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'Warehouse 13' season premiere recap: A steamy makeout sesh with H.G. Wells

The first season of Warehouse 13 ended with a parade of slam-bang cliffhangers. Artie’s dead! Leena’s a traitor! MacPherson’s free! It was a heavy way to end a mostly lighthearted season of TV, but one of the pleasures of Warehouse 13 is how it works a certain sly intelligence into a formula that initially seemed a little bit like X-Files crossed with Wishbone. Not every science-fiction show has to be an epic serialized drama, but the addition of a little bit of moral shmambiguity never hurts.

The second season premiere wrapped up all those cliffhangers in a perhaps-too-tidy bow, but there was also a lot to love. (Check out Ken Tucker’s review of the new season.) For me, the charm of Warehouse 13 is best expressed in a little scene where Pete and Myka talk about H.G. Wells:

Myka’s papa read her The War of the Worlds when she was a young bookworm. Pete just remembers thinking Tom Cruise was awesome in the movie. Then, in a reference to Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, Pete does a Brando impression: “I coulda been a scientist!” The key here is the stealth hyper-referentiality: He’s using Brando’s Godfather voice, but the line paraphrases Brando’s famous line from On The Waterfront in homage to Brando’s muumuu-loving doctor in Moreau. That’s three Brando impressions for the price of one!

Just to quickly recap the plotline: Artie was dead, but thanks to the phoenix charm, he got better. Leena was a traitor, but only because MacPherson put a Pearl of Wisdom in her ear. (Probably less painful than a brain-worm though, right?) And MacPherson’s master plan involved freeing H.G. Wells. I was all set to meet the old British actor playing Wells…perhaps John Rhys-Davies? But twist! H.G. Wells was a slinky British lady, too independent for the Victorian era, and too much for Pete to handle. She tricked Pete and Myka with the ol’ anti-gravity trick, and made off with an Imperceptor vest that let her travel at mega-speeds.

The episode ended with MacPherson dead – farewell, Big Bad #1 – but Lady Wells is on the run with some mysterious objects, working on what looked to me like blueprints. (Time machine, yes yes yes?) There were lots of great little moments in the episode. When Myka got on Pete’s case for acting like a hormonal ape, he pleaded, “You know how long it’s been? Way too.” There was a shout-out to the immortal Boom Goes The Dynamite meme, via Claudia. (Nothing cures a boring scene like a serious injection of Allison Scagliotti.) And we also got my personal pick for Out-Of-Context-TV-Quote of the week: “She gets Farnsworth’s Farnsworth?”

What did you think of the season premiere? Do you feel bad for the guy who’s still wandering through the Escher Vault? Don’t you wish they’d let the Leena Traitor plotline roll on just a little longer? And has H.G. Wells ever been hotter?

Originally posted July 7 2010 — 8:45 AM EDT

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