Episode Title: "Fractures"
Writers: Benjamin Raab & Deric A. Hughes
Director: Chris Fisher
Previously on "Warehouse 13":
In the warehouse, Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) checks in on Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) as he searches for artifacts to free himself from the metronome. In passing, Artie mentions that he's going on a date with Dr. Vanessa Calder (Lindsay Wagner)… and as soon as his colleagues, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) show up, they mercilessly tease Artie about having a girlfriend, as does Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti). Frustrated, Artie tells them not to contact him unless of an emergency. Meanwhile at a Catholic thrift shop, a young woman named Kristen (Melanie Scrofano) comes across Lewis Carroll's mirror and she soon finds herself possessed by Alice.
"Kristen" attempts to seduce the priest in the store before stabbing him and stealing his van. While admiring her new body in the rear view mirror, Alice gets into a major accident. Sometime later, Pete and Myka are called in to the hospital to investigate the priest's claims that Kristen is possessed and they are taken aback when she knows their names. At an upscale hotel, Artie meets with Vanessa and he lightly dances with her before they go out to dinner. Back at the warehouse, Claudia catches Steve doing his research and she openly wonders why she wasn't asked to go out on the mission with Pete and Myka.
Steve tries to convince Claudia to slow down and take it easy, but he only makes her suspicious. At the thrift store, Pete and Myka discover Lewis Carroll's mirror… which has been broken by Alice. They recall that Myka was possessed by Alice years ago and they realize that Kristen is simply her latest victim. At the hospital, Alice romantically teases a male nurse into loosening her wrist strap before she gets free and attacks him. Pete and Myka get there too late to stop Alice's escape, but they do find Kristen and figure out that Alice has a way to jump bodies. They witness Alice's latest body steal an ambulance and speed off.
After Claudia and Steve are told about Alice's escape, the duo attempt to find another artifact that can trap Alice. As Leena (Genelle Williams) arrives to help, Steve accidentally reveals that he and Artie had been investigating several break-ins at the warehouse where the thief left behind black diamonds as a calling card. When Pete and Myka catch up to the ambulance driver, she remembers that Alice was trying to get to L'Etoile. Finally deciding that this is an emergency, Pete contacts Artie through his Farnsworth and Artie says that L'Etoile is the restaurant where he and Vanessa are dining. Artie also sees that his waitress has been possessed by Alice and he tells Pete to join them there.
To save himself and Vanessa, Artie pushes the waitress away and grabs Vanessa before triggering the fire alarm. By the time that Pete and Myka get there, they realize that Alice is attempting to hunt down Artie. In the warehouse, Claudia, Steve and Leena find the caterpillar's hookah from "Alice in Wonderland;" which may help them capture Alice. But when Claudia nearly electrocutes herself with one of the artifacts, Leena sees Steve and Claudia briefly exchange auras. Leena tries to ask Steve about it, but he tells her to let it go for now. Back at the street outside of the restaurant, Pete and Myka use reflective shades to try to catch Alice.
Alice possesses a fireman and he comes towards Artie and Vanessa with an ax, but Alice manages to elude Pete and Myka by constantly using a broken shard from Lewis Carroll's mirror to possess other victims. Artie tries to send Vanessa away for her own safety, but she insists upon helping the team trap Alice… even if they have to use Artie as bait. Setting up in a nearby hotel lobby, Artie places himself in plain view as Claudia, Pete, Steve, Myka and Vanessa cover the exits while looking for Alice. When Alice finally shows up, she possesses a Bell Hop and takes Vanessa hostage while holding the shard to her throat.
The warehouse team follows them back to Vanessa's hotel room, where Alice is now possessing Vanessa as she holds Artie hostage. Claudia attempts to activate the hooka, but Alice jumps into her body and lunges towards Artie as she prepares to stab him with the shard. In his moment of panic, Artie flashes back to his vision of Claudia murdering him with a dagger. The details aren't exactly the same, but they are pretty close. Steve gets in front of Artie and Alice stabs him in his shoulder. The resulting pain in Claudia's body causes Alice to collapse and allows the team to trap her in the shard before they bag it.
When Artie and Vanessa get some time alone, he backs down from his earlier idea to advance their relationship out of fear that she will be targeted to hurt him. Vanessa is very adamantly opposed to this idea and she refuses to break things off with him. She tells him to call her when he figures out that pushing his loved ones away is a very bad idea. Later, Steve explains to Claudia how that are sharing each other's pain through the metronome and he voices his concern that a fatal wound to him would kill her. But Claudia insists that they will figure it all out. Soon after, Claudia, Steve, Pete and Myka compare notes on the warehouse robberies and they wonder what Artie isn't telling them… and what he thinks that he is protecting them from.
In the dark room vault, Artie angrily cries out at Brother Adrian (Brent Spiner) or whomever is behind the robberies and Artie says that he won't let them undo his life's work. Artie briefly checks on the astrolabe before hiding it again. But as Artie leaves the room, Leena emerges from the shadows having heard his entire rant.
"Fractures" is one of those rare "Warehouse 13" episodes that manages to stand alone, advance the season long story arc and find something meaningful for almost every member of the cast to do. Having Lindsay Wagner along for the ride is just a bonus.
Most of the time, Leena tends to fade into the background on this show, but now she has critical information on both the Claudia/Steve connection and what Artie's been hiding from the team. Earlier in this season, Brother Adrian warned Artie that anyone he told about using the astrolabe would be placed in grave danger. And whether he knows it or not, Artie has just shared that info with Leena. So, we'll see soon enough whether that warning will be meaningful. The sequence in which Leena witnessed Claudia and Steve swapping auras was also well done.
Pete and Myka's relationship seemed refreshingly classic in this episode, as if they recaptured some of the chemistry that had been absent for a few episodes. The bit with Myka and Pete using the reflective shades to identify Alice was particularly amusing. The callbacks to Alice's first appearance on the series were also a nice touch. Meanwhile, Claudia and Steve appear to be refining their dynamic and it doesn't feel artificial in the way that some of their early adventures did.
It's also been fascinating to watch Artie fall into desperation. Pushing Veronica away from him seems like it could stem from more than just a desire to protect her. It could very well be Artie's way to protect himself not only from any pain if she gets hurt, but also to allow him to avoid heartbreak if their relationship never fully materializes. Keep in mind that Artie has largely shunned personal connections outside of the warehouse team and he doesn't exactly feel comfortable with intimacy of any kind.
Even in this episode, Artie is barely able to take some light teasing from his friends (and even his dog!) about his romantic prospects with Vanessa. He clearly wants to be with her, but who wants to bet that Artie wouldn't have eventually manufactured a reason to stay apart just to keep things status quo? Hopefully we'll see Wagner back on the series again this season. Vanessa's presence allows Artie to be more than his sometimes one dimensional grouchy persona. And it's too Vanessa's credit that she refuses to break off her relationship with Artie despite his words. She clearly loves Artie and that love may be his best hope for real happiness.
Ever since he used the astrolabe, Artie has been visibly afraid that his vision of Claudia killing him will come true, as it almost did in this episode. But Artie seems so worried about an evil within Claudia that he could be overlooking the darkness within himself. Artie has already cut himself off from the warehouse team and his sanity seemed pretty tenuous during his rant in the dark vault. Could Artie's paranoia transform him into what he fears the most? Or is Claudia predestined to strike down her surrogate father? The one upside to having a shorter half season of "Warehouse 13" episodes is that answers are right around the corner.