Warehouse 13 "Cangku Shisi" Review: Warehouse 14

By MaryAnn Sleasman

May 13, 2014

Warehouse 13 S05E05: "Cangku Shisi"

After last week's telenovela on steroids,  it was nice to see Warehouse 13 get back into the swing of things with a Warehouse in peril (as usual), Claudia's missing sister, and Mark Shepard doing what he does best on these shows: playing one heck of an evil mo-fo. His alternate-timeline Valda, conditioned by his lifetime full of Paracelsus's twisted take on Warehouse ethics, picked up where fearless leader left off and set to building weapons out of artifacts and testing them on innocent bystanders. For science. And world domination. But mostly science. 

Last week, I lamented Warehouse 13's decision to waste one of its precious final episodes on fail like "Savage Seduction," and while my stance on that episode hasn't changed, I'm at least comfortable with what Warehouse 13 did in its penultimate episode. While the conclusion to Claire's story seemed a little hasty, it never felt rushed, and with that huge thread mostly—if not entirely—wrapped up, the possibilities for next week's series finale are promising.

So let's get back to the Warehouse in peril. We wouldn't be heading into a Warehouse 13 finale—season OR series—if there wasn't plenty of chaos and terror on display. Admittedly, after several seasons of this, the whole routine feels a little tired in the way that any TV series' signature schtick can start to feel little old-hat near the end. I would've rather have seen more small-scale, character-driven stories in these last six episodes: more focus on Claudia and Claire, more focus on Pete and Myka, anything for Jinks to do. To its credit, Warehouse 13 is making a moderate attempt to give us the best of both worlds; it was delightful to see how personal Artie took the latest attack on the Warehouse, as he desperately and irrationally grasped at anything to save his "home." In fact, I was honestly a little surprised and disappointed that the unspectacular, run-of-the mill rope that Artie slung around the possessed compass in a last-ditch effort to keep the place grounded didn't become an artifact itself, what with the amount of emotion Artie was pouring into it. Wouldn't that have been fitting? I guess there's still time. Fingers crossed!

The big bad national security threat that's now poised to dominate the series' final episode acted largely as stage dressing, and could turn out to be just that in the finale as well. The transition from Warehouse 13 to Warehouse 14 is chugging onward despite the best efforts of Artie and his agents, but I have no doubt that there will be some eleventh-hour save that keeps the Warehouse right where it is, regardless of what Mrs. Frederic says. The series looks ready to give its characters some well-earned happily-ever-after action, and a huge part of that relies on having a Warehouse to continue to call home. But "Cangku Shisi" did leave the keepers of Warehouse 13 prepared to accept their potential unemployment with the notion that hey, at least they've got each other. 

Warehouse 13 has spent the last five seasons touting the idea of the agents as a family, but it hasn't been until recently that everyone in the Warehouse has come to accept that idea, or even been in a position to embrace it. For most of the series' run, the characters needed the Warehouse because, frankly, they just didn't have much else going for them. With Pete and Myka recognizing their feelings for one another, Claudia reunited with Claire, and even Artie's on-again-off-again romance with Dr. Vanessa, the truth is that, if Warehouse 13's writers do the unthinkable and end the series with a relocation to a new Warehouse in a new host country, those left behind in America will not be left alone without homes, families, or lives to turn to. What do you think, though? Will Warehouse 13 go through with it? Are we packing up and heading to China? 


– Jinks testing Pete's truthfulness about Myka miiiiight have been my favorite moment of the season so far. 

– I'm kinda confused about how the whole Claire-subbing-for-Claudia thing worked, seeing as how, even though Claudia is the next caretaker, she's not the current caretaker. So. Like. Wouldn't it have made more sense to try to overpower Mrs. F? 

 Unless it had to be Claudia because of the idea that the next Warehouse needs the next caretaker. I think that makes sense. Let's go with that. 

– SO MANY ARTIFACTS THIS WEEK. It's like the writers looked at a list of artifacts they wanted to use, realized the show was ending, and decided to cram as many into the final episodes as possible. 

What'd you think of "Cangku Shisi"?

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  • 377221 May 19, 2014

    Earlier I pondered why they didn't just transfer the energy from the music box into a rapist and then put him in a coma. It seems the writers were on the same page. Valda wasn't a rapist as far as we knew, but that was just an example of someone the world isn't going to miss. And of course the fork trick is a much better solution as to what to do with him. I wonder if he had to keep that fork on his person for the rest of his life or if it just had to exist in that timeline? I guess it doesn't matter now.

