Warehouse 13: Season 1 Post-Mortem

Warehouse 13 initially made it onto my summer viewing schedule for three reasons: (1) it was mildly reminiscent of The X-Files; (2) it had a nice roster of some of my Sci Fi favorites lined up as guest stars; and, (3) there wasn’t much competition on my summer TV plate. But with a kicky pilot, engaging leads, and quirky supporting characters, the show quickly became an enjoyable summer staple.

For me, the best part of the show is the characters. I find the comedic/dramatic tales that stem from each character’s personality quirks and emotional baggage highly entertaining. The artifacts themselves are often interesting, but the episodes are most compelling when they connect to the overall Warehouse weirdness or are used to focus on our main characters’ issues (e.g., ‘Claudia,’ ‘Burnout,’ ‘Implosion,’ and ‘Regrets.’)

(Beware Season 1 Spoilers Ahoy!)

I particularly enjoy Pete and Myka’s partnership. The writers initially set them up in the skeptic/believer mold from The X-Files, but they’ve settled nicely into their own yin-yang dynamic, which pairs Pete’s instincts and intuitive leaps with Myka’s keen eye for detail and deductive reasoning skills. Plus, I almost always get a chuckle from the clash between his laid back ways and her tightly wound, by-the-book demeanor. (The running joke about her reading the whole Warehouse manual amuses me.)

Even more entertaining is watching the two agents interact with Artie. What’s not to love about Artie? He’s incredibly smart and resourceful, frustratingly secretive, and often quite cranky. Yet, for all that he obviously cares about his agents and their well-being. I like how even as his past is slowly unfolding, he remains an enigma in many ways.

I’m also a big fan of the other supporting characters. Mrs. Frederick is even more mysterious than Artie, and CCH Pounder is a delight. She does imperious disapproval like nobody’s business! Balancing Mrs. Frederick’s aloof and domineering presence, we had Leena with her calm, insightful, and supportive manner. Until the finale, I was convinced these two were somehow two sides the same person. (Strange, I know. But strange and improbable is this show’s stock and trade.)

And then there’s Claudia. I know the introduction of Claudia was a bit controversial with viewers. Some find her an annoying distraction and don’t think Artie needs a young foil. Others think her quirks are amusing and enjoy her dynamic with Artie. Personally, I like Claudia. I like the fresh perspective she brings to the crazy Warehouse technology, and I get a kick out of her affectionately needling Artie and his grumpy curmudgeon reactions to her. I also enjoy her “little sister” vibe with Pete. Sure, she can be incredibly annoying and troublesome at times (the incident with Volta’s coat springs to mind), but overall, I think she’s been a fun addition.

Of course, then the writers blew everything to hell in the season finale. Literally. I was kind of stunned and at a loss when ‘MacPherson’ ended. Pete and Myka are seemingly trapped in the Warehouse, Claudia ran away after being framed as a traitor, and Artie is presumed dead? I’m having trouble swallowing that last one. The show wouldn’t be the same without Artie! Maybe he somehow got his hands on the Phoenix and managed to survive. (I hope, I hope, I hope.)

Even worse was the revelation that Leena is working with MacPherson. It seemed pretty clear throughout the episode that MacPherson was always one or two steps ahead of the Warehouse crew, and that his endgame was getting back into the Warehouse for nefarious purposes, but I didn’t see this twist with Leena coming. I was down with Claudia being an unwitting, Manchurian Candidate-style mole; I thought that was an intriguing turn of events. But Leena as MacPherson’s willing accomplice came out of nowhere and was a hefty blow. I really can’t wrap my mind around it. I feel as betrayed as the team will when they find out. Why, why, why Leena?! I’ll certainly be tuning in next year to see how it all plays out.

Favorite Episode of the Season: This one’s a toss-up between ‘Burnout’ and ‘Regrets.’ For ‘Burnout,’ the ultimate defeat of the artifact (the electric spider weapon that attached to people’s spines) was a little cheesy, but I loved the Warehouse team interactions and getting some insight into agents past. I particularly loved the ending when former agent Rebecca warned Myka to get out before it was too late. Intriguing. ‘Regrets’ had a really interesting artifact (the creepy prison driving penitent people to commit suicide), and the episode as a whole provided a great opportunity for Pete and Myka to deal with their demons. I wasn’t too keen on the music they chose to underscore Myka’s climactic confrontation with her dead lover (too poppy), but overall this was one of the season’s standouts.

