Episode Title: "Emily Lake"
Writers: Nell Scovell & Ian Stokes
Director: Millicent Shelton
Episode Title: "Stand"
Writers: Andrew Kreisberg & Drew Z. Greenberg
Director: Stephen Surjik
Previously on "Warehouse 13':
Walter Sykes (Anthony Michael Hall) declared war on the Warehouse and its agents. On Sykes' orders, FBI Agent Sally Stukowski (Ashley Williams) tortured and murdered several of the Warehouse Regents and she came close to killing three others, including Jane (Kate Mulgrew), the mother of Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock). With time running out to save Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), Jane and the other Regents from an artifact fueled disaster, Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) began torturing Sally for information. However, the newest Warehouse agent, Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) drew his weapon to make Mrs. Frederic to stop.
Sally used the distraction to escape and left Steve holding the bag with Mrs. Frederic, who fired him. Pete ultimately saved Myka and Jane, although he was angered to learn that his mother was a Regent all along. Hoping to get clues about why the Warehouse had been targeted, Pete and Jane used an artifact to travel into her memories, where they saw a younger Jane take an artifact called the Collodi Bracelet away from Sykes as a young boy, leaving him crippled without it. Back in the present, Jane realized that Sykes was behind everything because of that incident. Soon after, Sykes had his other top operative, Marcus Diamond (Sasha Roiz) murder Sally and approach Steve to take her place. Because Mrs. Frederic burned Steve with other agencies and ruined his life, he seemed open to Marcus' offer.
Inside the Warehouse, Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) and her boss Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek) discover the nanite bugs that Sally had hidden in the artifact painting that she gave them. They learn that the machines transmitted a file called Atlas-66 to Sykes, but Jane and Artie refuse to say what was in the file. Pete and Myka are told that the Regents have a plan to deal with Sykes, but the two agents slip away to the "Pete Cave," where Pete has conducted his own investigation into Sykes and his plans to recover the Collodi Bracelet. Claudia joins them and relates that she has partially cracked the file and obtained an address in Cheyenne, Wyoming for them to check out.
Elsewhere, Steve and Marcus are with their boss, Sykes as he badgers his hacker, Tyler Struhl (Max Morrow) to decrypt Atlas-66. Steve also mentions that he only wants his job at the ATF back when the mission is finished. Some time later, Pete and Myka arrive at the address and find that it is a high school. Much to their surprise, they also discover H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray) teaching there under the name Emily Lake. However, Emily Lake has no memory of them or her life as H.G. Wells. At her apartment, Emily makes a feeble attempt to escape Pete and Myka, proving that she doesn't have the skills of H.G. (aka Helena). Unfortunately, Pete notices the arrival of Marcus below.
While Myka sneaks Emily out of the building, Pete narrowly comes out on top of a fight with Marcus and sends him over the balcony to his death. But when he races down to the parking garage, Pete finds Steve holding Myka and Emily at gunpoint. Marcus then arrives uninjured before Steve uses Myka's Tesla to knock out Pete and Myka so they can kidnap Emily. Hours later at the Warehouse, Pete and Myka demand to know how Helena became Emily and it is shown that Helena voluntarily surrendered her mind and persona to the Janus coin; which later allowed Pete and Myka to work with Helena as a hologram on a mission.
Back at Sykes' location, Steve tells his new boss that Emily isn't lying about her memories and the decrypted file revealed the location of the Janus coin. After retrieving the Janus coin, Pete, Myka and Claudia use the image projector to awaken Helena and explain the situation to her. On the drive back to the Warehouse, Pete pulls into the woods and suggests destroying the Janus coin to prevent Sykes from using it. To everyone's surprise, Helena is in favor of that solution even though it would mean her destruction. But before Pete can go through with it, Marcus and Steve arrive. Claudia runs off with the coin, but Steve seemingly shoots her to recover it.
Pete and Myka find Claudia alive and well. She tells them that Steve revealed that he was undercover for the Regents and she willingly gave him the coin. And he gave her Sykes' location. In the meantime, Sykes restores Helena to her body, eliminating the Emily Lake persona. Then he thanks Steve for his service. When Pete, Myka and Claudia show up later, they find Steve's body left behind with no sign of Sykes, Helena or Marcus. Elsewhere, Helena notes with disgust that Sykes had Steve killed in cold blood and when she tries to attack him, he uses an artifact to control her body. Sykes finally tells Helena that he wants her to get past a special lock.
In flashback, we see Helena's first day at Warehouse 12, where she meets Catarunga (Erick Avari), the man who would go on to be her mentor. Back in the present, Artie puts Steve's belongings away in a Warehouse chamber, before chiding Mrs. Frederic for keeping Steve's mission a secret from him. Artie then remembers a watch that MacPherson gave him after his death and he retrieves it. At the Warehouse, Claudia and the rest discover that Steve had recorded a final message that warned them that Sykes' endgame was in Hong Kong. Jane reveals that Sykes must have found the Regent sanctum that was abandoned over 100 years before.
