Reviewed: by Tyler Olson
***The review below contains minor spoilers.***
Warehouse 13 finally returned after an incredibly long mid-season hiatus, but at least it brough back the greatness we were looking for.
The mid-season finale was so messed up that I barely enjoyed it, but thankfully those events are hardly touched on during 'The Living and the Dead', allowing the series to return to what it is good at; quirky science fiction goodness. Even though we didn't get much of it from Artie, the rest of the characters made up for the missing character, and then some.
Most of that extra quirkiness was thanks to the introduction of the sleazy Professor Sutton, who was played by James Marsters, famously known from his role as Spike in Buffy. This drunk, sleazy, and witty professor definitely did a fantastic job to lighten what could easily have been a very dark episode. His comedic attitude wasn't the only thing I enjoyed about him, but also the mystery surrounding him. He seemed to play whatever role Pete and Myka pushed him toward, meaning that everything which was revealed about him could be, and likely was, a lie. I also loved how his famous role was even teased when they brought up the topic of vampires, which was sure to give fans even more to love. I really hope he returns over and over! Did Spike just get spiked?
If you were looking for action, not comedy, there was plenty of that too, in both stories. During the save the world story Myka got to take out two people, one unarmed, plus they got to dodge some very wicked medieval traps. Although Claudia and Steve may have had the best ones trying to save Artie. I especially adored the run-in with James; I really miss his character as a villain.
With all the action and comedy goodness, you may have hoped that the waterworks would have stayed away, but the story did have the unfinished business from Artie's actions to deal with, and yes, it was sad. I can't imagine what it would be like to know that your body did something so horrible to one of your friends and having no control over it. Of all the ideas that science fiction has presented, mind & body-jacking has to be the worst. I think this was the main reason the Goa'uld were such awesome villains in Stargate. I would even take getting an alien larva hatching inside me rather than living through the nightmares of knowing what your body did.
There were also a couple of flaws in this episode, but they were nothing to do with how it was written or directed, and instead caused by the prolonged break. The idea of a world-scale pandemic would have struck home for so many more viewers if it aired last year, since only a few small disease outbreaks have occurred recently. Also the breakup of MSNBC also make the newscasts feel old. Seriously, how hard would it have been for them to make a few edits in the last seven months to change it to NBCNews? Neither breaks the story, but they would have made the episode much better if they aired last year.
Even with the extra dark cleanup, this premiere did a fantastic job at putting Warehouse 13 back on track after the depressing ending last year. Sure Artie is in for some tough times ahead, but I trust that the writers will handle it better than they did after Myka's breakdown.