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TV Review: Warehouse 13 – “The New Guy”

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Season three of SyFy’s Warehouse 13 begins in “The New Guy.” With Myka (Joanne Kelly) still refusing to return to the Warehouse, a replacement is hired named Steve Jinks (Aaron Ashmore, Smallville), who can tell when someone is lying just by looking into their eyes. Pete (Eddie McClintock) at first clashes with his new partner, but they have a mission, so he buckles down. Perhaps a little too much, as he is missing Myka terribly. When the investigation uncovers a literary angle, Pete is quick to get Myka’s help on it. She saves the day. Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) arranges for the still reluctant Myka to have a chat with H.G. Wells (Jaime Murray), who alone convinces Myka she should return to her odd job. Ironic, since Wells is part of the reason Myka left.

What an opening! The whole Jimi Hendrix guitar going haywire is a perfect Warehouse case, complete with their trademark brand of humor. It also introduces “The New Guy,” Jinks, appropriately enough. Despite only seeing a sliver of this adventure, nothing feels missed. Following it up with one of Mrs. Frederic’s creepy dark surprises gives fans everything they’ve been looking forward to from Warehouse 13 in the first few minutes.

It also sets up the new Pete, who is a lot more changed by Myka’s leaving than many would expect. He is now immune to the charms of women. Similarly, Myka seems to have undergone a transformation into more of a geeky bookworm than when we first met her. The two cannot thrive without each other, reduced to something less than their potential. Not only does this satisfy everyone who wishes them to remain partners, but it proves the depth of the feelings they harbor for each other. Fantastic!

Warehouse 13 could use some fresh blood, and choosing Ashmore, a sci-fi vet, is a smart decision. While Jinks gets a little annoying early in the episode with his frequent “You’re lying”s, as soon as he stops saying it every five seconds, he melds well into the current ensemble. His inability to get Peter’s humor at first (and really, who would?), coupled with his eagerness for the new career combine to make a valuable asset to the Warehouse. The only question is now, with Myka back, what is there for “The New Guy” to do? Will the Warehouse be sending out a team of three from now on?

Interestingly, Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) isn’t too happy about Jinks’s presence, but not because of the man himself, who she seems to be fine with. She obviously wants Myka’s job and feels she is qualified. Her past performance indicates that she likely is, and is probably being held back because of Artie’s (Saul Rubinek) fatherly care for her. Which begs the question, that will surely soon be answered, what will it take Artie to get over this? Will an increase in weird activity prompt Artie to partner Claudia and Jinks, and send them out in the field? Or should he split the veterans with the newbies, which would be a smarter decision, albeit rob fans of much great Myka / Pete interplay, at least temporarily?

Having an extra pair of hands not only sets the scene for a lot more action, since there can be field agents in multiple places at once, but also allows Leena (Genelle Williams) the possibility of more story. After all, if Claudia starts going out, Artie will need some help back at base. More importantly, with more agents, Warehouse 13 can handle greater challenges and more complex villains, something that will make the series even better than it already is. Also, the show can afford to kill a main character off in an emotionally moving way. Might I nominate Leena, the only truly expendable one?

There is already a new threat brewing. The bad guy of the week gets away, but is killed under orders of a mysterious figure sitting in shadow. Committing the actual murder is an FBI agent (Ashley Williams, Saving Grace, How I Met Your Mother), who obstructs Pete and Jinks during their mission. Setting aside why Pete doesn’t just whip out credentials to get past her, as he has done with others, how might she figure into future episodes? And what evil plan is behind it all?

Myka’s absence for the first half of the episode is regrettable, but some of the tension is immediately removed because Kelly’s name still appears as a starring cast member. While mucking with the opening credits probably would require some new contract negotiations, it would have been worth it to build suspense for the fans. Had Kelly’s name been saved for the ending credits, then properly restored next week, it might have caused viewers to wonder if she will ever come back, even after she returns to assist on the latest case.

The case itself is pretty cool. Anytime Shakespeare can come alive as a serious, fatal threat is an accomplishment. His plays are full of death and violence, but so often, modern cinema makes him seem tame. The average American does not seek out Shakespeare’s works for leisure reading or theater or movie viewing. Warehouse 13 reminds us that the bard is still very relevant, and has a lot to offer, should one take the time to peruse his pages. If “The New Guy” spurs a dozen people to read a bit of Shakespeare this summer, it has done its job.

Watch Warehouse 13 Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on SyFy.

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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