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Warehouse 13, Quoth the Raven

September 18, 2009

warehousenevermore

Is that character development I spy in the Warehouse? On a SciFi show? Maybe the rebranding has done some good after all – add Pete Lattimer’s unexpected growth to the news that Stargate Universe will be more serialized than its two predecessors, and it would seem that the cable network has turned a corner. No more CTRL-Z!

In case you missed it: Tuesday’s episode, “Nevermore,” opens on a little bookshop in Colorado called “Bering and Sons.” Turns out, Myka’s dad is a Cylon (Michael Hogan). He finds a package on his doorstep containing a rare book, but when he takes it down to his lair library to examine it, the words crawl off the page and under his skin, similar to that scene in The Mummy with the scarabs. Meanwhile, Pete and Myka are on the trail of MacPherson in separate locations. Myka has taken Berlin, and Pete is on the hunt in Montreal. Germany is a dead end, but Pete winds up chasing MacPherson down Canadian streets while Artie and Claudia run interference with the Mounties from the relative safety of the Warehouse. Just as Pete corners the dastardly MacPherson in an alley, Myka discovers something in the apartment in Berlin – MacPherson’s got the cymbals (whatever that means.)

Artie calls out a warning to Pete, but not before MacPherson does his belly-dancer impression, clanking little finger cymbals together and blowing out the windows of the approaching police car, taking two policemen with them. Pete, though knocked out, is unharmed. He regains consciousness just in time for Myka to receive a phone call from her mother – her father is apparently dying and this was the best way to break the news.

For reasons that are never entirely explained, we are then taken to Portland, Oregon, the site of a private school that looks suspiciously British. The kids exhibit behavior typical of all high schools everywhere as one young lad, the designated “geek,” is taunted by the designated “jock” for having a crush on the popular girl, Tamara. Poor geek. He looks at the jock with hatred in his eyes so you just know something bad is about to happen.

Artie thinks he’s talking to Leena when Mrs. Frederick appears, reinforcing the suspicion that she and Leena are connected in a not entirely natural way. She scolds Artie, even though she just did that last week, and tells him to keep his people in check.

Back in Portland, the geek is taking a test when he starts to hear whispers coming from the Edgar Allan Poe display. Why this particular school gets to have its own Poe display, we may never know, but it comes with its own stuffed raven. After the teacher sends Tamara to collect the exams, he calls Bobby, the geek, over for a little chat and a nod and a wink in Tamara’s direction. Bobby still hasn’t talked to her. Oh, the pains of youth. The teacher gives Bobby a book of poetry, and suggests he let Blake do all the work. Bobby’s still preoccupied with the voices in his head.

Myka arrives in Colorado to find that her father is not dying and Pete has joined her for moral support – and a side of her mother’s hot wings. In an absolutely startling twist, Pete shows a high amount of empathy and decency when dealing with Myka and her family, somehow resisting the temptation to revert back to the child he has been for the better part of ten episodes. Could it be little Petey is actually being allowed to grow? Only time will tell, but I for one approve of the change. Take note, Syfy: You can have child-like charm and emotional maturity at the same time.

Colonel Tighe Myka’s father sits down to read again, and the words crawl under his skin, again, while Bobby hears voices in another state, again. The intercut scenes end when Bobby breaks the glass on the Poe display and steals a quill; Myka’s father screams. Pete, Myka, and her mother rush in, and Pete’s the first to figure it out. Uh oh, Daddy’s got an artifact!

They call in Claudia who brings  the Special Cannister O’ Purple Goop with her, and they rush downstairs to dispose of the book. But not so fast! The book is only one half of the Artifact, it works in tandem with another object, and both must be destroyed to put a damper on its power. Artie, via the Farnsworth, deduces the missing half must be a pen. By now, Mrs. Bering is really confused, especially since she thought her daughter still worked for the Secret Service.

Since they suspect MacPherson of sending the book, Artie “circles the wagons” around Claudia’s brother Joshua and Pete’s family, and the two of them go looking for the rest of the Artifact while Myka stays home and reads to her father to keep him grounded in reality. (Yeah, that bit was a little fuzzy for me too.)

