|Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions|
Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that occasionally get tased in the butt.
The best thing Warehouse 13 has ever done, aside from the character of Claudia, is the relationship between Myka and HG Wells. And we can't even credit the writers this this amazing dynamic, since it was a decision between the actors to add the undercurrent of attraction to their interaction in season two, which grew into honest and heartfelt love. And frustration, because while the tension between them was palpable, it has never been acted on (that we know of). It is the televised dramatic equivalent of blueballs. So, within moments of Myka and HG locking eyes on one another again, all that unresolved tension came flooding back, and reminded us of the show when it was at it's best. I'm surprised Pete wasn't knocked off his feet by the pressure vacuum that formed between them.
It's always nice to see Jamie Murray and HG reappear, and I hope this isn't the last we'll see of her before the series concludes (I doubt she'll pop back up this season, but they've got six left in next season's chamber). She was wasted in the scant and largely pointless appearances she put in at the beginning of the season, little more then face service, to establish that she was in fact still alive. This episode is an epilogue to her redemption via self sacrifice (which, yes, was undone by timey-wimey, but still). And in doing so, she probably has the most complete character arc of anyone on the show, going from hero, to villain, to prisoner, to hero, and now she gets the rare opportunity to turn her back on the situation and ride off into the sunset. Or what Pete calls the "alternate Warehouse retirement plan."
I didn't buy her relationship to the new guy, partly because the episode didn't seem interested in putting them in many scenes together, or establishing any sort of connection between them. What I did buy is what Myka calls HG out on, is the relationship she has with the daughter surrogate, something that HG never admits to but pretty much can't deny by the episodes end. And I believed her new career as a CSI, in keeping with her established love of science, and an excellent call back to her tendency to get modern knowledge from media sources (recall her source material for archaeological fashion).
Even the artifact chase was well done, providing a suitable red herring, and a twist that de-herrings that herring, and stretched the creation of artifacts all the way back to the prehistoric era, adding another layer to artifact lore. In all, the episode felt like an artifact itself, a relic from a previous season, and a reminder of how much fun this show can be when everything comes together well. The warehouse stuff felt like it was lifted from season one, the artifact stuff from season two, and the character development from season three. I was happy to see the show in finest form again, and hope that the remainder of the season continues in this fashion, considering the gradual increase in quality per episode since the mid-season return.
Back at base, everything was working just as well, and Kelly Hu continues to fit right in. One issue they've never had on this show is integrating new characters, but Hu's Inn Keeper is adapting faster then most (whether this is a purposeful effect on the part of the writers, knowing they've got very few episodes left, or just a side effect of Hu being a good actress I don't know). We also got a bit more Warehouse lore, discovering that the Warehouse expands as the collection grows, which really only makes sense. Though the assertion that Einstein designed the system removed me from the episode from a moment. The CG, as always, was rough, but within the context, it worked. The giant swirling lightning cyclone thing, within the warehouse, didn't seem cheap or gimmicky in it's obvious fakeness as say, the shot of the out of business hardware store, which looked terrible. It's all about context on this show, and when the tongue is in the cheek, the B-Movie stuff works.
Aside from the contrived bit when Jinx climbs a ladder and Artie twists his ankle, the Warehouse stuff was well paced and funny (as it should be), and gave Allison Scagliotti plenty of opportunities to impress us with something other then sarcasm. Maybe because I've chosen to forget most of what happened in the first half of this season, but I had blanked on the whole "Claudia will replace Mrs. Frederic" plot line. And, there was no indication as to what Claudia might have been lying about and why the Warehouse might be angry with her, so the build up to her confession was legitimately tense, and the result was heartfelt. It felt like there was a definitely step forward in her character's story, something the show doesn't do that often (even Artie, after a few weeks of grief, has largely returned to the way he was).
If I had one major complaint about the episode, it was the overbearing use of licenced music. The scene of Claudia, well gooed, rocket launcher slung over the shoulder worked, but the final scene as Myka drives away while HG watches forlornly was too heavyhearted. Using music to prop up a scene takes finesse, and simply taking a reasonably tone-matched song and cranking the volume is the opposite of finesse.