Now that Warehouse 13 has been consigned to the same fate as Eureka — tying off loose ends and then going away for good — each episode is a reminder that this show is still seriously fun, and quite agile. Last night's episode was mostly a standard "artifact of the week" outing, but it packed in a lot of goodness in one hour.
Remember when Warehouse 13 used to do just one artifact per week, and there was a lot more running in place? It's worth remembering that, when you see how deft the show has gotten at this point. Like the "Vegas magician making people levitate" thing — there are plenty of red herrings on the way to figuring out who/what is causing people to fly into the stratosphere, but each of them is dispensed with relatively quickly. And then there's still time for the pathos of the aging magician whose granddaughter is trying to give him one last moment of glory by letting him use real magic, without dragging it out unnecessarily.
Likewise, the "B" story, about the jockeys who are having all their adrenaline sucked out, goes through enough permutations to let you think briefly that this is some kind of Dick Francis-esque cheating scandal. And then you find out that it's actually a stable boy who was upset that the jockeys were abusing the animals, and it makes sense — again, the story turns out to be about something, but neither the misdirection nor the big reveal feel either rushed or prolonged.
And then the "C" story is where the episode packs most of its emotional punch — Artie is still coping with the fact that he killed Leena under the influence of an artifact, and he refuses to let anyone help him. And he's doing stupid things like jumping in front of a moving car, with Claudia in the trunk. So the Regents hire an ex-therapist to be Leena's replacement, and she tries a few strategies to get through to him: playing innocent, tempting him with an artifact, and finally letting him see some of her own vulnerability and frustration. And it finally pays off, with Artie admitting that he killed someone he loved and doesn't know what to do. Abigail Chow also gets some nice moments, in general, when she talks about how you stare down grief.
But actually, the standout moment of the episode is probably when Pete and Myka show the Monty the Magnificent, who's been crushed to realize the levitating thing was just a doohickey, around the Warehouse. And he gets to see loads of actual magic, all in one place — reminded me just a bit of the ending of the Doctor Who episode "Vincent and the Doctor." Nice stuff!
All in all, this is a show that's delivering solid "thing of the week" storytelling, with loads of twists, along with a strong arc for five or six characters. Still not sure why it has to go before its time.