Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Warehouse 13 Wednseday: Pilot

EPISODE 1.1 "Pilot"
Original Air Date: 07 July 2009
ARTIE: "Miss Bering, Mr. Lattimer Welcome to Warehouse 13...
I'm thrilled you're on the team. "
MYKA: "What Team? What is this place?"
ARTIE: "Officially K39tripleZ on the North American Grid,
but I like to think of it as America's Attic."

Warning: This review may contain spoilers
(and may be a bit lengthy since it was a two-hour episode)

This is where it all began your "invitation to endless wonder". When the concept/basic plot premise for Warehouse 13 was first announced many (including myself) noticed it was similar to the late 1980s television series "Friday The 13th" (AKA: "Friday's Curse"), not to be confused with nor is it affiliated with the movie series of the same name with that Jason freak. Some call it a rip off I do not. The basic concept of retrieving artifacts that are cursed or have magic or psychic properties is the same, and you have a middle aged man taking the lead with a young male and female partner team that do the searching. That is basically where things end, the details on who they are and why they do it is slightly different. For WH13 all the magic/psychic artifacts once found are "neutralized" and then stored in a warehouse which is technically run by the government under a super top secret black ops department. As opposed to just being tossed into a vault under an antique shop without any neutralization. It has been ages since I've seen FT13 so my details on that show might be slightly off.

Things open at a museum in Washington DC, the Capital Museum of Natural History (It is supposed to be the Smithsonian Natural History Museum) we meet Secret Service Agent Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) as she waits to meet up with Chet Greenfield (William Colgate) the museum curator for the umpteenth time to make the final security arrangements for the President's arrival at a reception of some sort at the Museum. Myka is very organized and has an eye for detail, later it is mentioned that she has eidetic memory (Photographic memory). During their final sweep tour Mr. Greenfield takes Myka to a lab were Gordon Letanik (Rauol Bhaneja) is cleaning an Aztec Blood Stone (which is the first of several "artifacts" for the episode). Myka informs them that some of the displays need to be moved because they are blocking access to an exit. After Greenfield and Myka leave the room Gordon drops a tool in the mouth of the stone and while trying to retrieve it cuts his finger on one of the glass teeth of the face on the stone.

Our introduction to Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) is an intimate one as he is with his girlfriend (or girlfriend of the moment) Kacey (Kristina Pesic). She sees his father's fireman badge hanging by his bed and she thinks he is a fireman. He is actually another Secret Service Agent assigned to the Museum detail that Myka is in charge of security for.

At the Museum reception several things happen, of course. Gordon gets possessed by the blood stone his eyes turn bloodshot and his finger wound continues to bleed. Pete senses something is "off" he explains to Myka he gets "vibes". A mysterious man with a bag, who turns out to be Arthur "Artie" Nielsen (Saul Rubenik) enters the museum and in an isolated hallway knocks out one of the Secret Service Men with a ray gun (which is later explained to be a Tesla Stun Gun, an artifact which will be a useful tool for the Warehouse Team). Pete notices blood coming from the stone but nobody listens to him, he takes it just as Kacey who is one of the caterers/party servers sees him and asks what he is doing there, he says working and then Mr. Greenfield starts to approach him and he slips out saying secret service business. Myka notices the blood trail from Gordon as he takes out a stone knife and makes an attack at an ambasador with a stone knife. After a bit of a struggle Myka stops him. Pete meanwhile has gone up to another floor where he trips and the blood stone rolls to the feet of Artie who neutralizes the stone with some sort of top piece, the blinding flash stuns Pete long enough for Artie to get away.

Pete's boss Daniel Dickenson (Simon Reynolds) not believing his story of the theft of the blood stone, suspends him with pay. Dejected Pete returns home to find a mysterious woman Mrs. Irene Frederic (CCH Pounder), along with her driver/body guard (Jung-Yul Kim). Mrs. Frederic informs him that he has been re-assigned to a position in South Dakota. Pete arrives at the designated location a huge wasteland with a strange looking warehouse set into the hillside. He is joined by Myka, who had a visit from Mrs. Frederic as well, and after seeing Pete is convinced there is some kind of screw-up. Soon Artie shows up with a strange rod contraption, he explains he was fixing the F.I.S.H. (a device that is mentioned a few times later during the series and will actually be shown and explained in Season 4) and formally introduces himself and tells them he will explain everything inside. Tentatively they follow and they are given a nickel tour of the warehouse. Pete is shown an old photograph of some warehouse agents with Mrs. Frederic who still looks the same age, meanwhile in a huff Myka has gone out to call Dickenson to try to get things straightened out so she can return to DC. Later they are told they will be staying at Leena's Bread and Breakfast while on their new assignment. There they meet Leena (Genelle Williams) and settle in before their first assignment as Warehouse Agents.

For their first assignment Pete and Myka are sent to Seever City, Iowa to investigate a strange case about a college boy named Cody Thomas (Dillon Casey) who attacked his girlfriend Emily Krueger (Sarah Allen). Part of their arsenal of tools they are given a high-tech steampunk video communications device called a Farnsworth, and a neutralizing kit. While they interview Cody he gets very violent and says something in an old form of Italian. With the help of a professor at the college Professor Ed Marzotto (Michael Boatman) Pete and Myka get a translation of what Cody said, they suspect, however, that the professor isn't telling the complete truth. Artie researches and discovers the artifact they need to find, at around the same time that Pete and Myka learn who has the artifact, Cody's lawyer Lorna Soliday (Sherry Miller). The artifact they need to find is a comb Lucrezia Borgia's comb which has hypnotic powers that basically gives the user control over others. The energy/power is activated by a specific phrase spoken in old Italian, the phrase that Cody had been saying just before he went berserk. At some sort of party for a play Soliday uses the combs power to hypnotize the crowd, Pete and Myka arrive and eventually get the artifact comb neutralized to save the day and Emily's life.

At the end of the day Dickenson who has been in contact with Mrs. Frederic, calls Myka and informs her that Pete's transfer to the Warehouse is permanent, but that she can return to DC he gives her only about five seconds to think about it, as she is considering it Mrs. Frederic who is still with Dickenson is counting down.

All in all I loved the pilot episode for WH13, however, I agree with others who have reviewed the pilot that a full two-hour (technically only one hour and a half) debut was a bit lengthy choppy in parts and dragged some. True there is a lot of exposition and the usual minutia that goes with exposition, but those aren't really the parts that drag, it's the going back and forth between the actions of the supporting characters and Pete and Myka's investigation that seems to drag it seemed they wanted to set up all the relationships before actually getting around to the action with the artifact.

I give this episode 4 Warehouse artifacts ****

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