Warehouse 13: Shadows

... in which Pete and his mother revisit painful memories to discover who’s been targeting the Regents, and Myka and Claudia investigate the disappearance of several people in a brilliant flash of light.

So last week, we learned that Pete’s mother is a Regent, and this week we got a taste of just how far back her history with the Warehouse goes. Surprisingly, Jane has been a Regent for an incredibly long time. I got the impression that she became a Regent before she met Pete’s dad, or early in their relationship, and he became her One (the one non-Warehouse person to whom she could reveal the truth). Then once they started a family, she resigned, only to be called back into service at her husband’s funeral. (Seriously, Mrs. Frederic? You couldn’t let the woman grieve for a bit before asking her to return to work? Her husband just died!) Turns out that Jane was needed because she, like her son, gets “feelings” or vibes about people and situations, and thus provides “invaluable perspective.”

From a character perspective, the key revelation from the journey into Pete and Jane’s memories is that Jane returned to her duties as a Regent, not because her job was more important than her children, but because she loved them so much and wanted to protect them. Her inspiration was likely the very same moment that motivates Pete: Pete’s dad’s explanation of why he’s a firefighter. “Guys like me make a choice to be the ones that keep the world safe. Even if that means it takes us away from the ones we love. But it’s because of that love that we do it.”

I liked this scene a lot. It walked right up to the edge of being a bit cliché and schmaltzy, but having Young Jane listening in the hallway and the present versions of Pete and his mother observing, full of the knowledge that they lost Pete’s dad too soon, added some gravitas to the moment and helped to balance the sappiness. I was particularly affected by Eddie McClintock’s proud but pained reaction to his young self saying he wanted to be that kind of guy, too, and his dad responding “You are that kind of guy.” Good stuff.

Of course, it’s a good thing that this story provided lots of insight into Pete’s family history, because the connection to A to Z Technologies was incredibly obvious as soon as Jane visited the blond kid with the baseball bat. Kudos to the casting department, I suppose, for casting a young actor who strongly resembled Anthony Michael Hall. On the other hand, it really gave the game away. Since Hall and Sasha Roiz were listed in the opening credits, but hadn’t put in appearances to that point, the presence of a kid who looked like Hall in the past made it abundantly clear that the Warehouse team was going to strip the kid of his artifact and its associated powers, he’d end up in a wheelchair, then grow up to be the embittered and vengeful leader of Team Evil, in the form of Anthony Michael Hall.

Not too subtle, but I still like the casting, and I like the questions this origin story raises. Was the Warehouse team just too late in taking the artifact from young Walter? Or is it dramatic irony that they took it from him to prevent it from corrupting his soul, but that very loss corrupted his soul anyway? I’m guessing that given the flashy eyes, it might be the former, and that the artifact had already infected him when they took it. But I’d love it if it was the latter. To my mind, that situation would be much complex and much more interesting for the Warehouse team to face. They think they are doing good --- and continually have to reassure themselves that that’s why they keep doing the job, despite the costs --- but what if some of the choices they make in the name of good have unexpected and horrible consequences? How would that affect their approach and outlook?

I’m guessing this is the very issue that Agent Sally was alluding to before her death. She told Jinks that the Regents aren’t the saints he thinks they are, and I can certainly see why it looks that way from her boss’s perspective. They took away a miraculous gift from a child, and left him crippled, both physically and figuratively, crushed under the weight of unrealized dreams that he thought were suddenly within his reach. I wonder how many others like him they’ve inadvertently created over the years? Is it any wonder he’s hell bent on destroying the Regents and the Warehouse?

