Note: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
I really liked a lot of aspects of this episode, but there were also parts that I thought were incredibly stupid. I’m convinced that the writers on this show have a lot of old jokes they’ve been dying to use for years but wise producers and directors nixed the ideas. The show runners for Warehouse 13, however, are apparently open to just about anything. Sometimes that willingness to try zany ideas results in some truly unique TV, and other times those gambles just fall flat.
The series went with another 3-part plot this week, and it works better than it did last week. There’s a lot going on in this episode, and there’s never a dull moment. Each story gets an adequate amount of screentime, and there’s enough mystery in each to keep the viewer intrigued all the way to the end. The opening was really fun, with Claudia and Myka posing as geisha to foil a shady artifact deal in Japan. It’s a clever way to start things and it set the tone for the high levels of humor in this story.
The main story in this episode is pretty lighthearted and lacking a lot of the high-stakes tension we’ve seen from previous stories. The mystery of a hockey player who inexplicably heals from injuries just doesn’t provide a lot of drama, especially with so many shots of exuberant and overbearing fans. The whole thing felt more like an excuse to do some scenes in a hockey rink rather than a solid story driven by great plot ideas. Of course, Warehouse 13 has its roots as a zany show that always injected its episodes with a healthy dose of comedy, but the jokes just aren’t very good here. Everything culminates in a really stupid scene where our star hockey player tries to escape his crazy stalker by…throwing a glass of water in her face (whuuut??). I did, however, like the pregnant Myka gag. That was pure gold, all the way up to the end where Myka’s water broke and she’s trying to hold everything in.
Meanwhile, Artie and Jinks are off trying to keep The Brotherhood from stealing artifacts from the Warehouse. Although I do like the chemistry between the senior agent and the junior agent, this story is really more like setup for something that should come later so it didn’t pack a whole lot of punch. And am I trippin’, or did I see a very blatant Bing and Pandora advertisement in there?
The last mini-story has Mrs. Frederic prepping Claudia for her apparently inevitable promotion as warehouse caretaker. This was probably the best part of the episode. It was mysterious, heartfelt, and funny (Claudia thinking that artifacts only come from “people with WikiPedia pages” was a nice touch). And it ends with Mrs. Frederic’s grandson – who is an old man in a retirement home. It’s an excellent example of that old writer’s adage, “show, don’t tell”. The scene says everything we need to know about what Mrs. Frederic is trying to impress upon Claudia, and the kind of life she’d have to expect in a role as caretaker. It’s good stuff that provides a lot of development for both characters.
Overall, this was still fun TV, but much of the good material was overshadowed by the show’s efforts to squeeze a little too much humor out of the main story (if Pete made one more damn “you go girl” joke I swear I was going to break something). This series has been guilty of this kind of thing before, but part of what made last season so great was that the comedy took a backseat to the action and the artifacts that really drive things. I’m hoping we get back to that formula soon.
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