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TV Review: Warehouse 13 – “Secret Santa”

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SyFy tossed its hat in the Christmas special ring this year with holiday-themed episodes on two of its shows: Warehouse 13 and Eureka, both of which aired last night. Now, I don’t watch Eureka. Not because I think it’s bad, but because I missed the first couple of seasons before I became aware of it—and I’d like to start watching from the beginning. But Warehouse 13 did an excellent job with its entry. In fact, it may be the Christmas episode to beat this year for other TV shows. Let me explain.

First of all, I admit that it was cheesy. The A plot was such as you might expect to find on an ABC Family Christmas movie. A girl whose father has been neglecting her wishes that he return to the man he used to be. A duplicate of the dad, disguised as Santa, writes “naughty” on the man’s wall before escaping up the chimney. But that doesn’t work in getting the man to change, so the duplicate decides to replace the father by taking his life force. But, of course the daughter shows up and proclaims her love for her father, no matter who he is, and everything is sorted out. Total cheese, right?

Well, ABC Family doesn’t always get it wrong. There’s a part of me, and I suspect, many people, since that network keeps churning them out, that likes a good family story in that vein. It feels good to see people change and make their families happy, being redeemed for their mistakes. A little tear may have welled up at the end of the episode, and that’s a sign that it’s been done correctly. As such, Warehouse 13 captured perfectly that style of Christmas special.

The show also stayed true to itself. Although they were caught up in the “movie special” episode, Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanna Kelly) went about fixing things the same as they do in every episode where an artifact is wreaking havoc. Instead of the family putting together the clues of what really happened, that’s where Pete and Myka came in. It was nice to see that they weren’t facing an evil villain this week, but simply a misguided father.

Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) was the true spirit of Christmas. Stuck at the Warehouse, she tried her best to turn Artie the Scrooge (Saul Rubinek) into Artie Claus. She spent much effort tracking down a piano he loved as a child, only to accidentally find his father (guest star Judd Hirsch), with whom he hadn’t spoken in thirty years. In typical Claudia fashion, she went overboard trying to repair their relationship, telling each man the other way dying. When they found out, they got mad, but bonded again over how annoying they found Claudia.

Now this heart warming story of father-son reconciliation could have been a whole other ABC Family movie. But it wasn’t. It was part of an extremely sweet story where Claudia helps Artie be a better man, as she often tries to do. And we got a little peek into Artie’s history, which is always interesting. Plus Hirsch was just so welcome and an absolute delight. As such, it added an element that would have been great any time of the year on the show, but was especially appropriate this month.

Also fun were the cool new graphics, making the Warehouse look Christmas-y. The theme song had been retooled with some neat Christmas pictures, and even a dreidel (can you believe that word shows up wrong on the Blogcritics spellchecker?) for Artie. Which brings me to my one small complaint. If Claudia was really trying to get Artie into the holiday spirit, wouldn’t see keep in mind his religion? She decorated his entire office for a Christian holiday! And while it was mentioned that Artie and his dad were Jewish in a throwaway line, not once did she take that into account while planning her machinations.

Really excellent job, Warehouse 13. You certainly set the standard for the year, doing it better than any of the other regular shows that did a holiday-themed story that I have watched so far. Warehouse 13 will return next year for its third season on SyFy, and this episode, “Secret Wants,” will rerun a number of times in the next two weeks if you missed it.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • Izaak

    It was an excellent episode. my only problem was the complete lack of continuity, since at the end of Episode 12, Myka left the Warehouse. Does this take place before Season 2?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Ah! I had forgotten that. Good point. This is considered part of season two, but appeared to take place after. Perhaps after she came back? Or earlier in the season.

  • Kelli

    I wondered about the Myka situation also, but since it wasn’t addressed I let it go, n honestly, it didn’t detract from the episode. I was just curious about Claudia’s brother. First, he obviously wasn’t played by the same actor n Second, there was the whole ‘Mistletoe kiss’. With as much drama as there was over the recent AMA kiss, I really thought I’d find at least SOMEthing about it online. Shows how truly “disturbing” these things are. Apparently it’s only a problem if it’s on network. Lol Silly right-wing nuts.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    According to imdb, it was the same actor playing Joshua Donovan, and a google search didn’t find any reference to it being a different actor. I was more confused why he was even included for such a short bit and no story, but I let it go because family should be around on Christmas. I guess the mistletoe thing didn’t cause any stirs because it was a magic mistletoe, after all, and the kissers had no control over their actions. :)

  • Robin

    I was pleased to have stumbled upon the episode, and was curious if they are back from hiatus. I figured it was a one off when Myka made her appearance as the season finale had her leaving the warehouse. It appears other viewers are confused as well.

  • Kelli

    Yeah, wiki said it was the same actor from last year also. Never said anything about from their first season though. I’ve got to say, his face has plumped up quite a bit. Then again, everyone’s face look fat in a turtleneck. They’re scheduled for the third season, so that should be interesting. I kinda like the little ‘out of place’ holiday episode, just like with Eureka. Only THEY claimed it was a previous Christmas, yet nothing was changed – including Allison’s little girl existing. You can’t do a “Once upon a time” n have everything current. I guess that’s why I didn’t complain about the Myka situation really… SyFy messed ‘em both up a bit.

    Still good shows though.