Mania Grade: C+
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- Episode: What Matters Most (Season 4, Episode 17)
- Written By: Diego Gutierrez
- Directed By: Chris Fisher
- Starring: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, Aaron Ashmore
- Network: SyFy Channel
- Studio: Universal
Warehouse 13: What Matters Most Review
A devastating emotional knock out punch
By Chuck Francisco
June 20, 2013
Warehouse 13 Review
© Syfy/Bob Trate
Full Spoilers in the review below.
When taken in conjunction with the preceding episode of Defiance, Monday night on SyFy was a veritable one-two punch of melancholia. This doesn't reflect badly on either show; it's excellent that they both successfully leverage weighty emotional issues. There's a very good reason stars Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, and Aaron Ashmore were nominated for Emmys. Warehouse 13 brings its serious face this week and the impact will linger with you. I will shamelessly admit that I found sleep hard to come by after Myka's bombshell diagnosis in the closing minutes. The creative choice to come into that scene from an out of focus low angle, ringing as Myka's ears must have been, setup the knock out punch to be far more devastating.
There are a few directions they could take Myka's ovarian cancer, but the most likely will see an artifact cure her with some manner of debilitating side effect. I trust the show runners enough to believe they'll make the surrounding situation interesting without resorting to killing her, though that is certainly on the table with the show's final six episode season in sight. Do they have the intestinal fortitude to kill Myka off? Would that even be a good thing? The uncertainty will add a nice danger to the remainder of the show.
Warehouse 13 has convinced me never to reach retirement age (or if I do live that long, to live in the woods). The hell of an adult gated community is on full display here, and the shocking part is that the writers didn't have to exaggerate the truth particularly far to reach their punchlines. The rumormongering, backstabbing, oppression by committee nature of this existence frightens me far more than any out of control artifact whammy action could. Of course this made it quite clear from her introduction that the pleased as peaches, super friendly, cookie baking Janice was behind the menace. The salt mask was creepy and gross considering it went from adorning the face of a corpse to being baked into cookies. It is a soundly cool concept though.
The real emotional meat of the episode comes in Pete's drunk driving confession. This serves as excellent character development and truly goes a long way to explaining the man Pete's become. His comedic armor normally distracts from such immense guilt; without it I have to imagine he would have been consumed by the consequences long before now. Eddie McClintock is masterful here. His anguish becomes a physical thing, a boulder being lifted off his chest. He really brought his emotional A game and I found myself profoundly moved for Pete.
With so much to bring us down, at least the side plot following Abigail and Steve as they maintenance the goo tank is lighthearted and silly. I got serious 90's Nickelodeon vibes from these portions of the show. Waves of nostalgia flowed over me as I recalled Double Dare and You Can't Do That on Television. Along the way Steve is able to come to a new point in his character arc, realizing that he is home among these crazy people, and Abigail is developed a bit further with the former acting as her psychoanalyst.
I won't lie: I groaned audibly when Claudia brought stray puppy Nick into the warehouse fold. I was relieved when it was revealed that he is the assassin targeting Claudia. This is the first tangible piece of the over arching half season plot in several episodes. It comes off as a little light given the limited number of remaining episodes. On an unrelated note: Nick really resembled a deadite while he was under the effects of Wright's goggles. Very freaky.
This was a decently solid episode, a little better than average. The urge to give it a lesser grade because of the serious tract it takes isn't a fair one. I'm not going to penalize them for bringing emotional depth and situations with serious consequences. At the same time this episode likely disappointed viewers who only seek a fun, lighthearted time from Warehouse 13. I can sympathize. A C+ feels to be the fair assessment. Average with bright spots. What did you Maniacs think?
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 famous Colonial 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.