Look Who's The President in a World Without Warehouse 13's Pete Lattimer!

Illustration for article titled Look Whos The President in a World Without emWarehouse 13/ems Pete Lattimer!

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?

Spoilers ahead...

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.

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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.)

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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.

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DISCUSSION

On a trip to Washington D.C. as a boy, a young Pete Lattimer was visiting the White House with his family. They were taking the basic tour, Pete was bored, but his mom, having not yet returned to working for as a Regent, was guiding his attention to the importance of our governmental system. As the group turned a corner, Pete saw a funny man with a ham-shaped head and got his first 'vibe', a vibe that there was something wonky about the man. Reacting half on instinct and half on being a precocious little kid, tripped the man, causing him to fall into the White House Christmas tree. The entire room erupted into laughter, and the man quickly got back to his feet and tried to compose himself as he rushed out of the room, embarrassed.

What Pete didn't know was that this man was political strategist Karl Rove, who, just a few hours earlier, had an epiphany that he'd been wasting his life doing very evil things. President George H. W. Bush had fired him for planting a story in Esquire about Robert Mosbacher Jr., and was not only caught, but was called into the oval office, where the President, instead of yelling at Rove, had a very serious talk about how he was concerned that Rove had gone off the deep end and that the President and his son, George Jr., were worried about him. Rove was taken aback by this. For the first time in his life, he considered that he might do something good with his life instead of being an evil minion. But as soon as he was tripped by a little boy and laughed at by a large group of strangers, the darker angels of his nature returned and he went back to what he did best: evil politics.

So how did this lead to McCain becoming president in a Pete-free universe? Simple. In the Pete-free universe, Karl isn't tripped, but instead is inspired by both the President's desperate plea for his soul, and the majesty of the White House Christmas tree. And what happened then? Well, on MSNBC they say that Rove's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas, brotherhood, and patriotism came through and Rove found the inner strength of ten Roves, plus two. He went back to his home district and ran as an independent, on a platform of helping the poor and disenfranchised, instead of joining the George W. Bush presidential campaign in 1999.

In this universe, Karl Rove never orchestrated rumors about John McCain having an illegitimate black son, so while McCain lost the Republican nomination in 2000, his heart was not broken by politics, and he actually did run as a maverick in 2008. Instead of adopting all of Bush's failed policies, candidate McCain remained politically independent, frustrating the existing Republican power structure, but earning the respect of the Republican base and attracting the interest of independents. Instead of choosing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, he ended up asking Hillary Clinton, who refused at first, but was convinced when McCain promised she would be given a major role in shaping the White House's policies. McCain went on to beat Barack Obama by a decent margin, though Obama learned a great deal by his run and, as of December of 2011, is already sweeping the Democratic primaries.