“Emily Lake/Stand” written by Nell Scovell & Ian Stokes and Andrew Kreisberg & Drew Z. Greenberg; directed by Millicent Shelton and Stephen Surjik
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Warehouse 13 is a fairly lighthearted science fiction detective series. Imagine the vast government warehouse repository of all things magical and evil at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That is essentially what Warehouse 13 is. Why 13? It’s the thirteenth such warehouse constructed over the centuries in various locations around the world. Warehouse 13 is in the remote badlands of South Dakota. Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) and Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) are the principal field agents who track down and recover lost and stolen artifacts. Their boss is grumpy Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), and they are assisted by computer genius Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti). This season another agent, Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore), came on board when Myka (temporarily) resigned. The team is sometimes helped and sometimes hindered by former Warehouse 12 agent H. G. Wells (Jaime Murray). That’s Helena Wells, who ghost-wrote the famous novels for her brother and was revived after a century of suspended animation. Rounding out the semi-regulars is Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder), a mysterious “regent” who supervises the entire Warehouse operation.
The two-hour third season finale of Warehouse 13 was a taut thriller that brought significant changes to the series. Last year’s finale with Myka leaving the team was unsatisfying because you knew she would return. There are no guarantees after what happened this year.
In the previous three episodes we learned that Pete’s mother, Jane Lattimer (Kate Mulgrew), was a regent and former Warehouse field agent who had recovered a bracelet artifact from paraplegic Walter Sykes (Anthony Michael Hall), that enabled him to be a star athlete. A side effect of the bracelet was that he became an evil psychopath who vowed revenge. The finale culminated Sykes’ plan to recover the bracelet, kill Jane, and destroy Warehouse 13 while Myka, Pete, and the rest raced to capture him.
What Myka and Pete didn’t know was that Mrs. Frederic’s plan was to install Jinks as a double agent into Sykes’ organization. This caused considerable confusion, especially with Claudia who had grown close to Jinks. Jinks’ death at Sykes’ hand at the end of “Emily Lake” was a true emotional inflection point. The team rallied together (“Stand”) to defeat Sykes and avenge Jinks. But Sykes had one last trick, even in death, to destroy Warehouse 13 and all its agents. H. G. ended up sacrificing her life to save the others, except Mrs. Frederic.
It will be interesting to see how all this plays out next season. Claudia retrieved an artifact from Sykes that could enable her to bring Jinks back to life. But will she? Would Jinks want to be zombified? I don’t think so. Or, the artifact could be used to resurrect Mrs. Frederic, but considering how she shriveled up when she died, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Of all the characters that died in this episode, I’m going to miss Mrs. Frederic the most. CCH Pounder’s wise and mysterious portrayal of Mrs. Frederic was always a treat. H. G. has escaped several death traps before, so I have a hunch we haven’t seen the last of her, if only in flashbacks. Of course, there is a spin-off series in the works to feature H. G.’s exploits, so one way or another we will get to see Jaime Murray continue her intriguing character.
The warehouse was severely damaged at the end of the first season, only to be quickly rebuilt. But the utter destruction at the end of “Stand” is another matter. Will there be a new Warehouse 14? Or will Artie use his stopwatch artifact to reverse time? If he does, it could have dark repercussions. Will Jane be able to do anything to ameliorate the devastation when she returns, and will she replace Mrs. Frederic? Whichever way the series goes next year, it should be fascinating.
The SyFy Channel is becoming known for prematurely canceling series. I hope that the ratings for Warehouse 13 are strong enough to keep it going for many years. Certainly, the news of a spin-off bodes well for the popularity of the franchise. The real strength of Warehouse 13 is its character interactions. All of the actors are having a good time working with each other, and it shows. It is also one of the few shows of any kind on any network that has such a strong female presence. Luckily, there will be a Christmas episode in December to tide us over until the fourth season begins next summer.