Warehouse 13: Worst Scavenger Hunt Ever

Warehouse 13 S04E03: “Personal Effects”

Zombie Steve got to reclaim his stuff from the Living Quarters Collection. It was a pretty big moment for him. Pete good-naturedly lamented the hot water rationing that would have to be re-implemented now that Leena’s was back to housing five warehouse agents. Gone was his much loved 30-minute power shower. Ashes to ashes, blah blah blah.

So it seemed that things were mellowing out and getting back to the warehouse’s version of normal after last week's time-traveling-revenge/corpse-reanimation adventures, but one more Sykes-oriented mission had all hands on deck for an artifact scavenger hunt in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. I actually saw this episode of Supernatural (S07E16, “Out with the Old”). You know, the one where the guy who has no idea that the junk he’s carting around is a trove of cursed objects, I mean, ARTIFACTS, and he ends up unwittingly unleashing them on innocent townspeople through the magic of a consignment shop, leaving Sam and Dean, I mean, PETE AND MYKA, to clean up the mess. Yeah, THAT episode.

It’s cool though. I’m not even mad. I’m not particularly delighted, but I’m not mad. Supernatural is like a billion years old. It compulsively rips off its own storylines, and the fact that another show has seen fit to (theoretically) draw inspiration from that ancient well isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless Warehouse 13 starts churning out the angst at the speed of Walter White’s meth lab—then we’re going to have problems.

Oh. Wait.

So basically, the First Annual Devil’s Lake Artifact Hunt appeared to be standard Warehouse 13 fare, right down to our three teams. Myka and Pete, Artie and Leena, and (Zombie) Jinks and Claudia split up to find the AWOL artifacts. There was the dude using the invisible Ray Bans to perv on babes in the Victoria’s Secret knock-off. There was the possessed violin and the golf clubs of rage. And finally there was the pipe with the power to control the weather. Steve gave the obligatory warning/reminder that using artifacts for personal gain is a bad idea and hinted at the disaster that we ALL know is going to befall his reanimated ass at some point this season. He noticed that the pain from any injuries he received was immediately transferred to Claudia, presumably due to her soul being the glue holding his zombie self together. Interesting. And weird. And then OMG THE DUDE WITH THE UN-PEACE PIPE TOTALLY KILLED HIMSELF SO THAT HIS TERMINALLY ILL LITTLE BROTHER COULD HAVE HIS HEART.

I... what? I mean, I guess it would have been nine kinds of wrong to waste the little kid just to make a point about not being able to control destiny or whatever but really, Syfy, what am I supposed to take away from this? Support Obamacare? I got that when it was revealed that Jesse was using the artifact to steal money to pay for his little brother’s medical treatment. I mean, we went from, “Oh look, social commentary” to “I NEED TO REEVALUATE MY LIFE” awfully quick there, skippy.

But still, I’m not mad. Warehouse 13, I’m not mad. I’m not disappointed. Really. That was a pretty ballsy move there. I’m just confused. And a little bit scared.

Actually, I’m very scared: for Claudia and Zombie Steve and their soul glue malfunction, for Artie and Leena and their angry aura tango, and for Myka and Pete and... actually, Myka and Pete are doing okay for once. But this season has been real from the premiere and just when it looked like it was ready to hit the brakes, whoever is behind the wheel decided to reach for the NOS.



Additional Notes from the “Library of Crazy”


– Uh-oh. Artie let some details slip while under the influence of the golf clubs o’ rage. Leena’s totally onto him. I wonder if it counts as telling someone if he spills to Trailer the warehouse dog? They DO have a psychic connection, after all.

– “I feel like Helen Hunt in Twister.” Man, I love Twister. Screw Helen Hunt, though. I want to be Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Suck Zone!

Comments (32)
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While it was good to see the actor who had the pipe get something outside of his last scifi stint in Stargate Universe, I didn't like this episode much for a few reasons:

1. When they do these "grab many items" in a single episode, it feels rushed and that I'm missing out on what could be a great story.

