Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Warehouse 13, A New Hope

Ok, folks, this is the long, rambly, spoilery review with parentheses, diversions, and ramblings about the show-in-general. If you want the short, non-spoiler review of A New Hope, and only A New Hope, go over and see the post on The Geek Girl Project (Yes, I’m totally taking advantage of this dual-blogging business. I may or may not do so again. Let me know what you think, if you happen to have an opinion).

First a bit of background: Warehouse 13 and I have not always gotten along. In fact, at one point, I quit watching it all together (the generic Indian artifact episode, IIRC). However, there was some embroidery thread that needed untangling, and it was up on hulu, so I started watching again. The relationship stayed rocky—I could not, and cannot believe either Pete or Myka as Secret Service agents (at least, I hope the U.S. is not recruiting overgrown thirteen year olds), Pete annoys me most episodes (he’s only 13 on his good days), they play fast and loose with mythology and history and geography. The pacing of those early episodes is off horribly (the one with the old movies coming to life? It should’ve been a really fun B-movie in its own right, but it never quite got moving). And yet. And yet, I keep watching. I may fuss about the history or they mythology (I usually do), but the artifacts still have me hooked anyway (Sylvia Plath’s typewriter is in the vault where they keep the extra-dangerous stuff. Escher designed the vault. Lewis Carol really owned a mirror with bizarre properties). Pete drives me nuts, but Myka has grown on me. H. G. Wells is completely wrong and based on an entirely clich├ęd view of the Victorian period (Yes, actually, she could have been a scientist and a science fiction writer in the Victorian era. Not easily, but she could), but I like her character anyway. Mrs. Frederick had my attention from the beginning.

And, I have to admit, the plotting has gotten a lot better. With more agents, the writers can split the team and have A and B plots, keeping things hopping. So, it’s stayed on my hulu watch list, the show I watch in spite of myself, generally in fits and starts.

Until A New Hope, which surprised me by being downright good. It was tightly plotted, made good use of its characters, and was spot-on with its choice of artifacts. Every one of the characters got a moment to shine. Even Pete’s childishness was used to good effect.

A New Hope picks up where Stand left off: The warehouse has been destroyed; Steve Jinks is dead. H.G. Wells is dead. Mrs. Frederick died with the warehouse. Pete, Myka, and Artie are left in wilderness of ruin. Worse, when the warehouse was destroyed, so was Pandora’s Box, and with it, hope(1), leading to mass despair and riots around the world. With only a strange, glowing watch and a few cryptic clues to go on, they have to try to repair things.

The watch turns out to be part of Magellan's astrolabe, which might give them the chance of getting the last twenty-four hours back: Enough time to prevent the destruction of the warehouse.

They lack the full resources of the warehouse, however, and the missing pieces of the artifact are guarded by descendants of the Templars, who are not known for being reasonable.

I applaud the actors and writers for their effective use of the space and for writing death scenes that worked even with the possibility of a revision. Pete, for example, stays in little boy mode when he dies, and it’s just about heartbreaking. He’s dying, it hurts, and he wants to know if he’s done the right thing and saved the day. Artie’s response, too, was amazing. He really is heartbroken, and is going to remember Pete’s death, even if they do succeed.

And hey, they used a reset button effectively. Usually, I really hate resets, but this revision worked. Even though they saved the world, they couldn’t save Jinks. They killed Sykes, however inadvertently, and Artie is going to remember Helena dying, and Pete dying, and having to leave Claudia in a trap. Worse, he cannot tell anyone else, and he’s been warned that using the artifact will create another evil that will haunt him (3). So, kudos to all involved! It was a good episode and a great start to a new season.

With Eureka gone, I need a new show. Warehouse 13 may just surprise me by being that show after all.

Note: As of this writing, A New Hope is still up on hulu. You can catch The Stand and Emily Lake are there, too, if you want to refresh your memory.

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(1) Minor gripe here: According to the version I read, hope left the box and settled down happily in Pandora’s heart, so, you know, it couldn’t be destroyed. However, we could say that’s a result of the
(2) Ok, this part does bug me: Yeah, the crazy Templar person who wouldn’t listen to reason in the first place told him he couldn’t. What makes Artie decide he’s a reliable source of information? Or is Artie just erring on the side of caution because artifacts usually do have bad side effects?

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