“THIS IS MY HO– USE NOW!”
With that thundering statement, Paracelsus (Anthony Head), Warehouse 13‘s latest 500 year old mad scientists uber-baddy, takes control of the world’s weirdest major holding place of strange and dangerous artifacts – OK the world’s only holding major place of strange and dangerous artifacts – with plans to use his supposedly unfettered power to unleash his nefarious plans upon an unsuspecting world.
This underhanded and momentous changing of the guard at Warehouse 13 – which is challenged, naturally enough, by Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) who decides to fight Paracelsus as if she is the Caretaker, a role that no longer rests with Mrs Frederick (C. C. H. Pounder) who has to be disconnected from it to save her life, with only nanoseconds to spare – occurs at the end of a plot-rich, if not necessarily action-packed, episode in which the team succeed in:
- capturing Paracelsus in San Francisco after he callously sucking the remaining life force out of dying patients at a number of hospitals; a particularly close to the bone storyline given Myka’s cancer
- unsuccessfully re-bronze him (he invented the process and can thus thwart it) and opt for placing him in the suspension chamber instead
- from which he is then released by Pete (Eddie McClintock) who, desperate to save a cancer-stricken Myka (Joanne Kelly) buys the line that the latest Warehouse 13 villain will act in the interest of someone other than himself and save Pete’s much-cared for partner if only he is freed
- at which point he gathers all the artifacts he asked Pete to assemble (ostensibly to be used to cure Myka) to assume the sort of control that no one with his overly narcissistic tendencies should have … EVER.
It’s an up, down, edge-of -your-seat narrative rush to the finish line, spurred on no doubt by the fact that Warehouse 13 now has only six episodes – lord knows what possesses syfy (apart from a cold, hard look at the bottom line) to truncate healthy, promising series which on any other network would live on for years more – and more ideas than time.
And they certainly go hell for leather in this episode, with the clever script by Drew Z Greenberg (Buffy, Firefly) centering the action for the most part in the warehouse itself where all sorts of revelations unfold and the personal relationship,s which are the beating heart of this imaginative show, came to the fore.
For a start the bond between Pete and Myka, always strong and impervious to any and all outside influences, grew stronger still as Myka faced the reality of her cancer and Pete faced up to the fact that he could lose her, a particularly scary development for anyone bit even more so for a man who lose his much-loved dad at an early age.
He doesn’t want Myka to leave him, can’t bear the thought of being without her, and it’s this child-like fear that drives him to act in a way counter to all the years of sober, logical training instilled in him.
You can hardly blame Pete for being taken in by Paracelsus who is a past master of the smooth, convincing patter, and repugnantly adept at identifying emotional vulnerabilities in people and exploiting them to his own advantage.
It is but one of Paracelsus’s many less than like-able qualities – he killed his own sister-in-law Charlotte (Polly Walker) for god’s sake leaving his brother Sutton (James Marsters) and nephew Nicolas (Josh Blaylock) to pick up the familial pieces – and it falls to Claudia to remain inside the warehouse, with which she has a powerful pre-Caretaker bond, to battle him but not before Artie (Saul Rubinek) drops a bombshell that her sister Claire lives.
Understandably angry that this information has been withheld from her – information only shared by the way after Jinx (Aaron Ashmore), who is chronically underused in this episode, threatens to spill the beans himself – she unleashes her fury at Artie, only pausing for breath when in desperation he tells the woman he loves like a daughter:
“Your sister is an incredibly dangerous woman!”
That stops her in her tracks, but before she or Artie can truly talk it out any further, events escalate and Claudia is forced to step into the breach to take on Paracelsus, by virtue of her unique bond with the warehouse, leaving Artie (who she forgives; possible death has a way of concentrating the mind), Jinx (who she tearfully farewells with a hurried wave), Pete and Mrs Frederick to flee to the outside where they will continue the fight.
Busy it might have been, and a little overstuffed with plot developments but it was at all times emotionally resonant and true to the spirit of the show which has never let the gee-whizz post modern mashing together of all sorts of myths, legends and historical oddities which is its storytelling bread and butter overshadow the enduring, heartfelt relationships that exist between all the characters.
An episode of this quality bodes well for Warehouse 13‘s much-shortened final season and you can get some sense of what lies ahead from these revealing interviews with Joanne Kelly first and then Eddie McClintock …