11 Jul 2013

[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Finale Episode 20, "The Truth Hurts"

Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions

Last season, I was justifiably hard on Warehouse 13. This season (or half season, whichever), I went a little easier because there were episodes that deserved applause. Fewer and farther between then in years past, to be sure, but they were there. This was not one of them. Season 4 ended not at all, as it happens, but after last week's posturing to get to here, I mistakenly thought that meant this week something of note would happen. It didn't. What it was, was 40 odd minutes of building towards a cliffhanger, which means it was 40 minutes of wasted opportunity.

At this point, it's no wonder why the series was given a six episode run to resolve everything the finale set up, because all the finale did was set up plot points demanding to be resolved. And that is no way to write a television series.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are as dumb as Pete.

Cliffhangers at the end of seasons are a plot device I hate. I hate them when they are used as a gimmick, and I hate them when they become an expected part of the fabric of a series. Warehouse 13 has embraced cliffhangers from the beginning. And the trick to using them appropriately is that they should never become the focus of the entire episode. A final episode should be reserved for resolving the linger plot threads of the season. I would point to season 3's finale as an excellent example of this, bringing to a head the entire conflict between the Warehouse and Anthony Michael Hall. And then, in the finale moments, something related to, but separate from, the primary storyline occurs, and leaves the audience wanting more. I've felt that WH13's season 3 is their best finale for expressly this reason: it wrapped up a year's worth of story, and then had me clamouring for the next episode.

This didn't do that. In fact, there isn't much this episode did do. They did some stuff with Myka's cancer, but aside from a nice scene between Pete and Myka, most of that was done via voice over exposition. It was nice to see the real panic on Pete's face, and brought back his fear of being left alone. They also touched on the two biggest issues I had with last week, namely the Claudia DNA issue, and why the Regents would have left Paracelsus with a connection to the Warehouse (I'm still not clear on Paracelsus' personal timeline, but that apparently doesn't matter). The issue of the Regent's being stupid was side stepped by saying that the Bronzing process was the only way to sever the connection, but then they kept passing around a participation ribbon that was able to sever the connection, and transfer it. How were they able to create a new connection after they bronzed Paracelsus if they hadn't transferred it first? These are the kinds of details this show has become willing to gloss over.

Claudia's DNA resolution was another matter, and not as bad as I was expecting. It was bad, and the very definition of an ass pull, but not as bad as what I expected from the moment Artie stumbled in front of Jinx. I thought the show was going to completely shoot itself, and say that Artie was her father. Thanks gods they only went with "you have an evil sister no one has ever mentioned before." Because they haven't, right? I haven't watched the earlier seasons in a while, but I remember no mention of a sister, dead or otherwise. So to magic one up (hell, ever if they did mention her, it's a shitting cliche to use) for the sake of a dramatic revelation. Beyond giving the writers some fodder for one of the episodes next year, what did it accomplish. The betrayal that Claudia felt might have been interesting to explore, if they had the time to do so. Instead, the Warehouse started exploding again, and Claudia opted to stay behind (again, for little reason other then contrived drama), and in their departing moments Artie was apparently forgiven. 

The rest of the episode felt like so much faffing about, waiting for those last ten minutes to arrive. Paracelsus' "master plan" relied so heavily on the right thing happening at the right time, and the right people being just stupid enough, it's fair to say that he had no plan. That he was just making it up as he went. It helped that Pete, high on grief, acted in the stupidest way he possibly could, and that even in his desperation it seemed out of place that he wouldn't have clued in that the ancient evil and mass murdered they've been chasing might not have been honest with him. And I don't even know what to say about James Marsters' role as Sutton in this episode, other then that there wasn't one. He should have been written out last episode, if only to save us from that cringe inducing scene in the minivan out front of the Warehouse.

Since this is the last review of the year, I should mention now how much I've hated the obvious product placement in these last ten episodes. The lingering pans on the Pruis' were a little insulting, and I longed for the halcyon days of Myka's Twizzler obsession.  

Like Eureka that went before it, I find myself regrettably in the position of not feeling sorry to see Warehouse 13 end. Clearly, it's better days are behind it, and it is time to move on. At some point next year, the final six episodes will air, and I say it is the right time for it to go.

Let it be Warehouse 27's problem.

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