Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Warehouse 13: Season 4, Episode 14: The Sky's the Limit

Artie is watering Leena’s plants and begging them not to die. His mournful rant at the plant is overheard by Jinks and Claudia before he rapidly brings up a ping – 2 jockeys falling into comas after winning races outside of London. They won the racers despite being longshots, were in perfect health and their bodies were completely drained of adrenaline. Sounds suspicious – but no-one bet on these horses. Claudia can’t believe he’s not coming to England with them – but he has to talk to Mrs. Frederick about the Regents - which causes Jinks to have a guilty start, which makes Claudia very very suspicious. Especially since Jinks is a terrible liar.

And Artie wants them to bring back a tin of digestives. And rightly so.

There’s also a suspicious woman watching the warehouse from a distance. She says “I know where he is, and I know how to get to him.”

Pete and Myka are re-shelving inventory – which means Pete playing with Artefacts until Artie shows up with a job for them in Vegas. Where a man apparently fell out of the sky on a golf course.

To Vegas! Where Myka learns the dead man was already dead before he hit ground (well, golf cart) – apparently from altitude exposure. Pete has his ID – Luke Rose from New Mexico – and his hotel room which is the next port of call.

Inside they find three passed out men and evidence of considerable partying, half empty booze, a piñata. One airhorn blast later and they’re ready for stunned and confused interviews. Unfortunately after the tequila fountain everything’s kind of predictably fuzzy. Emptying their pockets they find fliers, matchboxes etc of the places they visited.

The restaurant, hotel and bar all remember the party as loud, obnoxious and terrible tippers. The strip club remembers them as good tippers – and the man talked about “floating” to the stripper. Pete suggests a long term investigation of the strip club, Myka gives him a look and they change it to a 20 minute mutual search.

Meanwhile outside it starts raining casino chips – until another body falls from the sky. I’m sure from that distance there’d be more… splashing.

In comes Myka and Pete – victim was a 48 year old female compulsive gambler called Nadine, who just won big with no connection to the strip club. Again, she was dead before landing and the frostbite suggests she was REALLY high up. They notice the chips are from the Maximus hotel and casino which is important or they wouldn’t have mentioned it. Still a disappointing lack of splashing or even splatter on the ground.

Going to the casino they speak to the manager and learn because she was a high roller, he kept Nadine in the hotel for 5 days (rather than the 2 she planned) with lots of freebies. Including free tickets to see Val Preston, a magician. And lo, in his act he makes a woman levitate.

To make the investigation more complicated, when he comes off the stage he’s clearly not the most friendly man in the world; and Myka finds the harness that he sued to pull off the levitation trick, pointing to a non-Artefact method. Pete and Myka show off their secret service badges to talk to him when he snarks at them for searching his stuff. He shows them the door and tells them to “shove that badge where your search warrant ought to be.” Nice. I’m loving these challenges to the idea a badge makes your supreme god of the universe.

Then he starts glowing and floating up into the sky. Damn, that makes it hard to question him. Still it does leave Myka and Pete free to search through his stuff. They talk to his manager and ask why he was furious and he says that Preston has been doing the same tired act for 10 years – and what he does is steal from other magicians, including one called Monty; he was caught filming Monty’s act recently. They check his mobile phone and find the video – Monty asking for volunteers for his levitation trick.

They go to see Monty and run into his cardiologist on the way in who warns them not to get him excited and that he should stop performing. Good to see medical ethics includes passing on your diagonosis to anyone who happens to be passing. Monty himself is all kinds of excited because he’s found real magic. They keep pushing him for the Artefact but he says he’s not using one- just his mind and energy from the audience. They ask him to show them the trick, but he says he needs the audience and invites them to his performance.

See, this is where the whole “shared world” thing Syfy has falls down. Because Myka and Pete are all “that’s impossible it must be an Artefact” yet this is the same world Eureka and Alphas exists in?

To the show with lots of sparkles! Monty starts his levitation trick but mentions people questioning its safety so to prove it, he will levitate himself. His assistant protests. As he begins Pete tries to stop it, but Monty refuses and Pete is the one who levitates.