Over at the Prep, the jock is badmouthing the geek to the popular girl, which he happens to overhear, and while Mika’s dad stirs from his Poe-induced haze to shout, “Fire!” the jock’s locker explodes in his face. Pete and Claudia are on it. Before they arrive on the scene, however, Bobby is called in for a heart to heart with his English teacher, who gently accuses him of breaking the glass and stealing the quill. Bobby replies by handing his teacher a scrap of paper with the word ‘WALL’ on it, and kind-hearted Teach is promptly sucked into the walls of the school.

Pete and Claudia inspect the jock’s locker and find a piece of paper with ‘FIRE’ written on it taped to the back. They share an ‘aha’ moment, and Pete asks the bewildered principal if they happened to have Poe’s quill lying around. They did – until it was stolen, of course. Bobby is eavesdropping – and doesn’t like what he hears.

Back in the bookstore, Myka’s dad wakes up to make a Johnny Cash reference and apologize for being a lousy father, before slipping back into the quasi-coma. Mom tells Myka that Dad has regrets, and mentions that he always wanted to be a writer – even wrote a novel, but when he couldn’t get it published, he told her to burn it and never wrote again. *sob*

Pete and Claudia are examining the scene of the crime when Pete hears something. It’s coming from the wall! Pete and Claudia show off their AP English Lit skills by crying out, “The Cask of Amontialldo!” (Not The Tell-Tale Heart as is so erroneously reported here.) Pete uses the base of the stuffed raven to start bashing in the wall and in an impressive display of strength, he and Claudia rip bricks out with their bare hands. The magical bricks must not have had time to properly set in the mortar.

Myka’s dad is slipping away (painfully, by the sound of it) as Bobby hunts Tamara, and hands her a “poem,” forcing her to read the one word on the page – MINE. This turns her into a zombie bride. Artie tells Myka that she has to find the book that means the world to her father if she’s going to fight off Poe. Fortunately, Mom didn’t really burn Dad’s manuscript, so Myka runs off to find her father’s opus.

Pete and Claudia find the happy teenage lovebirds, but unfortuately Claudia reads from a paper left on the ground, and the next thing they know, they’re strapped to the floor while a pendulum swings ever closer to hasten their demise. Claudia tries to talk some sense into the Poe-addled Bobby, but he starts babbling about words having power.

As Myka reads to her father from his novel about a father and daughter (quel suprise!) Bobby gets dizzy and drops the pen, shaking the effects enough for Claudia to break free of her bonds and bag the pen in the  Anti-Artifact Ziploc Baggy ™. Tamara comes out of her trance, Bobby collapses, and Pete grabs the pen, running for the door. Claudia stays behind to make sure Bobby gets to the hospital, and Pete shows up in Colorado to unite the two objects.

Success! Daddy Bering survives the encounter, Pete tells Myka he may be in love with her mother, and her mother tells her that she’s done good. Also, look after Pete.

Mrs. Fredrick drops by the Warehouse to tell Artie that MacPherson was in Colorado the whole time, distracting them with Poe. The Farnsworth shorts out before he can warn Pete and Myka, but Pete gets one of his vibes, and he and Myka run back into the bookstore, only to find her parents held in sway by a lantern held by MacPherson (Jack the Ripper’s lantern, no less.) Turns out this was all so he could get the book and pen together. Myka scolds him for going after family, and he says Artie started it (foreshadowing, much?)  He trades Myka’s parents for the Artifact, and disappears in a flash of light. Myka doesn’t like being used, but Artie says MacPherson didn’t use her, “he used me.” Bum, bum, bum!

To sum up: Pete showing depth of character – good. More Claudia – always good; hopefully Allison Scagliotti will be a regular next season. Literary references – great. Swiss cheese plot – not so great. The main thing I was left wondering: why did Bobby hear the pen whispering in the first place? What made him so special? They could have at least made him a Poe-enthusiast prior to his possession, anything other than the random attack of the midnight drearies. And why a Portland prep school?

The idea of a two-part Artifact is great, but since the separation of pen and book isn’t a recent development (given the fact that the pen was locked away in a display case) shouldn’t all this have happened sooner?

Hopefully Pete won’t revert to his immature self right away – I get enough of that on Psych, and it makes for a much more believable, equal partnership with Myka. It’s only character development, folks, if the character gets to continue developing, not devolving.

Quoteable:

Pete: But there’s something else.
Myka: What?
Pete: I think I’m hot for your mom.
(Myka thinks about it)
Myka: I’ll break it to Dad.
Pete: Okay

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