Remember Eureka? Syfy's other goofy show about quirky people who solve wacky problems, with a large dose of good humor? Eureka used to be known for its endless genre pastiches — and now, Warehouse 13 is doing them too. Except with a huge dose of metafiction, and a kernel of emotional pain. It works way better this way.
So yeah, this was an insanely goofy episode of Warehouse 13, even by this show's standards. And like Burke says over on O-Deck, there is a lot of hamming it up here. In the "A" story, Myka and Pete get sucked into a hard-boiled detective novel, with a lot of the trappings of a film-noir (including being in black and white), and at first it looks like just another one of those "trapped in a story" things, like Star Trek: TNG's "The Royale." Meanwhile, the "B" story is pretty thin — someone is stealing classic cars, and Artie is being reckless because he can't face the guilt over Leena's death — but it includes the awesome 1970s Bullitt moment above.
Both stories throw in a weird sort of twist, that elevate them above being pastiches or just fluffy diversions. In the "A" story, it turns out the author of the novel is stuck in there with Pete and Myka, except that he doesn't want to escape because a character based on his dead wife is in there. And this turns the episode into a sort of "Stranger Than Fiction" style metafiction about an author interacting with his characters, except that it's also bound up with questions of wish fulfillment and grief and whether you can create your way out of soul-destroying loss. All of this is immensely helped by the fact that it's the great Enrico Colantoni (aka Keith Mars) carrying the crucial role of the author guy.
And in the "B" plot, around the time Artie is doing the awesome 1970s wah-wah guitar car stunts above, you start to wonder if Artie is actually suicidal. Does he just want to die, after all?
Just like last week's, this is a story that sets up a thematic opposition between the "A" story and the "B" story that's interesting without hitting you over the cranium. The "A" story turns out to be not just about being trapped in a story you can't let go of, but also about what happens when you can't move on from someone's death. And the "B" story sneaks up on you with the idea that being stuck in the past with a dead person will inevitably turn self-destructive. In the end, author guy gets his happy ending in Bora-Bora — but Artie is apparently going to be getting some special attention from the Regents.