Warehouse 13 - A New Hope Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
How do you follow a season ending cliffhanger which leaves several of your recurring characters dead and the name sake of your show destroyed? These are questions that Warehouse 13 fans have been turning over since October and, while the resolution is reassuring, it comes off feeling cheap. We're talking 'Death of Superman' cheap (and now the comic fans among you can probably guess where this is headed).
We pick up with Myka, Pete and Arty standing amidst the wreckage that was the warehouse; H. G. Wells having sacrificed herself to erect a protective barrier around them. It's a poignant scene, reducing the even keeled Myka to a distraught mess, grasping at any leap in logic which might undo the havoc that Walter Sykes (Anthony Michael Hall) wrought; and leading the typically quick witted Pete to despair. I really dig the gravitas being levied throughout this episode, but with such a long gap between last season's finale and this episode, some of the urgency and punch are lost.
It seems the writers accounted for this happening and so the big bad artifact at the center of this episode is Pandora's Box. I absolutely love that its destruction in the warehouse explosion causes world wide chaos (all that remained in Pandora's box was hope- humanity's hope) and leads our team to seek a time travel solution, which Arty had hinted at in the cliffhanger. The team begin globe trotting for an artifact which is connected to McPhearson's watch, and should allow them to travel back a single day, averting the warehouse explosion (along with H.G. and Mrs. Fredricks' deaths).
Claudia really seems to be the only character progressing along a character arc in this episode. Unfortunately, she's regressing back to a state much closer to her debut on the show. When we first met her, she was an angry and impulsive loner, with plans to kill Arty and use an artifact to save her brother (he'd been lost years before because of one). She'd grown from this irresponsible disregard for life and had gone away from her cavalier attitude toward artifact usage under her internship at the warehouse. It's at the same time sad and jarring to have her revert right back to someone willing to utilize a dangerous device to bring close friend (agent Jinx) back from the dead. I say 'jarring' because after all the harm she's personally witnessed come from artifacts, and after all work she's done with the team, such a drastic change in Claudia seems forced and too convenient to be organic.
NBC News anchor Lester Holt has a clever cameo as himself, reporting on the rioting and suicides running rampant around the world. It gave the warehouse world a touch of authenticity. A little wasted, though, was Brent Spiner (Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame). Over the seasons, Warehouse 13 has brought on scifi (and comic book) genre legends for important side characters; Kate Mulgruw was the most recent as a regent who's also Pete mother. So I was very let down with how little screen time Spiner receives as the head of a monastic order, descendant from the knights Templar, who are protecting the time travel artifact which the team need (Ferdinand Magellan's Astrolabe). Luckily, from the season preview teaser, it appears he'll be popping up again.
I found Pete's death scene incredibly moving, even despite the fact that Arty's very plan would be erasing the last day's events from continuity. In his agony, Pete begs Arty to reassure him that he won't remember dying, as long as Arty succeeds. Saul Rubinek reminds us all that he's a very brilliant actor here; his tortured lament after Pete passes of "...but I will" was touching and expertly expressed.
Overall this was a good episode, which leveraged the mystery of the upcoming season well and should hook viewers into coming back. As I hinted at in my opening, I felt that the reversal of the destruction of the warehouse cheapened the emotional impact of the sacrifices made to that point. The world of Warehouse 13 is very comic book-esk, but that doesn't mean that death should be something that's not a constant. Introducing cures for death diminishes all the weight of sacrifice and dulls those moments. Hopefully this won't be a continuing trend of the series.
Coolest Artifact: The Warehouse football has been an artifact data gathering device this entire time?! Clever.
Lamest Artifact: Ghandi's shroud? A little too modern for my artifact tastes.
Mania Grade: B
Episode: A New Hope
Starring: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti
Written By: Jack Kenny, D.Brent Mote (creator), Jane Espenson (creator)
Directed By: Chris Fisher
Network: SyFy Channel