Someone here has yanked out all the control chips. PARRISH: It was an adult who did it!”

  6. I think this had to be my favorite episode of the show, so far. The whole bank robbery reaction by Colin and the physical comedy when he went in–priceless! And I’m enjoying the nerdy jibing going on between Parrish and Fargo. I can’t wait to see more.

  7. Well said. Eureka has a definite element of fantasy. If you haven’t gotten used to it after 3 1/2 seasons, it might be time to switch shows.
    Wil, please tell me you’re going to be in every episode of 4.5 from now on. I love Dr. Parrish’s apparent douche-i-ness, and the love/hate triangle with Fargo and Holly.

  8. I adored Eureka before you came on. But now that you are there it is all that more enjoyable! Thank you so much for loving the work enough to continue with them. :)
    Colin is most definitely my favorite. His physical comedy is just hilarious!

  9. Colin’s physical comedy was fantastic, but I must say you had my favorite physical bit in the episode. When Fargo has arrived at training and he is trying to run up next to Felicia and Parrish just comes up and shoves Fargo right over so he can stand next to her instead, I burst out laughing. The extremely self-satisfied look on your face was great.

  10. I agree Colin’s physical comedy was genius. When he looked down while being suspended at the window of the bank and screamed like a girl… loved it!!!

  11. I’m really digging on the Robocop/Starship Troopers (take your pick) commercials for Astraeus at the beginning of the eps. Hope to see more of them – and Parrish – throughout the season.

  12. Yes, totally agree with ALL of the above. But people, We’ve seen a passing here that demands comment. Now, we’ve seen this before, and resurrection has always occurred, but I think there was too much finality to subscribe to the resurrection theory this time. I”ve watched the show from day 1. LOVE IT. Is anyone else interested in what sheriff Carters new ride is going to be? I hope they upgrade him from the jeep to something more…………eureka-ish. Wil, do you have any pull in this issue?

  13. Loved this episode! There was so much great stuff going on. One brief scene that got both me and my husband laughing was after Carter got back to his feet with the gravity enhancing device, as he was about to go deploy them, he gave Felicia the dirtiest look! Priceless!
    My reaction to Dr. Parrish reminds me a lot of my initial reaction to Nathan Stark. At first he was just a jerk, but he ended up being so awesome that I still miss the character in the show. The Eureka writers are so good at writing bad boy characters that I can’t wait to see where they take Parrish. I know it will be great!

  14. Wil, don’t take this the wrong way, but I think your ankle injury worked. The fact that your character wasn’t seen actually exercising when EVERYONE else was gave him an aloofness (is that a word?) that played into where I think you were going. Yes, you’re in a triangle with Fargo and Dr. Marten, but you’re playing from the position of strength because you know you’re the better man. At least, you think you are….

  15. There aren’t a lot of shows that I keep up with, much less shows in which I make an appointment to watch. Doctor Who is the big one. Big Bang Theory is the other. But, like others, I wandered over to Eureka because you and Felicia were on it. Wow!! It’s freakin’ hilarious!! I particularly loved this episode, and it got several belly laughs from me and my son–the type of laughs that are usually reserved for BBT and DW. You’re doing great things with Parrish. And wow…I tip my hat to Colin’s physical comedy and girl screams.
    And I haven’t read all the comments here, but at the end of the episode, did anyone else yell out “A flesh avatar…like Doctor Who!!” Seriously. I’m expecting Madam Kavorian and her eyepatch to start opening little hatch doors next week.
    Great job Wil!! I’m also really enjoying these behind the scenes posts by you. :)

  16. Oops…forgot to mention that the Guild is an appointment show, but didn’t include it because it’s watched on the Xbox, not the TV. Just wanted to mention that!!

  17. I really enjoyed this episode. I felt that Dr. Parrish started to really feel like a person rather than just a character in this episode. Also I think Colin Ferguson has hit a new high for Carter this season and I’m loving it. All in all it seems that the addition of you and Felicia Day is more of an organic growth to the show rather than just trying to inject anything new for another season. That’s what has made it truly fun and interesting this season. I’m looking forward to the rest of the episodes!

  18. A flying bank, lol. I used to work in travel and often see huge errors in travel/timezones. Sometimes you have to suspend your own knowledge and expertise to enjoy tv. Or watch something else.
    Words words words. Blah blah. Jet lag got me up at 5am today. Thank you Los Angeles. EST you are not.

