This week’s episode featured two of my favorite plot points: Artie’s relationship with Vanessa (Lindsay Wagner) and Alice escaping from Lewis Carroll’s mirror. I hadn’t thought we’d see Alice again after season one’s “Duped” but it was fun to watch so many people act deliciously maniacal under her influence.
The episode starts, as most do, in the Warehouse. Steve is using all his time and energy researching ways to get off the metronome without, you know, dying again. Claudia herself interrupts the conversation about her that Steve and Artie are having, teasing Artie with Shakespeare lines in anticipation of his weekend with Vanessa. Pete and Myka return with the gift Artie’s going to give her, a perfect bicycle bell for reasons that are explained later, and he’s off to a romantic weekend.
Things aren’t looking quite so good in Rapid Falls, South Dakota, however. A young woman named Kristen is unpacking boxes in a thrift store with the local priest, which is all fine and dandy until he sends her to the storeroom to check out a mirror that’s just been donated. It’s beautiful, but it’s bad news: when Kristen obeys the “click me” tag on a flashbulb hanging from the mirror, Alice Liddell is released into her body. Alice then bounds out into the front of the store, twirling her hair (her trademark) before kissing the priest and then stabbing him in the gut. Alice then hijacks a van to find L’Etoile, and though she looks like Kristen to everyone else, it’s Alice looking back from the rearview mirror. Well, at least until her van is T-boned by an eighteen wheeler.
Pete and Myka are on the case, and they rush to the Rapid Falls hospital. They question the priest (who has survived) before they enter Kristen’s hospital room. She’s a little banged up and forcibly restrained, but alive. She knows them by name, and instantly begins to flirt with Pete (just like she did the first time she got out) but offers up no useful information.
Artie meanwhile primps a bit in the hotel hall mirror before entering Vanessa’s suite. The two of them are almost disgustingly adorable together, which can only mean terrible things are going to happen.
Steve and Claudia are back at the Warehouse. Steve is still poring over files and books looking for a way off the metronome, but he doesn’t tell Claudia that just yet. She’s upset that he turned down the Rapid Falls case for both of them. She wants to know if he’s afraid of dying again because, hello, he can’t, but Steve tells her that’s not it. A brief moment of applause for Aaron Ashmore here, because the look of genuine caring and concern for Claudia that he puts in his eyes is wonderful.
Pete and Myka start investigating the thrift store, spraying neutralizer over everything they can find. Nothing pops, though, until they head to the spooky storeroom to find blood and broken glass all over the floor. The mirror’s frame and ownership tag are still intact, and they realize they’re dealing with an escaped Alice Liddell.
Alice, still in Kristen’s body, is trying to get some information out of her male nurse by flirting obnoxiously with him. She wants to know where L’Etoile is, and he tells her 6th and State. She gets him to loosen her wrist restraint, which is all the leverage she needs to knock him out and escape with a large mirror shard in hand.
By the time Myka and Pete make it back to the hospital, Kristen is outside on the ground, utterly confused as to how she got there. Alice has figured out how to jump bodies, and has taken over a paramedic to steal an ambulance. Once they manage to track it down, she’s crashed it. She takes over the body of a driver at a gas station by flashing the mirror in his face, and sets fire to the station before taking off. Pete and Myka, being responsible agents, put out the fire at the expense of losing Alice.
Steve and Claudia are in the dark vault looking for some sort of containment artifact to trap Alice in now that the mirror is out of commission. There’s a black diamond on the table, and Steve blurts out the whole story of what Artie told him to Claudia. Which, granted, is only about half the truth, but they at least know someone is stealing artifacts. Leena meets them there, and they head off to the trap section instead.
Artie and Vanessa are out to dinner at L’Etoile and she’s telling him the story of her childhood bike (hence the bell as a present). Artie’s about to propose moving in together when Pete calls and interrupts with the news of Alice’s escape. Artie looks up in time to see Alice in their waitress’s reflection as well as the kitchen knife she’s hiding, and he manages to knock her away in time to evacuate the restaurant.
According to Leena, real artifacts were incorporated into the novel Alice in Wonderland besides the mirror. They’re looking for the caterpillar’s hookah, which in real life has the ability to draw out and then trap an individual’s soul. They’ve got the artifact on hand, it’s just at the top of a precarious pile of other artifacts. Claudia fearlessly clambers up there to get it, but knocks an artifact loose in the process. It’s some kind of shock stick, and Steve gets the full blast of the electricity which, of course, means Claudia feels it too. Leena comes running back at the sounds, and sees Steve’s and Claudia’s auras switch back and forth. Alarmed, she tells Steve about it and warns him that can only end badly. Steve still doesn’t tell Claudia the truth about her “phantom pains” even though this is the most opportune moment to do so, ever.
