Warehouse 13 Season Four Episode Eleven “The Living And The Dead” TV REVIEW
Writer: Drew Z Greenberg
Director: Millicent Shelton
THE ONE WHERE Pete, Myka and Spike Dr Sutton The Count of St Germain save the world from sweating sickness, while Claudia, Jinks and Mrs Frederic save Artie from himself.
VERDICT After a generally disappointing first half to season four, Warehouse 13 returns with an episode which reminds you just how fun it can be when the characters are the focus. Unfortunately, there’s also plenty of the cheesy theatrics which are so often at the root of Warehouse 13 ’s problems.
Despite the global pandemic, it’s a simple guest appearance which elevates this week’s episode above the norm. James Marsters’ Dr Sutton/Count is a wonderful comic drunk, one who somehow manages to make Myka AND Pete seem like the “straight men” of the relationship. There’s little we haven’t seen before from similar characters, but Marsters is still as entertaining to watch as he was back in the heyday of Buffy , and is aided by some witty dialogue from former Whedonverse scribe Drew Greenberg. British thesp Polly Walker feels a little wasted in her brief appearance as old stuff collector Charlotte Dupres, though I’m guessing from the final shot that’s not the last we’ll be seeing of her.
As for Claudia and Jinks’ journey into Artie’s mind, I can only imagine the vision was undone by the budget because it all comes across a bit late-80s-direct-to-video thriller, with wooden cameos from several familiar faces, dodgy effects and a concept which is silly, even for a show about magical artifacts. The emotional payoff just about saves it from complete disaster, and it’s nice to see Leena’s death hasn’t been completely forgotten about, but I spent the bulk of these scenes willing the Count to return.
The episode also does a pretty poor job of making you truly feel like the whole world is in jeopardy. There are doom-mongering news broadcasts (a mock-doc technique which feels weirdly incongruous in this show) but where is the chaos on the streets? The riots outside hospitals? If you’re going to establish such high stakes, you need to make us believe in them. I’m not sure Warehouse 13 has ever got the balance between comedy and drama right for more than a handful of fleeting moments (it’s hard to become invested in an attempt at high drama when you’re aware Pete can undercut it with a cartoon quip at a moment’s notice) and this episode suffers from a similarly erratic tone, but the sense of fun which stems from Marster’s cameo means it isn’t too much of a problem this week.
BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY Syfy announced last night that Warehouse 13 will return for a fifth season , yay! But that it will be only six episodes long and the last, boo! At least they’ll have time to give the show a (hopefully) satisfying ending.
CAPRICA CONNECTION This episode reunites James Marsters and Polly Walker who starred in Caprica together, albeit briefly. Speaking of which…
IT’S WOSSERNAME If you don’t know who James Marsters is, shame on you, but Polly Walker may be harder to place. As well as playing terrorist leader Clarice Willow in Caprica she’s popped up in John Carter , Sanctuary and Clash Of The Titans .
PETE’S ONE-LINER OF THE WEEK “It's always ultimately death. I mean, artifacts never release a plague of tickles or an epidemic of kittens.”
INJOKE We say injoke, but as already established you all should know why James Marsters joking about vampires is amusing, if a little on the nose, even for Warehouse 13.
SPECULATION The Count guns for Marie Antoinette’s Diamond the moment he steps foot in the tomb, which means it must do something pretty damn cool. Maybe it has the power to make one a king/queen?
COVERUP The episode was leaked online weeks before the premiere date, leading to many of the shows stars appealing for fans to watch it again live when it debuted on TV. In response Syfy made the episode free for anyone (in the US) to watch online from 16 April, almost two weeks before its official debut.
• The Count Of Saint Germain’s Ring – can bring plants back to life
• Philosopher’s Stone – stops aging
• Chinese Orchid – when the flower wilts it releases the plague
• The Schlage – can open any lock and hack alarms
• Nicolas Baudin’s Map and Legend – used to navigate the catacombs of Paris
• Francesco Borgia’s Dagger – separates good from evil
• Sigmund Freud’s Mantle Clock – Allows entry into a person’s subconscious
• William Hornaday’s Cap – encases people in silk cocoons.
The Count: “I always wondered if being ageless meant being immortal. Apparently a poison dart through the heart will kill me. That's good to know. Won't do that again.”