Honorable Mentions: ‘Claudia’ and ‘Resonance.’ The former brought Artie into the foreground and gave us our first real glimpse of his regrets and his questionable past as an agent. The latter had a cool artifact (a song that entranced and immobilized people), and I was quite touched by the revelation that the “bad guys” were just trying to somehow restore a sad, damaged man they cared about.

Least Favorite Episode: ‘Elements.’ No contest here. I was excited that Joe Flanigan was going to be on and I really wanted to like this one, but the completely anti-climactic ending just killed it for me.

Side Note: As noted, the guest star roster was part of the reason I started watching Warehouse 13 in the first place, but the guest roles have been pretty meh. Either the actor didn’t have much to do (Tricia Helfer, Mark Sheppard, Michael Hogan), or the story itself was terrible (Joe Flanigan). Joe Morton’s appearance as a Florida prison inmate/cult leader is the only one that I’ve truly enjoyed. Roger Rees’s turn as MacPherson wasn’t too shabby either. (And Tricia Helfer does work the hell out of a slow-motion, windblown entrance.) I don’t really want to take time away from our main cast of characters, but I hope that if they get some recognizable guest stars for next year, they give them better material.

Overall, a fun and entertaining first season. Looking forward to Season 2.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Very nice wrap-up, Jess. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I enjoyed a lot of the season and I like the interaction between the two leads. I like Artie a lot. I'm a bit eh about Claudia. And I was disappointed that they brought in guest stars from shows I love and then didn't do anything good with them. Like Michael Hogan. He spent nearly an entire episode in a chair, unconscious.

Are they going to run season two during the summer, too? We need more good shows running during the summer.

Mark Greig said...

I’m in agreement as well. Warehouse 13 has been a mixed if enjoyable bag all summer long. My main gripe with the series has been its practice of giving thankless roles to all those great guest stars. Something they should rethink about for season 2.

The finale defiantly upped the stakes for next season. I didn’t find the Leena twist that earth shattering mainly because she’s been in the background so often that I forgot she was there most of the time. It might’ve been more shocking if it was Claudia who was working for the Sheriff of Rottingham all along.

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I think this one will be back in the summer, Billie, but I really have no idea. If not next summer, my guess would be late spring after their January shows wrap.

Mark, you are right about Leena just being in the background a lot. I often wondered why she was listed in the main credits when she was almost never around! But still, she made an impression on me in her limited time. I liked her and thought she added something a little different to the mix. So I'm disappointed she turned out to be a bad guy (insofar as we know at the moment). Of course, maybe this twist will give her more to do next season. :)

shawnlunn2002 said...

I;m about four episodes into this as it's currently airing on Sci-Fi UK and I'm finding it alright so far. It's not terrible but it's not gripping either, though I do like the Pete/Myka dynamic.

Isn't it also Sci-Fi's most popular show since ever? I've heard the ratings have been huge for this.

ManosTorgo said...

Shawn, the ratings have been great for this show. SyFy is extremely jazzed about it.

Jess, I also thought that Leena was either an alternate, younger version of Mrs. Frederick or the daughter of Artie and Mrs. Frederick.

Jonathan said...

great write up on one of my favorite shows. i loved the addition of allison scagliotti as claudia. she brought a whole new dynamic to the show and a lot of humor.

i'm so glad i got to see them in person at comic con this year. actually at that point i didn't even know about the character of claudia. when they brought her out to the panel, they announced it to the audience. there was a screening the night before but it was sold out. only those who got in knew about claudia before the panel. let me know if anyone wants to see pics of the panel.

Patryk said...

Eureka's season 4 episode Crossing Over got me watching Warehouse 13. The beginning episodes were a bit tiresome (except "Claudia"), but with "Burnout" it started to pick up and the introduction of a Big Bad really helped to up the stakes. By the end of the season I was sold. The finale was engrossing and I can;t wait to see the resolution of the cliffhanger. Might as well jump into season 2 without waiting.