[Review] - Warehouse 13, Season 4 Episode 13, "The Big Snag"

Courtesy of Universal Cable Productions
A bit of house cleaning to begin: at the Ottawa Comiccon this past weekend, when questioned about his role in the Warehouse 13 season premiere by the enthusiastic crowd, James Marsters said that, as far as he could remember (he filmed his role some time ago) he won't be reappearing until the final two episodes of the season, which are also the episodes Anthony Stewart Head are set to appear in. Here's hoping for some snarking between them.

Until then, the show is left to fend for itself, and if they give us more episodes like the Big Snag, it won't feel like very long at all. The tongue-in-cheek noir homage was a blast, and a reminder of how much fun the show can be (something we've needed a strong reminder of for a while now), and how easy it can be to reclaim what made the series so good in the early days.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that also look stunning in black and white.

The episode lacked any kind of real set up, foregoing any sort of technobabble or other nonsense to get them into the manuscript, and just had it happen. And it worked. Why bog the story down trying to come up with an explanation? Suddenly, they are in black and white because of a whammy, done. It allowed the episode to take off right from the get go, and never relent until the closing moments, when things started to fall apart.

I'm a big fan of stories involving travelling through fiction, and while Warehouse 13 didn't touch on any of the philosophical notions that can arise from such adventures (namely, had time slowed for the trapped author, so from his perspective it's only been moments since he appeared, or has he been endlessly repeating the same story fragments for 60 years?), it still took the opportunity to have as much fun with it as possible. While Myka being a fan of the author and the encyclopedia of forties pulp fiction is nothing new to the show (she is Mrs. Exposition, after all), it did allow the show to play with all the standard tropes of the genre. If it has happened in a gangster film, it made an appearance. Hard boiled detectives, shadowy figures, a scorned lover, a misdirection. And all peppered with as much flamboyant slang as a period thesaurus can generate, and which Eddie McClintock was reveling in.

And boy did the episode look good. Period costumes, excellent set pieces (especially the club scene, a staple of the genre), and effective use of the black and white effect. The director also clearly didn't just change the hue on the digital print, they planned what the scenes would look like in monochrome, and used that to stage the shots. It wasn't lazy, is my point, and it was nice to see, considering that sometimes the show can seem a little flat and by-the-numbers.

Elsewhere, and happily, Artie continues to be unstable. I won't stop saying how please I am that the events of last season have had a lingering and permanent effect on the character, which gives the show a sense of consistency and permanency, and not just a reset button embedded in the credits. His grief is manifesting as wanton disregard for his own safety, though I wouldn't say suicidal. His fanatical insistence that no one else will die while he's around, excluding apparently himself, is an effective manifestation of his trauma. What I'm worried about is that, having revealed that Jinx is once again working secretly for the Regents, that they might have some whammy in store that will fix things a little too cleanly, rather then just, I don't know, getting him a couple free sessions with a shrink. Surely they've got one of those on staff, they seem to have one of everything else.

Where the episode stood on less stable ground was undoubtedly the ending, which felt like the sort of thing that got tacked on until they came up with something better, and never did. And Enrico Colantoni, who is an actor of talent and quality, just obviously didn't care about the role. His attempt at the gangster voice wasn't even half hearted, and he seemed to just read his lines with as little effort as possible, to get through the scene. It was disappointing, considering the mini Galaxy Quest reunion that happened between him and Missi Pyle, that he just wasn't feeling it. And considering that everyone else was having an obvious blast, it made it all the more noticeable (and while I think that yes, a certain amount of it was the beleaguered nature of the character, the line delivery was enough for me to think it was mostly just apathy on Colantoni's part).

A strong offering from a series from which that isn't always a guarentee. Hopefully a sign of things to come rather then an anomoly. Keep the plots simple and fun, keep trying new and inventive plot devices, and keep putting Claudia in the field. These are the secrets to success.
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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.


  1. While Enrico Colantoni MAY have just walked through most of his lines, the ones about his dead wife were spot on. Right there I almost expected him to cry.