Warehouse 13: No Pain, No Gain Review (Mania.com)

By:Chuck Francisco
Review Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Source: Mania.com

The artistry of a tapestry relies heavily one the quality of the thread used in it's creation. So far this season, we've been treated to episodes woven of the highest quality materials. Unfortunately, it couldn't be an unending run; though this isn't a complete disaster. Actually two of the three plot threads are interesting; one continues this season's arc with Brother Adrian and the Astrolabe. The other brings to front a broader point, that warehouse caretakers are not forever fixtures; someone must take their place eventually. We'll come back to both of these after we spend some time with where this episode falls completely flat.

I hate that it's the Pete and Myka adventure which sucks the fun out of this episode (it's typically my favorite part). It's not the primary thrust of their adventure which I find lacking; on the contrary, the Misery side of fandom is a cool angle, which isn't really looked at much in fiction. We're treated to the psychosis of one fan's obsession gone to extraordinary levels, and fueled by a supernatural power source: her grandfather's World War II dog tags. Once used to spur on a friend and fellow POW during a lethal forced march, they now allow the wielder power to wish things for their loved ones. Kathy Bates super fan has been wishing her favorite aging hockey player's career ending wounds away, and helping him have the season of his career. All of this, I can buy. 

What I need you to pass me the prescription strength antacids for is the ridiculous happenstance which sees Pete accidentally wish Myka nine months pregnant. Really? He says a friendly word to a little kid (who catches him rummaging through a woman's purse looking for an artifact), his thoughts flash to his own desire for a child someday, then they shift completely to "who would make a great mom", and biggity bamn: Myka is nine months preggers. What could have been a cool artifact hunt with shades of Stephen King, instead turns into half an episode of pregnant woman stereotype jokes. 

Thankfully, the other rivers running through this week's adventure are refreshing and delicious waters to drink from. Back in the warehouse, Artie and Jinks are quickly discovering that Brother Adrian's reach includes a great number of artifacts which the former spent his life collecting (although Jinks doesn't know the why behind the disappearances). A most interesting artifact pairing allows the duo to discover where the stolen good have been stashed. The Hatfield and McCoy rifles gravitationally pull their barrels into facing each other, their scopes show what the other is pointed at and, most dangerously, they open fire when in sight of each other. Luckily, only one of the two was tagged by Artie, leaving the other on it's shelf to help discover the others location. 

In the line of fire, Jinks reveals to Artie that any damage incurred by him is felt by Claudia. There were two interesting thoughts which sprang from this. First: if that's true, shouldn't Claudia have been winded and sweating while she was with Mrs. Frederick, since Steve was running around the warehouse after Artie? (or is the shared pain limited to wounds only?) Secondly, from their conversation, it sounds as though Artie is convinced that there is some other, more permanent cure for Jinks, getting him off the Metronome. Even more fascinating is that many of the artifacts stolen have been mailed out into the world. It's a cool way of reintroducing characters from earlier in the show with greater complications(like Alice, from Lewis Carroll's mirror, in the preview for next week's episode).

Of more long term interest is the day shared by Mrs. Frederick and Claudia. The mysterious caretaker shows the sometimes rogue agent a few intriguing tidbits about the the Warehouse 13 world's base mythology, and about the delicacies of the human condition. We witness the birth of a rank and file artifact; learning both how one can be created, and that most minor ones might not be dangerous (to the point of requiring retrieval). We're also given the most compelling background detail yet on Mrs. F: she visits her grandson in a nursing home. This tells us that she's still warmly connected to her past, but that she's also over one hundred years old. She's showing signs of aging, a prominent stripe of grey, and is clearly concerned enough to begin schooling Claudia to replace her.

It bears pointing out that we are again assaulted with a badly scripted scene designed to pimp a car to the audience. This time, Jinks is pointing out to Artie that Claudia's Prius gives them access to Pandora, when there are clearly far more important things going on. I wonder if those quick, unnecessary sales pitches will be removed for the home video release. If anyone who writes for the show is reading, I understand that you have to work these in but please, would you try a little harder to not make it an obvious sales pitch (to be followed by a commercial stating the exact same thing a character just said). I promise that neither of these mentions has influenced me in the slight toward purchasing these vehicles.

So we've got our first uneven episode of the season. Still, there's enough of a silver vein running rough this rock to make in interesting. It probably says a lot about a show when even a weak episode still holds a good deal of value. I don't know about you guys and gals, but I can't wait for next week's episode and our return to Wonderland.

Coolest Artifact: Hatfield/McCoy Rifles - what a great marriage of history and items.

Lamest Artifact: Primo Levi's Scarf (the downside doesn't really seem that bad: doubt your own writing, given that it boosts your intellect and allows for deep insight). 

Mania Grade: C
Episode: No Pain, No Gain
Cast: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti
Written By: Nell Scovell
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar
Network: SyFy