Warehouse 13 Mid-season Premiere Review: Hello, James Marsters!

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Warehouse 13 S04E11: "The Living and the Dead"

After a super-intense mid-season finale left us stranded in Europe with a plague on the loose, Warehouse 13's mid-season return jumped immediately into the fray with a countdown and everything, just to keep the energy up. It worked as well as it could. One of the risks a show takes when it ends on such an exhilarating note and then leaves the audience dangling for literally half a year is that sometimes the payoff seems a little bit... anticlimactic? "We All Fall Down" left us with a dead warehouse operative, a possibly dead warehouse operative, and an apocalyptic plague poised to wipe out the entire world. The vision of Claudia taking Artie out that the entire season built up to finally came to fruition, and we were left to dwell on that—along with the plague and everything else—for a rather long time between halves. So tonight, when the second half of the season finally premiered and everything was rather neatly wrapped up with a plant-reviving artifact sealing the sweating sickness back inside the Chinese orchid and Claudia successfully retrieving Artie from the darkest corner of his mind, I couldn't help but briefly think, "That's it?"

That wasn't it, of course, not at all, even if the resolution to the whole world-killer plague/dead-Leena/guilty-Artie thing was, honestly, kind of annoyingly simple. 

For one thing, Lena is still dead. All the chatter once Artie returned from his magical mental fantasy land seemed to imply that our dearly departed Leena would stay that way, but I currently reject that stance because UGH LEENA COME BACK and because we never saw an actual resolution to Pete apparently interacting with her ghost during the mid-season finale. 

In the meantime, Artie is still guilty. After Claudia used the dagger on him in the finale to separate the "good Artie" from the "evil Artie," good Artie retreated into a part of his mind where Leena was alive and well and his days revolved around playing the piano and feigning ignorance about some missing cookies. Claudia and Steve used Sigmund Freud's clock to interact with Artie's subconsciousness, with Claudia eventually coaxing—then forcing—him back before his mind shut down completely. But Artie clearly didn't want to be saved, and as of the end of the episode, he wasn't conversing with any of his warehouse peers. 

Despite the rescue, Claudia wasn't feeling particularly celebratory herself. Claudia has a long and checkered history of losing everyone she holds dear, and while in many cases, she eventually manages to get them back—her brother, Steve, and now Artie—girl is getting pretty sick of this pattern. Steve tried to cheer her up with some blah blah about how "It's not the win, it's the fight!" ...and then Claudia called it out as like the worst pep talk ever. Totally.

However, I'm loving—and I mean loving—the continuation of Claudia's expanded role in the warehouse mythology. Back in August, "No Pain, No Gain" was one of the best episodes of the first half of the season, and featured Claudia witnessing the birth of an artifact under Mrs. Frederic's tutelage. We've long known that Mrs. Frederic looks exceptionally good for her age, and the meeting with her elderly grandson in a nursing home all but confirmed the sort of sacrifice we suspected is part of the deal when one becomes the warehouse caretaker. Over the past few seasons, we've learned that Claudia is intended to be the next caretaker, though she's pretty adamant that she doesn't want to take on the responsibility. Given the attention to the detail of Claudia simply intuitively knowing what the dagger artifact did seems to imply a relationship with the warehouse and its contents that she may not actually get a say in after all. 

Finally, in addition to the lingering questions and issues surrounding Artie and Leena and the renewed interest in Claudia's ultimate destiny, the groundwork for the next big Warehouse 13 crisis was laid with the introduction of James Marsters (HI! <3) as the perpetually drunk and apparently immortal Dr. Sutton, who originally owned the magical world-saving, plant-reanimating ring when he was a part of Marie Antoinette's court. Given his willingness to ultimately work with Myka and Pete, let them save the world with his bling, and even take a poisoned arrow to save Myka, I'm guessing Sutton is going to be one of those "I'm out for me and only me and sometimes, maybe, reluctantly for the greater good, too" types, which is always fun. 

His equally immortal(ish) ex-wife (played by Polly Walker of Caprica, Rome, and The Mentalistseems pretty hell-bent on being bad, though. A cosmic marital squabble! That could be fun. Warehouse 13 has been pretty heavy the last season-and-a-half. Nearly everyone has died at least once. I think I could be happy with some good old-fashioned craziness for a change. How about you?

What did you think of "The Living and the Dead"?


– What are your delightful Claudia theories?

– And your equally delightful Leena theories?