Warehouse 13 season 4 episode 4 review: There's Always A Downside

Review Jennifer Cates
15 Aug 2012 - 16:18

Magic marbles, mysterious jazz musicians, and a lot of fun, here's Jennifer's review of the latest Warehouse 13...

This review contains spoilers.

4.4 There's Always A Downside

What a great episode this week! A couple of stellar artifacts combined with Artie’s new nemesis Brother Adrian makes for a fast paced and exciting time.

We start off splitting up our two favourite teams and mixing things up a bit. Artie wants Pete to observe Claudia to make sure she’s not sprouting any evil horns or anything, so he puts them together despite Claudia’s protestations. The two pings our teams are investigating this time around are from our favorite 70s computer geek, Hugo Miller, who seems to have found an artifact, and a group of patients in New Orleans who have all suddenly been cured of their very serious mental illnesses. Personally, I think it’s fun to see things mixed up a bit, although the chemistry of the new teams is much more serious than that of our established duos.

So off we go to Hugo’s house. Hugo seems to have discovered Bobby Fischer’s marbles, an artifact that gives people the concentration and drive necessary to achieve any goal. The downside (remember, there’s always a downside) is that it also causes violent behaviour with a side of possible insanity and stroke. It is here where we discover two very disturbing things: first that the marbles were shipped to his house anonymously (too close to last season’s conflict for comfort); second, that his nephew had not only used the artifact, but also lent marbles to four of his friends. This of course leads to Pete, Hugo and Claudia running around a prep school trying to collect and neutralize all the marbles before any permanent damage is done by the artifacts.

I’m loving Claudia more than usual in this episode. While we’re missing out on her banter with Steve, we’re starting to see her grow up a bit. Certainly she’s managed to mature past Hugo’s mental age and seeing her comfort and encourage someone who is so much older than her was an interesting addition to her repertoire. The fact that she’s able to do so while apparently dying is nothing short of amazing, although I have to say that Hugo lost major points when he went into his personal pity party while someone was struggling and in pain next to him.

This was a great case and it was fun to see Claudia and Pete working together. I especially liked Pete’s “concentration” scene where he uses the marble to help him shut down the furnace before the entire student body gets gassed. Seeing the positive effects of the marble was pretty cool, and Pete is always good for a laugh, this time singing a victory song for his 8th grade shop teacher.

Myka and Steve’s trip to The Big Easy is a bit more low-key than prep-school fist fights. They follow the artifact’s trail from the therapist’s office to a bar in the quarter and discover a musician who is stealing people’s pain in order to play the trumpet like a jazz legend.This whole set up is obviously meant to parallel Steve’s current dilemma, namely his emotional turmoil over being dead as well as swapping his pain with Claudia.

The scene where the musician attempts to steal Steve’s pain is well edited, pulling both story lines together to show Claudia suffering and Steve inadvertently revealing to Myka the downside to the metronome. Steve and Myka’s heart-to-heart at the end of their adventure is a moving one, and convincing Steve to take some time to figure out how to fix the problem rather than just give up is a good plot point. I’m wondering if this means we won’t see Steve for a while or if we’ll be getting yet another thread in an increasingly complex story line. I’m hoping for the latter.

Speaking of complex story lines, the third part of this episode follows Artie and the formidable Brother Adrian. By far the best part of the episode, Brother Adrian’s mind games with Artie were an absolute pleasure to watch. The whole set up with the fake artifact and Adrian’s coy prodding while Artie pretends to be helpful was all well written and extremely fun to see.

But now the gloves are off and Brother Adrian is not pulling any punches. Artie’s failed attempt to get him to forget about the astrolabe’s use seems to have fanned the flames of our intimidating brother’s determination. The fact that Brother Adrian went forward with stealing and distributing warehouse artifacts before he was certain of Artie’s involvement only enhances the picture we were painted in the season opener of a ruthless man who will stop at nothing to see his life’s mission completed. I’m interested to see if Artie telling Adrian about the world losing hope has any impact on things. Adrian was very explicit in his warnings that Artie could not tell anyone about what happened, so perhaps that’s what puts things in motion for the evil to escape. I love the Oedipus plot, attempting to avoid your fate is what causes it, hopefully that’s what we’re looking at.

Overall this was an excellent episode, lots of great lines and character development. I’m interested in the further battle between Adrian and Artie, and next episode is supposed to show us the creation of an artifact. That should be exciting. Until then!

Read Jennifer's review of last week's episode, Personal Effects, here.

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