Sometimes, a great season opener not only launches some new storylines into motion and resolves cliffhangers — it also restates or clarifies the mission statement of the show. Such was the case with Warehouse 13's "A New Hope," which aired the other day.
The show didn't just pay off the huge "Warehouse gets destroyed" cliffhanger from last year, and launch a whole new, potentially quite dark, storyline for this year — it also gave us a new take on just why the warehouse is so important, by showing us what happens when it's gone. Spoilers ahead...
A big question hanging over the Warehouse, since the show began three years ago, has always been: Why store all this junk? Why not just destroy it, especially the most dangerous objects? And now we have a bit more of an answer: They can't destroy some of the most harmful items, because they're something primal and intense. Case in point: When the Warehouse gets blown up by Walter Sikes in last year's season finale, Pandora's Box gets unleashed, which somehow extinguishes hope everywhere on Earth. (How that exactly works is a bit vague, and probably best not explored too much.)
In any case, the most striking thing about this season opener is the way it depicts, even briefly, a world filled with the kinds of supernatural awfulness the Warehouse keeps under wraps. We only see a teeny amount of looting and some general grimness, for budgetary reasons, but at the same time it really helps add to the stakes on the show that we can see what happens when the Warehouse isn't controlling everything.
The actual episode, meanwhile, is your classic "reset button" episode — it's clear from the outset that nothing that happens in this episode is going to have any permanent impact, so it's not particularly shocking when Pete drops dead and everything else gets terribly grim.
That said, it's nice to see Pete being his usual quippy, manic self, even in the face of a hopeless, self-destructing world — the bit about "I like beavers, so I'll take Canada" is cute, as are all his attempts to "distract" the Templars. The chemistry among the four main cast members has basically become note-perfect at this point, allowing them to get charm and humor out of even the serious bits — and this episode is especially boosted by Saul Rubinek's strong performance as Artie, putting up with people teasing him about his age and comparing him to Winnie the Pooh.
And of course, something permanent does happen as a result of this episode — when Artie hits the reset button in the astrolabe, he apparently unleashes an "evil of his own design," which will follow him for the rest of his days. (Brent Spiner barely has anything to do in this episode other than utter that dire warning, but I'm guessing we'll be coming back to him soon.) Artie seems pretty tortured by this prospect, which leads to (possibly prophetic) nightmares of Claudia chasing him with murderous intent — but Artie also promises Brent Spiner that he won't tell anybody else about his use of the reset button, given its potential for abuse.
And the kicker is that Claudia has gone missing — has she snuck out of the boarding house to commence a real-life campaign of chasing Artie like a slasher movie? Or, more likely, is she running off to find some artifact to bring Steve Jinks back from the dead? (Oh, and did anybody else find the moment where Claudia basically professes not to care about H.G. and Mrs. Frederic being dead, and the entire world being plunged into suicidal chaos, because even if they save the world it won't bring Steve Jinks back? I mean, priorities.)
Anyway, sorry this recap was late — this one got away from me. Next one's will be way more expeditious, I promise.