2. Didn't even get to see the waffle iron story (I know I can download the bells & whistles {the apps} but who has the time....make it easy...just put it on the internet if your going to do that) If it is on the internet, then they need to do a better job of advertising that! (and someone please let me know where so I can watch it!)

3. While the story with the pipe was developed ok enough, this story with Artie is kind of pissing me off. They keep poping back and forth between scenes of this and that and confusing the issue...I need to go back and watch episodes now just because I feel like I missed something & I know I haven't missed and episode yet!
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I just had a very adult thought about what other things Steve may do that Claudia may feel.



And I feel yucky for going there.
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No! No! No! Myka's hair remains VERY scary!
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Exactly!! What tehe heck is wrong with her hair???? It totally takes my attention off the lines cause I just stare at it...
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Every episode of W13 is a scavenger hunt, that's the entire point of Pete and Micah's jobs since they got recruited, and a third of the time it's artifacts in the hands of people who just came across them. I really don't see how you can claim they're ripping off Supernatural on this. Hell, W13 is partly based on the SciFi Channel miniseries, The Lost Room, which was entirely that kind of scavenger hunt based on artifacts that are dangerous in the hands of people who didn't seek them out.
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Very astute observation JT . Notice how many LR actors now have great spots on the tube? Wonder when the desire to time travel becomes a reaccuring theme
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You forgot Friday the 13th, the series. Same stuff, only they were hunting "cursed" objects and storing them in a curse-proof vault instead of an gooified warehouse.
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Meanwhile, they need to get Captain Renard from Grimm to crossover and resurrect Marcus Diamond so the two of them can meet. *heh*
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Hmm. I don't recall Sykes suffering the same pains every time Marcus got shot, stabbed, and tossed out a window last year...
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Didn't they say they didn't have any way of knowing what the cost would be? As in it is a different thing every time?
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Online satellite imagery is amazingly detailed and only takes a minute to check. The establishing shot of 'Devil's Lake, ND' appeared to be in the Arizona desert. It's actually flat. No outlet means Devil's Lake varies wildly in area and depth w/ rainfall. A farm/Indian encampment could end up underwater or suddenly re-emerge over the years (clearly the 'Devil' was to blame). Wouldn't THAT have made a great plot device? IMO writers don't take advantage of the internet, preferring the comfort of the insular "tired pop culture referencing, college grad white guy writer" world. No wonder shows are so similar. I enjoy most of their writing, I just think they should expand their reference base.
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I adore Warehouse 13 and I love this episode. I do not watch Supernatural but I do know the scavenger hunt idea has been used many times before. That's OK. Most things on TV aren't original just its execution.

Everything about Personal Effects was on point. I love Leena being out and about doing her aura/Artie's right hand woman thing. I love the fun easiness between Pete and Mika. I like seeing the SGU guy (I miss that show).

Lastly, Warehouse 13 has no "will they or won't they?" angst. I love that!
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im not sure i will read your reviews on this show anymore. I thought that this was great episode that reminded me that these characters can all actively team up and get things done. we finally got to see more examples of leenas gifts, which took long enough. granted some plot points were weak, over all its want i expected! Its a summer syfy show, seriously. unless your gonna give them some of your money for better writers and effects, then suck it up and just suspend your disbelief for a bit and enjoy the show.
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this was a pretty unpleasant review from my perspective.



you did a fair amount of comparing it to a show and episode i've never seen before? while we're claiming stealing of plot devices, how about mulder and scully?



i felt the pawned artifacts worked well for the episode and thought three teams of two was a nice change of pace as well.



since you shouldn't have expected me to know how this episode compared to an episode of supernatural, i guess i couldn't expect you to recognize and acknowledge that the guest protagonist was Lt. Matthew Scott from SGU.
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I have kind of a shit memory, and while I've seen every episode of Supernatural I can't say I remembered that one in particular. This did not ruin the review for me. I don't think you should expect to know everything that a writer references. Seeing/remembering that episode was in no way essential to understanding the piece; she gave you all the information you needed. Also, "fair amount" seems to imply she kept comparing to Supernatural; I'm seeing the Supernatural comparison in one discrete section. Why no complaints abut the Breaking Bad reference? That one is okay because you personally knew what she was talking about?



