That was such a satisfying season premiere. But before I get to all that, just a quick intro to where the season is starting off: in the finale of season three, the warehouse was destroyed by a World War II-era bomb planted by Walter Sykes in his quest for revenge. The death count came to three main characters by the finale last year—Steve Jinks, Helena (H.G.) Wells, and Mrs. Frederic. Four, if you count the warehouse itself. All Artie had was a pocket watch left to him by MacPherson, but it was enough for him to say they hadn’t lost yet.
Season four opens moments after season three ended, with Pete, Myka and Artie standing amidst the charred rubble that was Warehouse 13, each lost in memories of better times there. Pete and Myka press Artie on the cryptic “not yet” answer, and he tells them that the watch is a key to some sort of fail-safe device that might restore the warehouse. He notices a broken chamber emitting a purple haze of smoke, and rushes them back to Leena’s bed and breakfast to check on the TV news (without explaining why, of course).
When they get there, they learn about Mrs. Frederic’s demise from Leena and Claudia. She disappeared at the moment the warehouse exploded. Artie explains that this is due to her being organically connected to the warehouse as its guardian, something that was alluded to back when Warehouse 2 resurfaced in Egypt in season two. I love continuity in a show, even in the face of tragedy.
It turns out that what was in that broken chamber was Pandora’s Box, and the hope that was said to be left in the bottom of the box in the myth was destroyed along with its container and the warehouse. Stock markets are plummeting and widespread riots and suicides are sweeping across the world. It seems a little on the dramatic side to have the world’s hope destroyed along with the warehouse, but I think it turns out to be an accurate reflection of the characters’ (and some of the fans’) despair at the warehouse’s destruction.
In examining the watch, Artie follows the Portuguese-written instructions to “push the button” and the watch becomes a stopwatch. It’s counting down from 24 hours, and there are 23 left on the clock to find the fail-safe device, whatever it is. The gang discovers a clue—black diamonds were used in the back of the watch rather than rubies.
Artie rushes, per usual, to the warehouse to investigate (Pete: “You know it blew up, though, right?”) using the mechanical flying football that shows up every so often. It has a computer inside, and it circles the warehouse collecting global information about artifacts and transmitting it to the warehouse. A search for black diamonds turns up a group that’s part of the Knights Templar called the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Diamond. Now there’s a mouthful. They’re based in southern France, so off Artie, Pete, Myka, and Claudia go to investigate, though Claudia doesn’t go without reminding Artie that she is going to do whatever it takes to bring Steve back to life.
Leena is off to do research with one of the local Regents (for those new to the show, Regents are the mysterious folks in charge of the running of the Warehouse) on any artifacts that were in the warehouse that could stop Sykes’s bomb from going off, if Artie and company can activate the fail-safe.
With 10 hours and 28 minutes left on the stopwatch, the gang arrives at the home of the Brotherhood. Their official front is selling “black diamond” truffles (because that’s not a dead giveaway or anything) and Pete and Myka distract the guards while Artie and Claudia sneak down to the cellar to find the fail-safe device. Leena, meanwhile, has learned that the bomb’s power came because it was infused with all the violent hate of the Nazi campaign, so she and the local Regent are researching peace-related artifacts in the warehouse.
Artie and Claudia work out the puzzle downstairs and discover a hidden passage. Claudia is the only one of the two to fit in there, so she goes in and unearths Magellan’s astrolabe (a circular navigation tool that one looked through to determine one’s position by the stars and sky). They figure out that the stopwatch gives them 24 hours because Magellan was first to cross the International Date Line—this is the fail-safe! But it’s missing a piece, its alidade, which is the part that rotates to read the position of the sun or stars, so Claudia crawls back into the passage to look for it.
Three members of the Brotherhood (an elderly man who seems to be a leader, and two grunts) attack, however, and the closing mechanism is activated, trapping Claudia in the passageway. Pete and Myka take down the guards, but they can’t get Claudia free.
The watch has become a simple clock again, though it’s only showing 4:18, which is the incorrect time. Myka and Artie theorize with Leena via their Farnsworth (a video communication device supposedly invented by Philo Farnsworth that they frequently use in the show) about it being a date or coordinates, but it’s Pete who finds the answer—1618 military time, which corresponds to a Bible verse about the rock of the Church being built on Saint Peter. Though they leave Claudia reluctantly, the trio heads to Rome to break into Saint Peter’s Basilica.
