Was it just me, or was last night’s episode of Warehouse 13 kind of… odd? By that, I don’t mean “intentionally wacky” as much as “just not the same as the show normally is.” Are these growing pains, or something more sinister? Here’re 13 unlucky-for-some thoughts about “Beyond Our Control”:
1. Was The Artifact The Least Important Part Of The Episode? No, seriously; I know that it offered up hi-jinks with gladiators, cowboy shoot-outs, and giant (magnetic) robots, but it felt very signposted that it was the mail lady’s movie-watching that was at fault, and if felt like the writers’ hearts were more in the subplots and introduction of new supporting characters and romantic interests than the weekly artifact-led threat. What happened to the fairly-unconnected episode nature of last season? I feel as if I should miss it more. But talking about those new characters…
2. Claudia Has A Boyfriend… and I hate him already*. But only because I’m jealous, so that’s okay, right? Meanwhile, Pete’s “I hate her, and she hates me” thing with the local vet promises only familiar schtick ahead – Why do television writers still try to mine that whole “They only think they dislike each other, but that’s because they love each other!” thing? Didn’t Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard prove that that never works out in the long run? Also, what did Myka do to piss off the writers and not get a love interest?
3. *But That Was A Great Easter Egg, Admittedly. Claudia kissing Todd and telling him “You’re a wonder twin!” when she was one of Smallville‘s Wonder Twins last year? Shape of an Easter Egg! Form of a fanboy shout-out!
4. And Speaking Of Fanboy…. This was the second episode in a row – in only three episodes so far this season – where Pete’s fanboy loves were responsible for identifying part of the threat. I can’t work out if that’s unfortunate coincidence, or intentional move to make Pete the POV character for a fanboy audience… but I’m still hoping that it’s not going to be the case for all the stories from now on, if only because I don’t want to reach an episode where Pete suddenly exclaims that he recognizes what’s happening because he totally loved collecting Pokemon pogs back in the day.
5. Also, Speaking Of Surprising And Amusing References… For an episode where television could doom the world, I guess I should’ve expected some kind of referential commentary, but the “We’ve got an extra three minutes!” “Unless someone fast-forwards through the commercials.” “Don’t even joke about that!” exchange just before a commercial break made me laugh, I have to admit.
5.5. I Fast-Forwarded Through The Commercials. Sorry, Myka.
6. The Past Is Sepia-Toned. Maybe I watch too many Syfy shows, but the sepia-toned 1940s in the flashback at the start of the episode reminded me of the similarly-tinted 1940s in Eureka‘s season opener this year. I wonder if this was part of their soon-to-come crossover episodes? If nothing else, you’d think that Farnsworth would have made his way to Oregon’s scientific haven eventually, right…?
7. I’ve Got A Revolutionary Ideas: Bosses Don’t Have To Be Assholes. On the one hand, it’s always nice to see Mark Sheppard again, and I didn’t mind the reminder/reappearance of the people behind the Warehouse, either. On the other: I know that Sheppard doesn’t really do “unambiguous good guy,” but do we have to have yet another example of the people behind the heroes having potentially shady ulterior motives? Is it too much to ask that, just now and again, our heroes’ bosses are clearly on the same side and want the same things as our heroes?
8. I Totally Called Leena Being Haunted By Echoes Of MacPherson. And, despite a third episode of “And that’s MacPherson all over now! Or is it?“., I’m glad I was right: even if I don’t like the stop-start nature of the plot, which doesn’t even make sense considering it’s happening in consecutive episodes, I do like that it feels as if we will, at some point, find out what MacPherson’s plan actually was in the first place. If only we could do so in a smoother way…
9. And Where’s Harriet Wells? I asked last week, but this was another episode that made me wonder if HG Wells is some kind of narrative red herring: We’ve had more story time (and face time!) for MacPherson since he died that we’ve had for the potential Big Bad of the season. What’s going on?
10. Science Is Supernatural, If You Look At It The Right Way. The more we follow the Leena/MacPherson thread, the more the show’s science becomes magic. This week, the mind-controlling Pearl of Wisdom was… I don’t know, remote controlled, maybe, by a glowing crystal ball that you telepathically connect with. Uh… okay? What makes this show different from Haven, again…?
11. What’s With Mrs. Frederick? What made her a better choice that the psychic to control the magic glowy crystal ball? When the MacPherson echo said “You’ll have to tell me your secret, Mrs. Frederick,” I couldn’t help but feel as if that was some kind of clue to something. Am I reading too much into things?
12. I Can’t Be The Only Person Who Wants Leena To Become MacPherson, Can I? Maybe not entirely MacPherson, but enough MacPherson to (a) give the character a backbone and (b) freak everyone else out. I said this last week, as well, but this week, they basically told us that MacPherson has left “grooves” in her mind that would be really, really difficult to erase, and as much as I love CC Pounder, I don’t think a grunt is enough to do it. C’mon, W13 writers: Make my season.
13. Worst Secret Identities Ever. IRS agents? Beyond the comedy, what a surreal choice of cover story for the Warehouse and the agents – I get why the Warehouse has got to be kept a secret, but why can’t Myka and Pete admit to being FBI agents anyway? Yes, yes, I know, overthinking everything…