Warehouse 13: Past Imperfect

... in which Myka gets another chance to catch the man that killed her former partner.

An episode that revisits past baggage is usually going to be a winner for me, and ‘Past Imperfect’ was a reasonably engaging outing that compared favorably with the last two episodes. My primary complaints immediately after watching were that (1) the events in Denver felt too rushed, (2) it was far too easy to see where that story was going, and (3) Myka’s out-of-character behavior was a bit jarring. As soon as Leo disappeared, it was painfully obvious (even to Pete) that an artifact was involved, and once we got a glimpse of Leo’s utter bewilderment at having a gun in his hand, the identity of the ultimate bad guy was glaringly obvious. (Two recognizable guest stars, one of whom had direct contact with Leo before he disappeared. Hmmm, who could the accomplice be?) As for Myka, I know they kept hanging a lampshade on her emotional state, and her impulsive behavior was largely understandable given the circumstances, but seeing her so irrational and weepy still created a certain level of cognitive dissonance for me, negatively affecting my residual impression of the episode.

On rewatch, Myka’s erratic behavior didn’t bother me quite so much --- it actually lead to several really nice partner moments between her and Pete --- but, unfortunately, the more I think about things, the more convinced I am that this particular baggage is not something we needed to revisit. Myka had already confronted and dealt with feeling responsible for Sam’s death in Season 1’s ‘Regrets.’ That was actually one of my favorite episodes from that season, and I think it did the topic justice. It allowed Myka to mostly finish grieving and move on, despite never catching Sam’s killer. This episode just dredged up old pain, reminded us that she still has a hard time forgiving herself for failing as Sam’s backup, and then completely let her off the hook. Turns out that Agent Jim wanted Sam dead, and he used the ship’s barometer on Myka to make sure she didn’t arrive in time to save him. So she’s now absolved of the residual guilt she’s been carrying. I know that sounds like a good thing, but I think carrying the weight of that particular death (along with what she allowed to happen with H.G.) gave Myka some interesting shading, and it has significantly informed the way she approaches her partnership with Pete. At the beginning of this episode, she abandoned the pursuit of Leo and ran back to help Pete precisely because of what happened with Sam. She will not allow herself to fail another partner. I don’t know if learning that she didn’t fail Sam will significantly change her approach going forward --- after all, her perceived role in Sam’s death has been motivating her for three years --- but I wish the writers had left that baggage intact.

In other developments, we got a shocking attack on Claudia and Jinks, a strange subplot with Artie mind-melding with a dog, and some incremental steps in the overarching plot. It was nice to see Claudia and Jinks back in the field as partners (I’ve missed that dynamic the last couple weeks), and I was completely stunned when they got tazed. It was a relief when they regained consciousness and had only lost the artifact! The dog subplot was a bit silly, but Claudia’s excessive drooling after using Pavlov’s Bell made it worth the time. “Just getting a little slurpy. I’ll be fine tomorrow.” Too funny! (I also got a good chuckle out of Agent Sally’s alias: Helen Coldby. Cold B. That’s for certain.) Unfortunately, we didn’t find out what was up with the bug infestation from the end of last week’s episode. Are the bugs responsible for the malfunctioning artifact-handling gloves? Both Pete and Jinks got burned, so something’s not right there. And, clearly, Artie did not fully suspect Agent Sally of foul play before discovering the fake license, so the Warehouse crew is unaware of the Trojan horse attack. Uh oh. Hopefully it isn’t too late to mount a defense!

Other Thoughts

I really enjoyed seeing Myka in the flashbacks. She seemed so happy and in love. Plus, I miss Myka’s curly hair.

Is Joanne Kelly pregnant? Her face looks fuller to me, and she’s suddenly wearing a lot of dark, loose or bulky clothing. She’s also primarily being shot from behind or from the waist up. Hmmm …

Artie: “Was the dog there when you were attacked?”
Jinks: “You think the dog did it!”
Artie: “Don’t be absurd.”

Gunn!!! Delightful to see J. August Richards. Especially all suited up! Too bad he didn’t get more to do. Maybe we’ll get to work with him again the next time the crew is in Denver.

What the hell was Myka thinking wandering around the tour bus and looking in the windows? Of course, Leo made you! That wasn’t an impulsive move; it was an idiotic one.

Why does ‘Car Wash’ keep popping up on my SyFy shows? It was on Eureka just last week!

Myka (begging Pete to stay behind): “Look, the last time I got a tip to nab Leo, my partner ended up … I could never recover from that.”

It felt kind of strange to go back to basics with Pete labeled as “the one with intuitive vibes” and Myka labeled as “the ultra observant one.”

Who out there momentarily considered the possibility that a Rambaldi artifact was involved when Pete and Myka discovered they’d lost 47 seconds? I can’t be the only one, right?

Myka: “For three years, I have done nothing but fail on this case. I failed as a Secret Service agent. I failed as a Warehouse agent. And I failed as Sam’s partner. I was his backup, Pete!”

Pete: “Is … is it over?”
Myka: “Yeah, it’s over.”
Pete: “You feel better?”
Myka (fighting tears): “No.”

Can I just say that I absolutely hate dogs licking people’s faces? Ugh. “I’ve seen where that tongue has been.”

Artie: “We don’t own dogs, dogs own us. Cats are prisoners, but dogs own us.”

Final Analysis: Better overall effort than the last several weeks, but I sort of wish they had left well enough alone with this part of Myka’s backstory.

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

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I'm wondering if the too-serious vibe just doesn't work on a show about magical objects? Because this episode, while done fairly well, didn't work for me, either. As you said, Jess, the plot twist was predictable and I didn't see that this was a place they needed to go. I kept feeling irritated with Myka. But it was great to see J. August Richards again.

Jess Lynde said...

I think the serious vibe often works quite well on this show, even though the objects are magical. Think 'Resonance' or 'Claudia' from Season 1 or 'Around the Bend' from Season 2.

I actually think it is important for them to do more serious episodes or storylines once in awhile. It only helps the audience invest in the characters if their emotions and issues are treated seriously, and it can make the fun stuff more fun when you really care about the characters. So I like when they balance the zaniness with more serious and poignant tales. This one just happened to be a bit of a retread, which I didn't think we needed.

Billie Doux said...

Serious is good sometimes, yes, and it does work most of the time. But I think of Warehouse 13 as a fantasy adventure series with an emphasis on comedy. What I really enjoyed in this episode was Artie and the dog wearing fezzes and Claudia with 24-hour drool.

Jess Lynde said...

Fair enough. Claudia drooling was definitely the highlight of the episode for me! "Did I get it?"