Monty runs off the stage, terrified because, as his assistant unnecessarily expositions, he thinks he can’t control his magic. They go back to his house to look for him but he’s not there – they do find that his assistant, Rose, is his granddaughter and lives with him. And Myka finds a reference to a saint who was said to have been able to levitate (there is absolutely no way its remotely possible for Myka to know as much as she does about just about everything). Anyway, just in case anyone watching is recovering from a severe concussion, Pete and Myka exposition why Rose is the one with the Artefact letting her grandfather believe he has real magic. They realise that Monty will have gone to his big outdoor exposition as his last great show.

At that site Rose catches up with Montry and reassures him that everything’s fine and government agencies are just paranoid. He wants to quite but she keeps pushing him for one last great performance – he can even use her, outside even! See, this is why they had all the ridiculous exposition in the last scene, they think the audience has the same IQ as Rose.

They call Artie who confirms that monk’s medal let’s people levitate and that he couldn’t control it. And that they need to find out what is making people levitate a second time. Also this call was ridiculously pointless and no new information was imparted – and people wonder why Artie gets so grumpy?

To Monty on a stage with a really really easily impressed crowd. Myka and Pete arrive but Myka sends Pete back to the car so he doesn’t end up soaring into the air. Monty does his schtick and rose pulls the medal out of her dress. She levitates to the crowd going wild – and Pete glows and struggles to stop himself floating out of the sunroof. Yes, he hid in the car to stop himself floating and didn’t close the sunroof. Really. He loses his grip and flies up – only stopping himself when he grabs the floating Rose’s arm on the way up. Which gives him chance to quickly exposition things to her. Rose returns them to the ground and Myka goos the Artefact, Pete crashes down.

Monty arrives and realises that what he thought was real magic was just a cheap trick. Excuse me – it’s a medal from an 18th century priest that lets you fly. Exactly how magical do you want it to be?! Even Gandalf would be impressed with magic on that scale – he needed damn lazy eagles to fly.

To London with Claudia and Jinks confirming the jockey was healthy with the horse owner. Claudia tries to suggest that the owner would have a motive since the horse is worth more after a 20:1 win but the owner denies it with Jinks confirming he’s not lying. Claudia wants to check in with Artie and Jinks distracts her – and she notices. She pushes for what he knows but he dodges her with a very-obvious derail that she also notices. And threatens him with a new nickname of Tricksy.

Claudia’s research turns up Sir Henry Baker as the one who owns several horses and the club itself. And Jinks tells the persistent Claudia about working with Kosan and reporting Artie. Claudia is angry that he “ratted” on Artie but Jinks steamrolls over it – as he learned at the ATF, an erratic agent is not someone who should be in the field. He points out that Artie jumping in front of a moving car could have got both him and Claudia killed.

They move to enter the club and they’re stopped because Claudia isn’t properly formerly dressed and he makes a comment about her seeing her fairy godmother. Claudia decides instead (after a gay joke about Jinks of course – it’s been a while actually, the drama episodes must have stopped) to use her boss’s credit card. Unlimited credit > fairy godmother. Unfortunately while she has wealth, she doesn’t have taste and when she tries to pass off a cover story to Sir Henry, he doesn’t believe her because of her appalling hat. So instead they say they’re government agents investigating the murder of the jockeys – Jinks flashes his badge. That clears the crowd.

Unfortunately for Jinks and Claudia, the world isn’t America and Americans waving silly badges and making demands doesn’t carry much weight. Which is what Sir Henry says before another jockey dramatically falls on the track. But it’s not Sir Henry’s horse, nor has it ever been nor has he ever bid on it. Claudia resorts to flirting and playing to the dirty old man to borrow his research which she will return that night in her hotel. Uckies. Of course, the room number she gives isn’t her hotel.

Claudia finally finds something that connects the horses – they were all treated for injuries before the jockeys died. To the vets!

Speaking to the vet they learn that all of the minor injuries the horses had could be signs of abuse (and the vet wishing to apply said abuse to jockey’s testicles) that would be very hard to prove. All the injuries were reported by a stableboy – who just reported another injury, this one for another abuse injury and he’s due to ride in the next race (of course).

