Warehouse 13 Review by John Keegan

Warehouse 13 5.01: Endless Terror

Warehouse 13 5.01: Endless Terror

Written By:
Jack Kenny
Directed By:
Jack Kenny

Fans greeted the news of a much-truncated fifth and final season of Warehouse 13 with the anticipated anger that comes with every cancellation on the network.  It’s not hard to understand why.  The extended fourth season had storytelling challenges, and nothing about the way it ended seemed to fit the notion of wrapping up the series in six episodes.  And sure enough, this season premiere is all about moving as fast as possible, even if that means a bit of hand-waving to dispense with some plot points.


I’ll start with the most irritating aspect of the episode: the complete ret-con of Myka’s supposed cancer prognosis.  I thought it was a major mistake at the end of the fourth season to go in this direction, and nothing about how it was dismissed and revised in this episode changed my mind.  I know from the experiences of some folks in my own life that ovarian cysts can be painful and frightening, but Myka’s illness was portrayed as something far more substantial.  It just feels like a complete waste of time.


Worse, Myka’s supposed terminal illness was used as the basis for Pete’s incredibly out-of-character decision to help Paracelsus in the hopes of getting a cure for Myka.  Now that act seems even more out of place and ultra-convenient.  The writers jump through all kinds of hoops to make Pete kick himself over it, but it just isn’t enough.  Though I must admit, having Myka tell Pete to stop acting like they’re romantically involved was a nice way to avoid that looming possibility!


The situation with Paracelsus was so prominent that any subplot felt intrusive and unnecessary.  I’m sure that the plans for Claudia’s sister were completely screwed up by the shortened fifth season order, but I’m not sure they are handling the challenge very well.  Claudia keeps bringing it up, and it makes her seem petulant, given that there are much bigger issues at stake.  My concern is that they are building up a conflict and future opponent that will have little to no time to develop.


I’m not sure if this whole notion of time travel was always how the writers envisioned the semi-resolution to the Paracelsus problem, but I do like the idea of seeing an alternate timeline in which the Warehouse system was perverted into something truly disturbing.  Paracelsus likes to combine artifacts in fun ways and then experiment on the effects using human subjects, and he’s ingrained that philosophy into his lackeys.  Former Regents in the “true” timeline are among those lackeys, as well as other familiar faces, and that plays into how this short season arc will continue.


That is embodied in the alt-timeline version of Benedict Valda, played by the ever-wonderful utility player Mark Sheppard, who somehow survived the restoration of the correct timeline and has plans to wreak havoc.  I’m guessing that he was a bit more available than Anthony Stewert Head, but to be fair, Sheppard has made a career of being a much-anticipated guest star on every genre show imaginable.  So he’s got the chops to make it work.


What is perhaps more worrisome is how the need to bring the series to a thrilling close seems to have short-changed the character evolution.  Myka’s illness may have been a weak development, but it seemed to be changing the Myka/Pete dynamic a bit.  Thankfully, we’ll never know if the writers dodged the relationship bullet when plans inevitably changed, but what could they really do to replace what was intended?  And Claudia’s trust issues with Artie won’t have the time to develop and become more organic.


It all points to the effect that the short episode order is having on the show, but after a little research, I’m finding it hard to blame Syfy.  To be honest, giving them this much to wrap things up may have been generous.  While many fans remember Warehouse 13 as a ratings powerhouse for the network back in its earlier seasons, it has been struggling of late.  This premiere alone dropped below Helix levels.  Syfy could have easily justified cancelling the show outright, so I’m thankful that the show was given the chance to wrap things up.  The real concern is whether or not the writers will be up to the challenge.  This season premiere leaves me a bit worried.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Interesting alt-timeline exploration
  • Alt-Valda should make a solid villain
The Bad:
  • Myka’s sudden recovery is completely unbelievable
  • Claudia’s family issues seem out of place and petulant

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Warehouse 13 by - 4/16/2014 6:43 AM291 views

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