Every week I get so pumped to maybe run into James Marsters and his crazypants immortal ex-wifey, but at least the current stretch of Warehouse 13 episodes has proven to be such a delightful improvement over much of the first half of the season that I don't actually mind the wait, and "The Big Snag" was no exception.
When an artifact went awry, Myka and Pete were thrown backward in time to the 1940s—but not just any part of the 1940s, and despite Pete and Myka's experience with wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff in the past, they found themselves slightly outside their realm of experience once they realized the snag in their newest time-travel adventure: They were actually in a writers's unfinished noir novel, complete with amazingly cheesy and occasionally nonsensical one-liners. Between the two of them, Pete's love of noir film and Myka's bookworm tendencies and fangirl crush for MIA author Anthony Bishop provided enough background that they were able to take it, and then embrace it, in all it's black-and-white glory. I particularly loved Pete pointing out that the black-and-white scenes weren't just a novel gimmick for the audience, but the actual canon color of the world around them.
With that said, I'm not sure why the photos Syfy released for this episode are mostly in color except way to be lazy, Syfy.
Also, I kept imagining Myka's dress as red and I don't appreciate having the illusion ruined.
Back in our own time and relative dimension in space, Claudia and Steve tag-teamed Artie into taking on a case in the field, and while we all knew it was undoubtedly going to be at least a partial disaster—they did stop the bad guy, er, girl after all—even I was kind of floored by Artie repeatedly flinging himself into peril. I see what you're trying to do, Clauds, and I feel ya and all, but maaaaaybe some baby steps were in order. While it seems like everyone at the warehouse, and especially Claudia, is desperate to put the incident with the astrolabe and the orchid and Leena's death behind them, Artie's own needs and concerns are being lost in the haste. The man has a lot to feel guilty about and it's not really unwarranted either. A little guilt can be a good thing, but Artie's guilt is definitely starting to head into unhealthy territory. However, throwing him back into work and hoping that he'll just fall back into the routine probably isn't the best approach—especially since working at the warehouse is anything but routine to begin with.
Claudia's own healing is so deeply tangled up in Artie's that she needs him to hurry up and be okay for her own sake as much as for the decent-human-being impulses most people feel when they see their loved ones hurting. Artie is Claudia's father figure, he probably ties Jinks for BFF status, and even after she took him hostage that one time, he saw the potential in her both in terms of her genius and her morality. Even though Claudia was in a tough place when Artie was off the rails under the astrolabe's influence and the action she was forced to take really was for the best, it doesn't change the fact that she hurt someone she cares about and as a result, is currently tending her own guilt.
Aside from a few lines here and there confirming that Claudia feels bad about stabbing Artie, we haven't actually seen much of Claudia working on her own needs. She and Artie are in very similar headspaces at the moment, with friends and peers repeatedly telling them they aren't blamed for what transpired, that they did what they had to do, that these sorts of things happen when you work at the library of crazy and while it's all very unfortunate, it wasn't entirely unexpected. They both bristle under the well-meaning reassurances, and Claudia has subsequently thrown herself into overdrive when it comes to Artie who, despite their similar baggage, is struggling under a much heavier load.
A frank and honest discussion between the two about their lingering feelings would probably serve them well, but with Steve going to the Regents with his concerns about seemingly suicidal Artie, it looks like the higher-ups will be stepping in before Claudia and Artie get their chance.
Myka and Pete ultimately solved the case of the jade elephant and made their escape from 1940s noir land which beneath all the pulp mystery and romance was also a story about redemption for the formerly missing author who retreated to the fantasy land in grief and guilt following the unexpected death of his beloved wife. He even fashioned the beautiful blonde love interest after her—which made him an unexpected enemy when Pete and Myka grew close to solving the crime and escaping back to the real world. In the original story, Lily the Love Interest was intended to die and if Pete and Myka accomplished their goal, the story would end and Bishop would, essentially, lose his wife all over again. By becoming an active participant in the story, Bishop's influence altered the original narrative to the point that Myka and Pete's victory didn't mean certain death for Lily. He essentially saved his wife in his fantasy the way he was unable to in reality, and stayed behind in his fantasy to whisk Lily off to Bora Bora after Myka and Pete departed. There are a few parallels between Bishop and Artie and their fantasies of lost loved ones, and in a way, the patience and understanding Myka and Pete showed him (sort of) contrasts directly with the insistence Claudia used when she literally pushed Artie out of his Leena-laden dream world. It's true that time was of the essence in that particular situation and while Bishop's happy ending with Lily was sweet, it also kind of left me unsettled because it was also very sad. When Pete and Myka escaped, no one knew what would happen to the occupants of the fantasy land after they left-- whether they would simply live on or just stop—and by remaining behind, Bishop essentially chose possible death. In the end, it worked out for him and he got his happily ever after, but for Artie, that just wasn't an option.
With the heavy themes running just beneath all the catchphrases and car chases, "The Big Snag" was a fun, but poignant episode of Warehouse 13. I've been enjoying the second half of the Season 4 quite a bit, though I am, admittedly, beginning to wonder whether there will be a bigger arc to it than just dealing with the fallout from the astrolabe. If every episode continues to tell such an enjoyable and well-rounded story drawing on the themes surrounding Pete, Myka, Steve, Claudia, and Artie during the ongoing aftermath, I won't mind terribly—though I'll be concerned about the potential for a fifth season. What about you?
NOTES FROM THE LIBRARY OF CRAZY
– "Your goons went easy on me because I'm a dame... They should have tied my ropes tighter." BOOM. Myka for HBIC.
– I dug the throwback opening credits. Also the music. Not just the '40s stuff, but even the Starsky & Hutch/'70s porno car-chase stuff.
– What do you think the Regents have in store for Artie? Memory wipe?