Keepin’ it local — Musings on the last few weeks of Warehouse 13

I haven’t updated with my thoughts on the last few weeks of Warehouse 13, so this is going to be a more general post about the last three, I believe — all of which were very, very good.

For the most part, this series likes to send Myka and Pete off to seemingly exotic locales (inasmuch as the production can do with its Canada-based sets and locations) and that’s fine because it often ties the artifacts with both people and places. However, I have been itching for the series to play in the local sandbox a little more and not just the Warehouse. The quirky Dakota setting plays well into the charm of the series, but before these last few episodes, we haven’t spent much time with them or in the small hamlet of a town aside from the bed and breakfast that the agents stay at.

Thankfully, the last three episodes have spent a lot of time in the local setting and exploring at least a few of the characters there. It seems only fitting that the Warehouse’s aura and “charm” will rub off on the town and its citizens. And by rub off, I mean cause a whole lot of problems for them. In “Beyond Our Control,” a goofy B-movie roll goes wild all over the town, which finally gave us some explanations for why people don’t like Pete and Myka. Turns out, Artie and the government has told everyone that the Warehouse is actually a major IRS facility. No wonder Pete’s stuff has taken so long to get there! I wondered why the previous two episodes had shown little scenes with the two leads out and about in town, and obviously it was all in set-up for these episodes. Said scenes also pushed me to think that we needed more local action.

The episode also introduced Todd, the new love interest for Claudia that ultimately didn’t serve a whole lot of purpose aside from allowing Claudia to make a fool of herself and deal with not sharing her life with someone. I guess that is a purpose, then. Anyway, it was nice to see some character work for Claudia, because although she’s lived in psych wards and now in government facilities, she’s still just a teenager and those hormones and opinions were bound to ram up against her job. Pete, Myka and Artie don’t really have to do with the secrecy thing because it’s not a new gambit for them (and because the series doesn’t seem interested in diving into their personal lives outside of government work anyway), but it was smart to play this little 3-episode arc for Claudia.

The next episode, “Age Before Beauty,” didn’t spend as much time locally as the previous one as Pete and Myka went overseas for some undercover work in the fashion world, but still brought us some small tidbits of character. It’s totally unoriginal to have the attractive female agent to not believe in herself or the way she looks, but the episode rightly tied that beat with the artifact. Moreover, even when the series tends to push Pete and Myka together in a slightly romantic way, they quickly turn it into a goofy exchange like the one where Pete can’t even look at Myka to tell her the gooey stuff. It’s obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension, but it works on me.

Finally, this week’s episode, “13.1,” brought us more history of the Warehouse and its effects on the people who work there. The episode introduced us to Hugo Miller, an older tech guy who split his brain in half so that he could keep an eye on the Warehouse while avoiding any trouble from the Powers That Be. As Pete and Myka discuss throughout the episode, as kooky and goofy as this series is, anyone who we’ve met that’s worked at or with the Warehouse has ended up dead, crazy, murderous or all three. Those discussions and the events of this episode went a long way in reminding us as an audience that there are consequences to this job despite the macabre humor that comes along with it. It’s something that was discussed in the season premiere a little bit, but the through-line had been lost amid the quirks of the procedural episodes, so I’m glad it’s back. Integrating these little moments of history about the Warehouse with some consequences is a way of keeping some serialization in without trying too hard. We know the Warehouse is bad, but it’s nice to be reminded of such.

Also, I loved that Artie had almost forgotten that there was a huge batch of computers down in the lower bowels of the Warehouse because he hates them so much.

Anyway, three great episodes.

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