On to the B-plot! For most of the episode, I thought we were getting a two-fer on obvious plotting, but then Myka and Claudia’s case turned out to not be as straightforward as it first seemed. I was fairly well convinced that it was the necklace Megan was wearing that was using her anger to kill people, and that Myka and Claudia weren’t killed because she was initially afraid of them, not angry. It seemed like they were completely overlooking the obvious by checking everything in her house except the necklace, and I was growing increasingly frustrated with their inability to identify the damn thing. But then Myka realized the light that killed the landlady didn’t come from Megan’s direction, and things got a lot more intriguing. The actual artifact --- the binoculars used by the pilot of the Enola Gay to witness the devastation he wrought on Hiroshima, which were subsequently able to annihilate people with a burst of radiation (leaving a nuclear shadow) --- was a hell of a lot more interesting and disturbing than a simple necklace likely would have been. That said, the reveal that the wielder of those binoculars was a high school classmate turned stalker didn’t do much for me. And I hated the way they closed the story with Megan seeming relatively fine. I mean, sure, she’s got to be much relieved that she didn’t accidentally kill all those people and that the culprit was getting locked up, but a lot of people died because of her, including at least two she cared about. That’s got to leave a person with some serious survivor guilt! I would have preferred if Myka and Claudia’s final moments with Megan reflected some of the psychological baggage she’d still have to carry.

Other Thoughts

So, Mrs. Frederic brought Pete in as a Warehouse agent over Jane’s objections. (She worried that the position would feed Pete’s hero complex and his innate impulsiveness would cost her another loved one.) For some reason, this revelation makes me even more convinced that she’s forcing Jinks to play double agent. The woman knows how to spot an asset and put it to best use.

Aaaack! I hate when they all talk over one another! It drives me nuts! “ENOUGH! […] SILENCE!!!”

Interesting discussion between Pete and Myka about whether they ended up at the Warehouse by happy accident or because of some master destiny, and whether it matters. Myka is starting to think happiness is happiness, no matter how you come by it, but, unsurprisingly, it matters to Pete whether or not he’s a pawn of the Regents and Mrs. Frederic.

Mrs. Frederic has a son! Whoa!

Viola telling us all the places she’s found glitter was horrifying. And Artie thinks his female subordinates are too unfiltered!

Artie: “You’re joking, right?”
Mrs. Frederic: “I’m very dry.”

Other than the needs of the plot, I have no idea why they agreed to let Pete join his mom on her stroll down memory lane. His reason for wanting to go --- “Well, it’s my life, too” --- seems like the very reason he wouldn’t be a good anchor. Wouldn’t his risk of getting lost in the memory be just as great?

Welcome, Alessandra Torresani, the second Caprica refuge to appear this season. They even gave her a “What the frak?” shout out. She looks very different as a blond, but it works for her.

Claudia (re: Megan): “Fine. But if her hair starts blowing around like Firestarter, we’re out of here.”

Pete: “So not just a Regent, a Super Regent. Man, if I’d known, I’d have gotten you a mug that said World’s Greatest Secret Overlord.”
[Crash from kitchen and child calling “Mom!”]
Jane: “You’d just break it, like all the others.”

Prior to the glitter discovery, why on Earth did Myka think some connection to the t-shirt shop was the only thing that made sense? Megan killed a couple people in Indiana before she had any connection to the t-shirt shop, yes?

So, no reaction from Pete to seeing Mrs. Frederic looking absolutely identical in his past? Did he not notice that everyone else was played by much younger actors, but she was the same? I’m pretty sure that the audience has previously seen photographic evidence that Mrs. Frederic doesn’t age, but I didn’t think our younger team members were privy to that information. Shouldn’t this reveal have come as a surprise?

I was incredibly irritated by Myka’s and Claudia’s seeming inability to effectively use their side arms. Why, for the love of Mike, did one of them not Tesla either Megan or the landlady to diffuse that situation before it turned deadly? And why the hell didn’t they just Tesla Jeff and/or Megan when he grabbed her? The Tesla stuns; it doesn’t kill. Just knock out the angry landlady or the deranged stalker until you can get the situation under control! Easy peasy. But what about the nuclear weapon artifact, you say? Well, it wasn’t until after both of these encounters that Myka and Claudia suddenly decided it would be unwise to use the Teslas, so that thought should not have been holding them back earlier. Stun away, ladies!

Also, are we seriously supposed to believe that Myka couldn’t take down stalker dude in hand-to-hand combat? She’s a trained professional and she had at least six inches on him! She handled herself just fine against a bunch of marines in “protect the queen” mode not that long ago. She should have easily kicked Jeff’s butt.

Final Analysis: A solid follow-up to the last episode’s shocking revelations, and a decent enough B-plot. Plus, we finally got to meet the shadowy leader of Team Evil. Progress!

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

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