So far Warehouse 13 season 4 feels like the punchline to an old joke about playing country music backward: they got the Warehouse back, Mrs. Fredrick (CCH Pounder) back, H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray) back, Pete (Eddie McClintock) back, and this week they go after fallen agent Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore). This may or may not be a good thing in the long run, but in the here and now it makes for an interesting twist, not because Jinks was brought back to life but because of who made it possible.
The plot picks up where last week’s left off. Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) has run off with Johann Maelzel’s metronome in a last-ditch effort to resurrect Steve, Artie (Saul Rubinek) is barely functioning under the weight of his secret misuse of Magellan’s astrolabe, and Pete and Myka (Joanne Kelly) are, well, Pete and Myka. Pete is raring to go help track down Claudia even though he doesn’t have a clue where she is or what she’s up to but Artie quickly puts a stop to it and you have to wonder whether it’s because she’s always been his responsibility or because he doesn’t want a second artifact to be used for selfish purposes under his watch. Either way, Artie stays at the B&B to begin the search for Claudia while Pete and Myka are sent to the city of brotherly love.
This creature-of-the-week storyline is a decent one. Lynch mobs are popping up all over Philly with the attackers swearing that their victims appeared to be monsters that were on the loose and needed to be stopped. The monster hallucination only breaks after it’s too late and the victim is either dead or close to it. There’s a nice slight of hand going on in the writing, consistently drawing attention to the attackers versus the victims.
Of course it’s hard to interview someone in a coma or dead so Pete and Myka only catch onto the fact that it’s the victims, not the attackers, whose paths have crossed. All of them were at the same basketball game and none of them stopped to help an injured woman who was being trampled by the crowd. She has died and her fiancé has gotten ahold of H.P. Lovecraft’s silver key, a key he feels will reveal the heartless people who refused to offer aid for the monsters they truly are. In the end the key is snagged, bagged, and tagged, and Pete declares that the fiancé is no better than those he set out to punish.
Meanwhile, back at the Warehouse, Artie continues to wrestle with his own personal monsters. It’s crystal clear that while he’s rationalized the use of the astrolabe he’s also being slowly suffocated by the guilt. There’s a near slip when Pete jokes about turning back time and it only gets worse when Brother Adrian (Brent Spiner) shows up at the B&B looking for the missing device. Their first exchange is painful, especially when Artie discovers that the evil he’s unleashed can be recalled if he’s willing to restore the time he’s erased. By their second he seems desperate for any alternative means of stopping what he’s put in motion. Anything so that he doesn’t have to lose the ones he loves all over again.
When he finally catches her at the morgue trying to steal Jinks’ body, all of that inner turmoil comes to a boil and spills out all over Claudia in Artie’s impassioned speech. He argues that as warehouse agents they are guardians, giving her a laundry list of agents gone bad because they used artifacts for their own selfish purposes. That he doesn’t include himself in that list is telling and his position is made all the more complex when regent Jane Lattimer (Kate Mulgrew) unexpectedly appears and tells Claudia she’s got permission to go through with her plan to bring back Jinks.
It isn’t until Jinks is breathing again, his life now tethered to the metronome, that Claudia discovers Jane did not, in fact, have permission from the regents. Faran Tahir does a very convincing pissed off boss of a top-secret organization and hopefully this means he’ll be reprising this role more as the season unfolds. Seeing more of Star Trek alumni Brent Spiner and Kathryn Mulgrew wouldn’t be a bad thing either. The stage feels like it is now set for the remainder of the season. Heavy doses of foreshadowing have been spent laying out the price each will have to pay. Let the games begin!
Warehouse 13 continues Mondays at 9/8c on Syfy.