Saturday, June 22, 2013

Warehouse 13, Season 4, Episode 17: What Matters Most

In Marlin, Ohio, Terry Chambers, a district attorney is collecting his post when he suddenly seizes up in incredible pain, gasps that he’s burning up while the veins on his face stand out bright red. Then he collapses – and dies.

And at the Guesthouse, Artie tells this to Myka, complete with him not having eaten anything or have any injection sites. Cause of death? Muscle paralysis, heart attack and his lungs collapsed. Overkill much? Pete is absent because of his yearly physical so Myka’s off to catch the flight on her own

Abigail has cooked something delicious and Jinks and Artie follow their noses; Abigail has gone out and bought scones. And she’s not above bribing people into doing the dishes to share those scones. Which is when Claudia arrives and Artie makes a move on the scones by revealing a ping – a teenager went into a fugue state and started grafitting advanced maths. And Claudia realises she has become jaded. She is happy to go though because the alternative is flushing out the neutraliser. Apparently unpleasant

Which makes Steve offering to stay seem awfully suspicious. So it’s Claudia and Artie into the field.

Pete and Myka arrive in Ohio – and Pete is using hand-grippers while driving (with Pete worried about his grip strength, of course Myka has to make a joke of that). They enter a gated community (with the gate guard fawning over the secret service) and enter an ultra-creepy neighbourhood that looks like, as Pete puts it, a 50s TV show. Complete with officious man, Colonel Castle, in a golf buggy demanding they move their car – and not at all impressed with their badges.

This makes Pete blow up rather excessively – even if his “gated communities, for when you miss boot camp” is a good line. Myka wants to know what’s up; after his physical that morning the doctor said his testosterone levels were low. The doctor said it was fine, but he googled it and, of course, the internet predicted lots of doom – including… erectile dysfunction.

Random passing woman adds to the freaky 50s feel of the place and adds some gossip: apparently the dead DA forgot to park his car in his garage and someone broke his windshield. I think it speaks volumes for how well and truly bored out of their skull someone is that this counts as juicy gossip.

Time to talk to Roger (who insists on shortening his name. But then, if you’re called Roger you can’t be blamed for doing everything you can to avoid such a cruel fate), the DA’s stepson. Who is kind of creepily enthusiastic about, well, everything. He knows little about the broken window or any threats against the DA (who probably made some enemies since he earned the nickname “DA gaschamber”). And on that note – they get the forensics report – the chemicals in DA Henry’s blood are used in lethal injections. That’s a lead for Myka to follow up

Pete’s lead is the ambulance that just arrived, sirens screaming. Flashing his badge and tagging along, they enter a house to find a man and a woman stuck together – the flesh of their bare torsos melded together. Spencer is the son of the people who own the house (they’re on holiday) and they were working, just working, honest. And don’t pay attention to the lube being kicked under the sofa. The only connection they have with the DA is that the woman’s recently fired husband, Gerry LaBelle used to work for him. Looks like Gerry has revenge motive against all 3 victims.

Time to see Gerry; they find him in his garage and ask him about DA Henry Chambers. And Gerry responds by taking a swing at Pete. Which goes poorly for him. Taking this as a very big sign of guilt they ask him how he poisoned the DA – which confuses him since all he did was smash his windshield. Oh and he’s properly shocked that his wife is cheating on him; he didn’t know. Too early in the show for such an obvious suspect

Then the security guard spontaneously catches fire. With green fire no less. Pete smothers it with a blanket. And then he catches fire again – Myka moves in with a fire extinguisher. The guy doesn’t look healthy.

Cut to loading the man in an ambulance – he’s alive, for now. And they need to speak to someone who knows everything about the gated community in the hope of finding a new lead – time to interview creepy gossipy lady, Janice. Pete steals cookies while Myka asks about the security guard, Rex – who was apparently a loner with little contact with the other victims – but his house did burn down (yes with fire), 3 months ago.

Pete and Myka go to where Rex is staying to try and find some connection with the other victims but on entering Pete notices that all of Rex’s expensive electronics had been miraculously saved from his house fire. Looking at an arson report, it seems that boric acid was found in Rex’s power outlets – which burns green. Just like the flames that burned Rex. They hit on the blatantly obvious cause and effect artefact. The execution-happy DA who may have been unethical dies from lethal injection. The adulterers are melded together. The arsonist burns. So they need someone who is particularly obsessive about rules and morality – and come up with Colonel Castle who yelled at them for how they parked their car.

