Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Warehouse 13, Season 5, Episode 6: Endless

London, 1889 and Helena (H.G. Wells) being the awesome Warehouse 12 agent she was and taking down Jack the Ripper. (Kipling is also a Warehouse agent, I am most amused). Her mentor tells her all about the Warehouse but also puts a little puncture in her idea that the Warehouse is inherently linked to the British empire – though she does think there will never be a Warehouse 13.

The current team are watching this on the Round Table (and also learning that Helena has broken up with her current guy and is now dating a woman which finally sets in stone the often referenced bisexuality of Helena). The Table stores the memories of agents defining moments with the Warehouse and she wants them to add to it. Which means Warehouse 13 is reaching the end of its life. And if the Warehouse moves to a new country, the new country provides new agents.

Pete is highly stressed by this and demands Mrs. Frederick stop it, accusing her of failing as a Caretaker – but this is not a crisis to solve, it’s what the Warehouse does. So Claudia decides to give everyone time to calm down by sharing her first memory

Which involves showgirls and Pete and Myka tap dancing because of an Artefact Pete played with. The whole gang tries to battle showgirls while tap dancing – and Claudia has to put on a major performance (thankfully tap dancing) to charge another Artefact to fix it all.

It’s whacky, silly and immensely fun after which everyone announces “best job ever.” It was also the day when Claudia realised she didn’t want to be a Caretaker because she loves being an agent so much. Which leads to Pete freaking out about not being an agent any more. While he storms off, the gang talk to Claudia about whether she wants to be Caretaker and how she shouldn’t feel forced to become one.

On that subject, Artie’s turn to share a memory: a memory Mrs. Frederick thinks will backfire on him.  Artie and a past agent investigate a time bubble from the 1940s with someone using an Artefact to make a party last forever and avoid going to war; it’s a bubble that can only be entered once a year, the date of the party. They have 25 minutes to investigate and Artie’s junior Agent, Scott, is pretty good. Scott’s insight helps them solve it though Scott is briefly emotional at the woman with the Artefact’s plea – worried that her baby will grow up without a dad. Which Artie feels guilty about – because Scott is his son.

Intermission while Claudia demands an explanation. Artie never knew Scott existed for years; and Artie fought the Regents for the right of a “one”, the right Regents have to have one person who knows about the Warehouse. He meant this as a lesson that you have to fight for your happiness, but Claudia is still reeling and she walks off.

Artie follows her and after talking Artie reveals that Scott is still alive but not an agent, he has a normal life. He didn’t introduced Claudia because she would have wanted him to be an Agent – which defeats the whole point of the One – someone in the normal world to keep balance. The lesson is sometimes you have to be a little selfish to be happy – and that “do as I say not as I do” is totally the prerogative of a father figure. And a lovely bonding parent moment.

Pete demands Myka show him the much mentioned manual – and she does. It’s a library. (We finally got to see the manual!). She and Pete have an argument with her trying to get Pete to accept the inevitable and he being furious that she won’t fight to keep the Warehouse.

Myka shares her memory with her working on a case where an Artefact turns a group of very very very very complicated women straight from a soap into Ninja Cat Burglars. She and Pete fight the ninjas – and Steve picks up on Myka’s very obvious crush on Pete much to Myka’s complete denial, shock – and acceptance.

Artie, meanwhile has an epic, emotional, painful rant about the Warehouse leaving him after all he has given to it, he tearfully rants about being unappreciated – and the Warehouse, with a wind, blows an apple to him. I’ll ignore the whole creepy element of the Warehouse being conscious and run with the “awww”.

In the background, Steve and Mrs. Frederick are mining all of Mrs. Frederick’s memories (including Mr. Frederick), none of which we get to see.

It’s Steve’s turn and he’s worried because he’s never really belonged with the Warehouse group (he doesn’t even get on the main credits and I’m glad there’s some acknowledgement he has been kept in the background of the big 5). The memory is of Helena using a shrink ray to send Steve and Claudia into Artie’s body for shenanigans reasons to get something out of Artie’s heart. Steve emerges from the memory to think of the awe and peace he experienced with the Warehouse. Which is the point of the ritual, the Warehouse showing people what it has done for it.

