Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Warehouse 13: Season 5, Episode 3: A Faire to Remember

Ren Faire – with costumes and jugglers – and a very bad juggler who drops things. When an arsehole in the audience heckles him, a jester springs out of nowhere and causes the man to have a heart attack before vanishing again

I know hecklers can be unpleasant, but isn’t that a little harsh?

At the Warehouse B&B Peter is failing dramatically to cook and Artie tells everyone about the new case (in between loving the new updated Warehouse – with all his beloved Steampunk back in place) at a Ren Faire – Myka quickly steps out, just before Jinks – poor Jinks.

Of course Pete loves the very idea and the extremely enthusiastic Pete hurries off with the reluctant Jinks. He drags Jinks around, loving everything until they find costumes. Pete loves the idea and tries to get Jinks on board with another gay stereotype and Jinks (finally, after 2 seasons of this bullshit) tells Pete that he isn’t a cliché.

They go to see the “king” (and owner of the Faire) and everyone is still in character even after Jinks shows his badge. And Pete keeps playing along…. Whyyyy? Finally Jinks loses patience, someone is dead they’re not roleplaying. But the “king” doesn’t recognise the murdering vanishing jester in question because he was wearing a mask and there are 10 gazillion jesters in the Ren Faire.

Lots of questioning and lots of trying to goo random items. Nothing. And lots of frustration. They do learn of Oswald, the guy who made the dead man laugh. They finally find the man at the dunking game which Jinks is beyond ready to do. Oswald is a bit bitter to be the constant target of all the amusement (he’s the “doofer” his role is to be dunked on ducking stools, have pies thrown at him etc). He doesn’t seem to know anything about the guy’s death – but he does have one supporter, a woman with him called Katerina (who, to anyone genre savvy, is much more suspicious. Also because she’s an old Alphas actor and therefore wouldn’t be just a random extra). Questioning is interrupted by a runaway cart that Pete has to save a small girl from being crushed by. He saves her – but when they look at the scene, the cart has disappeared.

After the cart we have a random wizard blowing things up who is immune to teslas but disappears when Jinks jumps at him. Again, Oswald was present; again, Oswald claims no knowledge. But he does remember having his fortune told and telling the Fortune Teller he wanted to be a knight; she said he had to become a hero. He thinks he was cursed, Peter and Jinks think Artefact. When they question the fortune teller she scarpers  – and another random event with deadly human chess pieces has to be handled, letting her get away.

They do catch up with her and find out she’s Katerina’s grandmother – who blames Katerina for using Mother Shipton’s Cards. Katerina’s idea is to put Oswald in peril so he would then be brave and heroic. A plan so mind-bogglingly ridiculous that I think one of the Tomorrow People writers may have sneaked into the room. Anyway, even with the cards neutralised, Oswald still has to do something heroic or die trying – or so says Katerina’s grandmother.

So that means decking him in armour and fighting the next evil apparition on the tournament ground. Oswald reacts by running and screaming so Katerina decides to step forward and put herself at risk. Of course, this galvanises his courage (woman in peril inspires man to be RAWR trope thoroughly checked) and he defeats the apparition. Yay hero, yay dating Katrina, yay don't care.

To the B plot at the Warehouse, Claudia breaks in to where her sister is being kept, joined by Myka. Myka is going to help Claudia get her sister back. The plan is to transfer the Artefact energy from Claire to something else. Using Artefacts – which is, as Myka points out, extremely risky (mixing and matching Artefacts is always difficult). Myka tries to resist telling her how terrifyingly dangerous this all is. They’re going to use an Artefact to transfer the power (Bob Dylan’s Bus Ticket) and another to store it in another (Volta’s Biscuit Barrel).

They use the Artefacts and then wake Claire from her coma. Which means explaining to Claire who Claudia is and that she’s been in a coma for years – hence why Claudia is all grown up now. On convinced of that she panics over losing 15 years of her life and now being 30 and she’s missed so much of her life. The good side is she’s very stressed and agitated but there’s no sign of the black wind.

