Episode Title: "Past Imperfect"
Writer: Nell Scovell
Director: Tawnia McKiernan
Previously on "Warehouse 13':
For months, Marcus Diamond (Sasha Roiz) and FBI Agent Sally Stukowski (Ashley Williams) have secretly worked against the Warehouse agents and assembled their own anti-Warehouse 13 team. During a recent case in New York, Sally brought in Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) and Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) to investigate an apparent artifact painting. Sally pretended to know nothing about the artifact even as she "accidentially" activated it. She also trapped Artie and Steve inside the museum as she escaped with the painting. She later returned and used her FBI clearance to get Steve and Artie released from police custody.
But Sally had swapped the painting for a fake; which was placed within the Warehouse itself. And out of the sight of Artie and his agents, thousands of mechanical bugs burst forth from the painting and invaded the Warehouse.
In Denver, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) attempt to recover a Golden Spike artifact. But while on the lookout for Pete, Myka spots Leo Bock; the counterfeiter who murdered her former partner, Sam Martino (Gabriel Hogan) years before. As Myka starts to pursue him, Pete's purple glove tears and exposes him to the Golden Spike. As he starts to choke from the artifact's affects, Myka returns to save his life but she loses track of Leo. In Wisconsin, Steve and Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) find a doorknob that became an artifact after a horrific fire. The purple gloves fail again and Steve is burned as he tries to handle it.
Outside, Claudia and Steve find a friendly dog that wants their attention. Both Claudia and Steve are then hit by darts and drugged into unconsciousness. And when they wake up, the dog is still there but the artifact is gone. Theorizing that the dog may have witnessed the licence of the car that drove up to them, Artie orders them to bring it back to the Warehouse. Back in Denver, Peter and Myka visit the Denver branch of the Secret Service and enlist the help of her former colleagues, Zach (J. August Richards) and Jim (Yancey Arias). After the reunion, they quickly work out that Leo is attempting to steal a new set of plates from the Denver mint.
The four agents surround Leo's tour bus, but he pushes his way past Jim and runs around the corner of an alley. Pete is only seconds behind him, but somehow Leo is long gone. Myka initially blames Pete for losing Leo, but together they test Leo's escape and realize that there isn't any way he could have escaped without an artifact to supernaturally assist him. Having reached a dead end, Myka approaches Sam's widow, Allison Martino… which is awkward because Myka was seeing Sam romantically while he was separated from her. But Allison is unusually understanding and she gives Myka a greeting card that Sam meant to give her; which plays a song that Sam knew Myka hated.
At the Warehouse, Steve and Claudia supervise as Artie uses a fez artifact to get the image of the car's license plate from the dog's mind. The dog briefly runs into the warehouse to chase a scarab artifact, potentially endangering Artie's mind if the fez falls off. But Claudia lures it back using Pavlov's Bell; which causes her to drool uncontrollably. However, the fez works and the team gets the information that they wanted. Back in Denver, Leo is spotted at the train station again. Asking Pete to hold back, Myka, Jim and Zach corner Leo and catch him off guard. In the blink of an eye, Leo is stunned to find himself holding a gun and Zach shoots him down.
Later, Myka realizes that the gun was in Leo's wrong hand and she figures out that an artifact was used to make the blink of an eye last nearly a minute. When she checks the greeting card meant for her again, she and Pete hear a recording of Leo speaking to his partner inside the Secret Service about Sam getting too close to them. She and Pete confront Zach believing him to be the traitor, but Jim pulls out the artifact and slows time as a bullet from Zach races towards Pete. Because Myka grabbed the artifact just when Jim did, she is able to move with him between the ticks of a second and she shoves him into the bullet when time resumes.
In the aftermath, Myka considers Sam avenged and she once again reconciles with Allison. Back at the Warehouse, Claudia tracks the rental car to Sally Stukowski and they realize that she was behind the theft. Finally aware of the threat against the Warehouse, Artie is more concerned that she seems to know everything about them while they barely have any idea who she is or what she represents.
"Warehouse 13" dives into comedy so often that when an episode like this has a more serious tone, it's a little jarring. But this was also the rare episode that had a strong central storyline and successfully advanced the season long story arc of the anti-Warehouse 13 team.
To start off, it can't be a coincidence that the purple gloves failed both Pete and Steve in the same episode. If we hadn't seen the mechanical bugs break out of the painting last week, I would have blamed that on lazy writing. But knowing that there is a group actively looking to undermine the Warehouse and its agents, it stands to reason that one of the first steps they would take is to neutralize the tools that the Warehouse agents use to survive their job. That's actually a very good strategy.
However, Sally and her cohorts lose points by renting a car that was so easily traced back to them. And yes, I'm saying that bringing a dog into the Warehouse for a psychic link to retrieve the license number was relatively easy. For an organization that apparently has a great deal of money and resources, it's really foolish to leave anything that could lead back to their real identities. And that was a very lazy writing decision. It would have been more effective if the dog had witnessed Sally herself retrieve the artifact from Steve and Claudia.
The scenes between Artie and the dog were amusing and apparently the dog is going to stick around because its psychic bond with Artie is too strong to break. Artie's notion that the dog owns him was also funny and he doesn't seem to mind having the new companion.
Myka's guilt over her partner's death was an effective way to explore her past. But the script really let her off the hook when it came to her extramarital affair with Sam. Allison was so quick to mention that she didn't blame Myka because they were separated at the time just didn't ring true. The morally upstanding Myka was dating a married man and there were no emotional consequences from that. It was a good character choice because it emphasized that Myka isn't perfect, but it definitely seemed like the writer wanted to pull back quickly before anyone lost sympathy for her.
As such a long time adversary of Myka's, Leo was startlingly underdeveloped. He literally seemed to have no personality or objectives other than his attempt to blend in with the tourists and steal another plate from the mint. Jim and Zach didn't fare much better, as we never learned enough about them to be surprised when Jim turned out to be the traitor.
However, the story did bring Pete and Myka closer together and it brought satisfying closure to Myka's old life. Pete can also be pretty tolerable when he's not flailing around like a human cartoon.
If "Warehouse 13" were to maintain this tone, I'd appreciate the series a lot more. But as it stands, this was an extremely well made episode that's established an interesting set up for the rest of the season.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.