The vision that's been haunting Artie all season long finally came to fruition tonight, and it wasn’t at all how he expected it to be. At this point, I guess it was somewhat of a given that Claudia wouldn’t be going Dark Side after all, and in my mind, that meant that the threat of her playing Brutus to Artie’s Julius Ceasar was a thing of the past. Well, aren’t I just silly.
With Brother Adrian and the rest of the Brotherhood assisting in the hunt for a cure to Artie’s crazy, and Pete taking cues from what appeared to be Leena’s ghost, Artie hit the road to find a very dangerous artifact from Warehouse 8 that would force Mrs. Frederic to let him use the astrolabe again, since she wasn’t too keen on letting him anywhere near it anytime soon. As of the conclusion of “We All Fall Down,” Magellan’s astrolabe is still safe and sound with H.G Wells and H.G. appears to be way off the grid... which prompted Artie to enact his contingency plan.
Deep in the bowels of the long-gone Warehouse 8 there was an orchid that was capable of spreading a lethal “sweating sickness” across the globe. The orchid was so dangerous that the operatives of the time sealed the flower in an airtight glass case and when Warehouse 8 was eventually replaced by Warehouse 9, they simply left it buried beneath the old building—currently the headquarters of a German insurance firm. Insurance. How exciting. On a side note, though, isn’t it kind of delightful how mundane locations can secretly have awesome histories? Take Monroeville Mall, near my hometown, which is a nice-enough mall full of typical, nice-enough mall things until you learn that the original Dawn of the Dead was filmed there in the '70s and suddenly the suburban staple is infinitely cooler because ZOMBIES.
Anyway, Claudia and the de-zombified Jinks were dispatched to Europe to locate the orchid before Artie, but all they found was a clue directing them to a small mill where the plant had been moved. Unfortunately, Artie already knew about the relocation, probably from those old Warehouse 8 records he torched before his pursuers could read them. He also tracked down the knife. THE KNIFE. The one Claudia was prophesied to use against him in his visions. The knife was meant to be used to crack the deadly orchid’s otherwise-impenetrable glass case. Utilizing the time-stopping barometer from the USS Eldridge, Evil Artie’s evil plan went through almost entirely without a hitch. Emphasis on ALMOST.
That moment when Claudia realized that the team had been manipulated into the very scenario they had tried so hard to avoid made this admittedly uneven season worth it. While the artifacts and the missions are fun and (usually) exciting, the relationships between these characters are, for me, the reason I keep watching. Where the Season 3 finale was devastating in the scope of what was lost, there was a smidgen of comfort to be found in the unity of the remaining warehouse agents. Artie had a plan and the others rallied around that plan.
This mid-season finale brought about a complete inversion of that situation, and yet the feelings of loss are almost exactly the same. The world is threatened, but that’s par the course for finales. The remaining warehouse agents are anything but united, as fractured as Artie’s sanity. In the end, the orchid’s deadly contagion was sent into the world as Evil Artie planned, and while a solution isn’t apparent at the moment, I suspect that fixing the orchid problem will be easier for the survivors than fixing their relationships with each other. Steve seemed certain that there is no cure for Artie’s condition, but stopped short of saying as much to Claudia (though she got the message loud and clear anyway). Evil Artie may have twisted words and situations to hurt his agents' feelings and throw them off-kilter in their fight against him, but his verbal daggers were sharpened with some blunt facts: Pete really does feel guilty over his father’s death, Myka has often felt alienated by being “smarter” than everyone in the room, and Claudia desperately wants nothing more than to be loved and accepted by the people she cares about. Should Mrs. Frederic and the Brotherhood succeed in restoring Artie’s sanity, he must still live with what he did to Leena and what he said to the others. Throughout “We All Fall Down,” we saw flashes of the genuine Artie struggling against his dark alternate persona, which means that on some level, the real Artie is “in there.” He will always know that Leena died by his hand. Pete, Myka, and Claudia will know that even though Artie didn’t mean what he said while under the astrolabe’s influence, the taunts were crafted from knowledge that the real Artie possessed.
Artie is not the only warehouse operative who will have to live with his actions—assuming he lives to see the second half of this season. Despite the best of efforts to avoid Artie’s vision, in the end, Claudia stabbed Artie with the knife, as she was meant to all along. The decision didn’t come easily and Claudia certainly didn’t embrace it willingly. Artie is her mentor, her father figure, her boss, and her friend. He’s the reason she found a place at the warehouse and she knows that she owes him everything. Out of everyone, Claudia kept her faith in Artie the longest, refusing to believe that he had killed Leena and duped them all. Evil Artie ridiculed her loneliness and longing for friends and family, but in some ways, those things have always been a source of strength for Claudia. She doesn’t take friendship or family lightly. It took her twelve years to free her brother from his inter-dimensional limbo back in Season 1, but she was ruthless and determined and she did it. When it was revealed that Claudia’s role in the warehouse was to be the backup caretaker in the event Mrs. Frederic was ever unable to continue her duties, Claudia stepped up to her fate, despite her horror at being forced into the position. At the time, she made Artie promise to never again force her into doing something against her will, and while Artie and the others certainly didn’t put the knife in her hand and blatantly force it, she still found herself left with only one option to act on in order to save the warehouse. She’s not going to be very happy when we come back in April, I’m sure.
Additional Notes from the “Library of Crazy”
– When Jinks complained about being the backup team for Myka and Pete, Claudia corrected him with,“We aren’t the B-team, fool! We’re the second A-team!” Preach it, Claudia!
– Behold, Pete Lattimer not being written as a buffoon. Isn’t it beautiful? Can we have more of that when Warehouse 13 returns in April, writers?
– Also, more Ghost Leena. Mrs. Frederic said that she broke a promise to Leena by enabling her to be killed. I feel like Mrs. Frederic isn’t the sort of person to make promises lightly. Is there still hope for Leena to return in the flesh?
– What do you think we’ll see when Warehouse 13 returns?
– What do you WANT to see when Warehouse 13 returns?