Did you ever take the SAT's or any other standardized test? There's typically a section called "Reading Comprehension" where they give you an out of context paragraph or page about a subject you're suppose to know nothing about as a student. Something like semi-truck repair, where they references tools and parts you've never heard of. Then they ask you questions about the passage that can be answered solely based on the text in front of you. What you've done here is basically complain that you are unhappy you failed Reading Comprehension because you have only worked on Honda motorcycles and not Mack trucks.
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Solution: Watch Supernatural, it's every bit as good as this - and I do love this...
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I'm not sure if I liked this episode or not, which I don't think is a good thing really. It was good to see Pete and Myka back out in the world doing their thing and it's always good to see Claudia out in the world artifact hunting. I had already assumed that if something were to happen to (Zombie) Steve then it would also happen to Claudia, it was a fairly obvious path to take and I'm disappointed that the writers couldn't come up with something a bit more imaginative. And I think that has been the biggest problem with the season so far, the writing has been a bit lazy. I'm not saying it's been bad but it has been lacking some of that wonderful innovation that we're used to seeing.



One of the other problems with the show has been the increase in regular cast members. As much as I like Steve I just don't think they should have brought him back, he served his purpose so they should have let him go - it would have also given the series some teeth, which it has been lacking for a while now. The consequence of trying to fit each of the characters into the episode with a substantial chunck of plot involvment and dialogue each is the diminished value of guest stars, such as Brian J. Smith who is a great actor but was underused in this episode. I also think it affects the effort that goes into 'creating' the artifacts, they just don't seem to be as well thought out and researched as they used to be, and the use and subsequent consequences of that use don't always seem to be fully considered.



For me this entire episode can be boiled down to two moments, obviously those were when Steve stabbed his finger to see how Claudia would react and Artie letting slip a small hint of what he did. The rest of the plot didn't really serve much purpose, which is a shame because they had some good guest stars who could have brought a lot more to the episode than they were allowed to. And while I don't expect Warehose 13 to start being a running social commentary (like a Sorkin drama or, on occasion, South Park) I do feel they missed an opportunity with this story. Basically there was a lot more potential in this episode than was ever realised by the writers because of this seasons 'big picture', which sadly isn't big enough to warrent such a large allocation of episode time.



Warehouse 13 is still one of my favourite shows, but now that's mainly because of Myka, Claudia and Artie (sadly Pete is just a bit too much of a caricature at the moment) rather than the innovative premise that first hooked me, which is a good thing in a way, characters are essential to the life of a show, but now the premise is suffering a little too much. It's time for the writers to thin the herd a little a spend a bit more time giving us some great artifacts and guest characters again.
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I think you're being a little hard on the show because it supposedly recycled some plot from an episode of Supernatural. The simple fact of the matter is that someone else got to the other artifacts first, they got scattered, and our WH13 agents had to split up to retrieve them. This has NOTHING to do with copying another show. WH 13 doesn't need to cause I think its so much better than Supernatural anyway.