The people of Rome are rioting in the streets, and Myka takes advantage of the chaos to distract the owners of a restaurant inconveniently located over a tunnel that leads straight to the Basilica. She ends up in police custody, but Pete and Artie are free to find the alidade.
Once they’re down there, Artie jump-starts an old elevator system—they’ll have to use it to get to Saint Peter’s tomb—but Pete has a bad vibe about the place. Sure enough, despite finding the alidade in the elevator itself, they’re quickly interrupted by the same members of the Brotherhood from France. Pete takes the grunts out with his Tesla (a gun that stuns victims with a ray of electricity, named for Nikola Tesla) and struggles with the older leader in the elevator.
The leader falls out of the elevator with his own knife plunged into his chest, and Pete emerges seemingly victorious, alidade in hand. It’s never that easy, though, and it turns out that he’s been fatally stabbed in his stomach. Even knowing that when Artie activated the astrolabe and erased the last 24 hours Pete would be fine again, it was still painful to watch him die. He won’t remember it, but Artie will. Artie has suffered so much loss already that it’s hard to imagine him carrying around the memory of Pete’s dying face with him too.
Leena calls Artie on his Farnsworth with good news. They think the artifact that will defuse Sykes’s bomb is Gandhi’s khadi, the homespun cloth he wore. It’s infused with the very essence of peace, and should be powerful enough to counteract the hate and violence from the bomb.
Just as Artie’s about to use the astrolabe, the elderly Brother speaks from his position on the floor. With his dying breath (which, yes, is kind of an overused trope in the sci-fi/fantasy genres) he warns Artie that should he use it, he’ll be creating an “evil of his own making” that will follow him for the rest of his days. Artie barely even has to think about it; it’s worth it to undo the last 24 hours and save the warehouse.
So Artie spins the astrolabe, turning the clock back a whole day, back to the moment when he releases Myka and Helena from the Mary Celeste’s rigging that had them trapped. Now he has the advantage. He knows what Sykes has planned, where the bomb is hidden, and what artifact should stop it. When tossing Gandhi’s khadi over the bomb doesn’t stop it from counting down, Myka and Helena work out the solution: if hatred is what ignites the bomb, then they have to defuse Sykes, not the physical bomb.
Luckily, Artie knows that Pete is about to close the portal on Sykes and lose him forever, and he manages to stop him in time (to the utter bafflement of Pete, Myka, and Helena, of course). They lay the khadi over Sykes, and we see a glimpse of the innocent child he was before he interacted with the artifact that changed his life, and he apologizes to the warehouse team before he takes his last breath.
With Sykes’s apology, the bomb shuts itself down, and the warehouse, along with Helena and Mrs. Frederic are saved. It’s quite a rollercoaster, having to deal with characters dying but not really staying dead after all. Despite Helena’s dark past, Artie now knows that she would lay down her life for the good of the warehouse, and he tries to plead her case to the head Regent and Mrs. Frederic without revealing the whole 24-hour-reset situation. They decide to allow her to stay on in the warehouse, which I am extremely pleased about—she’s a fascinating character, and I love seeing the complication of her image as she progresses away from being a simple villain back in her introduction in the show.
Despite the overall optimism that comes from the restoration of the warehouse and (most of) its agents, the episode ends on an ominous note. Claudia sneaks out of the B&B in the middle of the night (in a storm, of all cliché things) as Artie dreams of her stabbing him, and the elderly Brother’s voice rings out the warning about creating an evil that will last all Artie’s days.
I am so excited that this show is back, and I was genuinely surprised by the twists and turns this episode took. I wasn’t sure how the show would function if the titular warehouse was destroyed by a bomb, and I’m glad they found an interesting way to bring it back.
I’m less surprised by the obvious foreshadowing of Claudia as Dangerous Wild Card or, to make use of the Star Wars reference in the episode title, on the path to the Dark Side. She was really affected by the loss of Steve, she blames the Regents for his death, and she’s proven before that nothing can stop her when she puts her mind to a task. I don’t know what the consequences would be if she used an artifact to bring him back to life, but I guarantee an emotionally charged showdown between Claudia and the warehouse agents before season’s end.