Warehouse 13: Season 2, Part 2

After a relatively mythology-lite first six episodes, Warehouse 13 brought the elusive H.G. Wells and her mysterious agenda back in full force for the back half of the season. The question now is, was she worth the wait? I’m a bit torn on this one. I kind of enjoyed pondering the mystery of Wells’ true motives, but it seemed rather clear that she was always hiding some nefarious purpose, so her “shocking” betrayal at the end of ‘Buried’ was more of an “I knew it!” moment for me than an “OMG!” one. Moreover, her endgame turned out to be fairly underwhelming. Basically, it boiled down to Wells knew the whereabouts of the original weapon of mass destruction, and MacPherson wanted it to sell to the highest bidder. After she killed him and discovered the world was in worse shape than when she left it, she decided to vent her rage and anger over her deceased child by destroying humanity. Really?

It seems strange to say that I found an intricate plan to annihilate the entire world rather ho hum, but quite frankly I think the writing team overreached. They tried to go for epic, “Save the World!” drama, when what they really excel at is more personal stories. Witness the tale of Jack and Rebecca in ‘Where and When,’ or the carefully cultivated father-daughter relationship between Claudia and Artie, or even Claudia’s very personal reaction to learning she’s destined to be the Warehouse caretaker in ‘Buried.’ In this case, they tried to make the story personal by building up Wells’ grief over her daughter’s murder, but she never really felt like part of the team to me, so I was relatively unmoved by her pain. (Plus, the special effects crew just isn’t up to the challenge of “epic.” The less said about the terrible “desert sands” backdrops, the better.) So ultimately, the mytharc felt like it amounted to a whole lot of nothing.

Other than the personal fallout for Myka, that is. Certainly, Myka’s decision in the finale has a huge impact on the series going forward. I have no idea if Joanne Kelly is leaving the series, or if this is one of those “false jeopardy” cliffhangers set up to create tension during the break, which will ultimately be resolved in the first episode or two. I hope that Myka will be back, because I’ve become quite invested in the Warehouse family and I absolutely hate to see that dynamic ruined. They need big sister Myka! That said, this turn of events makes perfect sense for the character and feels like huge payoff for my endless frustration with her for buying into H.G.’s story in the first place.

Myka’s blind spot when it came to H.G. was the issue that got me most riled up during the last six episodes. I just could not understand why Myka, of all people, couldn’t see through her manipulations. Myka is infamous for her attention to detail, but that doesn’t mean she has absolutely no instincts. She’s a smart cookie, and I think she largely understands people, as evidenced by her numerous interactions with Pete, Claudia, and Artie. So why did she believe H.G. so fervently that she actively advocated for her to return to the Warehouse? Was it some kind of “fellow female warehouse agent” empathy? We never got a good answer to this question, and it’s clear that even Myka doesn’t understand how she got so completely blindsided. How could she not be constantly second guessing herself at this point? I’m really not sure how the team is going to get her past this colossal fail and back into action.

On to the individual episode commentary, most of which was written as the episodes aired ...

For the Team: This one had a really gross teaser followed by lots of fun team interactions. I really enjoyed seeing Myka and Claudia paired up on a case. Claudia was very funny trying to fit into the Myka mold, but she initially went a bit over-the-top once she returned to her own style. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Pete needling Artie about his affection for Dr. Vanessa was hilarious.

When is Myka going to get a love interest? Everyone else is getting some action this season, but poor Myka is left all alone with her Twizzlers pondering what to make of H.G. Wells.

Speaking of H.G., this episode set off all kinds of warning bells for me regarding her real angle. Her story about just wanting to be part of something again reeked of bogus. Although it did seem to point to why MacPherson would have wanted to debronze her. He had a pretty big axe to grind with the Regents and wanted to acquire and use artifacts for personal gain. As a former agent who’s pretty handy at developing cool gizmos who also has a beef with the Regents, Wells could have been a formidable asset for MacPherson. He just underestimated her.

Merge with Caution: Overall, not the greatest episode. The body-switching thing was mildly amusing at times, but I didn’t like how they ended up playing Pete’s alcoholism for laughs, and the effects with the eyes and the bookends were goofy. The glowy eyes and rotating head thing was just eye-roll-inducing. The effects once they merged into one body were a bit better.

I did, however, really enjoy the Claudia and Artie pairing. (I’m partial to Ardia as their couple name, even though I really hate the combined couple name thing.) Artie going gaga for Laura Harris was awkward and uncomfortable, but his Houdini-esque abilities to escape handcuffs was hilarious. “From here I can count … eight ways that you can escape. […] Oh! The spatula. Make that nine.”

This isn’t what I wanted when I wondered if Myka would get a dude. Pete and Myka getting all cozy with their respective conquests was just terribly uncomfortable. The WH13 writers are developing some great team dynamics, but they do not do romance or romantic relationships well. It feels very high school, not adult.

Is Genelle Williams pregnant? Because Leena looked pregnant. This could explain her relative lack of screen time this season.

Vendetta: This was a pretty good episode. I was definitely on Artie’s side regarding H.G. Wells. I did not believe her story at all, and could not figure out what her real endgame was. There must have been some truth to her story if the Regents let her back in, but she was still clearly hiding something. I’m convinced that she manipulated the whole situation with Artie and Alexander’s son to make herself look like the hero and ensure she’d be restored as a Warehouse agent. During the first murder, it very much looked like a woman using the chain and the computer. Then during the second attack, we could see the silhouette of the person wielding the Titanic driftwood, and it very much looked like H.G. The shadowy figure had her wavy hair and all. I think she was in league with Ivan, then stabbed him in the back to make herself look good.