This was a fun episode to watch though. The Twister line from Pete had me laughing pretty hard. I'm also as concerned as you about the Jinks/Claudia connection. That will definitely be something to look out for during the rest of the season.
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This show has gone really downhill this season. Is it just me or in every episode they have the bad guy at gunpoint. They talk to him and then he escapes. Theyre just really emphasizing how incompetent the agents are. This same thing happened the last couple episodes. You have a stun gun pointed at a guy with a deadly artifact. SHOOT HIM. Don't let him turn around, give him 10 seconds, use the artifact, and then escape. Yes, i know it's a tv show but it's getting comically bad.
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WH 13 has been comically bad from the get-go so what's your point? It's ridulous and great good fun - not to be taken seriously. Seriously!
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Look at it from pipe-guy's perspective. He wasn't just sacrificing himself, he was also taking the easy way out. He was facing life in prison for domestic terrorism, etc.
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One thing I don't get about TV - Life in prison sounds way worse than the death penalty to me, but the ultimate revenge on TV remains killing someone istead of them suffering the dismal vagaries of prison life.
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Lol. True. I don't know why I'm always so shocked when WH13 does something insanely dramatic. It gets me every time though. EVERY. TIME.
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I like the episode. I thought it was a perfect episode three of this season with two serious prior episodes. It did what I want WH13 to do. Which is be absurd, crazy and bring the funny. And that is what it did. It also further their story arc for the season with Artie revealing a little bit of what he did to Leana and Steve realizing that if he gets hurt Claudia feels it. So I didn't really have any issues with this episode and liked the whole group getting in on the artifact hunt. I also like Leana getting out of the B&B to do her thing. Whatever her thing happens to be.
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I liked it too! The ending was just really jarring for me. Even with the ominous Claudia/Steve and Artie/Leena stuff, it was pretty lighthearted and funny overall and then BAM. ANGST. MASSIVE ANGST. I had a case of TV whiplash.



But it's cool. I'm over it. I'm a big fan of Leena leaving the B&B too. She's like the Ianto Jones of Warehouse 13: she cleans, she makes coffee, she files stuff, and when we're lucky, she gets to go be a badass.
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It's hard to gather from your review, but do you even -like- this show? Talk about negative... And annoying. Also, Supernatural isn't the be-all and end-all of TV shows (honestly, I don't even like it, even though I know a lot of people do). And I'm pretty sure they weren't the first to have an innocent person unknowingly distributing potentially dangerous items/things. I distinctly remember an episode of Stargate in which a certain person unknowingly infected the general population and the SGC had to swoop in and fix everything. So hating on Warehouse for reusing a storyline that a lot of other people had used just because it reminds you of an episode of Supernatural is kind of silly. There are no original plotlines, at least not anymore.
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I find that people that like stargate tend to like shows like warehouse 13, Alphas, Eureka and things like that. Shows that use the "the public must never know" dynamic to give the show a hint that it was possible that its real or whatever, I always loved that about stargate was both happy and sad to see Scott from SGU in this episode. I miss SGU =(
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I'm sorry if it was hard to gather from this one, but I think if you checked out my other reviews, you'd see that I enjoy Warehouse 13 quite a bit. Whether the similarity between the Supernatural episode was intentional or not, I'm not holding it against Warehouse 13. I just thought it was funny because the episodes are INCREDIBLY similar and the Supernatural episode in question only aired about six months ago.



I remember the SG-1 episode you mentioned. In that same vein, there was also an X-Files episode featuring a silicone-based parasite that people inadvertently spread amongst themselves, paving the way for Mulder and Scully to save the day. Another Syfy series from about ten years ago, The Invisible Man, had an episode involving a contagious form of insanity moving through their ranks. And if we want to go really old school, there was a Starsky & Hutch episode in the 70s that revolved around an exotic plague being spread by their fugitive-of-the-week.



So yes, it's a little silly to point out when a series rehashes a story that we've seen repeated in shows that preceded it, but its fun to take note of them and see what unique spins different groups of writers can put on similar ideas.

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This show is basically Friday the 13th, the series with pseudoscience in place of horror. I'm sure at some point during their run they had this plot, too.
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Nope, they didn't. They did have one episode that split it into two parts, each part focusing on a different artifact. But I'm pretty sure they avoided the mass-cursed-antiques episode concept entirely.
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Oh, right, that would have been redundant. That was their origin story. They owned the shop (antique rather than pawn) and had sold a bunch of the objects themselves (in addition to what the late uncle had sold).
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Well there you have it TV writers - no original plot lines left. Pack up and go home, we'll just recycle your scripts from here on out.
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