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

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"?


QUESTIONS FROM THE "LIBRARY OF CRAZY”

– What are your delightful Claudia theories?

– And your equally delightful Leena theories?

Comments (39)
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I also thought this was a bit anticlimatic but hey, James Marsters! There's no way to beat that awesomeness.
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I'm just glad to see James Marsters back on my tv screen! Hey Spike!
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i thought it was okay but I'm gonna miss Lena i'm one of the few that liked her character
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Great season start to a great show. Nuff said!! Gonna miss Leena, but you could see the effect it had on Artie. Plus, James Marsters as a possible recurring bad guy - I love it!!!
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More Myka and H.G. for us closeted lesbians!
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So I'm wondering if Jane Espensen wrote this episode of her show because they had so many "Spike" shout-outs it could have been a drinking game to this episode. Who doesn't love Marsters with the British accent? Adding him and Polly Walker makes me want to come back for this season.
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Even though James Marsters is as American as capitalism, apple pie, and killing indigenous people for personal gain, I must admit, it's nice to hear him with a British accent again.
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None of those three are specific to USA, though...
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True, but we totally owned them.
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I'm so glad this show returns even if it sucks that we had to wait so long for the rest of the season and that they kinda cheated us for a season.

I don't care if Leena is dead, but I don't like that it made Artie "dark". I hope they get him back to normal because he is the best character! I loved the show most before Claudia arrived, but I've gotten used to her by now. There's no need for Steve though so he should go next.
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James Marsters makes everything better. It makes an already fantastic show even more so. This was a great comeback episode and introduced us to a couple of new characters. What I am particularly going to enjoy is the relationship between Sutton and Myka. There is an attraction there. Sutton is obviously a cad, and Myka is a huge history nerd. Sutton is history, he has lived history and Myka is likely going to be attracted to that. So a potential love triangle with them and his wife are going to be an interesting addition to the show. The various love interests over the time of the show with Pete and the Veterinarian, and Claudia and the guy in witness protection as well as Fargo. Always fun.

I am glad this is back it really is just fun TV.
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I loved James Masters. I hope he sticks around for a while. I liked the episode. Just glad W13 is back
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I thought that Pete and especially Myka where dumb to think dr. Sutton was dead. I mean he is 519 years old and grew up during extremely violent time periods so yeah if he didn't die at least once during that time he would have to be a hermit to be able to stay alive. So why did tey not make sure he was dead?
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I agree... when in such a wacky world like their's you should probably follow some clear movie rules. Don't split up in a spooky/haunted/killer house. Don't run upstairs to flee a killer. etc.

A near-immortal making a hammy "Oh no, I'm dying" speech should probably warrant a potential "he's faking it response" I mean sure, they had a lot on their plate... did Artie make it, is the world really saved... etc. I don't know if their Teslas get any bars in the crypts. And perhaps it was like Highlander where his heart stops for X seconds/minutes. Still, a double-check or fireman-carry is probably warranted.

Though by same logic, it's also common in fiction that a near-immortal is just ageless and can be killed. This actually closely follows an old Twilight Zone episode... ageless guy granted eternal youth by an alchemist and avoided injury and death for hundreds of years (even in violent times). Only to get killed in the 70's. So if following
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It seemed anticlimactic because it WAS anticlimactic. Just another regular mission to save the world, and nobody in the news noticed the magical ashes everywhere? The B-story mission was intended to carry the weight I guess, Artie hiding in his own head from Leena's death. The payoff in both was anticlimactic and kind of dull, "that's it?" is exactly how you should feel in an underwhelming season premiere like this.

Thankfully, James Marsters was awesome and made his part of the story a lot of fun, including a cheap shot at Buffy's vampires. I'd argue he saved this episode from falling entirely on its face.

Leena needs to stay dead, she's always felt like an superfluous element that's never quite gelled.
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It sucks that Leena is dead, I liked her, and if you can bring back Steve I don't see how Leena can't coming back. :( It will be interesting to see how Artie behaves going forward, he obviously resents being brought back. Leena has been his right hand from the beginning, even before Myka and Pete joined up, so I know it will be hard for him to accept what he did to her, even if he wasn't himself. I liked what Claudia did, and even if Artie didn't appreciate it, I'm sure he will come around sooner than later.

Can I say I LOVE James Marsters on the show. SPIKE!!! Glad he didn't die and looking forward to his arc on the show.
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So besides the "reveal" that Claudia was able to tell what the dagger did via instinct...

Is another tell of her instinctual knowledge expanding when she described the entire backstory of that hat that trapped her and Jinx in the webbing? Granted, in THIS case she might have just read up on it.

But considering we haven't seen that item on-screen before and I doubt she read up on every-single-random item in the Warehouse yet... I imagine that was another clue of her "knowledge" asserting itself.

Even though the warehouse they were in was still just a figment of Artie's subconscious.
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MaryAnne, a shout out to you for your thoughtful, intelligent and positive review. Just what I like in a review.

It's a relief to have a tv.com review that I don't have to skip through because it's so negative that it ruins my enjoyment of a program that I just enjoyed watching.

The female reviewers at tv.com rule!
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Wasn't this on a week or 2 ago?
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It aired on Hulu and SyFy.
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yeah, it was a screener.
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1. Since both Polly Walker and James Marsters are already on Warehouse 13 - they only need to hire Alessandra Torresani and Magda Apanowicz and we will have Caprica reunion! I still can't understand why Sci-fi cancelled that show :(

2. No H. G. Wells. Since Jaime Murray is on Defiance now - we can probably forget about her return :(

3. Claudia is doomed to become Warehouse manager / caretaker. There is nothing she can do about it. Accept it, girl.

4. I'll miss Leena. I guess she's really dead and not coming back.

5. So good to see Myka again! I missed you, girl! The mid-season break was killing me!

I'm glad Warehouse 13 is back. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Thanks for review, MaryAnn!