To his house where Myka picks the lock when the colonel doesn’t answer. Inside they find a room with orange smoke billowing out from under it – inside the colonel is choking on the floor. They call 911 and drag him outside, him still coughing up orange smoke. As the colonel chokes he says “someone knows” and tells them how in Kuwait he and his men were outnumbered in a village and they responded by gassing the whole town, killing them all in their sleep.

Calling on Abigail and Jinks for research, they’ve dug up sin related objects. All they found were suspected artefacts from Sodom and Gomorrah, objects that were crusted in salt (from the salt dunes around the city that made it so wealthy). The only connection they find between the victims is that all of them, except Rex, are on the board of the gated community. That leaves Myka to read through the minutes of the council meetings while Pete goes and checks the last unaffected board member.

He breaks down the door to the house – for extra testosterone insecurity – and Myka calls with a reason from the minutes. Janice (the creepy gossipy woman) has had her proposal for a bust of her late husband, the founder of the gated community, rejected for the 3rd time – with Rex speaking against it. And Myka has a flashback to all the locations they’ve been – where there were chocolate cookies in each one (this is a moment when watching the show you kick yourself for not noticing that!) Janice’s cookies that contain salt – the Artefact from Sodom wasn’t covered in salt, it was the salt. And Pete ate the cookies

Pete is blown out of the window by massive concussive force and falls to the floor outside clutching his leg in agony. His legs are broken.

Myka runs to Janice’s and finds her trying to give someone else a cookie. Myka snatches the cookie away and sees the Artefact – salt moulded onto a person’s face and taking its shape. Janice grabs a knife. Janice rants about her husband, how he gave his life to the community, how he built every aspect of it and how the council now wants to forget him – and in rage she tries to attack the man she was feeding cookies to. Myka catches her and easily takes the knife off her and goos the salt mask.

Myka runs out to Pete but he’s still in pain. Colonel Castle arrives back in a taxi – completely fine the minute he left the community. Myka sends him to get an ambulance. She realises that the Colonel’s ok because he confessed to them. Myka pushes Pete to confess and, reluctantly and tearfully, he does. Back when he was drinking (Pete is a recovering alcoholic) he drove – crashed his car. He walked out without a scratch but his friend was thrown from the car and broke both his legs. It’s what prompted him to stop drinking.

With the confession his legs heal. Myka praises him and they have a moment.

In New York, Claudia and Artie record the mathematically impressive graffiti made by the teenager Nick – who apparently radiated light while doing so. The maths is many and varied including computer code and other logic thingies that I’m not going to pretend to know about – and a homeless person tells them that Nick has no family and is homeless himself.

In the hospital where Nick is being examined it seems her had another incident – the walls are covered in mathematic scrawling. Claudia’s there to interview him but he’s wary to say the least – worried she’s trying to shove him into foster care. Yeah, Claudia a social worker – that mental image doesn’t fit. She throws in her own experience of being locked up by people who didn’t understand the impossible things that had happened to her – and her own experience on the street and in the system. He describes the visions he gets that come before the seizure and blacking out – of being out of control. Artie takes Claudia aside with the MRI results – the seizures are extreme and causing brain damage. If it keeps happening, they will kill him.

In a safe house, Artie tries to decipher Nick’s scribbles with lots of grumpy frustration (Claudia assures Nick Artie is usually grumpier). Claudia and Nick bond over general bad pasts and the things Claudia has been through, when Artie has a breakthrough! Summoning Claudia he explains various mathy-logicy-people banks use to predict stuff (this is as complicated as I get with anything involving maths), people called Quantative analysts – or Quants; this is the code Nick is writing. And while they’re talking Nick’s eyes turn white and he has another trance. They try to talk to Nick, asking what he sees; he sees a man doing what he is doing, mirroring him. An office, blue mug, white board and a clock with an antelope – all the time he’s seizing until Claudia and Artie pull him away from the board and pin him to the couch. Artie puts Josef Stalin’s sleep mask on Nick, which knocks him unconscious.

