This is how you do character development, people. This moment from last night's Warehouse 13 managed to stack a few clever bits on top of each other, while staying true to the characters — and yanking the narrative rug from under us.
Last night's episode managed to fit in some real character development for all of the show's major characters, in ways that felt deft and non-sledgehammery — and also made room for two reasonably suspenseful artifact-of-the-week stories. And somehow the show made it seem easy. Spoilers ahead...
So any show which starts off with an uber-obscure Doctor Who shoutout (the "I don't have to outrun the bear" joke is straight out of "Survival" episode 1, except it was a lion) is off to a great start. And the episode stayed strong throughout, from the creepy near-plane-crash to the legally-required acoustic warbly montage at the end. (Act of Congress, all shows must now end with acoustic guitar montages — blame Nancy Pelosi. That's why she's not Speaker any more.)
So the clip above comes from the episode's "B" plot, in which Claudia is paired with Steve on her first official assignment as a fledgling agent, and she is a colossal twerp to Steve at first. Until she realizes he's gay, and he realizes that she's desperate to impress Artie and that's why she's so hyper and tries so damned hard. This actually jibes with everything we know about Claudia, and it's nice to get an acknowledgment that she owes Artie a lot, and it's not entirely unreasonable that she would want to impress him. Steve reassures Claudia that Artie already is proud of her, which is why he sent her out on this assigment — and then the irony! Artie is actually keeping tabs on her. But it's okay, because he's still proud of her.
Meanwhile, in the story's "A" plot, Pete and Myka are back in action together, and Pete's acting a bit weird. Myka keeps trying to find out why, but all Pete will tell her is snippets of famous movie dialogue. It's not until Pete is zapped with an artifact that erases memories (and in the process, regresses you to childhood) that Myka realizes Pete has major abandonment issues because his father died and his mom buried herself in her work. And thank goodness, Myka doesn't come out and say to Pete "hey now I understand about your dad's death and stuff" after he's back to normal. Instead, she apologizes for leaving the Warehouse without talking to him first — which is actually a reasonable thing to apologize for.
I felt like all five of our leads got some real characterization this time around, and none of it felt bludgeony. Even Jinks, who is still being your stereotypical gay Buddhist living lie detector guy, is starting to feel more like a real person. (Oh, and yay for Syfy adding another prominent gay character, to replace Sam Adama. Even if the "you can be my gay best friend" thing is a bit creepy.)
So both artifacts this time around were being used by people to protect their families — in the "A" plot, the mom is using Walter Winchell's tiepin to erase the memories of people who could exonerate her son's best friend of a murder her son committed. And in the "B" plot, a guy steals Typhoid Mary's knife (no, not the Marvel Comics character) so he can transfer his son's cancer to himself. The "A" plot had some good detective work and some believable red herrings — and you have to love Myka shooting the light switch from 20 yards away, and then quietly bragging about it afterwards.
Warehouse 13 stays happily in its wheelhouse of quirky, occasionally sentimental action comedy, but when it's as character-driven and as well laid out as this episode was, that's actually a great thing.