Warehouse 13: The New Guy

... in which Pete is forced to take on a new partner after Myka leaves the Warehouse.

And we’re back! Season 3 welcomes us back to the Warehouse 13 “world of endless wonder” by introducing a new agent, bringing Myka back into the fold, and giving us a brief glimpse of this season’s nemesis. We got lots of premise recapping for any newbies jumping on board, and zany antics and quips a plenty to make sure we got a good dose of the show’s fun, action-packed vibe. And, lest newbies think the series is all wacky hijinks and no heart, we even got a taste of the genuine affection that bonds our Warehouse family, and which makes the show a summer favorite in my house.

First off, I’ve got to give the creative team and SyFy major props for managing to sustain real uncertainty about the resolution to Season 2’s closing moments. I’ve certainly spent the past year pondering whether Myka was really gone for good, which would have been a distressing turn of events for me. I was pretty sure she’d be back within an episode two, but I was never 100-percent sure, and the press surrounding the issue was always a bit ambiguous. Even within this episode, I was never quite sure what Myka’s ultimate fate would be. When I saw that she was in the opening title image and that her name was still second in the credits, I said “Oh, she’s totally not going anywhere.” But my husband kindly disabused me of that thought with “And when did they add Tara to the Buffy credits?” (We’re still bitter.) When Myka showed up part way through the episode and started helping Pete and Steve, I thought, “OK, so this is how they’ll lure her back.” But after the case was closed, she and Pete had what felt like a pretty definitive “take care, my friend” parting, and I started thinking, “Huh. Maybe that’s really it. Maybe they just wanted to give us the comfort of knowing that she’s doing okay at her dad’s bookstore, plus one last case to get some closure. Bummer, man!” Then Mrs. Frederic showed up at the bookstore with H.G. Wells’s consciousness, and suddenly Myka was back to work. Okay, then.

So, I really wanted Myka to rejoin the Warehouse team, but I’m feeling a little unsettled by how it transpired. On the one hand, I’m glad that it took something like confronting her demons to get her over the hump, but it still felt a bit too convenient and too quick. I can’t help wondering if there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Did H.G.’s little pep talk help Myka make peace with her mistake, and come to grips with her fears about what she might do or become as a Warehouse agent? Was that one talk really all it took to make her come back? Or did their brief conversation give Myka another reason to come back? Perhaps Myka did think about what H.G. said and recognized a woman in pain and in need. A woman who had made terrible mistakes due to her overwhelming grief and anger, but now seems to be paying a truly terrible price. Myka certainly seemed taken aback by H.G.’s current predicament. Perhaps she suddenly decided to come back, not just because she misses the work and her Warehouse family, but because she’s set herself a mission to save H.G. Or maybe I’m just reading entirely too much into the situation because the turnaround felt a bit abrupt to me.

That said, I did enjoy the family reunion at the end. Claudia’s and Leena’s immense relief at seeing Myka, and Artie’s deep content at having her back where she belongs, were very effective. I also loved Pete’s simple smile at her return. No more grief or teasing. Just happiness to have his partner back.

But this episode wasn’t all about Myka. We also got to meet new Warehouse agent, Steve Jinks. Welcome to the team! It’s car-razy up in here! I like Steve well enough so far, and think an extra field agent could expand the family nicely, but I’m going to get tired of “You’re lying. He’s lying. She’s lying. Stop lying to me! Lies! ALL LIES!!!” mighty quick. Hopefully they find more interesting ways to integrate his nifty gift. (Maybe “Liar, liar, pants on fire”?)

We also learned that the whole attack on the bankers meeting was arranged by the team’s latest season-long nemesis. This year, it’s some shadowy, backlit guy who’s aware of and keeping tabs on the Warehouse and its agents. FBI Agent Sally Stekowski is one of his key operatives. My initial reaction to this bit of stage-setting was “Really? This again?” But I guess Warehouse 13 is going to be one of those semi-serialized shows structured around a new Big Bad each season. We’ll see where this version takes us. I’m not overly impressed yet. Agent Sally is rather strident and annoying.

Other Thoughts

I liked that we spent some time on Pete moping about Myka’s absence. Those two developed a very strong bond over the first two seasons, and I would have felt a bit cheated if he was just ready to move on without her. I really enjoyed him jumping at the first opportunity to work with his old partner, then trying to lure her back into the fold by pretending he no longer needed her help. Such a guy, that Pete. “No charge, ladies.”