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    &Earlier; I pondered why they didn't just transfer the energy from the music box into a
    &rapist; and then put him in a coma.

    Guest star: Stephen Collins?

  • bubujin_2 May 16, 2014

    Well, I'll be watching the leaked (?) final episode shortly, but in regards to this penultimate episode 5:

    • Gotta love Pete's "Daphne and Velma" remark to Myka and Claudia.
    • Still gotta hate Pete's dopey hairdo.
    • And really liked Artie and Jinksy's happy, huggy dance when they believed they had saved Warehouse 13 from its doom.
    • And near the end didn't Pete have a pithy "fork you" to Valda?
    • Definitely agree that in the two episodes with Claire there should have been at least some sort of casual reference to their big brother.

  • NickyDierx May 14, 2014

    Well so far, I'm sad that WH13 is only getting a 6 episode send off. It just goes to show me that Syfy don't know how to handle their properties worth a damn. They're doing this shortened season, there's been the complete gongshow they've made of the re-imagined BSG universe since that show ended (fans and the actors involved all want to do more, syfy barely throws support behind things that then ultimately fail), they canceled alphas and eureka which were all supposed to share a universe but had next to no interplay between them, and they keep making shit like sharknado. Just what the world needs. more idiotic disaster movies.
    I wonder if they keep tabs on this or other sites like it and see what people actually say about this stuff. It would be interesting to know how much of it makes any sort of impact.

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    This season has 7 fewer episodes; the previous season got 7 more. You end up at the same total episodes as if it had 5 13-episode seasons.

    &fans; and the actors involved all want to do more

    No ratings or no money/financial interest/production company, no project.

    ∧ they keep making shit like sharknado

    ...which became a big hit for them.

    Sounds like they know what they're doing. Remember, it's all about the ratings, because the ratings set what they can sell advertising time for.

  • helyanwe89 May 13, 2014

    I actually think a good end to Warehouse 13 would be for it to move and become Warehouse 14 - maybe we'll get that next week.

    Most of the season has felt like a lot of filler, but now I am starting to feel like things might be wrapping up and coming to an end.

    I still think the Pete/Myka thing came out of nowhere and I wish the show hadn't gone in that direction and left them as friends.

  • gzeigler3 May 13, 2014

    Yes, with the artifacts MaryAnn! And that includes the ones that were being moved in the warehouse. I recall the ferris wheel and the pyramid but not the windmill or the hot air balloon. The warehouse is even bigger than I thought it was.

  • Mate May 13, 2014

    Fun episode. But it felt rushed. It felt like that could have been a multi episode arc in a regular season, but they rushed it due to time constraints, which goes to show the viewer that they had way more content and things they could have done and SciFi sucks.

    But it was fun. It was nice to see Pete take the lead now that he is in love with Myka and therefore needs to be more mature, or at least his approximation of maturity.

    The Claudia and her sister thing was expected. There was no way that they were going to let that stand and end the series.

    My guess now is that this whole thing started the new warehouse chain of events and they are going to have to deal with that for the finale. Boo.

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    &which; goes to show the viewer that they had way more content and things they
    &could; have done and SciFi sucks.

    How does Syfy suck if the ratings weren't there to justify more full seasons?

  • edshrinker May 13, 2014

    everything feels rushed because it is. It has to be because of damnedable StyFy. Yeah, let's have another Sharknado. Because that is such a better concept than the incredibly heart-felt, smart, and funny W13.

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    It's not about concepts. The network isn't a charity. It's about what gets ratings which set the ad prices they can charge. Like it or not, for Season 4 Warehouse 13 achieved "Final season averages: 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 1.51 million total viewers.". The third airing of Sharknado : "Sharknado consumed 2.1 million total viewers, 863K Adults 25-54 and 791K Adults 18-49, while averaging a 1.4 household rating from 9-11PM". Sharknado set movie records for Syfy; WH13 never set series records for SyFy. Not only that, WH13 started out season 4 with a 0.8 but then dropped to as low as 0.3 for the 15th episode and hovered between 0.4 and 0.5 for the final 5. This isn't a particularly unusual pattern but season 3 averaged 0.74. Extrapolating, the numbers looked bad, especially if season 5 would start at the previous finale's ratings and then do another downward slide. (I don't know what the final six episodes of WH13 scored).

  • edshrinker May 13, 2014

    Tara Reid gotta eat. Or get more lipo

  • Tjsmooth0 May 13, 2014

    Am I the only one annoyed that in two recent episodes Claudia's sister woke up from a 15 year coma and there was no mention of her brother at all? Wouldn't someone waking up from a coma ask what happened to her brother?

