REVIEW: ‘Warehouse 13’ Season Finale

REVIEW: ‘Warehouse 13’ Season Finale

Warehouse 13: “MacPherson” (the first season finale)
Star Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Stars: Eddie McClintock (Agent Pete Lattimer); Joanne Kelly (Agent Myka Bering); Saul Rubinek (Agent Artie Nielsen); Genelle Williams (Leena); CCH Pounder (Mrs. Frederic); and guest starring Roger Rees (MacPherson)

The Big Idea: Warehouse 13 finishes its first season a winner, with the unevenness of early episodes wholly redeemed by a smoothly-executed, season-ending cliffhanger. The initial stories, rife with clunky hat tips to Raiders of the Lost Ark, The X-Files and Moonlighting, were thin, but fun, saved largely by the show’s seriously cool cyberpunk atmospherics and McClintock’s innate charm. But the writers and the rest of the cast have found their groove, and now it’s all good – a harmonized, well-textured storyverse, where characters’ layered histories are nearly as compelling and mysterious as the objects they seek.

To Watch or Not to Watch: This is smart TV, with clever, knowing references to historical figures leavened by “what if” twists that fuel the warehouse and complicate the lives of its agents, a world where Edgar Allan Poe‘s pen, for example, literally make one’s skin crawl. More impressively, Warehouse 13 doesn’t flinch from the implications of its premise: “artifacts” encapsulating magic and mystery are too dangerous for the world and must be locked safely away from the public. Sacrifice is the watchword: sacrifice of the 12 previous warehouses (whose fate is tipped, a bit, here), sacrifice by the agents (lost loves, secretive lives dominated by obsessive work) and sacrifice that by hiding away the artifacts, they are deliberately making the world a less extraordinary place.

In “MacPherson,” we see one potential endgame to this scenario, as a gifted former agent becomes an implacable foe, driven not ultimately by greed, but by the deep sense that it is wrong to lock away these marvels, and choose security over wonder for all. James MacPherson, we see, is yin to Artie Nielsen’s yang. They are twin extremes: the exploiter vs. the protector, and that leads to what may be the ultimate sacrifice in the season’s cliffhanger.

TV Screener Tidbit: Saul Rubinek and Roger Rees just can’t catch a break with love triangles when they inhabit the same TV world. In Warehouse 13, Artie and MacPherson were in love with the same woman, who married MacPherson and helped spark their rivalry. Flashback to the Cheers universe, and there’s Rees’ Robin Colcord being sent to jail and losing the affections of Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley) to Sam Malone (Ted Danson), while on Cheers spin-off Frasier, Rubinek’s nice guy Donny Douglas was left at the altar when his fiancé Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves) played runaway bride with Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce).

The Warehouse 13 first season finale premieres Tuesday, September 23, at 9PM ET on Syfy

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