Warehouse 13: The Living and the Dead Review - Mania.com



Warehouse 13 Review

Mania Grade: B-

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Info:

  • Episode: The Living and the Dead (Season 4, Episode 11)
  • Starring: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, Aaron Ashmore
  • Written By: Drew Greenberg
  • Directed By: Millicent Shelton
  • Network: SyFy
  • Studio: Universal
  • Series:

Warehouse 13: The Living and the Dead Review

Well hello mister fancy pants

By Chuck Francisco     April 30, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Full Spoilers in the review below.


Welcome back Warehouse 13! I very much missed the whimsical brevity brought by the Pete and Myka adventure hour. Many shows strive so hard to be gritty and edgy that they loose fun in the process. Thankfully Warehouse 13 continually manages to be engaging, mysterious, amusing, and compelling. All of these spinning plates may be why some episodes feel weaker than others, but it's also why no episode is downright terrible. Even if one or two of those aspects don't succeed, the others are still solid enough to entertain. The closest analog I can think of is Quantum Leap.


The midseason cliff hanger left the warehouse team in quite the pickle. The Orchid release set the rapidly lethal sweating sickness upon the world, and Claudia cast out evil Artie at the cost of stabbing him in the chest. The latter has not left physical wounds, but now Artie is fading away inside of his own mind. Meanwhile the plague sweeping the world has a roughly twenty four hour incubation period (I'm hearing Marty McFly lament "Why do we always have to cut these things so damn close" in my head). The flight back from to the Warehouse has cost them eight hours, leaving only sixteen before they succumb (as the first infected). 


This ticking clock deadline should feel dangerous and threatening, but never manages to. Primarily this is because the application of the sickness' effects seem inconsistent. Myka seems to be heavily afflicted, while Pete, Claudia, and Steve don't at all seem any worse for the wear. This uneven direction (or perhaps editing down for time) only serves to blunt the danger and tension before it can be established. There is never a doubt that they will succeed, it's only a matter of how they will. Thankfully the method of stopping the sweating sickness is both interesting and serves to setup this half season's potential big bad (or bads perhaps). 


Pete and Myka reach out to a Professor Sutton, an expert on The Count of Saint Germaine- who was said to be able to bring flowers back to vibrant health. James Marsters is absolutely delightful as a roguish academic who is an expert on the Count. As it turns out he is the count, granted long life by the ministrations of an alchemist centuries before. The whole affairs feels like somewhat of a light hearted Hellboy adventure. Marsters plays Sutton as a drunk cad with little moral scruples, but he's using the two agents in a bid to get back at his wife (Polly Walker as Charlotte Dupres) and get access to his own tomb in the French catacombs. Their interplay is going to be so entertaining; a centuries old grudge match between immortals which will likely endanger the world in the process. 


While the world's being save by our dynamic duo, Claudia and Steve enter Artie's subconscious brain to find and resuscitate him. As you may have guessed, Artie's got warehouse on the brain. The subtle changes to the warehouse set to reflect its subliminal nature are cool, with a deep blue filter and electrical charges running across the miles of shelves to represent the brain's electrical impulses. 


The heart of the this week's episode is the struggle for Artie's soul. Unable to face the horror of his murder of Leena, he's locked himself away in a portion of his mind shaped to resemble the bed and breakfast. In almost Groundhog Day fashion, he repeats the same moments of piano playing and playful interaction with Leena over and over, waiting for the end as his mind shuts down. He is punishing himself but at the same time he's acting the coward by refusing to face his actions. Claudia is able to force him back, but only by destroying his mind's illusionary sanctum. This is simply the first round of a battle Artie will be fighting for a long time, but it may be the end of his relationship with Claudia. Allison Scagliotti and Saul Rubinek bring the weighty gravitas, and they share such familial chemistry; even when it's a tough situation it's always great to watch them on screen together.


All told this episode is very much a "reset button", to bring the show back to it's weekly adventure status quo, and there's nothing wrong with that. We've come to expect that our company of heroes will succeed and we're perfectly happy about it, with the added caveat that the method in which they do so is interestingly devised. Thanks to intelligent and clever writing it usually is. Part Indiana Jones and part X-Files, Warehouse 13 is a welcome return to my weekly TV adventures. There's no word on a season five yet and with the odd time slot move to 10 o'clock it seems the show is in a spot of danger like its protagonists. Here's to hoping they find a fascinating way to continue their adventures for another year as my TV would be darker without Warehouse 13.

 

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
monkeyfoot 4/30/2013 10:49:34 AM

I had to read your review even though I didn't see this episode. I sort of fell out watching this show maybe a couple of seasons ago. Maybe its because I really didn't care about any of the characters at all, except Claudia. Pete & Myka, or the Mulder & Scully of this show just aren't interesting to me. 

I flipped to it briefly last night and watched a scene with Claudia and Steve. I did a double take. I'd just finished watching The Following which besides starring Kevin Bacon also co-stars Shawn Ashmore. His twin brother Aaron plays Steve on Warehouse. I can never tell which is which until I look them up! I got in a long back and forth texting with a friend explaining this once. "No, the one who played Iceman is on The Following. The other one played Jimmy Olson on Smallville!"

isgrimner 5/2/2013 7:41:04 AM

I've haven't watched the episode yet either, its on the DVR.   I'm the oppisite of Monkeyfoot, I'm getting a little tired of it becoming the Claudia show and wish they would go back to more Artie, Pete, and Myka.

redhairs99 5/2/2013 8:23:59 AM

I thought the episode was pretty entertaining.  James Marsters is pretty good at playing "big bads" so I think he'll do fine here although I did pretty much have the feeling from the get-go that he wasn't on the level and would likely be the or at least one part of the overall villian for the season.

Is this really the second half of the season from last summer?  I just assumed it was a brand new season. They've only ever done about a dozen episodes per season so far anyway.

Chuck, I don't think this was the end of Claudia and Artie's relationship.  They showed some good stuff in the preview for the coming season at the end of this episode.  I loved the bit at the end of the preview where it appears as if Claudia will lose her voice at some point.  She's holding a sign up that reads "Don't make me stab you again." And Artie replies, "Ha Ha, not funny!"

CyanideRush 5/2/2013 12:37:19 PM

 Isgrimner: This episode was much more focused on Pete and Myka. Claudia has poigent scenes, but more screen time goes to the duo. 

Redhairs: I'm with ya man, they'll probably work it out. The bit from the previews you're talking about was pretty funny. 

Monkeyfoot: I think having both Ashmores on TV around the same time has got to make their parents' house a confusing ordeal each Monday night.

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