Researching with Jinks and Abigail, Abigail has the idea that young brains can make more connections than adult brains and this Quant may be tapping into Nick’s brain to give him a boost to increase his own computing power. Looking through investment banks, Claudia finds one with an antelope as a symbol. And as a side effect of the sleeping mask, Nick wants vodka (and so does Artie)

Artie goes to the bank that night and looks for the office, guided by Nick having another seizure/vision. He bursts into the office and sees a man wearing Orville Wright’s aviator goggles (belonging to the less talented of the Wright brothers who imbued them with the ability to steal other people’s brain power) and promptly goos them.

Claudia and Artie assure Nick that he’s now seizure free. Nick starts to leave but Claudia asks him to come to South Dakota with them – ostensibly to monitor him to make sure there are no side effects. She asks for a chance to pay forward what was done for her

In the Warehouse, Jinks is debating safety goggles and Abigail has grabbed a full Haz Mat suite. Yes, she’s learning and isn’t jaded yet – not after her last experience. To the gooery! With ominous looking machines – that apparently smell vile.

Of course, while working on the gooery, Abigail knows that Jinks had to have a good reason to stay and not go in mission and pokes him. After officially saying goodbye to his ex, and his mother sending the rest of his stuff, Jink has realised his whole life is now with the Warehouse. He worries that none of the other people in the Warehouse have found anyone – and he’s so much shyer so has much less chance. And a new rule for the Warehouse – don’t talk relationship angst while working on the gooery or you will get gooed.

Post shower and the gooery cleaned, Jinks and Abigail talk. Jinks apologising for trying to use her for free therapy and she pointing out it’s kind of why the Regents brought her on board, besides she know what it’s like to be alone, her job means most people unload on her or become guarded. She says that’s why she left – which kicks in Jinks’s lie detector power, saying ‘tis not true. Sitting down, she tells him the real reason – she had a patient she couldn’t help (with a tone suggesting far more); she quit to avoid the situation again and went around the world travelling with a camera. And Kosan found her and brought her to the Warehouse. To which she turns round on Jinks and says that may be why he’s uneasy – because he hasn’t found a “one” to share his life with – he’s found four people; and now he may have to open up to them. He’s impressed by her insight

Conclusion time – and Jinks finds Abigail putting up one of her photographs, sharing some more of her with everyone. Myka and Pete arrive and commiserate with Abigail for having to clean the gooery. Artie and Claudia come home, bringing Nick. And everyone comments on the wonderful smell – because Jinks is cooking (Pete has an “I knew it” moment – but I think he’s in for a shock since Jinks’s ex said he couldn’t cook). Everyone encourages Abigail to keep her excellent photo downstairs and Jinks arrives with lasagne. Everyone flocks round – except Nick who sends a text to Charlotte saying “they believe me, I’m in.”

Myka goes to her own physical… she has ovarian cancer.

Well, that was an unexpected ending. Cancer. That’s… a heavy topic for Warehouse 13 to cover. I’m also impressed with the sheer shock and horror Myka portrayed. But I also feel that, with the Warehouse, there’s bound to be some Artefact that will cure her or at least stop the cancer (yes all kinds of side-effects but when it comes to Myka’s life or death does anyone think that Artie or Pete are going to give a rats arse about side effects or consequences?) If they don’t do that it will be just bemusing. If they do do that, does cancer become a rather casual side plot they just deal with?

On Charlotte Dupree (which is who I assume “Charlotte” is) – too little too late. It’s only through the flashback that I didn’t say “Charlotte, who?” She’s apparently been wandering around ever since the mid-season hiatus but she hasn’t done anything. There’s no reason to believe she is up to anything nefarious except the ominous music that keeps playing. She isn’t established enough to be metaplot or a meta-bad guy

Ok, Jinks talks about never finding the one and Abigail points towards 4 good friends. He talked about the one in context with his ex; the implication was clear. The idea that a gay man should give up on relationships and be happy with close friendships doesn’t sit well with me at all. I love them as a collection of misfit toys the Warehouse picks up – because they so are – but this has implications that do not sit well. I think they could big up what an awesome family they have without setting up platonic friendship as a replacement for romance.