Warehouse 13 premiered with a two-hour pilot episode this week. Let's quickly go over what worked and what did not work.
What did not:
- The episode should not have been two hours in length. There were times when it was clearly moving slowly in order to kill time, such as the initial tour of the warehouse. 90 minutes would have sufficed.
- The random mysteries. There's still plenty of time to fix this and to come up with a mythology, but something is lost when Artie tells Pete and Myka that he has no idea how the purple liquid works or why a ferret (yes, a ferret) appears any time someone makes an impossible wish. It's too easy of a crutch for the writers if they can throw anything at you and admit they have no idea how it got there.
- All three stars. There's definite chemistry within this group. Saul Rubinek, as Artie, is especially effective.
- The role of Mrs. Frederic. You can't go wrong with the casting of CCH Pounder, or with the mystery of someone that seemingly doesn't age. The same concept keeps our attention on Richard in Lost.
- The premise. Take one-part X-Files, one-part Fringe and one-part Bones. A pretty smart plan for the SyFy network.
As for the plot of the pilot episode itself, we won't get into every detail of the two-hour premiere, but here are the key points viewers need to have taken away from it:
After an incident at a museum, in which Secret Service Agents Myka Bering and Pete Lattimer team up to save the President's life (she takes down the bad guy; he helps to do away with an ancient skull that led to the assassination attempt in the first place), they are each greeted that night by the mysterious Mrs. Frederic. She gives them a new assignment: be in South Dakota by noon the next day.
We later learn that this order did not come from Myka and Pete's boss, Dickinson, but by someone higher up that he had never heard of when he first discovers what's happened to his agents.
In South Dakota, Myka and Pete meet Artie Nelson. An eccentric character, he takes them on a tour of Warehouse 13. Both agents are confused, but while Myka is freaking out and wanting to get home to ASAP, Pete seems both intrigued and able to roll with the punches a bit more. Artie then tells them more about their assignments:
They'll be staying at a bed and breakfast (run by a woman named Leena, who appears to have some sort of psychic powers and is in on the entire mission) and will receive assignments from Artie. They'll consist of adventures that require the duo to investigate seemingly normal incidents, find out if ancient, dangerous artifacts are involved, and then bring any artifacts they find back to the warehouse for safe keeping.
Again, Myka is skeptical, while Pete is excited.
The first mission is not relevent to the grand scheme of the show. It involves the agents heading to Iowa and dealing with the reason why a normal college kid beat his girlfriend. (Turns out, it was all due to a pissed off woman from the 1600s, who was unlucky in love, left a piece of jewelry behind and used it, from the grave, to create all kinds of chaos. Naturally.) But the mission does do a solid job of revealing vital facts about each agent. For example:
- Pete gets "vibes" and never hesitates to follow up on them. The reason? When he was 12, he had a feeling that he'd never see his firefighter of a father again. His dad then died in a house fire and Pete now always investigates any vibe he gets.
- Myka received a medal of accommodation for an incident in Denver six months ago. However, it's also clear that not everything went smoothly during it. From the visions Myka has during her outing in Iowa, it seems as though her boyfriend at the time - among others - died during whatever took place. She refuses to talk about it with Pete (who has read the report on it).
In the end, these agents work together and save the day. Myka is then faced with a choice at the end of the episode:
She can return to Washington DC, but Pete must remain no matter what. Myka chooses to stay with her new partner and Warehouse 13 is underway!