Warehouse 13 season 4 episode 1 review: A New Hope

So, after the events of last season, did they have to change the title to Warehouse 14? Here’s Jennifer’s review of the season 4 opener…

This review contains spoilers.

4.1 A New Hope

Joanne Kelly’s Myka said it best, “If we ever needed some sort of warehouse magic, now would be the time.”

Regular viewers know that the show revolves around a warehouse with TARDIS-like powers (it’s way bigger on the inside) filled with deus ex machina solutions to every episode’s problem. The great thing about that is how the creators have managed to make each of those “easy” solutions both suspenseful and challenging. In fact, I would say one of the most exciting part of the show is trying to figure out what the artifact is this time and how will it affect everyone.

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So when the warehouse was blown into a crater (and Mrs. Frederic along with it) at the end of last season, it was less a question of rebuilding it, and more a question of “what did Artie have up his sleeve?” Or indeed, in his pocket.

We open the episode with Artie, Myka and Pete standing, devastated, in the pit that used to be their home, each remembering a piece of the warehouse that was a point of happiness, now dust in front of them. Pete interrupts Artie’s reverie with the question we’ve all been thinking since the season finale, “What did you mean when you said ‘not yet’?” Sadly, even Artie is unaware of the power of the pocket watch he carries and after discovering that the one unbreakable vault in the warehouse wasn’t, he hastens over to Leena’s to check the television. Even in the midst of the warehouse’s ashes, Pete still manages to lighten to mood, and we’re grateful.

Upon arrival the group is filled in on who has passed away and who is left and Leena suddenly remembers the Ytterbium Chamber that housed Pandora’s Box, where human hope was stored. Artie turns on the television to reveal that hope was destroyed along with everything else and the whole world is falling into chaos. As a set-up, I think it’s a great way to bring us out of our sorrow over the characters’ deaths and into the big picture.

So back to the watch, what can we decipher from it? The watch is made by Barbosa (does anyone else wonder if they had to get Disney approval for this?) and has Portuguese writing on it which, of course, is translated by Myka. After following the instructions, it magically turns into a stop-watch leading the team to discover they have under 23 hours to find whatever artifact it’s connected to in order to reverse the previous 24 hours and bring Warehouse 13 back. Also, black diamonds? Quick, back to the warehouse!

It’s there we discover, after all this time, what exactly the magic football is (and another way to get pings!). After some research, the team splits and heads to France to face off against the Templar Knights (I’ve been waiting forever for the Knights to join in the fun) while Leena researches anything that might neutralize the bomb once time has been turned back. It’s here we get our first taste of Claudia’s anger over Steve’s death. We saw her take the life of Syke’s stooge last season and her dedication to using the metronome to bring Steve back (Claudia vs. Mrs. Frederic… yikes!), this seems to be the one thing she’s hanging on to in the face of everything that’s happened.

In France the team finds the town of the black diamonds (the Templars are using truffles as their “black diamond” cover for the real purpose of the town, which is to protect “the failsafe”). Artie’s aside about anyone having Francs and Claudia’s correction to Euros was well done, as was the snide French cabbie joking about the team’s mother-ship beaming them up. Still loving those laughs.

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Then it was time for the big guest appearance! It’s Brent Spiner, everyone’s favorite android, come to play as a Templar Brotherhood Knight… guy. Very fierce too, he threatens Artie and Claudia after they find the astrolabe (who else loved to hear him say “no my friend, it is you who does not understand”), and shows off his wicked knife moves by springing a booby trap from across the room. 

Myka and Pete save Artie, but Claudia is stuck in the evil knight’s trap. The process for finding the next location here reminds me more of Adam West as Batman connecting clues that don’t even go together, where did the bible even come from? But they discover where they need to go and haltingly leave Claudia behind, promising to turn back time or come back for her. One more down, three to go. Are we sensing a pattern?

The episode drags a bit here as we follow the team through a riotous Rome, where Artie knows of a restaurant that has a secret passageway straight into the Basilica of the Vatican (naturally). Myka gets herself arrested as a distraction to get Pete and Artie through, and then there were two. After a final encounter with the Knights Brotherhood, the retrieval of the alidade (to complete the astrolabe) and a great death scene by Eddie McClintock, we get a warning from good ol’ Brent Spiner. His final words (in this episode at least) to Artie are “You do this, you can tell no one, anyone. You tell of your actions, we’ll be in grave danger. If you use the astrolabe you will create an evil of your own making. An evil that will live with you the rest of your days”. A dire warning, but what other choice does Artie have?  He has to make the sacrifice for Pete, Mrs. Frederic, the warehouse, and the rest of humanity.

I like that in order to diffuse the bomb, the team had to diffuse Sykes and the evil/hate that lingered inside him after it was planted by the bracelet. I thought that was a better ending than Sykes being eaten by the portal wall. After all, the team doesn’t go after bad guys, they go after artifacts and it’s nice to see them right a wrong caused by a warehouse mistake so many years before. I don’t think Claudia would agree, but that’s for upcoming episodes. In any case, Sykes dies, putting him beyond Claudia’s wrath while ending his story arc on a much better note.

And now we begin what we assume will be a season-long balance of Artie trying to figure out what evil he has awoken without telling anyone about the astrolabe and the alternate reality that lost hope, Mrs. Frederic and Pete. But everyone is curious. H.G. won’t let go of her questions regarding Artie’s knowledge of the bomb and Sykes, you can bet on that. The indomitable Mrs. Frederic has a gray hair strand now, indicating that despite everything, the warehouse remembers and bears a scar, which, in it of itself, is fascinating. (Please read in the voice of Shatner, that’s why I wrote it that way). Eventually, the secret will slip out to someone, but whom?

The final scenes of this episode are arguably its most disturbing. Claudia ducking out in the middle of the night, Artie having no luck with his research on the astrolabe and dreaming he is being pursued by a murderous Claudia with the monk’s words echoing through his head. An evil that will live with you for the rest of your days. Pretty serious stuff.

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This episode is filled with excitement and comes to an interesting conclusion that not only sets the tone for the conflict this season, but starts an intriguing mystery with an artifact that Artie must keep secret. Seeing Artie lose team members one at a time was not as heart-wrenching as it could have been, knowing that it would all revert back, but that was tempered with the awesomeness that is Brent Spiner in an episode. As a tortured monk, no less! Not to mention Allison Sagliotti’s performance as a grief-stricken and enraged Claudia.

I’m personally sad to see this season’s conflict lean toward Claudia again. Not only is she my favorite character, but she’s already had two seasons of being the “bad guy”, real or imagined. Perhaps the writing team feels that this is an opportunity for Claudia to really get into evil territory, but I was hoping for someone a little less close to the warehouse family. Claudia is the heart of the show, and I for one don’t want it broken.

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