Myka goes to see Pete with her love revelation but Pete is rambling away about how much he needs the Warehouse until Myka breaks the rant to kiss Pete. She explains he cannot lose her, she will be with him because he loves her. He tells her he loves her and she kisses him back. Also he confesses that her punching him in the arm, which she has done repeatedly for 5 years, turns him on – and she says she knows.

We have a little cameo from Leena, her first day in the Warehouse talking to Mrs. Frederick and predicting that some day she will die in the Warehouse, Mrs. Frederick won’t be able to stop it – but it will be ok (watched by Steve and Mrs. Frederick)

And it’s Pete’s turn – which includes an epic flashback of a 1,000 scenes. He doesn’t have a defining moment – because all of it is his defining moment, every minute with the team is his moment. He’s desperately afraid of becoming what he was before the Warehouse. He has a huge touching speech – then adds that he may have broke the table and Mrs. Frederick laughs. This is considerably more shocking than a giant blue mongoose raging into scene.

More reminiscing is stopped by Artie getting a ping. Before he goes, Pete asks Mrs. Frederick if it’s over and she replies that this wonder is “endless.” Pete kisses her on the cheek and calls her Hillary – her first name. The gang gathers and do they’re usually awesome banter.

Several decades later in a Warehouse of the future, another grumpy old fart is running the Warehouse, new agents bickering and Claudia, the new Guardian, arriving with classic “didn’t hear her coming” style. She makes a comment on the number of times she’s seen the Warehouse “almost move”. She goes to the table to listen to the gang all talk about Endless Wonder.

Ouch, that was a bitter sweet ending. Definitely the powerful, emotional, character driven send off that Warehouse 13 deserved. If Warehouse 13 had to end at all. Which it didn’t, I’m saying this now

If nothing else, this episode also showed us how amazing vignette episodes could be – not just 2 Artefacts an episode, throw in 4 or 5 mini ones!

As ever, the character interaction is what truly drives this show and this episode showed it to its best.

I don’t think I can be a big fan of Pete and Myka together. I know they keep being on the cards, but I’ve always seen them as having more of a sibling relationship than a sexual one. But it’s also the meta societal message of it all – that a straight woman and a straight man working closely together must have a sexual or romantic subtext – how often do we see this? I would have quite liked them to have their happily ever after as devoted, caring, dedicated friends forever.

While this episode was great… these last 6 episodes of Warehouse 13 have left me... unimpressed. Warehouse 13 deserved better. I thought it would be used to clear up the loose ends of Paracelsus… which it did. In one episode. Claudia’s sister was too short lived a storyline to encourage any real sense of investment. Valda came back as a villain for one brief episode which felt pretty pointless and there was some fear of the Warehouse moving which was primarily for the angst of this episode (I also don’t see how the new Warehouse can manage with entirely new agents, that’s a damn steep learning curve).

Over all, the whole of Warehouse 13 has been decent on the sexuality inclusion – Helena is bisexual, even if we only ever saw her on screen with a man, it was never completely hidden. But she wasn’t a main character. Steve is gay and was made clear as gay from almost the moment we met him and he was a character who was largely devoid of stereotypes and with his own storylines (occasionally). He was one of the very few gay characters on the shows we watch that didn’t come with regular cringe-inducing moments. He never quite made it to main cast (as the credits show) and he was constantly dogged by gay jokes (even in this episode) and they tried to undo a lot of good work lately. But generally he was well done

The same can’t be said for POC – Mrs. Frederick is awesome, but she’s also the poster child for Promotion to Obscurity. Leena was very very underused – and then killed off and not even given much attention compared to Artie’s guilt. Abigail was a late stage replacement who never had the chance to become an actual character. This is the very definition of tokenism.

Criticisms aside, I loved this show – I loved the character interactions, I loved how they worked together as a team and as a family. Good bye Warehouse 13, you were one of the good ones.