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3. From the teasers of the upcoming season, it seems that Claudia starts to embrace her "destiny" more and more. Either that, or an artifact was making her crazy in those scenes.

The fact that she was able to use her instincts to know how an artifact behaved... without having read up about it prior, shows the momentum has built up.
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2. I don't think so. Jamie Murrary is still on a SyFy show so I seriously doubt we've seen the last of HG Wells.

4. There was an interview with the producers after Leena's death and they said yes she's really dead. However since it's the Warehouse we can expect to see her again in some form or another.

5. I know how you felt. I missed Claudia!
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H.G. has been shown in the previews for upcoming episodes.
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Really? That's a great news!
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Yup. I don't know how MANY episodes will have her. But after the season premier they showed a teaser of the upcoming season and Jamie Murray appeared.

It's not unheard of for an actor/actress to appear on another show from sharing the same mothership (network / studio / creator)... even if it's just a guest-spot or a rare-recurring-role. Due to semi-shared-ownership, they will often get the writers or whatever to work around it.

It's a win-win for the mothership... the cross promotion brings in fans from show A into show B, and gets the fans of show B to at least consider show A a little more.

When it's different networks and/or different studios it's trickier and thus doesn't happen as often. After all, you're helping an entity that's either your rival or someone you don't care for.

Unless it's network vs cable... that stuff happens all of the time. Partially because the shooting schedules are different since cable shows tend to start airing like 6month after the network shows.
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It was good but I'm sad that Leena is dead. I hope they find a way to bring her back. I'll keep watching, for a while. But if she stays gone,and it looks that way, I'm gone too.
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Is Leena the only reason you watch?
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Weird. She hardly ever appears on Warehouse 13.

Season 1 had more of her, but even then it was quite little. Since then her appearances (and lines) have been reduced dramatically

It's like no longer watching "How I Met Your Mother" if Carl the bartender left the show.
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It is NOTHING like Carl the bartender leaving the show; it's not even close. It's obvious you don't understand or better still, you don't want to understand, considering my icon. I'm not going to debate this or justify it simply because it will then degenerate into a flame war and I don't have the time or desire. Thank you for the comments, though. Take care.
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LOL, obviously I exaggerated.

I like Leena but you seriously have to go back and watch the last couple of seasons... she's appeared less and less and less. Which is sad because her character was cool and showed a lot of promise... she had a lot of "insight" to the point she was clairvoyant and acted as a great psychologist for the crew to stay level-headed.

At least in Season 1 she had more dialog and acted as counsel for Artie and the rest. But then they minimized her quite a bit and until the last couple of episodes prior to her death she was practically a stand-in. I think this season, prior to watching Artie go crazy, the only real episode she contributed was when she realized Claudia and Jinx were linked.
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Awsome episode!!! Only negative,that we had to wait so long for it,BUT I rather wait straight 6 months,than have those annoying breaks between episodes! I like to watch shows,well best way back to back,but even week to week works well with my time. To have 3 episodes air,then break for 1month,air 1-2 episodes,another break for month,1 episode air,another monthly break....arrrghhh,STOP already!

I think we all knew,they will have to "put orchid back in it's place" adn since,this wasn't the first time orchid was released,it made sense,they were some records about containing it.
And this show has Claudia!!! Oh my,I love Artie,Pete and Myka+rest of cast/guest stars,but I LOOOOOOVE Claudia!

Is it possible,that someone would do reviews of Continuum's 2nd season? This site is about shows and it's really a waste,if someone doesn't do reviews of awsome shows,but they do reviews of reality shows! I know,where Continuum airs,but still...I ain't gonna read them,when it comes waaaay behind on SyFy.
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When Sutton (James Marster) was dissing vampires I was half expecting Pete to say somrpething like "I liked Buffy the...." And get cut off. Alas no direct jokes.
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More than likely that type of carry on would be on CW. CW does that type of thing all the time. Supernatural especially. Every 4-5 minutes (maybe 8 1/2 minutes) they would reference something or say something like ''Your not going all [insert reference material here that the kids would know at this point] are you?'' etc. Although Sci-fi does that to along with other networks but CW does it a lot. It does get a bit tedious at the best of times.
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True, CW does it the most.

And I wouldn't have even assumed it would happen, except for when Spike... er Sutton started trashing on how lame vampires were. As soon as that started I was expecting a more direct joke.
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Actually, there is a direct joke, although rather subtle - he keeps mentioning Pete's forehead, and Buffyverse fans know that Spyke likes to refer to Angel as captain Forehead :D
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I suppose Leena may guest star a little but maybe not since when I looked at IMDB, she's in some other new Canadian TV show so not sure what she'll do. I really want to get into more of the Mrs. Frederic / Claudia stuff and how Mrs. F's backstory went to become the caretaker and then never age. No rush with Claudia becoming more important since I like her being a techy and agent.

Ultimately we know Dr. Sutton and his ex-wife are the main plot devices this season and the various previews look pretty good. Jaime will be back as HG so I'm thrilled with that and happy she can do it being on Defiance.

To add to this comeback show after the long mid-season break, it did seem to be an ep. that just wanted to tie up the Artie being stabbing part and plague stuff very fast being able to get into the rest of the season. That's okay since it's happened before but the Artie thing was big and maybe could have been prolonged a bit more.
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I haven't watched it yet, nor have read the review, because Canada airs it one week late. But I'm excited that its being reviewed.
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