  19. I finally got to see the last two episodes. I liked them a lot, just as I’ve enjoyed all previous.
    Huh. People will nitpick anything. There was something I laughed at the other day that wasn’t quite “accurate”, but fuck if I can remember what it was now. Obviously, I’m not nearly as concerned as I should be. Although… now it’s going to bug the shit out of me until I remember… uhm… what was I talking about? OH, right. It’s TV. Was it enjoyable? Yes. Do I want more? Duh. Mission accomplished.
    That aside, I love the show and your work, but I am REALLY interested in your behind the scenes experiences as much as on scene. I have always been intrigued with the amount of teamwork that goes into making a film production (as opposed to theatre that I’m used to)and time frames in which episodes and movies are filmed. You know, the technical side of things as much as performance. I’m not sure why, but it caught me off guard when you said this episode was filmed a year ago. I knew they were filmed in advance, of course, but a year? I enjoy reading about your venture to work, then being back in LA shortly after. Rinse, repeat.
    You could probably cash in pretty nicely writing a “TV/Film For Dummies” book. I’ve been out of the loop. New blog idea, maybe? Or an archive for specifically work-related posts?
    – Jess

  20. You can feel free to tell the powers at Eureka that being a fan of this blog is what got me to check out Eureka again. Felicia’s presence didn’t hurt either.
    Granted, I liked the pilot but I didn’t have the DVR space to add it at the time and stopped watching.
    After these few episodes, it’s back on the DVR. Hope I can netflix what I missed.

  21. While I liked the episode, I have to say there were a couple of times where it felt like Dr. Parrish was talking to us the viewers, not just Fargo or Holly. Maybe it was the smug/hinting tone of voice (which I think was aimed at Fargo), coupled with the closeups, but I got that impression a couple of times.
    I’d have to watch it again and see if I get that impression again, but my guess is it is really just that hint of malice/disdain in the voice that makes it seem like he is hinting to the audience.
    But I definitely did start watching back episodes and catch up after finding out you and Felicia Day were going to be in this half of the season, and I’m definitely glad I did.

  22. It must be said. Like Parrish wouldn’t consign Fargo to outer Mongolia to get the slimmest chance at the girl if he had the power…
    That said, I’m still #TeamParrish.

  23. I don’t know if you’re still planning on reading these comments but I wanted to add a compliment…so endure my babble.
    I certainly haven’t seen all of the things you’ve acted in but I think certainly some prominent ones. Anywho, watching people act when I’m all ready familiar with their faces and their work adds an additional barrier to seeing them as the CHARACTER instead of “insert name here”. However, during this episode I saw Dr. Parrish totally as Doctor Parrish and not once did “hey that’s wil wheaton, he’s pretty darn cool” show up (though you are). I thought I should mention, because you’re doing a fantastic job as Dr. Parrish. Yay

  24. Not related to this entry, but I wanted to say that I just downloaded your audiobook of “Just a Geek” from Lulu the other day, and I’m really enjoying it tremendously. :) I listen to it every day going to and from work and I can already tell I’m going to be sorry when it’s done. I love when you break away from the text, but the whole book is read in such a friendly & familiar manner that I probably wouldn’t have even realized it was a break away without your warning. Well done! :)

  25. Eureka Returning For Season 6
    Syfy has ordered six episodes for what could be the end of the series.
    August 4, 2011
    Syfy has confirmed that Eureka will be sticking around for a sixth season. The network has ordered up six episodes for Season 6 of the sci-fi series, which is currently still airing the back half of its fourth season. The show was renewed for a fifth season last year.
    While there are rumors that the series will end after its shortened sixth season, Syfy president of original content, Mark Stern, expressed hope that there is still life in the show.
    “[Producers] Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia have brought a creative vitality to Eureka that has kept it fresh and inventive,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Although we do not have a commitment beyond six episodes for the sixth season, we are hopeful that this will not be the end of the franchise.”
    (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

  26. I read that Eureka will come to an end, but there are several spin-offs in the works. Perhaps Dr. Parrish is getting his own show? Hmm, what would it be called?

  27. Hi Wil,
    We had to put our dog to sleep a couple of days ago and it shattered me. I was late to watch this Eureka episode, it was saved on the dvr, but I finally watched it and it was the first time I’ve laughed since losing him.
    Total downer comment,I know, but I just really wanted to thank you all so much for helping me out during one of the worst weeks. You guys make a really great show and the fun you have shows through and is infectious.

  28. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I'm happy to know that our show gave you some happiness when it sounds like you need it.

  29. Apologies for being late to this party — I’ve been busy. Mr. Wheaton, I am an admirer of your writing. It shows intelligence, humor, and a fine education in grammar. However, as a founding member of the Grammar Police, I am duty-bound to point out that whether the bank was robbed (which it could have been if it felt threatened) or burgled (which still indicates something was taken FROM it), the bank would still be there. That the bank was gone means it was STOLEN.
    You have been grammar-slapped, albeit softly because I like you.
    The Grammar Police

  30. I so have enjoyed the Dr. Parrish episodes – and I wanted to mention that my mother called me each time one was on just so I knew “Wil Wheaton is in Eureka!” I think she may have had the wrong preposition there, but the enthusiasm was genuine. I am so thrilled you have made it on to my favorite show – and I agree with your assessment of the episode – and that you have had such fun with Parrish!

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