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- TV Series: Warehouse 13
- Episode: Implosion
- Starring: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, CCH Pounder, Roger Rees and Genelle Williams
- Written By: Bob Goodman
- Directed By: Vincent Misiano
- Network: Syfy
Warehouse 13: Implosion Review
We Are Not Red Shirts
By Rob Vaux
August 19, 2009
Warehouse 13 finally realizes its potential in the best episode of the season so far. "Implosion" expertly blends the best elements of the series into a package which transcends the sum of its parts. The artifact-of-the-week mystery is mixed with something far more engaging: expanding upon the show's mythology, revealing more depth to the characters and wrapping it all in a winning cocktail of humor and sci-fi action.
It also gives us something the show has lacked thus far: a recurring villain in the form of Roger Rees' oily James MacPhearson. He sets his sights on a Japanese katana so sharp it can bend light itself, allowing the user to become invisible. He also has a past with Artie (Saul Rubinek), and his schemes here dovetail into a larger plan to wreak havoc within the Warehouse 13 crew. It's easier than it first appears. Artie's penchant for secrecy never sat well with Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), and MacPhearson plants evidence in their hands which opens that rift to a possible breaking point.
Director Vincent Misiano plays on the trope with poised confidence, allowing the plot to serve the characters while acknowledging how straightforward Bering and Lattimer's personality has been thus far. Frequent comparisons to red shirts come up--implying that Artie considers them both disposable--while also raising the troubling issue of whether the two of them are becoming more like Artie than they realize.
The Warehouse's need-to-know contents force them to keep people they care about in the dark, making it harder for them to target the real enemy. "Implosion" fully explores those questions and yet leaves the bulk of them unanswered, providing future episodes with a badly needed arc to pursue. (Claudia's getting better on that front, but you can't hang the whole series on her, and she's off this week anyway.) It also makes MacPhearson more than just a cardboard bad guy. He can damage the heroes psychologically as well as physically, giving him plenty of mayhem-causing ammo for use in future episodes.
And yet despite the overall heaviness of his appearance, "Implosion" stays remarkably light on its feet. Artie gets out into the field this week, allowing him to interact with his comrades more easily and upping the humor factor considerably. Though the central issues remain serious enough and Misiano approaches them with appropriate gravitas, the leads' Battling Bickersons routine is in full force--prompted by a script from Bob Goodman as witty as any we've seen so far.
On top of all that, the gaggle of gadgets this week are possibly the coolest yet. The katana itself conveys its invisibility in a supremely plausible manner, rendering it both simple to understand and endlessly fascinating. MacPhearson utilizes "implosion grenades" in his quest for the sword, which removes all matter in the blast radius (creating a vacuum and doing horrible things to any other objects in the vicinity).
Artie counters with a one-of-a-kind Chinese firework, brimming with the sort of niftiness that makes you forget how much of a deus ex machina it is. The more interesting the artifacts, the more readily Warehouse 13 rises to the challenges of story and character. Add goodies as solid as these to an already polished script, and the show takes on a sense of fun and excitement unseen anywhere else on television. This is what Warehouse 13 should be every week; it probably won't happen quite that frequently, but when it does, it makes the show's various shortcomings vanish in a puff of smoke.