[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 5, "No Pain, No Gain"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
 Suddenly, it all makes sense. A perfectly logical, valid explanation as to why the Leafs do now, and forever will, suck. An artifact is making them be terrible. It's all so clear... Please, no one find it, and stop it from doing what it's doing.

Well played, Warehouse 13. After the misery that was last week's episode, you seduce me back into your good graces with a hockey themed episode. More then that though, a hockey themed episode with a coherent, well plotted A-story, and interesting, if not terribly meaty B-stories. Well played indeed.

Hit the jump for the review, which wished really hard and got it's self some spoilers.

First, let me say that the biggest thing that bothered me about this episode is that Pete wouldn't have been allowed to carry his firearm into Canada. Even though he is secret service, law enforcement officers are not permitted conceal and carry permits without a hell of a lot of paper work, and a wait period. Even the actaul secret service, when accompanying an official, fill out the paperwork well in advance. The Tesla, that's fine, I can live with that. But as soon as Pete drew his weapon, I called bullshit.

And if that is the biggest problem I had with this episode, I guess it's doing alright.

That's not to say the episode wasn't without it's weakness, and sadly it was in the B-Plot I was most interested in. Claudia and Mrs. Fredrick's day on the town turned out to be three scenes, that offered very little in the way of furthering the Claudia as the next guardian plot, which I'll admit to having completely forgotten about, although considering Myka's storyline last season, I think it really aught to be her. Though, I suppose Claudia is the only one at the warehouse who was never invited, she came to it herself, but anyways...It's a big enough idea, with more then enough room to reveal some of the warehouse's deeper secrets, that it probably should have had it's own episode. I suspect that the two scenes we got were the best they could come up with, and stuck them in here.

I've often thought that witnessing the creation of an artifact would be an interesting direction the show could go in, and while part of me is disappointed that they did it so off the cuff, the rest of me realises it's the only way it could have happened. And you have to appreciate the writer's awareness, that they included Claudia's comment about artifacts belonging to mostly people who have wikipedia pages about them.

As for the A-plot, I thought it was the best constructed of their mysteries this season, though it certainly showed signs of patchwork. The second act introduction of the pregnancy storyline seemed jarring and out of place at first, and despite how terrible the baby bump prop looked, eventually it settled in, and they had fun with it. Then the left turn into the Misery shout out was awkward and out of place. I suspect they've been wanting to end an episode like that so a while, and this seemed like the least unrelated way to do it. I say least, not completely. It didn't mesh, and once again, the show knows no subtly, going at the reference with a literal hatchet. And a lampshade at the end, in case we didn't notice.

It was, however, the funniest episode they've done this season, with Pete and Myka bouncing one liners and insults off each other in fine form. I was worried that the writers had reached desperation mode, and had decided to pair off the two, but crisis was avoided. For now. Let me make clear: adding a romantic or sexual element to Pete and Myka will end in disaster, creatively. They have cultivated a very clear image of the warehouse team over the past three years, that they are a family. Artie the dad, the rest siblings. Their dynamics are built on asexual love and affection for each other.

It should be no surprise that Pete loves Myka, considering the way be behaved last season, in the same way an older brother would react if a younger sister suddenly took off. They went to great lengths to showcase this last year, that Pete's fears of abadonment and total devotion to his family are pretty much his definable characteristics. It is critical that the show keep the family dynamic, and not feel that they have to follow the suit of every other show ever, and create belligerent, unreasonable attraction between characters for the sake of drama. Eureka did so in it's final year, and was a large part of that shows creative breakdown.

I did, however, appreciate the gender flip of the standard 'baby crazy' plot, making Pete the one who is pining away for offspring. Not only does it fit with his character, someone whose family has always been the most important thing to him, but it was nice to see the show not fall back on the old cliches, or at least have the presence of mind to subvert the tropes they choose to use.

I'd say the biggest problem the show has had this season, is sustaining the stories. And I think the fault lies with it's success. They have a lot of characters now, in regular and recurring roles. And they feel the need to include all of the characters much of the time. What it leads to are short, go very little distance sub plots, like Artie's magical mystery tour this week, or forcing smaller, less well realised A-plots. I like the mismatching of partners, and I like that different characters have different strengths. I think the show could use them better, and the best way to do that is by having some characters sit some episodes out.

We don't need to see the whole crew off adventuring every week. Write a strong episode, one deserving of being broadcast, like back in season one, and let Myka and Jinks be the star that week. Then give Artie and Pete and chance to annoy one another. Save the whole team for the big episodes, the wham episodes, for those situations that warrant five to eight team members. Like the episode a couple weeks ago, with the artifacts running amok in a small town.

I worry when show's I like wander off the reservation. I tried not to let my disappointment in Eureka's final year shade my opinion of the previous seasons. And Warehouse 13 hasn't reached Eureka levels of creative disaster, yet. And I hope they never do.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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