When Warehouse 13 first started airing, one of the two things everybody said was, "It's just like the warehouse where Indiana Jones' stuff gets stored." And finally, after two seasons, we get the full-on Indy treatment...and it's awesome. Spoilers below!
(The other thing that people kept saying, of course, was, "It's just like Friday The 13th.: The Series.")
After a couple of episodes that left me slightly cold, this was a return to form — with one minor quibble, which I'll get to below. "Buried" was fun and splashy, and gave us the kind of action-adventure focus that this show often does really well. There are traps and secrets and obstacles, and our heroes survive by their wits as well as a certain amount of raw cuteness.
So in Tuesday night's episode, three hapless college students secretly fly from an archeological dig in Peru to Egypt, where they disturb a mega-secret ancient building... and something mummifies them. Meanwhile, the utterly awesome Mrs. Frederic, who's in the middle of giving relationship advice (!) to Pete, has a seizure. The two things are related, of course — it turns out the building the three college students disturbed was a much earlier warehouse, Warehouse 2, and it's searching for its caretaker. Mrs. Frederic can't be caretaker to two separate warehouses at once, or it'll kill her — so Pete, Myka and H.G. Wells have to go to Egypt to shut down Warehouse 2. There, they're joined by the snarkiest regent, Benedic Valda, who knows some — but not all — of the secrets of Warehouse 2.
Mostly, this episode ruled because it was fun and exciting — plus, it was another layer of the Warehouse mythology being peeled away, and it moved the overall plot forward. We learned just how much like a living creature the warehouses are, and just how deep and complicated the relationship is between the warehouse and its caretaker. And clearly, there's a lot of magic involved in the creation of a warehouse — there's no way any of the traps and other systems in Warehouse 2 could be technological.
Plus any episode that gives us more of Mrs. Frederic has to be a good thing — and C.C.H. Pounder got a lot more to do this week, both with being her usual awesome ass-kicking self, and in showing some more vulnerability. Many of the best moments in the episode involved people treading a little too close to Mrs. Frederic's boundaries and getting smacked down. I especially loved Pete saying "It could be dementia —" (glare from Mrs. Frederic) "— that made me say that."
And OMG I'm unspeakably excited by the idea that Claudia could become the new Mrs. Frederic. If there was some way to have this without losing C.C.H. Pounder, I'd want it to happen now. Maybe the old Mrs. Frederic can hang around as an Obi-Wan figure while Claudia takes her place. I want to see Claudia bossing Artie around, for one thing. But also, it turns everything we thought we know about Claudia on its head — and I like that. A lot.
Too bad about Valda, though — his self-sacrifice was telegraphed from early on, but it was still sad. And I refuse to believe he's really dead — this is Mark Sheppard we're talking about. He's a lot craftier than that. He eats ancient Egyptian temples for breakfast. He probably tricked the temple into thinking he was dead, slipped out through a hidden trapdoor and wandered off to Cairo to have some good espresso. Without losing his panama hat.
So then there's H.G. Wells... curse her sudden but inevitable... blah blah blah. She was in extra-fine form this episode, including the lovely scene where she dresses up as Lara Croft and then has a conversation with Myka about whether young British archeologists really dress this way in real life. Not to mention her awesome line where she says that some of her lovers were male — implying there were a lot, and many of them were female. It's sad that the Myka-H.G. chemistry that was so front and center in that "wrestling team" episode has been shunted aside lately.
Oh, and the grappling hook was also rad. She was well on the way to becoming this show's Captain Jack — but it's the penultimate episode of the season, so of course she has to revert to being evil. (And of course, there really was no other possible explanation for how those kids found Warehouse 2 — and we still never really got a real explanation for why McPherson un-bronzed H.G. in the first place.) Basically, as usual, Artie is right about everything.
Speaking of which, where did Artie vanish to? Did he fall afoul of one of H.G.'s traps, or did he sense that evil was afoot and prepare a counter measure? Or both?
My one quibble with the episode had to do with the characters of Pete and Myka. Let's just put it right out there — if you are going to do a scene where some supernatural/psychic force shows your characters their fondest desires, you'd better hope that you've done enough character development to make it something interesting. Sadly, the whole "red-eyed idol shows everyone their desire/happy place" thing only exposed a certain weakness in Pete and Myka's characterization. H.G. saw her dead daughter, which jibed with what we've learned about her so far and felt believable. But Pete and Myka? Not so much.
Myka's fantasy sequence with Artie was cute, to be fair, and the "always nice" version of Artie was pretty hilarious. But I started to wonder why it was taking her so long to see through it, and it was making me feel like her character is a bit pathetic, to be so desperate for Artie's approval. Meanwhile, Pete's "happy place" just left me cold — which brings me to the other quibble.
One of the episode's subplots was Pete trying to decide whether Kelly the veterinarian was "the one" — meaning someone he wanted to live with, but also the one individual he could tell the real truth about his job. Sadly, I remain totally unconvinced by the Pete-Kelly chemistry. Much like Claudia and Hipster Glasses earlier in the season, I just don't feel the Pete-Kelly relationship at all. I don't dislike it, I just don't believe they have any real emotional connection. There are some TV shows that just don't do romance well, and I'm beginning to agree with those who say Warehouse 13 is one of them.
There's nothing wrong with Pete and Myka being lovable characters who engage in lots of banter and have playful relationships with each other and with their other coworkers and friends. There's also nothing wrong with showing the occasional hint of darkness, like Pete's occasional struggles with alcoholism or their fear that they'll end up like the majority of other Warehouse 13 agents they've come across. But after watching the red-eyed idol sequence, I was left wondering if maybe we didn't need to know what Pete and Myka's deepest longings were. Just a thought.
All in all, though, this was a fantastic episode and set up an epic confrontation for next week. Warehouse 13 has once again proved that it's a journey into the darkest, sweetest heart of nerdy adventure, and it's continuing to be addictive viewing.
What did you think?