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Saturday, July 13, 2013

"The Truth Hurts" WAREHOUSE 13

Article first published as "The Truth Hurts" WAREHOUSE 13 on TheTVKing.

For its penultimate season finale, SyFy's Warehouse 13 takes the series to the brink of the biggest cliffhanger in the show's history. In "The Truth Hurts," who the Warehouse's caretaker is up for grabs as three distinct caretakers all exist in the same time and space. Elsewhere, an agent lies dying, and the most dangerous villain yet makes his move.

It's quite smart to use genre alumni to fill the ranks for the last batch of episodes. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's James Marsters and Anthony Head are the latest to join the cast, both having appeared in multiple episodes this year, and hopefully will return again. Their presence lends little something extra, and because they play such different characters than the ones they are famous for, it helps the show, rather than distracts.

Warehouse 13 needs the help because it is a little hokey. I enjoy it, I really do, but there is something off about it that keeps the story from rising the top of its peer group. Part of it is case-of-the-weeks forced into most of the year's installments. Part of it is weird situations, such as tossing a cancer plot into the last couple of episodes for Myka (Joanne Kelly), despite there not really being a reason for it and it feeling gimmicky. And the other part is when things are done just for visual effect, rather than any actual purpose, such as when onjects are flying off the crashing shelves at the Warehouse to chase the main group out, even though the person doing this likes the Warehouse and has no reason to harm it, and he is letting the group go, so he's not really trying to hurt them, either.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's no Battlestar Galactica, or even Defiance.

But there are also some wonderful moments that make it worth watching. The interactions between the characters have deepened over the years, and their relationships are really something to watch. In particular the Artie (Saul Rubinek) / Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and the Peter (Eddie McClintock) / Myka stuff is great, and when these are played up, the show is at its best. Their dialogue interchanges are extremely entertaining, even when not authentic. And though Artie and Claudia bury the hatchet very quickly after his betrayal this week, even that doesn't seem rushed, given the circumstances, and it works.

Claudia has had the most dynamic journey on the show, and "The Truth Hurts" begins to bring that to culmination. We have seen bits of greatness in her frequently, and know that she has a destiny. The series has certainly served her role well, and the end of this season finale promises more payoff for Claudia in the last episodes.

But why give her an evil sister? That seems so done before. Why can't a new villain just come in that is completely unconnected to our characters? Or why not just make Paracelsus (Head) the last big bad? He's already well connected to the mythology, and has the means to really cause trouble right on through to the last. Do we really need some family drama from a thus-far-unknown relation tossed in at the last minute?

I am very interested in seeing Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) no longer serving as caretaker. During the run, she has been almost solely defined by her job, seeing little of who she is. Now, she's a person again, with everything that comes with being a normal human being, and that should provide some very interesting plot if Warehouse 13 chooses to pursue it, which it absolutely should.

Basically, Warehouse 13 always has been and remains a 'B' level show. The ingredients are there if it wants to kick it up a notch and rise above its current quality standards, but it doesn't seem likely that it will. "The Truth Hurts" is a perfect example of what the series does right, and also what it does wrong. I expect more of the same, perhaps with a slightly grander scale, when it comes back.

Warehouse 13 will return for an abbreviated final season on SyFy.

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