James Marsters, Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly
In last October’s midseason finale of Warehouse 13, agent-in-charge Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), having suffered a psychotic break, murdered Leena (Genelle Williams), a Warehouse colleague, and unleashed upon the world a deadly Artifact that could wipe out half the global population via a terrible sweating sickness.
As the series returns tonight with new episodes on Syfy, Artie lies in an apparent coma, having been stabbed with a special dagger by agent and geek goddess Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti). With few other options, Claudia and fellow agent Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) embark on a risky journey into Artie’s psyche in a Hail Mary attempt to bring him back.
Meanwhile, agents Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering (Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly) fly to New York to find Bennett Sutton (guest star James Marsters), an alcoholic Columbia University professor who is an authority on the court of Marie Antoinette. They’re trying to find information on one of Marie’s lovers, the Count of St. Germain, who may have had an Artifact they hope may reverse the pestilence “evil Artie” unleashed. Once the trio arrives in Paris, however, Pete and Myka quickly discover that Sutton is working his own agenda. Not only is he not what he seems, but his connection with Marie’s Count is a lot more direct that they ever imagined.
Marsters is perhaps best known to fantasy fans for his wildly popular role as the British bloodsucker Spike in the cult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and if you admired his performance on that show, you’re very likely to love him in this guest stint, which clearly is tailor-made to the actor’s knack for playing charming and sinister at the same time. There’s even a nice little “vampire” throwaway joke in an exchange with Pete and, happily, the ambiguous conclusion to the episode seems to leave open the possibility of a return appearance later by Marsters. (Polly Walker of HBO’s Rome is another guest star as a mysterious character who may also have a secret connection to Sutton).
As for Warehouse 13 itself, this episode finds the series in peak form. Williams’ Leena, who returns in this episode in a dream context to make a poignant farewell (you’ll see her next week as well, very briefly in an archived video), always was a charming presence on the show, but she had become less and less relevant as Scagliotti’s Claudia matured from her initial brattiness into a formidable, even heroic agent in her own right while also exploring Claudia’s inner life via her relationship with Ashmore’s Steve. Leena’s departure sharpens the focus on the principal characters.
As for McClintock and Kelly, their relaxed chemistry is really the engine that drives the show, and I especially like how this attractive duo has established their characters as being devoted to each other without automatically playing up a romantic or sexual component. That’s probably in the cards somewhere down the line, if Warehouse 13 continues its successful run, but it’s nice to see the writers-producers aren’t rushing toward that particular cliff.