Meanwhile, Pete and Myka are investigating the crowd outside the restaurant, trying to smoke out Alice by checking everyone’s reflections in Myka’s mirrored sunglasses. She ends up being in the body of a fireman who tries to ax Artie before they stop her, but Alice quickly jumps to someone else. We see that it’s a business man who twirls the nonexistent hair on the side of his bald spot, but the Warehouse gang doesn’t.
Given that Alice is hunting Artie, they set a trap for her in the hotel lobby. Steve and Claudia meet them there, hookah in hand, and Artie sets everyone up at one of the five entrances with a mirror while he stands as bait in the middle of the floor. Vanessa asks for a mirror too, though Artie tries his best to get her to go somewhere safe and far away. Vanessa, because she’s a Warehouse doctor and she’s an awesome character, refuses to do so, and takes her place at the final entrance.
Pete and Myka are on the upper level discussing Alice Liddell. Myka feels bad for her since she knows what it feels like to be trapped in that mirror, and that was only a few hours. Pete points out that Alice was a homicidal maniac pre-mirror, and Myka naturally knows the story of why: at a tea party at Lewis Carroll’s (real name Charles Dodson), Alice got her hands on his pistol because she was curious. When her mother tried to get it away from her, the gun went off, and Alice had to watch her mother die in front of the mirror she was then trapped in. Yikes.
I’m curious about where they’re taking Myka this season; this is yet another instance of her voicing serious sympathy for one of the “bad guys” (H.G. most notably, but also Jesse in “Personal Effects” and Ron in “An Evil Within”). This coupled with her observation that the Warehouse tends to turn people crazy makes me wonder if she’s going to end up on the opposite side of an issue against her fellow agents.
Businessman Alice shows up inquiring after Artie’s room; when the bellhop can’t tell her, she simply hops in his body and holds Vanessa hostage in the elevator instead. The gang storms up to Vanessa’s suite only to find that Alice has jumped bodies once again, and now Vanessa’s holding Artie up at mirror-point. I am amazed by Lindsay Wagner’s ability to channel maniacal rage without going over the top. It switches between Vanessa and Alice’s images as we see her in the mirror in the bedroom, threatening Artie with destroying Vanessa’s body.
Artie elbows Alice in the ribs, and she doubles over, giving Claudia time to set up the hookah. But Alice blows the smoke in Pete’s face instead and in the confusion, hops from Vanessa to Claudia. Alison Scagliotti gives one hell of an evil smirk, I have to say. She comes straight at Artie with the mirror shard held high, and he naturally flashes back and forth to that grainy vision of Claudia stabbing him we keep seeing. Steve jumps between the shard and Artie, taking the brunt of it in his shoulder. Claudia feels the stab wound just as badly, which throws her for enough of a loop that Myka can restrain her. Steve holds the mirror up to her eyes and Teslas it, trapping Alice once again, and they neutralize the shard.
Everyone seems relieved at the whole thing being over, but Artie’s uncomfortable since he knows there are more stolen artifacts to be dealt with. Instead of staying with Vanessa, he gives her a typical breakup speech: the hero can’t be with the girl because his life is Dangerous and Complicated and he doesn’t want her to get hurt. Vanessa isn’t buying that crap, though; some risks are worth taking, and she knows the dangers of the Warehouse just as much as he does. Have I mentioned I adore how the writers of this show write their female characters? They’re strong, complicated, flawed, real characters, and I love it. Artie is insistent, though, and Vanessa tells him to give her a call when he realizes how stupid it is to cut himself off from everyone who loves him. Aww, and he never got to give her the perfect present either. I hope they make up by the end of the season, I think Vanessa is good for Artie.
Back at the B&B, Steve has told Claudia the truth about her phantom pains. He confesses that he’s trying to get off the metronome because he couldn’t stand it if she died because of a wound he got. Claudia is just glad he told her, because now they can figure it out together.
The two of them join Pete and Myka in discussing what Artie has and has not told them. Steve tells them what he knows, that someone’s stealing artifacts from under their noses and leaving black diamonds in their place. That’s all they have to go on, though I’m sure they’ll have to confront Artie about it sooner or later.
Artie himself is down in the dark vault, shouting at Adrian in case he’s lurking in the shadows. He checks on the astrolabe, hidden safely in one of the circular pillars in the vault, and yells that Adrian’s the one cutting Artie off from the people he loves. He vows to stop him, and storms off. Leena emerges from around the corner, having heard everything and looking very concerned.
Given Artie’s increasingly paranoid behavior, I’m starting to think something about him just might be the evil that Adrian was talking about. Maybe Claudia isn’t evil in his vision; maybe she’s coming after him because he’s the one doing evil things. It’s all still in the exciting unraveling stage of the season-long story arc, and I can’t wait to find out all the pieces to the puzzle.
This episode fit nicely into that season-long arc with the developments in the plotlines—particularly with the agents all knowing artifacts are being taken—but it was also a good episode in and of itself. The acting was nicely done, and the writing was great. We have to wait two weeks for the next episode, but I can’t wait to see what stolen artifact they’ll have to deal with next.