Last night's Warehouse 13 was another one where things felt a bit muddled — what was the point of all that time-traveling, exactly? But the beautiful coda almost made the whole thing worth while. Spoilers ahead...
So full disclosure here — I'm picky about time travel stories. I love time travel when it's done right, but I feel like it's often not done that well, especially on television. And one of my pet peeves is the deterministic time travel story, where the only reason why people bother to travel in time is because they've already traveled in time. I know this works for some people, but it always bothers me a lot.
Why exactly did Pete and Myka have to travel back nearly 50 years? And why did they have to be in such a hurry to do it, instead of waiting for Artie to get back so they could get his opinion? It seemed like the only reason they traveled back to the past was because of the film and Jack and Rebecca's memory loss, proving that they'd already done it. Which is a silly reason to do something — if anybody ever presents me with incontrovertible proof that I'm going to do something in the future, I'll assume that the future can take care of itself. I won't take positive steps to make that future happen, since it's already predestined anyway.
Worst of all, not only did Pete and Myka not really accomplish anything by traveling back in time, they actually made things worse — by ruining David Anders' life. (Okay, it's payback for him ruining the second season of Heroes, but still.) Seriously, do you really think that Jack and Rebecca wouldn't have done as good a job as Pete and Myka of figuring out the truth about the dagger and who was using it? But because Pete and Myka are inhabiting Jack and Rebecca's bodies, they're unable to clear Jonah Riatt's name, forcing him to go on the run until he dies. Good job, guys.
There's also the fact that if you can't change the past, there's not all that much reason to travel back in time anyway — and there's absolutely no reason to make a film telling your past to travel back in time, if you know it's already destined to happen. Why bother?
Like I said, I'm picky about time travel stories.
I did like some of the cute 1960s moments, and Pete's fixation on the fact that steaks only cost a dollar in 1961 is pretty great. And of course, I'm thrilled at the continuing run of great Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest stars, with Armin Shimerman playing Charlie the Warehouse 13 boss in 1961. Here's hoping we see more of him — maybe he can get bronzed and meet up with Rene Auberjonois' character, who also worked at the Warehouse in the past. And consider this a vote for an Avery Brooks cameo next. Oh, and I felt cheated that we didn't get to meet the Mrs. Frederic of 1961. Who, I'm guessing, looks exactly the same as she does now.
I also loved Artie's surliness being cranked up to 11, thanks to his disgruntlement about H.G. Wells being reinstated. His sarcasm got so extreme, with the "have a gold star" and "we'll get dinner" stuff, that he almost looped around and became sincere. And was I the only one hoping that Artie and Myka were going to go off on assignment together?
Like I said, the little coda at the end, where Rebecca gets to travel back in time and see Jack one more time — and it turns out she initiated the kiss that brought them together in the first place — almost made the whole shebang worthwhile. Even though I saw it coming from a ways off, I still thought it was really lovely.
All in all, though, this was the second episode in a row that felt muddled and unformed — the whole thing about the 1960s seemed like it was lurching towards something and never quite got there. All of the little visual nods to Mad Men, the idea that David Anders' character seemed like just another sexist philandering jerk but he actually saw the creativity and intelligence of these women and wanted them to help him run the magazine, etc. It was barely dealt with at all, but there was a lot more cleverness in that setup than there was in any of the time-travel hijinks.
But what did you think?