Warehouse 13 is back for just six episodes, and apparently a season's worth of plot developments are being smushed into a short space. But even accounting for that, this show is feeling... weird this season. Like, none of the characters seem quite right. And the characters were this show's strength. Spoilers ahead...
Now that Myka's cancer has turned out to be benign ovarian cysts instead, she's thinking about having babies. Or actually, she's not — Mrs. Frederic brings it up, in an oddly maternal scene, and then Pete sort of runs with the idea. Pete tells Myka that he is willing (nay, eager) to be her sperm donor, and that sets up the episode's main conflict.
So what's going on here? Does Myka want babies, but she just can't admit it to herself? It's really hard to say, but the episode seems to be hinting at that idea. When I interviewed showrunner Jack Kenny and star Eddie McClintock last year, they both said that Pete really wants kids and he doesn't know who else he could have them with but Myka. And in this episode, it sort of plays out like Pete pressuring Myka to have his babies, a little bit. Even though he keeps insisting there's no pressure.
But then, just to add to the weirdness, the episode's "case of the week" brings in another pair of agents — who are getting married on the sly. And they start a full-court press of saying that Pete and Myka have a similar "coworkers who ought to get together" vibe. Which is just... odd. Everyone involved with this show has always described Pete and Myka as having a brother-sister relationship, and just in this episode alone we see lots of Pete acting like an obnoxious younger brother.
Are we supposed to think that Pete and Myka are really going to get together after all? Or that they are a perfect couple, after years of the brother-sister thing? Fringe pulled a similar trick, and it sort of worked — but I don't see it working here. Especially since we're apparently still going to see Pete doing the "obnoxious younger brother" thing, making jokes about Myka's boobies.
There's only so far you can push things between Pete and Myka before they stop feeling like professional coworkers in a life-or-death business, really. In last night's episode, Myka tries to suggest that she and Pete have more boundaries than those other two agents — but then Pete just points out that they live together in this tiny boarding house and share a bathroom and stuff.
I'm not sure which outcome is going to feel weirder, in the end: 1) Myka and Pete actually get together, as a couple. 2) Myka really wants kids but hasn't admitted it yet. 3) Pete is just pressuring Myka into having his children, because she's the only breeding-age woman Pete knows. In any case, the notion that Myka's final storyline is going to be entirely about whether or not she has babies saddens me.
The actual "A" story in the episode is one of those serviceable ones, where there's a pretty cool bit of misdirection. Some political movers and shakers are drowning indoors, and at first you think it's environmentalists upset because they supported frakking. But then it turns out that they framed a former Senator for a young woman's disappearance, and one of the conspirators is getting rid of her co-conspirators.
But this episode is really about personal business for the core characters, and the "A" story is strongly focused on what Pete and Myka are to each other. I wish the answer was landing more solidly on "platonic friends."
The episode's "B" story also made me somewhat uncomfortable, for reasons that are harder to articulate.
So Artie, Claudia's lovable gruff harrumphing father figure, has had Claudia's sister stashed at the Warehouse, in an artifact-induced coma, the whole time. The whole time. (That means any time the Warehouse was destroyed, Claudia's sister was killed.) Claudia's been here for years and Artie never thought it was a good idea to mention "Oh, and your sister is here, in a coma."
OK, fair enough. Claudia's sister Claire is dangerous, and has to be kept under wraps. It's still weird. And the whole sequence where Artie reveals the truth about Claire feels odd, too. Artie shows Claudia her parents in a car being telekinetically slammed against a tree over and over again until their heads are pulp, and then the show attempts to get back to the "aw shucks, joking around" tone way too quickly. Artie is being his usual lovable cute self, still trying to protect Claudia, and Steve is being her jovial wingman. You can't show us a character's parents being pulped by her sister and not dwell on the darkness a bit.
So here's what happened — Claire bought a cursed music box at a yard sale, and it gave her telekinetic powers when she got upset. Like, at school. When her parents tried to intervene, that's when they got the smashy-smashy car-against-tree treatment. But the music box was broken, and thus its effects on Claire couldn't be neutralized — so Claire is doomed to be a dangerous telekinetic psycho forever, and thus has to be kept in a coma.
Leaving aside the notion that destroying an artifact doesn't break its power — which has been shown to be the case in the past, as Drillpress points out — this seems odd. They couldn't find any artifact to help cure Claire, so they put her in a levitating coma and faked her death? It's an odd choice, and leaves you wondering if these folks are not actually that good at handling artifacts.
Anyway, this sets up a thing where Claudia starts feeling racked with guilt — because maybe she was the one who pushed the music box into the fire, thus dooming her sister to a levitating coma forever. Even if this were true, Claudia shouldn't feel guilty — she didn't know the arbitrary rules of artifacts, and she was a little kid. But Claudia forces her comatose sister to relive the horror of killing her parents, so that Claudia can make sure it was Claire's fault, not hers, that the music box was destroyed. Because Claudia's self-esteem is more important than the last shreds of her sister's sanity. I guess.
In the end, Claudia vows to try and fix her sister where Artie failed — which means that either Claire is going to be fixed in the next few episodes, proving that Artie really didn't try that hard. Or Claudia's going to fail, I guess.
Oh, and where was Claudia's brother during all this? Did we miss an explanation for why he wasn't there?
Also, during the flashbacks to the music-box stuff, we learn that Claudia was always special and always had an amazing talent for spotting artifacts and recognizing evil. Which bugged me, for reasons that it's hard to articulate — I guess just the notion of the "chosen one," or the character who is marked for something from childhood, is so overused in genre entertainment.
So all in all, this episode... perplexed me. I just don't know where any of this is going, and I don't quite recognize the characters we've been following for four years on this show. It feels as though a lot of stuff is being reinvented on the fly, to set things up for a big ending. I guess we only have a few weeks before we find out exactly how that plays out. So... fingers crossed?