Apparently we have Agent Pete Lattimer to thank for President Obama — in the world where Pete was never born, John McCain is president! How did this happen? And what's the town of Eureka like in the McCain universe?
I'm seriously confused as to how we end up with President John McCain just because Pete Lattimer didn't exist. In "The Greatest Gift," Pete touches some artifact that erases him from time and forces him to live in a Pete-less world. So instead of the events in the show's original pilot, Myka stopped Artie from saving the president, and Artie got locked up as a suspected assassin. Myka stayed on in Washington D.C., Claudia never got out of the psych hospital, and McPherson is running the Warehouse.
Here's the part that confuses me: the Warehouse 13 pilot aired in July 2009, after Obama was already president. So if Artie wasn't able to stop the blood stone thingy from killing the president, shouldn't the picture on Myka's wall be Joe Biden? Did Pete do something else to influence the 2008 election? Is Pete just so awesome that everything fell out differently without him in general? (It's like wondering why Al Gore is president in the universe that Evil Yu Law comes from, something that I think about pretty often.)
Even though this was allegedly a Pete-centric episode, the interesting stuff was mostly about the other characters — especially Myka. Pete was just same old Pete, dealing with another wacky impossible situation, with his usual aplomb and goofiness. And meanwhile, we got to see a very different version of Myka, who never reconciled with her now-dead father. She's a hard-nosed but isolated woman, who quite sensibly believes that Pete is a stalker — actually, watching alt-Myka kick Pete's ass was kind of satisfying, and I was a bit disappointed that she softened towards him so quickly in the episode. Pete needs to get his ass kicked more often, really.
Meanwhile, Artie's been in prison for a few years, although he shakes it off pretty quickly. And Claudia has been stewing in the psych hospital all this time, with the Wall of Crazy. She's been keeping an improvised cattle prod handy just in case Artie comes to visit, and she's still determined to save her brother — who's still trapped in limbo in this universe, as opposed to the narrative limbo he's in in the "main" universe.
Once the team's all together again, all they have to do is break into the Warehouse, where McPherson has predictably turned bad and bronzed Mrs. Frederic. McPherson is determined to preserve this alternate timeline, where he's not dead and where he still has his awesome job — so he tries to find and destroy the artifact that erased Pete before it's too late, and it's up to Pete to do a "Year of Hell" suicide/reboot maneuver. (I want to start using "do a Year of Hell" as a phrase for when people commit suicide and reboot the universe.)
This was a fairly typical Warehouse 13 one-off episode, in which the plot was pretty basic and a bit goofy, but the focus is where it belongs — on the characters and their relationships. In particular, Pete showing how well he knows Myka, even though she doesn't remember him, is really nice, and the scenes where he's trying to convince her that she's capable of having an emotionally rich and satisfying life are genuinely moving. This show has built up such a wealth of backstory and emotional context with its characters that it can do a stock episode like this one, and it feels kind of special.
Even if we never do find out why McCain was president of the Mirror Universe.