[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episodes 2 and 3, "An Evil Within" and "Personal Effects"

Courtesy of NBCUniversal
I don't usually notice this sort of thing, but can I ask right off the bat, what in the sphincter of hell is going on with Joanne Kelly's hair? At first I thought it was just bed head at the B&B, but then she went out into the field like that. I don't know how confident people would feel when it looks like she just licked the end of her Tesla.

Other then that, the season got off to a proper start in episode three, with episode two still shaking off the remains of last year by rapping up the remaining plot threads. Included in that were several cameos from last season's guests, the return of Jinks, both to life, and as a main cast credited star, and an artifact based on H.P. Lovecraft. Shame about the CG though. Luckily, Personal Effects was a much better plotted, much more enjoyable outing, and a reminder of why Warehouse 13 continues to be one of my favourite pieces of escapism.

Hit the jump for the review, whose pipe is always double stuffed with fine Kentucky spoilers.

I think the motto of Warehouse 13 should be "low on subtly, high on vagueness." That was certainly the feeling I got from the four lines of dialogue repeated ad infinitum throughout An Evil Within, mostly from Artie and the once again wasted Brent Spiner, as they bounced back and forth that "an evil will awaken", "what evil?", "I don't know", "then why?", "becasue an evil will awaken", etc. Pair that with the way they brow beat you with foreshadowing of this year's arc, and it's enough to beat your fists in desperation. How can anything as poorly written as this have made it on TV?

The answer is, they get balanced out by the smaller moments, the ones of comedy or personal connection between characters. Like the scene with Artie and Claudia, as he desperately tries to convince her not to resurrect Jinks. The line calling back the previous season's big bads, with Artie exclaiming "they weren't like them until they became like them" in particular carried enough emotional weight to forgive the episodes greater missteps. The show knows it isn't Breaking Bad, or Justified. Or even Burn Notice. So, it plays it's strengths hard, even if that means letting it's weakness have a pass from time to time.

It is of interest to note that apparently everyone has a picture of them and Claudia acting adorable.

These two episodes are excellent showcases of what the show does best, and does worst. An Evil Within is what the show feels it has to do, the big emotional stuff, paired with the big arc based stuff. Unfortunately, it never comes together in a cohesive way, especially this early on in the year, when they also don't want to reveal too much.

Personal Effects, on the other hand, is the sort of crazy the show is best at, and it's all hands on deck. A bunch of zany little adventures, giving each character a moment to define their best skills, all leading up to an emotional climax, while sprinkling the episode with hints of the larger picture. I'd rather have the more subtle reveal of Claudia and Jink's connection then just looping the same frustrating dialogue over and over again, and expecting that to ratchet up the tension.

Luckily, the writers recognise the show is best when it's dealing with it's characters, and letting them work off each other. Lena isn't the best foil for Artie's self described 'grumble', but it's nice to see her included at least, a fact that gets a lampshade hung on it pretty quickly. These are characters that are comfortable with one another, and thank gods, there isn't a bit of sexual tension between any of them. This is, with the exception of HG and Myka, the most asexual show on TV, and it is refreshing. It's also proof that you don't need that sort of belligerent foundation to development characters around.

The CG on the show has never been good, and really, they either need to scale down the adventure, or scale up the budget, because the tornadoes might have been passable by basic cable standards, but the Cthulhu monsters were down right terrible. Except for Pete's Audrey Jr. facade, which wasn't bad, if only by benefit of having the least amount of unobstructed camera time.

Oh, and I'm not a doctor, but I'm fairly certain that a heart that was struck by lightning isn't going to be viable for a transplant. So, minus points for that.
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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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