Jinks confronts the stableboy who gives in and tells Jinks what to look for. He tells Claudia and she tries to tell the jockey to dismount so she can look for it – he refuses. So, of course, Claudia gets on the horse with him (after all, it’s not like they’re looking for an Artefact that kills horse riders is… oh yeah. Remind me again why ARTIE is the reckless one who needs an intervention?)  Still as the horse runs and the jockey grows faint she manages to grab the Artefact and goo it.

Safely getting off the horse she runs into the woman who was stalking them at the beginning of the episode – who is watching her throughout. She takes a photo of Claudia and sends it to someone, telling them this is their target. Is that Charlotte Dupres?

At the Warehouse, Artie is introduced to Abigail Chow, the new owner of the bed and breakfast. Abigail introduces herself to Artie and Mrs. Frederick disappears (Artie: “yeah, you’ll grow to hate that.”)

Artie gives Abigail the grand tour and is very standoffish, resisting any personal questions and slamming down any natural curiosity with an added level of paranoia of her getting too close or touching any of the Artefacts. He even slaps her hand when she nearly touches something and hurriedly apologises, rambling about people getting hurt. She asks how he deals with the stress and he ruefully jokes “by slapping perfect strangers”.  She offers to be there to help her talk about it. And Artie, not being a complete fool, hits on the fact that Abigail is a therapist. He storms off in a massive huff.

Abigail wanders around for a bit until Mrs. Frederick teleports in (and Abigail agrees with Artie, it is annoying). She’s irritated that Mrs. Frederick called her in to treat someone who is so hostile to treatment and references it as a reason why she doesn’t want to be a therapist any more. She also wants to know if there’s an Artefact to numb Artie’s pain – Mrs. Frederick kiboshes that one. But Abigail insists with an awesome “if you want me to play in your sandbox, I need to have access to your toys.”

Nice line, but Abigail started talking to Artie with a cover story tells me she expected him to be reluctant from the very beginning. Or does she always start her therapy sessions with a bit of role play?

Abigail returns to Artie with Poncho Via’s boots – apparently Poncho Via did bad things while wearing them – apparently wearing the boots mean you feel no grief or guilt for your actions. I would call them sociopath or possibly politician boots and burn them. She sums up everything wrong with Artie, going it alone, shutting people out, consumed by guilt and grief and – yeah you’ve watched the last 2 episodes, you know this. She personalises it because she’s tried to save people like before, she tried to help a man going through the same thing as Artie and she lost him. She gives him a rather awesome albeit melodramatic statement about what grief is. She’s allowed, she’s a therapist.

Everyone back to the warehouse for some dénouement. Pete and Myka show Monty round the warehouse to brighten his heart that there is real magic. Jinks convinces Claudia he was doing the right thing telling about Artie.

And Abigail waters the plants and questions why she is there – but then Artie enters the room, torn and near tears and says “I killed someone I love and I don’t know what to do about it.” She invites him to talk.

Yes, I know I complain about this every week, but Leena deserved better. I want a funeral for Leena. I want a moment where they all gather round and sob that this wonderful, talented, integral member of the team is gone. I want them to break down over the family member who supported them, hosted them, cared for them for 4 seasons is now dead. Not “poor Artie’s guilt” but for her.

There’s lots that could be said about Abigail good and bad – but it all rests on whether she’s a long term returning character and, if so, what they do with her, so I will wait. And restrain my cynicism.

I am really glad that Jinks explained to Claudia about talking to Kosan and we DIDN’T get lots of “oh how could you have betrayed Artie!” there was a protest and then Jinks’s sense won the day. They aren’t children on the playground

I’m also really glad that Sir Henry told Claudia and Jinks what to do with their badges. The overt acknowledgement that whatever credentials Claudia and Jinks have are only relevant within the US. It does beg the question why they didn’t come up with a better cover story. Similarly, I like that Preston didn’t just quiver at the sight of their badges but pointed out – with snark – that they aren’t search warrants. I have a real pet hate for detective shows where the cops et al just swan around waving badges or warrant cards and breaking every law in the book. There are rules, there are laws, there are jurisdictions.