With Syfy’s programming taking a break for Labor Day, our favorite shows are back this week, and the first of the lineup is ‘Eureka.’ It’s definitely good to have it back, even if it was only gone for just a week. So, as the launch of Astraeus gets closer and closer, relationships are becoming strained, and there is no end to the crazy goings-on in Eureka. Be warned, this recap does contain spoilers for the episode. If you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want to know what happens, you’d be best served by waiting to watch the episode and then come back and read this after.

While the main arc of this half of the season has been about Astraeus, the real focus of the episodes has been on relationships. ‘Eureka’ has become a show of pairings, with each relationship going through their own unique stories. Some have had their resolutions, and others are still going through their rough patches. This week, it’s all about Zane and Joe and Andy and SARAH.

Everything starts when Carter is called in to check out a melted cow. Yes, you read that right, a melted cow. While checking out the bovine puddle, we see that a familiar face has returned to Eureka. Taggart is back! Having been conspicuously gone since the big jump to and from 1947, the wonderful Australian weirdo is back in town. It should come as no surprise that the new danger affecting the town came in on his coattails.

Meanwhile, a routine task of sending some supplies to Titan ahead of Astraeus goes horribly wrong, and the FTL gets activated too quickly. In the chaos to get away from the buildup, Andy gets caught in the transfer and zapped to Titan. Now if a human were to get shot to Titan like that, they’d be dead in seconds. Andy, however, has about six hours before the harsh environment shuts him down. That gives Henry, Fargo and Zane enough time to orchestrate a miracle to get him back while Carter, Jo and Taggart attempt to discover what caused the malfunction. As you might suspect, the cause is not unrelated to the melted cow in the beginning.

Back in the story is Parrish. Since the melted cow was a crucial element to the project that this one researcher was bringing to Titan, he has been forced to leave Astraeus. Parrish, being the First Alternate crew member, is now officially on the team. This also makes him the prime suspect not only in the melted cow incident, but also in the FTL malfunction. As always, Parrish is not the one to blame for the problem. Even though he is a smug egomaniac, you almost have to feel bad for him at this point. Whenever something goes wrong in Eureka, he tends to be the first person people want to blame, and he has never once been the actual culprit.

The cause of the town’s woes this time is a special breed of bats brought in by Taggart. They have been genetically modified to produce highly acidic guano (or, as Carter so eloquently put it, “bat doody”) as a renewable fuel source for Astraeus. The acidic guano is what is melting everything around town.

The bats make their way into SARAH’s circuits and end up shutting her down. This starts to become a very tragic end to her romance with Andy, as they are both dying and unable to tell each other good-bye. It also brings up Carter’s own prejudice about the two of them, since he doesn’t see until now just how real they are. They are not just artificial intelligences. They are two people who are deeply in love. And even though things do work out in the end, I truly felt that one of them might actually die and leave the other alone. In the end, they are able to find the bats, synthesize a counter to the acid, bring Andy back, restore SARAH, and get Astraeus back on track.

One thing that I really like about this season is that they never let us forget that this is all an alternate timeline that Carter, Allison, Jo and Fargo are not entirely familiar with. With Taggart’s return, we learn that he had left because he proposed to Jo and she refused him. This upsets Jo a great deal because of the tension between her and Zane (now so thick, you’d have a hard time cutting through it with a laser drill), and having to come to the realization that she is a person who doesn’t know what she wants. Even though it was a different Jo who rejected Taggart, it’s not too far removed from what she would have done in her original timeline. Finally talking about it with Zane is a step in their relationship neither of them thought they would take.

As is almost always the case with ‘Eureka,’ we get a fun ride and a happy ending. While there hasn’t been a great deal in the way of serious arc development this season (we have yet to see what happened with Beverly since she stole GD files), the constant buildup to the launch of Astraeus has been a great underlying element to everything that happens. With next week’s finale, we’ll finally see the launch of Astraeus. If you expect things to run smoothly, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention to this show.