Let’s get this out of the way first: Warehouse 13 definitely knows how to fill an hour of television. Last night’s season premiere, “Time Will Tell,” was so packed with reveals, climaxes and, yes, pretty frustrating deus ex let’sjustundothisbecausewedon’tknowwherethiswasgoing-ses that it felt more like a season finale for a series that wanted to pull out all the stops than the beginning of a sophomore season for Syfy’s most-watched new show in years. Here’re 13 thoughts about last night’s episode:
1. Well, so much for that cliffhanger. Okay, I’ll admit it; I’d completely forgotten that there was even a cliffhanger ending to last season, but judging by the speed and off-handedness with which it was addressed, that might’ve been because the writers’ hearts weren’t really in it. I’m not surprised that Artie wasn’t dead because, well, come on, he’s Saul Rubinek and one of the main characters in the show. But the revelation that there were stairs to get them out of the Warehouse after the destruction of the tube tunnel was pretty weak. Am I the only one who wanted to see some crazy gadgets used in order to escape?
2. Goodbye, MacPherson. For someone who seemed to be set up as the series’ Big Bad last year, I was surprised to see Roger Rees’ former Warehouse agent-gone-rogue bite it at the end of this episode – Well, kind of surprised; as soon as he made that comment about why he was wearing the necklace, I knew he would be a goner for one reason or another (Although I fully expected Artie to be the one who removed it).
3. What was MacPherson’s goal, anyway? Now that he’s dead, I can’t help but wonder… What was his plan? Why did he want to get whatever was in the Escher vault? What was in the Escher vault that he wanted? I’m not sure we’ll ever learn, because I’m not sure there’s actually an answer.
4. Hello, HG Wells. Firstly, I love that HG Wells is this season’s villain. For a series as in love with the combination of imagination and nostalgia as this one, it’s a great choice, especially with the additional reveal that Wells didn’t write the books, but supplied the ideas – which may have been based on theoretical inventions that may not be possible. The additional reveal that HG Wells was actually a woman (And one whose stridently feminist views made her hide behind her brother’s moustache, at that) was… weird. It worked for the initial “I know there’s something up with that woman… Oh.” moment, but I’m not sure that I can buy it as her motivation for helping MacPherson, or whatever her grand scheme is. Hopefully, more will be revealed about her down the line that’ll make her less of a curiosity and more of a character.
5. Feminism and Warehouse 13? Another reason why Wells’ “Men couldn’t deal with me” motivation seems odd: This is a heavily female show – Of the regular six characters, four are women, and now the season villain is, as well. All of the women are presented as intelligent, strong and more capable than their male counterparts (with the arguable exception of Artie, but even he falls beneath Mrs. Frederick on the scales of smarts, mysteriousness and getting shit done), with Pete filling both the comic relief and emotional/empath roles more often relegated to women on SF shows. I’m not sure if this means anything, or whether I’m just free-associating something that isn’t there, but there’s something in Warehouse 13‘s gender politics worth investigating.
6. The show got bigger! Trips to England and Switzerland (Okay, definitely England, at least; that Swiss train station looked pretty much like King’s Cross in London to me, though. It’s probably in Vancouver, like the rest of television)? Surprising and welcome; I hope there’s going to be more international adventure this season. Weird artifacts really should be all around the world, shouldn’t they?
7. Enough with the animated captions already. Yes, yes, you’re doing something different with the captions telling us where we are now, that’s great. But, seriously, by the time the “Cern” one was revolving around the screen, it was just getting annoyingly gimmicky.
8. The Escher Vault. I can’t be the only one who thought, oh, they’ve decided to do something with that “Imagine Greater” teaser after all, right? Sadly, while the 30 second Syfy ad made the idea look awesome, the special effects this time around were somewhat… lacking. Or maybe Escher’s work just really, really looks like bad CGI when made real.
9. No-one can kill CC Pounder. Pounder dominates every single scene she’s in, even when she’s lying unconscious in a hospital bed and apparently telepathically giving information to Artie (It has to be said, the flashback scenes where Mrs. Frederick put two-and-two together weren’t the clearest recaps, either) or wearing ridiculous goggles and looking straight at the camera. Why can’t she be a regular cast member already?
10. Telepathic Evil Brain Pearls? Really? The retcon that irritated the most: Leela turns out to have been under the telepathic control of MacPherson when she released him at the end of the last season. Why? Why couldn’t she have actually been up to no good, thereby giving her something to make her interesting? It doesn’t even make any sense: If she had been having blackouts when under the control of MacPherson and was completely free of his influence at other times, why didn’t she say something like “I have no idea where I was when MacPherson was released?” earlier in the show? Or have any kind of lead-up to this revelation at all? It was lazy writing born out of, I guess, a need to keep the actress around. Easily the lowest point of the episode.
11. Poor Pete and Myka. What with all the story happening, and revolving around MacPherson, Claudia, Artie, Leela and Mrs. Frederick, it was as if the show’s two leads were left in the background this week. Which, considering I like the chemistry between the actors, was kind of a waste. In fact…
12. Didn’t it all seem a bit rushed? I could’ve happily have lived with another hour or so to give everything that happened a bit more room, and therefore more weight. It felt as if the writers were rushing to reset the status quo as quickly as possible, even at the cost of the story itself.
13. That said, I’m in for the long haul. It wasn’t a perfect episode – or even the strongest one to date, if only because it did seem rushed and, in places, scared of things that’d been set in motion before – but it was a fun episode, and sometimes, that’s all I really want from my television. As long as this season has episodes that remember to balance character and plot more successfully, and doesn’t get as overwhelmed by its own mythology, as this one seemed to, I’ll stick around. I mean, what else am I going to do on a Tuesday night?
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