I really like the idea of having the A-plot of an episode focused on Jo. She’s a fun character and it is good to see her having a chance to shine. Really, it’s always a nice change of pace to have the A-plot centered around anyone other than Jack (I think Jack’s the perfect lead for Eureka, but it’s nice to mix things up every now and then). Unfortunately, the resulting episode, “My Face or Yours,” was far from perfect.
The actual mystery unfolded rather well. I often complain about twists being far too telegraphed, but this was a case where the resolution of the mystery was a surprise while still making perfect sense.
When Jo first was made acting Sheriff and then was faced a variety of uncommon situations (having to vote on the DNA scanner, getting electrocuted, etc.), my first thought was that Jo was still being tested and it was going to be one of those episodes where someone is caught in a virtual world (like in season 2′s “Games People Play”). But then we actual got to see Jack’s test in progress which kind of ruled that out.
Next I assumed that something had happened to Jo when she was electrocuted and she was being all schizophrenic. And then when the scanner confirmed the existence of two Jo Lupo’s I figured it was going to be a situation like in the episode of Star Trek where a transporter accident split Captain Kirk in to two halves. I never for a second suspected what was really going on until it was actually revealed. I love it when a show can keep me guessing like that without resorting to nonsensical plot twists.
I don’t often comment on acting, but I also thought Erica Cerra did a great job of playing Julia playing Jo. Guest star Leela Savasta did a pretty good job as well.
I am kind of ambivalent about Carter’s psych test subplot. It was amusing enough, but it was also clearly filler. There was never any doubt as to whether Jack would pass the test, nor did it ever seem like there was any real danger, no matter how high off the ground Jack may have been.
Now on to the bad stuff, chiefly the way the whole thing wrapped up. Yeah, it was sweet to have the scene where Jo convinces Zane that she really is Jo, but it was silly that it ever had to get to that point. She didn’t share the same kind of connection with Henry and Allison as she has with Zane, but surely there were lots of little details she could have used as evidence that she was really Jo. And with all the DNA manipulation on the go, Henry and Allison should have been more willing to at least give Jo a chance to prove her identity.
Even worse was the fate that Julia faced. There is a reason that redeemed villains almost always die, and that’s because nobody really wants to see them punished after they have already accepted the error of their ways. But that isn’t what happened here. No, for some reason it was decided since Julia was sorry for what she had done, and risked her life in trying to undo it, that it was a-okay that she drugged Jo, stole her identity and tried to have Jo’s memory permanently erased.
You could make the argument that this show’s how corrupt Global Dynamics is; they are willing to allow horrible crimes to go unpunished if the person responsible can be sufficiently useful to Global Dynamics. That was not the impression I got though. It seemed to me that we were supposed to be like Fargo and cheer when Allison announced that Julia would be allowed to stay in town and face no real penalty.
That wasn’t the only time I thought Allison’s actions were out of character this week either. The whole thing with waiting for Carter’s psych test to have the vote on the use of the DNA machine was something that Nathan would have done, but Allison is more principled than that. When Henry implied she scheduled the vote for when Jack was indisposed, Allison denied it, but I didn’t buy it. It’s not like it would take a long time to have the vote, and they easily could have done so any time in the weeks and months leading up to the day the machine was to be implemented.
As I said, “Your Face or Mine,” was something of a mixed bag. In the end though, the well-crafted mystery, and the great performance from Erica Cerra outweigh the sloppiness of the resolution and Allison’s out-of-character actions.