  • Mate May 13, 2014

    Nope that is a plot hole. Though it might be because the actor is unavailable and they had to work around that. But yea he deserves at least a mention. They can mention that he is at CERN and unavailable or something.

  • Gislef May 13, 2014

    We don't see him in the flashbacks, either.

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    Maybe things were just too awkward after Artie kissed him on the mouth during the last Christmas episode.....

  • AndreaSinclai May 13, 2014

    I'm assuming we're to assume that (since he is the oldest) he was in college at the time...that's where he was when Artie found the brother. Didn't Claudia say he was 19 and just a kid when she was handed over to him? And hasn't he been doing something not shady but legit in a foreign country? That would explain his absence. So while it is a plot hole, I get it.

  • Tjsmooth0 May 13, 2014

    My point though isn't that he has to appear. She could have just asked "Hey, don't we have a brother? Is he still alive?" That would've been enough.

  • edshrinker May 14, 2014

    I just watched the finale. Somehow it is floating out in the land of torrents.

    After crying a good 3 or 4 times - it was ended wonderfully. No spoilers, but I will say there is room for more. StyFy will be too busy making Sharknado 6 instead, I'm sure.

    God I am so sad.

  • edshrinker May 13, 2014

    Valda makes the biggest villain mistake: "Kill them slowly"

  • edshrinker May 13, 2014

    My Dog has Ms. Scagliotti matured into a beautiful young woman. She was always cute, but she is really becoming a stunner.

    Nothing tops my Myka, however.

  • AndreaSinclai May 13, 2014

    Yeah, i see where you're coming from. The actor might not have been available or they simply couldn't make time for it. It happens.

  • Llostris May 13, 2014

    1. I still don't understand why Myka is cancer free. Did Pete cure her with artifacts in season 4 finale? Or was it one big misunderstanding and she wasn't ill in the first place?

    2. I'm glad they wraped up Claire's story line - too bad they didn't introduce her character ealier in the show. I like her very much.

    3. I was hoping they will announce Warehouse 14 as a spin off - looks like it won't happen :(

    4. I don't like the idea of Pete and Myka being the end game. They're like siblings and Myka was (maybe still is) in love with Helena.

    5. I'm really sad Warehouse 13 is ending :(

    Thanks for review, MaryAnn!

  • AuntieLove12 May 13, 2014

    About Myka, Paracelsus was lying when he told Pete she was dying. In the 1st episode this season Myka's "Procedure" revealed she was ok.

  • Llostris May 13, 2014

    I remember "the benign cyst" thing, but I somehow missed the lying part. Thanks - it's good to know Myka's ok.

  • safibwana May 13, 2014

    1. Mistake if I recall correctly.

    3. Will definitely not happen. The warehouses are always in the nation of new dominant power. If it did it would have to be in Mandarin.

    4. Stay tuned re: Helena. You'll get your answer on the Helena front next week.

  • Webminky May 13, 2014

    Ungh I know, Myka and Pete have been nothing but, You are my annoying little brother that I adore, but mostly you are annoying. Why? Why do all TV shows have to have a romantic pairing when it just isn't needed.

  • JackSaat May 13, 2014

    They need put Mark Shepard in every single show he make them all so much better!

  • alcalde Oct 22, 2014

    Honestly, at this point it's starting to seem like the same character in different shows, from the Director on Chuck to Supernatural to evil Valda here. He's not only becoming over-exposed, he's becoming typecast.

  • Watashii May 13, 2014

    Yeah, evil alternate Valda was pretty much channeling Crowley. I liked non-alternate timeline Valda because he was actually a good guy and it was kinda interesting watching Mark Shepard play a good guy.

  • Gislef May 13, 2014

    I wish he was channeling Crowley. Crowley has motivation and charm and a sharp wit. Valda as seen here had none of those. Badger from Firefly had more personality than alt-Valda did.

    It's almost as if they needed a go-to actor known for playing bad guys, to fill in the role of the "we need a big threat to finish up the series and only have two episodes to do it with" bad guy. Getting someone who had already been on the show let them pop in "alternate universe bad guy" and skip the whole motivation and developed-personality steps.

  • edshrinker May 13, 2014

    I really would have preferred they stuck with ASH (Paracelsus) for the big bad until the end. He may not have been available, however.

  • Gislef May 13, 2014

    Not this one. It was about the blandest performance I've ever seen him give. One-note "I'm an evil guy." He gave it as much nuance as he could, but there really wasn't much there to work with.

  • Writerpatrick May 13, 2014

    The Warehouse will stay where it's always been. Canada.

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