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Warehouse 4.13 "The Big Snag" REVIEW

TV REVIEW The Case of the Jade Elephant

Warehouse 13 Season Four Episode Twelve “The Living And The Dead” TV REVIEW

Episode 4.13
Writer: John-Paul Nickel
Director: Chris Fisher

THE ONE WHERE Pete and Myka get trapped in a noir novel, while Artie, Claudia and Jinks investigate an impossible car thief.

VERDICT Warehouse 13 is no stranger to high concept, and an episode half set in a monochrome noir novel ranks up there with a female HG Wells (brilliant!) and that time the gang got trapped in a videogame (rubbish!) In terms of quality, “The Big Snag” falls somewhere between the two. It’s fun to see Pete and Myka running about trying to solve a forties caper, complete with double, triple and indeed quadruple crosses, but it doesn’t do enough with the setting to make it any more than a passable pastiche. There’s a hint of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler to the tale, but it feels dishearteningly generic. If Anthony Bishop really was one of Myka’s favourite writers, she had a terrible choice in authors.

The fact they go into a noir novel doesn’t really have any rhyme or reason either; it’s simply a case of “why not?” When Buffy did high concept it did it for a reason. “Once More With Feeling”, for example, was an episode which allowed the characters to release pent up emotions through enforced sing-song and complemented the melodrama of the situation. Pete and Myka have barely moved on as characters in four years, and this week’s episode changes nothing between them. The story lets the side down then, which is a shame, because I could happily watch the Warehouse pair attend glammed-up dances every week.

The meat of the character stuff is going on in the real world, where Artie, Jinks and Claudia are chasing a phantom car thief. There’s some lovely Artie-off-the-rails moments – pulling a Tesla in the middle of a car showroom, playing chicken behind the wheel – but the mystery itself is another bland MacGuffin hunt and the crim of the week is so badly characterised her motivation makes no sense whatsoever (cars shouldn’t be locked up, er, what?) Some nice ideas, but poorly executed.

CONTINUITY Pete uses a trick he learned from a Raymond St James movie to reveal a name erased from a hotel guest book. Raymond St James is a fictional actor who appeared in episode 2.03 “Beyond Our Control”.

SOCIAL MEDIA GONE MAD We realise the success of Defiance is very important to you, Syfy, but plastering a hashtag in the top right hand corner while another show is on the air is an unusual tactic to say the least.

IT’S WOSSERNAME You may recongnise Missi Pyle (Lily Abbott) as Thermian Laliari from Galaxy Quest , where she stars alongside…

IT’S WOSSISNAME …Enrico Colantoni, Galaxy Quest ’s Thermian leader Mathesar. Colantoni also stars as Veronica’s dad Keith in the Veronica Mars series.

FEATURED MUSIC The song Lily performs is “After You’ve Gone” by Turner Layton and Henry Creamer, a jazz classic recorded dozens of times over the years, most recently for the title sequence of videogame Bioshock Infinite .

REFERENCE Pete: “That was the stuff dreams are made of, sweetheart.” The Casablanca reference was unmissable, but you didn’t expect Warehouse 13 to do noir without at least one allusion to The Maltese Falcon , did you?

Anthony Bishop's Kiss Me, Forever Manuscript: Traps people in a noir novel which they can only escape from by solving the case.
Vyasa's Jade Elephant: Can absorb and discharge electrical energy.
Carey Loftin's Gloves: Allows cars to pass through solid objects.
Battery Backpack: Absorbs electrical energy collected by Vyasa's Jade Elephant.

Myka : “It's like 1940s.”
Pete : “Oh, come on, not time travel again.”
Myka : “No, no, it's not time travel. The 1940s were in color, much like the rest of history.”

Jordan Farley

Read all our Warehouse 13 Season 4 Reviews so far here.

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Jordan Farley
Jordan is the Community Editor at SFX and Total Film. When he isn't watching movies or sci-fi shows of questionable quality he's probably shooting men in space or counting down the days till the next Zelda comes out.