Warehouse 13 3.08 “The 40th Floor” ReviewA tv review article by: Tom Carroll
Pete helps Myka catch a dangerous killer--the man who murdered her previous partner. Meanwhile, Artie, Claudia, and Steve interrogate a dog that is a key witness to the theft of an artifact.
Warehouse 13 airs Monday nights at 9:00PM EST on Syfy.
Against the urgings of my fellow reviewers here at Comics Bulletin, (and I must deliver a Spoiler Alert at this time), I will attempt to tell the main story arc of "The 40th Floor" in haiku form:
Get hosed going down
Too close relations! Beware
And again, a haiku for the supporting story arc (this is fun, you should try it yourself, unless you’re watching Jersey Shore, that is):
In end boss man needles her
Well, now you know why haikus aren’t the preferred tool for reviewers who want to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
"The 40th Floor" calls for the Warehouse 13 gang to split into three groups: Myka (Joanne Kelly) and Artie (Saul Rubinek); Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Pete (Eddie McClintock); and Jinx (Aaron Ashmore) and … Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder)? Yeah … it’s like that. Myka and Artie have to figure out how to rescue three Warehouse 13 regents from a death trap on the 40th floor of a skyscraper. If they don’t get out, fiery acid will take the building down and everything in it.
Claudia and Pete are tracking down James Aquino, a nasty guy with less hair than I have (if that’s possible) who has a graffiti spray can that can destroy almost anything under the right circumstances. Jinx has managed to capture Sally Stukowski (Ashley Williams), who is seen in the opening of the show torturing and killing a regent, an activity she is no stranger to. Mrs. Frederic throws her weight around when Jinx won’t employ extreme methods to obtain information about the killer’s plans.
Except for a few yucks along the way, this is a pretty tight little action-packed episode, especially in the first half where everything is being set up and no one’s actions have been totally revealed.
What I liked (and disliked) about this episode was the rampant use of objects from the warehouse to get into and out of trouble. There is the spray can, a Tesla bomb, a grappling hook, some Frank Lloyd Wright (I think it was FLW – should have taken better notes (should have taken notes at all)) pick-up sticks, Tesla zap guns, an artifact map that shows historical GPS data, medal from the coat of a cruel WWII bio-experiment director, an artifact that lets Claudia change Aquino’s GPS in the car he’s driving … the list goes on and on.
While I like this kind of techno-wizardry stuff, the pacing of the episode begins to resemble an episode of Inspector Gadget on ‘roids. And really, when Myka pulls out the grapple gun in the elevator sequence, I caught myself thinking, “Well, Myka, is that a grappling gun you’re carrying, or are you just glad to see me,” which is inane because Myka is, like, a woman and all.
"The 40th Floor" succeeds because it is nearly all dramatic action. I had fun watching it.
"The 40th Floor" fails because in about 12 minutes at the end the writers have to wrap everything up in a tidy little package, and that felt INCREDIBLY forced. Jinx goes out on a limb by defying his boss, who is using extreme methods to force information from Sally. He maintains that useful information is never obtained from prisoners who are tortured. But then the only information Sally gives is crucial to saving Myka and Jane (the top regent) from the collapsing building.
The information Sally discloses helps Pete to figure out that when used correctly, the spray can will neutralize a deadly symbol that has been painted on a wall. And Myka and Trustee Jane (Kate Mulgrew) discover that gravity is their friend as they rappel to safety down the previously untenable elevator shaft.
All of this had a rushed pacing that felt very forced… which was probably completely unavoidable to the writers.
One last note: watching Pete spray a peace symbol over the top of the anarchy symbol that caused all the damage made me feel like the writers should have made him dress in other far out object artifacts from the '60s, like a pair of Arlo Guthrie’s bell bottom pants, a cool fringed, paisley shirt worn by Linc or Pete (or Julie??) from The Mod Squad, and topped off by Jack Nickleson’s red, white, and blue motorcycle helmet from Easy Rider.
Ah … what I could do if I were allowed to join up with the Warehouse 13 writing staff. That scene would have been an Emmy in the making.
But I digress.
Did I mention that any time Kate Mulgrew was on screen, I couldn’t help imagine just how plus sized she had become since her stint on Start Trek: Voyager, and how much her voice still reminded me of a rabid chipmunk? I guess you could say I had as much trouble seeing her as a regent for the warehouse as I did imagining her as the captain of a starship.
I digress again ... **sigh **
The one spoiler I will emphatically not give is the one that happens just prior to credits rolling. I give a hint about it in my haikus that lead off the article, but if you want to know more, roll out that suitcase sized TiVo that Tesla made (and discarded because who would ever want to digitally record televisions shows anyway?) and watch it again.
It was a very quick, very delicious little moment ... one that I’m sure will be exploited very soon in future episodes. Keep a lookout, matey.
Tom Carroll is a writer and artist who has worked in video games, online media, and comic books. Most recently he worked for Interplay Entertainment (Giants: Citizen Kabuto for PS2) and Rockstar San Diego (Midnight Club series and Red Dead Redemption). He wrote P.O.D.: The Nexus (2008, Zondervan Press, a division of Harper-Collins), and has his own comic property, The Gun Nose Chronicles, in development. He currently writes for Game Developer magazine and Comics Bulletin. Tom is also entered in a jingle contest. Help him win by going to the Corky's Pest Control website and voting for “It Hurts.”