Episode Title: "Shadows"
Writers: Bob Goodman & Holly Harold
Director: Tawnia McKiernan
Previously on "Warehouse 13':
A mysterious man in a wheelchair has orchestrated a shadow war against Warehouse 13 and its agents. His primary operative, FBI Agent Sally Stukowski (Ashley Williams) used a stolen artifact to torture and kill several Warehouse Regents. Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) led his field agents, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) to capture and subdue Sally. However, they soon found that Sally and her accomplice had used an artifact to slowly destroy a building holding three of the remaining Regents, including a woman named Jane (Kate Mulgrew).
When Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) began torturing Sally for information, Steve became increasingly uncomfortable until he pulled his weapon on her to make it stop. Sally took the opportunity to the escape and left Steve to face the consequences of his actions. At the building, Pete used the artifact to reverse the corrosive effect, saving Myka and Jane in the process. Outside, Steve told Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) that Mrs. Frederic fired him for insubordination. In the aftermath of the emergency, Myka introduced Jane to Peter, who quickly recognized her as his mother.
Elsewhere, Sally returned to her employer and told him that Steve was vulnerable for recruitment before he ordered Marcus Diamond (Sasha Roiz) to kill her now that her usefulness had ended.
Sometime later, Pete and his mom argue about her secret life as a Regent. She starts to explain, but Mrs. Frederic tells them it will have to wait. She's identified the name of the company bankrolling Sally's activities: A to Z Technology. The name sparks a vibe with Jane who is sure that she has encountered it before. Pete only gets more agitated to learn that he inherited his vibes from his mom and walks out. Meanwhile in Portland, a man named Jason Kinser is vaporized while mowing his lawn, as the power goes out and street lights explode around him. Back at the Warehouse, Artie realizes that Jason's death was likely artifact related and he sends Claudia and Myka to investigate.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Frederick proposes that Jane use an artifact to explore her memories and Pete volunteers to come with her as anchor to prevent her from being lost in her memories forever. In Portland, Myka and Claudia can't seem to understand why Jason was killed while they interview his former employees at a T-shirt design house. The employees say that Jason recently laid off half the staff and give them the names of those who were let go. Elsewhere in town, a young man named Brandon pleads to his girlfriend to let him see her when he too is vaporized, leaving only his shadow on a wall.
in their shared memories, Jane and Pete find themselves at the funeral for Pete's dad. Pete is also stunned to see Mrs. Frederic there in the past as she attempts to bring Jane back into the ranks of the Regents. Even told that they require her advice about a child, Jane refuses. In the present, Claudia and Myka interview Brandon's roommate, who points them towards his girlfriend, Megan Reese (Alessandra Torresani); who was one of the recently fired T-Shirt workers. They find Megan terrified out of her mind at her apartment and convinced that she is killing anyone who makes her upset.
Megan explains that the problem started in her hometown when she accidentally killed a mugger and her boyfriend without even knowing how she did it. The agents are perplexed when Megan doesn't have an artifact, but they witness the landlady harass Megan and get vaporized as well. Megan runs off, but Claudia tracks her down at a local cemetery and they bond over the respective tragedies of their lives. Back at the scene of the landlady's death, Myka works out that Megan couldn't have killed the landlady and she notices glitter from the T-Shirt house. Reuniting with Claudia and Megan, they realize that Jeff — one of the other T-Shirt house employees — went to high school with Megan and is likely responsible for the deaths.
In the past, Pete and Jane watch her younger self meet a young boy named Walter Sykes, who practices for baseball while wearing a rope bracelet. Young Jane delicately speaks with Walter before departing. Pete soon witnesses a younger Artie and MacPherson take the rope bracelet from Walter's home. Pete is further hurt by Jane's eventual return to the Warehouse Regents, but she shows him a memory of his father which inspired her to go back to protect her family and the rest of the world. Then they leave the memories as Pete begins to lose his desire to leave.
Back in Portland, Myka and Claudia use Megan to lure Jeff into a trap that briefly backfires before the girls overcome him. Myka then determines that the artifact used a pair of binoculars owned by the pilot of the Enola Gay as he watched the effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. At the Warehouse, Pete thinks that he blew the mission, but Jane points out that the A to Z technologies reminded her of the Aztecs hat worn by Walter in the past. Jane says that artifact they took from Walter would let him walk but leave a seed of darkness within him. Without it, he is crippled and she realizes that he must be the man behind the war on the Warehouse.
Elsewhere, present day Walter (Anthony Michael Hall) tells Marcus that he's found another way to strike at the Warehouse. And they also agree to get to Steve now that he is no longer an agent.
It's clear now why Walter's face wasn't shown to the audience in the previous episodes. He may not be a character we've met before, but I think that most of us would recognize Anthony Michael Hall. Although the dark glint in his eye to let us know that he's evil was a bit over the top.
Now that we have a clearer idea of what's driving Walter's war against the Warehouse Regents, it seems likely that the Regents aren't as evil as Sally tried to portray them. But Walter's side of the conflict could be filled with people who have been wronged by the Regents and the Agents while recovering artifacts, giving his operatives a personal motivation to fight. That still doesn't explain why he so casually killed Sally, but I hated that character and I'm willing to let it slid.
This episode also overcame my initial misgivings about casting Kate Mulgrew as Pete's mother. It's still not easy to buy that, but I did enjoy their dynamic together as they explored her memories. There was some suggestion that Pete's life as a Warehouse agent was planned for years, which would have been an interesting direction to go in. But the episode pulled back from that almost immediately. I also have to note that Jane making the connection between A to Z technologies and the Aztecs hat owned by Walter makes about as much sense as Pete's "hey Myka, let's get naked together so that when we wake up from this hangover we'll know something is wrong because we would never sleep together!" from a few episodes ago.
Alessandra Torresani gave an unexpectedly strong supporting performance as Megan and the Enola Gay artifact was interesting. However, Jeff was an unbelievable caricature of every spurned nerd turned deadly stalker that we've ever seen before. I can't recall if "Warehouse 13" has gone that route before, but this plot felt very familiar and stale. The saving grace was the easy dynamic between Claudia and Myka in the field and Claudia's bonding moments with Megan. The writers also managed to give Steve a role in the episode without even appearing onscreen.
Troy Blundell also had a very good scene playing Pete's father and he delivered a fairly well written speech about why he decided to become a firefighter. It was a telling moment earlier in the episode when young Jane asked the apparently ageless Mrs. Frederic if the death of her husband was artifact related. That will probably be revisited in the near future. It also noted that Mrs. Frederic has had at least one son; whom we have yet to meet.
"Shadows" was one of the better episodes this season with a nice balance of standalone and continuing stories. "Warehouse 13" needs more installments like this in the future.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.