Sometime later, Leena (Genelle Williams) is surprised when Marcus breaks into the Bed & Breakfast, which barely gives her the chance to alert the Warehouse. In Hong Kong, Pete and Myka find the sanctum just as Sykes forces Helena to sacrifice Tyler's life to solve a chess puzzle. He then forces Myka into the chair so that Helena will have to play for the life of her friend. Remembering Catarunga's teachings, Helena solves the puzzle and opens the sanctum. Back in the states, Marcus launches an attack on the Warehouse that triggers a force field and a portal. In Hong Kong, the portal to the Warehouse opens and Sykes rolls through with Pete in pursuit. But Myka and Helena are left behind in Hong Kong.
Now controlling Pete's body, Sykes forces Jane and Artie to bring him to the Collodi Bracelet. At the B&B, Mrs. Frederic and Claudia confront Marcus, with Claudia ending his life with the artifact that gave him near immortality. When Sykes regains the Collodi Bracelet, his ability to walk returns. He threatens to kill them all, but Helena and Myka stop him and prevent his acts of murder. Sykes tries to follow Marcus through the portal to Hong Kong, but Pete shuts it down and kills him in mid transit. However, the victory is short lived when the remaining Warehouse team discovers that Sykes' wheelchair is linked to the equivalent of an artifact nuclear bomb.
Back at the B&B, Mrs. Frederic tries to retrieve the artifact from Claudia, who says that she will use it to resurrect Steve. Inside the Warehouse, Pete, Myka and Artie make their peace with death when it becomes clear that they can't stop the bomb. However, Helena reprograms the force field to protect the three of them, leaving herself behind to face her fate. The Warehouse then erupts in a cataclysmic explosion, killing Helena. At the B&B, Mrs. Frederic collapses and dies after reverting to her true age. In the aftermath of the Warehouse's destruction, Pete says that Sykes has won. But Artie pulls out MacPherson's watch and says that they haven't lost yet.
In future season finales, it's going to be hard for the writers to top the deaths of three major characters and the destruction of the Warehouse itself. But I suspect that the restoration of the Warehouse may undo some of those deaths next year.
While Mrs. Frederic's death and subsequent withering was the most visually arresting demise, it was Helena's sacrifice that gave the episode some emotional punch. After becoming the villain last season, Helena finally found a way to fully redeem herself. If this is the end of Jaime Murray's time on "Warehouse 13," then at the very least she received a rich character arc that had resonance. There are still rumors that Murray be in line for a potential "Warehouse 13" spinoff set in the 19th century, but she made such a good foil for Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly that it seems unfortunate to break up that team.
On the other hand, Steve Jinks was poorly served during the entire season. Aaron Ashmore was actually really good in the role, but Steve was never given the kind of depth or character development that the other members of the team had. Even his eventual double agent status was very predictable, given how Mrs. Frederic's actions seemed designed to push him right into the enemy's camp. But because we barely know Steve, our response to his death is only felt as sympathy for Claudia. Allison Scagliotti gave Claudia some believably distraught reactions to Steve's fate and she seemed to genuinely care for him. Claudia may very well bring Steve back from the dead next season as she promised, but I can't imagine that he'd be too pleased about that.
And if anyone gets a resurrection next year, it's bound to be Mrs. Frederic. CCH Pounder seemed to appear less frequently this season, but she's too important to the show's mythology to leave her dead for long. The downside of killing off main characters on a show like this is that it's difficult to believe that those deaths won't simply be reversed. Keep in mind, the first season finale killed off Artie and he was back in action almost immediately in the second season. But if all three characters really are dead and they stay that way next year, then it could be just what "Warehouse 13" needs to get away from some of the dopey comedy that feels out of place in the series.
As the ultimate adversary for the season, Anthony Michael Hall's Walter Sykes was a little disappointing. Hall is a very good actor, especially when he was on "Dead Zone." But Sykes was too cartoonishly evil to take him seriously. I wasn't surprised when Sykes had Steve killed, because he already had a habit of killing his operatives. I doubt that he even knew that Steve was a double agent. Sykes was just one of those villains who has to keep killing people to remind the audience that he's evil. The occasionally flashing black pupils in his eyes was also a pretty cheesy way to remind us that Sykes was the bad guy.
Sasha Roiz was similarly lifeless as Marcus Diamond. Usually, the creative team behind "Warehouse 13" picks its actors well. But when it comes to this year's villains (including the actress who played Sally Stukowski) "Warehouse 13" had an epic casting fail.
However, the lackluster villains didn't take too much away from one of the best episodes of "Warehouse 13" to date. I can't wait to see how the team turns this situation around.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.