There must have been some strange reality-reversal artifact working behind the scenes at Warehouse 13 when last night's episodes was made. All of a sudden, Myka's brilliant and awesome, and Claudia's kind of a twerp. How did that happen?
To be fair, I've always liked Myka as a character - she had a few good bits in the first season, particularly the episode with her dad, and she's always been smart and funny. But she usually suffers from having to be the "straight man" to Pete's comedy act. Watching her stand there and roll her eyes while Pete finds out her middle name is Ophelia and says, "Can Ophelia boobies?" is not a situation guaranteed to make us love her. She's generally good when she can get out of Pete's shadow, though. That just doesn't happen often enough.
Claudia, meanwhile, was a major breath of fresh air when she was introduced in the middle of season one - her snarky dialogue, like "Serendipity is my stripper name," added a lot to the show, and her relationship with Artie has been the axis on which everything else has started turning. Even though she lost a bit of her awesomeness when she spent an entire episode pouting about Leena impersonating her under the McPherson's mind-control, she's remained one of our favorite characters.
So it must be some kind of weird mirror-universe thing — in last night's episode, Myka was totally, astonishingly awesome, while Claudia sort of got on my nerves.
Let's take Myka first - we start off the episode with her sword-fighting, and generally showing how bad-ass she is, which sets up her line about how she was taking fencing lessons (and learning shit) while other girls were playing with Barbies. And then, through a not entirely ridiculous set of circumstances, Myka has to go undercover as a fashion model. At first, I thought this was a replay of the "get Myka in a slinky outfit" thing from a couple of episodes ago, when Myka had to wear the sexy catsuit to deal with Simon Tam's magic belt. But instead, it managed to turn into an exploration of Myka's hidden insecurity, and the fact that she feels insecure next to beautiful, popular girls... like her sister. We also got to see Myka put Pete in his place a wee bit, with the "get me coffee" routine, although that was only after Jerky McFashionPants called her fat. (Why was he allowed to live?) Sure, Myka got objectified like crazy this episode - but that was sort of the point, and she got to do it in a way that showed how powerful and smart she was. And she beat the crap out of that one guy who came into her dressing room, and explained it by saying she eats food. Great stuff!
I even liked Pete a little, when he showed how much he cared about Myka and how determined he was to reverse her premature aging. The bit where Artie starts to ask for a sample of Myka's blood, and Pete hands it to him before he can finish his sentence, and says, "What else?" That was a nice bit.
Oh, and the mystery of the week was actually a real mystery, in that there were red herrings that seemed plausible. I mean, I figured out it was the camera in the first act, but the dress seemed at least a strong possibility as well, and Jerky McFashionPants had "Culprit" written all over him. And the personal assistant lady with the diet pills seemed like a possible evildoer also. We also got the solution to the mystery about two-thirds of the way through, leaving time for some additional complications.
As for Claudia, though? I just wasn't feeling the Claudia love this time around. I get that she's supposed to be a damaged, insecure teenager and all that jazz. But she's starting to seem just twerpy, especially so soon after the Leena thing. In particular, the way she keeps saying Artie owes her a million apologies, after he's stuck his neck out for her a bunch of times - it just makes her seem entitled. (Although she won back a little bit of it when she says Artie's a good father figure. Because he is, y'know?) And the "date" with dork boy from the hardware store was sort of painful to watch - it didn't feel like a real disastrous first date, it just felt like Claudia is one of those crazy ladies who stands around news kiosks yelling at the pigeons. Most of all, I got the distinct impression the Warehouse crew would have figured out the "silver nitrate" thing way faster if Claudia had had her head in the game instead of being so self-absorby.
So if Warehouse 13 can just keep making Myka cooler and more interesting, with the sword-fighting and the snappy dialogue, while bringing back the funny, cute Claudia we fell for originally, then the show's definitely onto something.