Eleventh Hour: “Medea”

The season finale of Eleventh Hour was such a bizarre turnaround from the ostensible premise of the show that I waited a week to recap it, waiting for the news that the show is not coming back and the showrunner dragged up this NYPD Blue script that never sold and filmed that instead, just because he’d always wanted to.

However, no such news has come, so I will have to assume that this episode was intentional. Therefore, we’ll proceed with the knowledge that the show decided the best way to end the season on a big scientific bang was by giving up a baby-crazed mother, Dr. Rufus peering into a microscope, slipping in subplots and in-jokes we have never heard before, and shooting Marley Shelton in the rear with an arrow.

The A-plot this week is about baby-crazed Sophia who tries to hold the Deputy FBI Director hostage and demand their son back. She’s subdued, and everyone writes her off as a nut except Dr. Rufus, who is a master at sensing small changes in the atmosphere, and also knows that his last thirteen cases also involved baby-crazed mothers, so there’s probably something to Sophia’s claim.

From checking out the unauthorized medical implant in her spine (…of course) and looking at a strand of her hair that has bright pink biological-mom-dandruff (…of course), Rufus knows he’s on to something.

SCIENCE ALERT: If you must have someone’s clandestine baby, please remember to dye your scalp pink so that, later, scientists can make sure it’s true.

Sadly, before he can act on these mind-blowing scientific discoveries, Sophia blows up the Deputy Director’s summer house, shoots Agent Young with an arrow, and takes her hostage instead. The rest of the episode is about finding Sophia’s kid as a hostage trade for Agent Young, which means Dr. Rufus goes vigilante, which means that is the end of the science this week!

Turns out that the hostage situation is actually the best thing that ever happened to this show, which is not a good sign in a show that is ostensibly about science, but that’s their problem, not mine. What we get, then, is half an hour of Rufus Sewell screaming into iPhones, Skype rip-offs, pay phones, and people’s faces. (When he really gets going, the Great Googly is a thing to behold.)

There are some glimpses of another, better show about a pair of science-crime-solvers. Case in point: Rufus, knowing his line is bugged, tells Sophia to meet him at such-and-such an address, where they had the worst pancakes in the world. Turns out the place where they had the worst pancakes in the world is nowhere near the given address.

Fun fact: the worst pancakes in the world are served in the diner in Louisiana where my family went when I was eight years old, and I got food poisoning from the blueberry pancakes. SCIENCE.

Just to wrap up the attempt at a plot, Felix spends most of the episode stalking the baby so they can convince Sophia to leave it with its foster parents, since a child is always happiest in a hetero-normative two-parent household where nothing bad ever happens.

From the pilot, I would have assumed that Geppetto would be the season’s overall villain, and that the season finale would have centered around bringing her to justice and confronting the ethically questionable but scientifically amazing process of human cloning, giving us insight into Dr. Rufus’s character and his position with the FBI. However, they arrested that poor lady on her deathbed thirteen episodes in, leaving nothing for the season wrap-up. Then they contrived an unexpected subplot about Agent Young feeling unhappy in her position guarding Dr. Rufus—which is impossible, since that would mean conveying an emotion.

Therefore, we’ll begin next season without anyone having grown or changed as a character, except that Agent Young will have a fantastic party story about getting Robin Hooded in the line of duty. You ratchet up that drama, Eleventh Hour! I’ll be back as well, watching, recapping, and desperately hoping you bring back the cryogenically frozen heads, who are by far the best guest stars this show has ever seen, except possibly Judd Nelson (New Jack City).

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