The fourteenth episode of Warehouse 13’s fourth season, The Sky’s the Limit, features an imaginative plot with two distinct and interesting investigations for the now-sizable cast. The downside, however, is that the show retains its irritatingly immature and juvenile attempts at humour. For every observation that can be suggested in this episode’s favour, there is a childish joke attempting to give the characters a sense of charm and warmth. From its first season, it has been very evident that the creators of Warehouse 13 have been attempting (without success) to capture the snappy dialogue and humorous undertones of a Joss Whedon-penned science fiction programme. What results is intriguing narratives with some fascinating ideas constantly being ground to a halt to allow for an undeveloped gag that simply doesn’t work. In the case of this episode, the team is split apart to investigate two separate mysterious events- both of which seem to be the work of good people using the magical artefacts to do bad things- but it is impossible to become invested in what is happening because the plot keeps getting interrupted by silly jokes about cookies or strip clubs. The episode begins with Artie (Saul Rubinek) dispatching the two senior warehouse agents, Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) to Las Vegas to discover the story behind a man who seemingly fell to his death from out of the sky. It is not long before Pete and Myka are on the trail of an elderly Vegas magician who may have discovered an artefact that grants him real magical powers. The second investigation, progressing at the same time as the main Vegas plot, features Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Steve (Aaron Ashmore) travelling to Britain (that curiously resembles an American country club) to investigate a series of events involving horse-racing jockeys. The third and most minor sub-plot involves Artie being visited by a psychiatrist (Kelly Hu) whose assistance he refuses.
Both of the episode’s investigations are presented as fairly intriguing mysteries, complete with the usual red herrings and wrong turns. The Vegas plot boasts some very impressive special effects and the Britain plot is certainly amusing, if only to see how an American television show chooses to depict British people. However, both plots could have been significantly improved by revisions to the episode’s poor attempts at humour. Eddie McClintock delivers a strong performance as Pete but (as is the case with all his Warehouse 13 episodes) he is saddled with unfunny jokes that are meant to present him as a cocky yet endearing scoundrel but only manage to portray him as an overgrown man-child. Pete’s jokes are the sort of humour valued by a particularly crude child; lacking any sense of wit or timing. Similarly painful to watch is the snarky and sassy remarks of Claudia that are likely supposed to present her as a no-nonsense hard-case. Warehouse 13 is clearly intended to be a more light-hearted alternative to previous supernatural procedural dramas like Fringe or The X-Files. Unfortunately, the dialogue writers are not adept enough at humour or wit for the show to work successfully. The saving grace of the episode is Rubinek’s Artie. Artie’s sardonic and world-weary personality makes him an instantly more interesting character than the warehouse’s field agents. It is unfortunate that Artie is relegated to the background so heavily in this episode; especially when one considers the fact that his sub-plot introduces an entirely new character to the show (which already has a fairly significant cast size). Ultimately, the episode is too bogged down in unfunny jokes and failed attempts at snappy dialogue to become enjoyable.
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