Myka leaves the sisters to it and goes to try and let Artie know what they did – but as she leaves her eyes gleam silver. There’s the Artefact nasty!

Claudia tries to show Claire her room and she’s not adapting well to the present, going into denial but Claudia does a great job of connecting with her and drawing on the experience of the time she lost in the mental institution before going to a coffee shop to sing together.

Myka goes to Artie and is very short, very abrupt, very impatient and very harsh – very un-Myka. Artie wants her help to load the Artefacts back into the Dark Vault – the very very dangerous Artefacts. And negative energy – like a very bad tempered Myka – is not good for them. Especially since Myka may or may not actually be channeling long buried grievances about being stuck in the middle of nowhere and being under the influence of Artefacts all the time.

As she rants, Myka’s eyes go silver and Artie realises they have Artefact issues. He tries to talk to her but she does have legitimate issues – she went through her cancer scare alone (yes she kept it secret, but in part because of the job they did) and she worries she’ll spend the rest of her life alone. And tranq guns just make her angrier

Meanwhile Claudia and Claire come home riding high and Claudia has to tell Claire their parents are dead. And Claire remembers not being in the car – but awkward conversations are derailed by Artie calling and showing Claudia Myka.

Oops. After a brief moment pointing out he knows the Warehouse and if the Ticket and Biscuit Barrel works he would have tried it already. Using Claire and Claudia to distract Myka, Artie traps her in amber. The only solution is to put her in a coma – and Claire steps up. Not Myka, it has to be her.

Claire and Claudia have a touching, emotional goodbye scene and Claire is returned to the coma – with Claudia swearing to find a way.

Artie shows Claudia his 15 years of research on Claire (which part of me thinks is kind of a passive aggressive dig at her assuming he hadn’t really worked on the problem). And Artie makes and incredible, moving, tearful speech about them all being family and none of them ever having to go through anything alone. Awwwww….

We have a Little Person in this episode serving as the King’s Chief functionary – it’s interesting that they didn’t go the very typical route of making him a jester (especially in a show so full of jesters). It seemed to be one of those very few times where we had a Little Person playing a role that didn’t revolve around the fact they were a Little Person.

I also liked Jinks calling out Pete for his endless clichés – which is very needed and very very very very late. Gay jokes, clichés and stereotypes have dogged Jinks since he first came out on this show – and while he has never lived up to the clichés they pushed on him, which was good, they kept doing it; to get a little social-justice-wordy for a moment, it’s a classic homophobic microaggression a lot of us face in the world place and social situations. And while it’s not bad to portray that, it is not to portray it as a bad thing

But on the whole this episode left me… dissatisfied. I think in part because it’s the last season so I’m wanting some dramatic and closure worthy. The Ren Faire storyline is filler so they can tell the b-plot – Claudia and her sister. But Claudia’s sister is a really new introduction, the season isn’t long enough for this to build into something important or compelling and generally leaves me feeling… indifferent? It’s the last season, I can’t dredge up sufficient care to become invested in Claire’s storyline or struggles knowing they’re going to be so short lived and generally irrelevant. It all feels like a distraction and a tacked on distraction at that.

I am glad that Claudia’s plan failed though – it had to fail. For it not to fail would be to dismiss Artie’s knowledge of Artefacts OR imply Artie didn’t care or really try. The only way to successfully fix Claire would be with either huge risk or an incredibly long, hard or unusual plan or using resources not at Artie’s disposal. Which would probably be a full season arc – but we don’t have a full season arc left – because this last season is only 6 episodes. We don’t have enough time to start ANY new storylines!

In fact I’m just going to rant about that. Yes, everything has to end – but 6 episodes (half of which are over) IS NO TIME to do anything with. Either they should have spent all 6 defeating Parascelsus or gone for a full season. Paracelsus is gone and there’s no time to do anything else other than watch Warehouse 13 slowly crumble to a halt in a series of filler episodes which can’t be anything but very unsatisfactory and generally make the show end on a very wibbly note.