Entertainment Magazine

Review #3045: Warehouse 13 3.11: “Emily Lake”

Posted on the 04 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

(This review covers the first half of the third season finale as originally aired. A subsequent review will cover the second half of the finale.)

While there have been some quibbles regarding the pacing of the season arc (something that has become a trend for the series, unfortunately), this episode hits the ground running. Sykes’ gambit against the Regents finally picks up speed, and it is requisitely sinister and just plain brutal. That’s one thing that must be said about this episode: despite the occasional moment of levity, there is a lot of darkness.

Review #3045: Warehouse 13 3.11: “Emily Lake”

This episode, the first half of a two-part finale, focuses a great deal on Steve Jinks and his role in the current situation. As was long since predicted by just about everyone, he is working as a covert operative for Mrs. Frederic and Pete’s mother in the hopes of uncovering and derailing Sykes’ plan. Considering how obvious it was to the audience, the intended high drama of Jinks’ apparent betrayal doesn’t quite have the desired impact.

Perhaps it’s a good thing, then, that H.G. Wells returns in a completely unexpected manner. As if to underscore the ongoing commentary on the Regents and their questionable methods, H.G. has been forced into what might be termed the Warehouse version of “witness relocation”. There is something insidious in rewriting someone’s personality, but as punishments go, is it more humane than the alternatives?

Pete and Myka debate the issue between themselves, of course, but it’s most interesting when H.G. herself appears to accept the situation for what it is. Her life as Emily Lake is a point of redemption, something that she might not have found without the Janus Coin. The fact that it can be reversed is actually more of the issue, because if that hadn’t been the case, Sykes’ plan would likely have been moot.

It was the whiplash plotting of the final act that really brought this episode to the next level. Jinks’ true mission was not a surprise, but for the characters, it brought a sense of relief. They had every reason to think that they could stage their assault (with Tesla rifles!) and bring the threat to an end. Even as it became clear that Sykes had left the building, it felt more like a delaying tactic.

That is, until Pete ran up the stairs, and we saw his expression. I have to give it to the cast; they all played that moment perfectly in character. Even now, well after the fact, recalling that scene gives me chills. Pete has never been so serious and stricken, and Claudia’s scream was heart-wrenching. (Kudos to the producers for finding what might be the most funereal version of “Running Up That Hill” ever recorded.)

Having lost so much in the latest salvo of the conflict with Sykes, the team needs to pull it together and make their next move. But what will the cost of this moment be? It already seems to have hit Claudia very hard. If nothing else, it reminds the agents of Warehouse 13 that the typical life span in their field is tragically short.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 3/4

Final Rating: 9/10


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