This clip, right here, is the moment I totally lost it while watching last night's Warehouse 13. (And probably a lot of other viewers, as well.) They actually played the "Amok Time" music! The Lord of the Rings shout-out was just the cherry on top.
Last time Eureka's Fargo guest-starred on Warehouse 13, they had a cool lightsaber moment. But this time? They just went all out with the nerdy goodness. Spoilers ahead...
So the "trapped in a videogame" storyline is a time-honored tradition. But "Don't Hate The Player" might just be my favorite rendition of that particular trope, thanks to a ton of neat touches. Like the weird moments of first-person-shooter POV (shades of the Doom movie!) and the funny sound effect every time Pete-imus pulls out his sword. And the weird cut-scenes with "General Arthur," where Artie keeps repeating the same action over and over again until he gets the right response from the "players."
In "Don't Hate The Player," Fargo has apparently decided he doesn't already have enough on his plate running Global Dynamics, and now he's launching a video game company with two young nerds. Except that their super-immersive gaming technology doesn't work, until Fargo produces an artifact: the teapot of Beatrix Potter, which sucks people into the game quite nicely. Bonus points to whoever remembered that Beatrix Potter was a natural scientist who studied mushrooms, and to whoever came up with the line "The tea set made her trip bunnies."
And then it turns out that Fargo based his video game on the Warehouse, for some bizarre reason — including silly fake versions of Artie, Leena... and Claudia herself. Holy Reg Barclay! So our heroes have to complete their epic quest in a (no doubt cost-saving) fantasy version of their usual workplace.
The only trouble is, Beatrix Potter's teapot actually brings out your dark side — as witnessed by her demonic early drafts of her cute fluffy animal stories — and inside the game, our heroes are confronted with their darkest fears. Especially the darkest fears of Fargo (who fears drowning, and losing his hair) and random nerdguy (who has some relationship issue or other, blah blah blah.)
And finally Claudia — who fears being stuck back in the mental institution again, with the doctor telling her that her brother is dead and none of this is real, and giving her electric shock therapy. Claudia facing up to the scary shrink guy and turning his electro-shock apparatus back on him is sort of an unexpected bit of darkness in an otherwise light, fluffy episode.
Despite relying a fair bit on nerd stereotypes — the workaholism, the "I need a woman" thing — the episode was still a loving tribute to all things nerdy, and a nifty extension of this season's themes of people using artifacts for profit, as well as people facing their demons. Plus we got to see Claudia as an elf and as a silly princess. Score! Oh, and you have to love an episode where the obligatory "acoustic guitar" montage is the result of someone actually playing an acoustic guitar.
Meanwhile, the episode's "B" plot was also pretty fun, and moved the season's arc along nicely. Evil FBI agent Sally Sikowski contacts Steve Jinks, asking for his help with a weird case of an impossible suicide. I was wondering if she really managed to avoid lying in front of Steve, or if the "human lie-detector" somehow didn't catch her lies. At one point in the episode, she definitely makes the statement "I got nothin'" in regard to the death of the art-gallery guy, which is probably a lie since she would have to know about the painting to set up her trap. But maybe not — maybe she just knows an artifact must be involved, but doesn't know any specifics.
In any case, we get the perfect contrast to goofy wizard Artie — suave art-thief Artie, who comes up with a slick plan to steal the Van Gogh painting that's causing death and destruction everywhere. But it's actually a trap, because Agent Sally gets the artifact away from Artie and Steve, while getting them arrested, just long enough to let her add some nasty robot bugs to the mix, as part of some evil scheme on the part of Evil Sam Adama.
So yeah, if last year's Fargo guest spot on Warehouse 13 was a heap of nerd candy, this year's was basically enough nerd candy to give you geek diabetes. In a good way. And yet, it actually felt nutritious, because the result was a nice version of the show's core concern, about the ways in which objects can capture our past traumas and fixations, creating traps as well as sources of power.
And who else wants to see the League of Evil British Writers become a real thing?