Moreover, this is where my deep frustration with Myka was starting to set in. Does she see something in H.G. that reminds of herself? Myka at times seems to be one to two steps ahead of H.G., but has a huge blind spot when it came to her real motives.

Don’t get me started on the uselessness of the Claudia and Todd business. I was momentarily intrigued when it looked like maybe he was in league with H.G. and her shenanigans (that’s how I was interpreting his lack of past), but then it just turned out he was in witness protection. And he got sent away again at the end. So what was the point of bringing him back in the first place? They had some story time to fill? Ack! Annoying and useless.

Genelle Williams is definitely pregnant.

Where and When: I liked this one a lot. It was funny and poignant, the artifact was suitably freaky, and it didn’t end with Pete and Myka kissing in a field, so yea! Plus, David Anders, Armin Shimmerman, and fun Bill & Ted references! What’s not to like?

I still had my reservations about H.G.’s motives at this point --- and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Myka wasn’t more skeptical about H.G. rather conveniently being in the right place at the right time to save the day on multiple occasions --- but I have to admit that H.G. finally started to sell me on the story about her daughter’s death. I still thought her reasons for wanting to be an agent again were suspect, but she was certainly convincing (and terrifying) when talking about what she had done to the men who killed her daughter.

I was disappointed that we only got an ominous reference to Mrs. Frederic and didn’t actually get to see her. I wanted Pete and Myka to get a load of her in the past looking just the same as ever.

I enjoyed the bit about Pete’s jealousy over the fake gold star and Jack-as-Pete’s ridiculous Total Recall reference. Silly bits perhaps, but they made me smile.

I had the song “Where or When” stuck in my head all night after watching this episode. “Some things that happened, for the first time ... seem to be happening again. And so it seems that we have met before, and laughed before, and loved before, but who knows, where or when?”

Buried: Some aspects of this episode were fairly entertaining, though a bit obvious. I didn't much care for the Indiana Jones-style Holy Grail quest, but it was pretty cool to learn a bit more about Mrs. Frederic’s role as caretaker of the Warehouse. Even better was learning that Claudia has been selected as the future caretaker. I interpreted Dr. Vanessa’s remark that she would be ready to mean that eventually, Claudia will take over as Warehouse caretaker. I think that’s awesome. Good work from Allison toning down Claudia’s ‘scattered wacky’ persona and bringing deep-seeded panic and nausea to the fore. I could almost see Claudia breaking out in the cold sweats when the time came to handfast with Mrs. Frederic.

I felt very vindicated by H.G.’s betrayal. I knew it! She’s always had her own agenda, and it wasn’t about finding a home as a Warehouse agent. At this point, we were speculating that she was after the Book of the Dead and that her endgame was to bring back her daughter. (Was it really random robbers that killed her, or does anyone think the Regents of yore were involved?)

I loved Pete going to the girls for advice. I also got a kick out of him being the one to solve the mind puzzle, especially when he started taking such glee in it. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the joy he takes in simple things.

So Kelly is The One for Pete? Really? I’m finding that hard to believe. Maybe because their relationship seems all about sex and food and not much else. I know Pete seems pretty shallow and immature most of the time, but I firmly believe he is deeper than sex and food.

Bye-bye, Mark Sheppard! You didn’t get to live up to your potential on this show, but it was nice seeing you, as always.

Reset: Another overstuffed episode that, like the season premiere, left me feeling like the main story was a big jumbled mess. So H.G. just wanted to destroy the world, huh? Seems a bit over the top. Although if that was always her plan, then I can see why MacPherson wanted her. And if she was contemplating such actions in the wake of her daughter’s death, I can see why the more logical part of herself would request to be bronzed. I wonder where the Regents shuttled her off to and if we’ll ever see her again.

I really liked the brief scenes between Artie and Claudia, although his look after reassuring her she’d get to lead the life she wanted was a bit ominous.

I did not care for the Lizzy Borden compact bit, and was unmoved by Pete’s breakup with Kelly. I just didn’t care. We never really had the chance to get invested in their relationship, and Pete telling me it was True Love wasn’t enough.

Of course, when Myka left I got pretty darn emotional. That breakup I felt, and felt deep. I hope Joanne Kelly is not leaving the show for good. “Quit your job” is a logical reaction for Myka as a character, but darn it, she’s part of the family and I will miss her a lot if she’s gone for good.

***

Season 2 had its ups and downs, and I’m not sure the overall arc or even individual episodes were on par with some from the first season, but the character dynamics have improved dramatically, and I still find this series quite enjoyable. Here’s hoping for a third season (and fewer romantic entanglements)!

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

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I think you nailed it, Jess. I really liked H.G. but was disappointed with the denouement. And very good point that they do team and friend relationships on this show very well, but romantic? Not so much.

But I still thought this season was much better than the last, and I really enjoyed quite a bit of it.

And I hope they didn't just write out Myka.

Dale said...

"When is Myka going to get a love interest? Everyone else is getting some action this season, but poor Myka is left all alone with her Twizzlers pondering what to make of H.G. Wells."
Hey, the episodes haven't aired here yet, but a large amount of the fans seem to be of the opinion that HG Wells *was* Myka's love interest.

Patryk said...

The second season definately is better then season one. Reasons being: team dynamic starting to gel, Claudia as a series regular (I definately would feel strange rewatching episodes 1-4 from season one now as I see Claudia as indispesible).

The best episode was Where and When of course. I also loved how HG's time machine thingy looked like the flux capacitor from Back to the Future.

The cliffhanger is more of a "what now", then "omg how will they resolve this" so it'll be easier to go on a Warehouse 13 break for some time. I just hope Joanne Kelly isn't leaving.