The opening business with Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar and the extremely cold Jersey Shore groupie was amusing. I loved Claudia rocking it out, and Pete’s nonchalance about the obviously grateful (and so very cold) damsel-in-distress was hilarious. Especially Claudia and Artie’s reaction to his uncharacteristic restraint. “Now even I miss the boob jokes.”

Cool new gizmos: Tesla grenade, Warehouse periscope, and the pneumatic tube communication system. “Imagine how such ingenuity could be put to use in the field!”

Myka’s hair looked odd. Both in her “bookish” look and when she came to the hotel to save Steve. It looked like she was wearing a wig.

What was up with the silly Zeus and Hera statues subplot? Was that just a thread to throw in some zany Warehouse flavor and fun Claudia and Artie banter? “Picture the scene: It’s 306 BC ---“ “Yes, you were just a child, but it’s still so vivid. Can you just tell us about the lightening?!” I expected it to tie into the main plot before the end, but we got bupkes. Perhaps Zeus now being at the Conservatory will amount to something down the line?

I could have done without the obvious shilling for Toyota when Steve arrived at the Warehouse. “Well, well, well. Someone treated himself very nicely.” But I did like the visual call back to Season 1 with the football.

Pete: “I don’t need a guy who can tell when somebody’s lying. So what? That’s nothing special. I mean, every nun I ever met could do that. Sister Mary Francis could tell when you were about to lie.”

The idea of Pete and Claudia as partners in the field is truly the stuff of nightmares.

Loved the pullback/rewind after Artie introduced the warehouse. “Okay! That’s all we have time for. Now we’ve got work to do.”

Steve: “There’s a pyramid in the Warehouse!”
Pete: “That’s right, Jinksy. We get on there, we could win $25,000.”

They really made Ashley Williams look quite severe. She’s usually got a much softer and cuter look. (Remember her from Good Morning, Miami or as Ted’s baker girlfriend, Victoria, on How I Met Your Mother? She was adorable!) I actually didn’t recognize her as Agent Sally until the very end of the episode.

Apparently, Steve’s single other defining trait is that he is a Buddhist.

The primary artifact-of-the-week was Shakespeare’s Lost Folio. “Some crappy actor made it for Shakespeare, then he cursed it, now it kills people.” The connection between the murder victims and Cleopatra’s and Julius Caesar’s deaths was extremely obvious, although I didn’t make the mental jump to Shakespeare’s plays (it didn’t help that I couldn’t understand what the victims were saying as they were dying).

Pete: “Come on, Myka! Look, if I had quit and left you there, and you were looking for an artifact about football or porn, I’d help you.”

Myka: “Congratulations. You were almost killed by an artifact, you are now officially a Warehouse agent.”
Get the man his t-shirt!

Steve: “So maybe you two can work on your repressed sexual tension some time when we don’t have a book running around trying to suffocate people.”
Bad, Steve! No biscuit. There is no repressed sexual tension here. None. You can have all the sexual tension you want with Myka, but she and Pete have a brother-sister dynamic. Got it?!

Final Analysis: A less jumbled start this year, but I’m not completely sold on Myka’s turnaround. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an integral part of the family and I want her back. I’m just not sure “H.G.’s consciousness made me realize I’m running away from my problems” totally works for me as a resolution to that plot arc.

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

4 comments:

Mark Greig said...

“There is no repressed sexual tension here. None. You can have all the sexual tension you want with Myka, but she and Pete have a brother-sister dynamic. Got it?!”

Completely agree with you there, Jess. The only one Myka has any repressed sexual tension with is H.G. Wells.

Billie Doux said...

Definitely fun and fast-paced, a strong opener, and I didn't hate Jinx. "Zeus married his sister Hera. Don't ask, they were Greek." :)

inspirejenny said...

first off: yayayayayay that we still have Myka, though I was loving HG Wells and hope we can have some more imput from hologram girl..

I thought it was cool that Pete was welcoming to Jinks while still missing his little sister... very satisfying but i was a bit put off by how Pete was all about the FBI chick when he just recently was dumped by someone he thought of as "the one" it seemed out of keeping with the somber vibe the episode started off with in regards to the very chilly groupie girl
So fun to see Claudia's reaction to myka coming "home" and Arties reaction was pitch perfect.. just the strong feeling that the family was back together... I think it would be neat to see some sparks between Jinks and Myka I mean a girl cannot live on Twizzlers alone!

Paul Kelly said...

Strong first episode. It's rare a new character comes into an established series and we don't all automatically go "meh!" but I quite liked Jinks.(Despite his name sounding like he should be in Top Cat.) Glad to see the return of HG and Myka. (Not for the same reasons as Mark, I suspect.) All in all, I don't see how we could have asked for anything more.