After a brief one-week vacation, Warehouse 13 returned with an episode that turned out to be pretty important to the overall series arc. At first, “Endless Wonder” looked like it could have been a one-off episode, but considering season four has been less episodic than the past three seasons, that thought probably shouldn’t have crossed my mind. We were introduced to a new—most likely recurring—character (guest star Danielle Nicolet), explored the Brother Adrian plotline more, and finally saw Helena again. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
“Endless Wonder” started out much like any other Warehouse 13 episode, with Pete and Myka investigating the Big Strange of the week. In this case, it’s a man in South Bend, Indiana, who’s suffering from a sudden growth spurt. At first he thought it was no big deal, and even liked the added boost it gave his online dating profile, but it got painful. Myka was just starting to wonder if Artie sent them out here to keep them out of his hair at the Warehouse when Leena calls them on the Farnsworth with news of more cases across town. I was thinking the side effects probably couldn’t be that bad until one of the women collapses, shrieking in pain as her limbs expand beyond her control.
At the Warehouse, Artie is trying to fix the artifact removal detection system so he can finally catch Adrian in the act of stealing artifacts when Steve and Claudia confront him about the black diamond they found in the Dark Vault. Artie tries to feed them the same “It’s for your own protection” speech he gave Vanessa last episode but it again falls on deaf ears. Steve is a former ATF agent who, hello, already died once in the line of duty for the Warehouse, and Claudia can take care of herself. I don’t mention this often, but I think Aaron Ashmore really nails Steve’s black humor about the whole death and metronome resurrection situation. When he teases Claudia about comparing her possession by Alice with his death, the dynamic between the two of them is illustrated to perfection.
Pete and Myka (well, let’s be honest, Myka) puts together the connection between the four victims of the unknown artifact: they all take the same new heartburn medication. And with that revelation, we meet Deb Stanley (Danielle Nicolet), pharmaceutical rep for Moorpark Pharmaceuticals. She wants to follow up on the wacky South Bend rumors she’s heard, but her boss only lets her go because she makes the profitable argument: they could harness the power to make men taller, which is apparently the third thing they want most (after being good in bed and having great hair). If that’s the case I bet someone, somewhere, is working on it.
Deb beats Pete and Myka to the prescribing doctor’s office, and crashes their private meeting with him. Deb assumes Pete and Myka are from the FDA, which really does make the most sense, and suggests they work together to figure out the problem. Though Pete giggles at her use of the word “subpoena” because he’s secretly twelve, the three of them agree to help each other out.
Claudia meanwhile has done some preliminary research on black diamonds and turned up information about Adrian’s Black Diamond Society. In light of this, Artie explains a bit more to her and Steve, namely that Adrian is acting on a grudge he has with Artie. What that grudge entails, Artie refuses to say, because we see his flashback to Adrian warning him of grave danger to befall anyone he tells about it. I get that the show is going for ominous reminders of impending doom, but I’m kind of over these flashes of visions Artie keeps experiencing. It’s getting repetitive without any significant plot payoff. At least Artie doesn’t have the Evil Claudia vision this episode, so that’s a welcome change.
In South Bend, Pete and Myka are striking out on their case: they couldn’t find any other connections between the four hospitalized patients, and no one else on the medication was experiencing the worst side effect ever. Pete ends up connecting with Deb in the process, though; he finds out she also has a father whose passing influenced her life, and that she’s in the pharmaceutical field because she loves the possibility of discovering something new and surprising.
What they really end up discovering is each other in Pete’s hotel room (rimshot). Their romantic tension was established and then acted upon so quickly that I almost didn’t believe in it, but when they sneak in one last kiss after Myka knocks on the door, Eddie McClintock and Danielle Nicolet sold me on the characters’ chemistry.
Myka, thoroughly unsurprised to find Pete wearing only a sheet clutched around his waist, proceeds to fill him in on her idea to use a gold railroad spike artifact that pulls things together to temporarily solve the problem before putting the pieces together about Pete and Deb. Myka asks Pete why he’s such a slut, and lets him know that the drug can’t be responsible because the fifth victim was a Christian Scientist and therefore has no doctor or prescriptions. I don’t particularly like the word “slut” or the usual contexts in which it’s used, but I found it oddly refreshing that Myka called Pete a slut without having to qualify him as “man slut.”
Deb has been eavesdropping from her hiding place in the bathroom, and when Myka leaves she asks Pete if she can still help them figure the case out even though Moorpark is no longer implicated in it. Pete turns her down though, given the secret nature of Warehouse work and all, and she ominously intones “I did ask nicely” as Pete rushes out the door.
Pete and Myka distract the EMTs at the fifth victim’s house and successfully use the railroad spike on him, while Deb spies on them from her car in the shadows. She continues to watch them as they use the artifact on the victims at the hospital. It’s not a cure, but it buys the victims some extra time for them to figure out the real cure. What happened to artifacts having downsides and not using them yourselves? Regardless, Deb questions the fifth victim’s fiancée and passes information onto her profit-minded boss about the objects the Secret Service is hoarding. That can’t end well, though I admire Deb’s investigative skills.
In the Warehouse, Artie’s repaired artifact removal detection system has picked up the removal of Harriet Tubman’s thimble. It makes the wearer look like anyone they want, so it’s really not good if Adrian gets his hands on it. Artie, Steve, and Claudia track him to a creepy condemned house and split up to look for him. I’ve watched enough Scooby Doo to know splitting up is never a good idea. Adrian, carrying a large wooden plank covered in Roman letters, is sneaking around on the second floor.
Now we’ve reached the point in the episode where suddenly all of the separate plot lines pick up steam, all at once. Pete and Myka figure out that the connection between the patients is a cooking class taught by the fifth victim, who happened to collect antique cooking tools. Artifact city! Or it would be, if Deb and Markpoor Pharmaceuticals didn’t get to the school first and remove all the cooking tools to study them. Adrian’s plank is a threshold with the power to create doorways anywhere he places it according to Leena, who suddenly has the appearance of Deb at the B&B to deal with.
Pete heads back to South Dakota to talk to Deb. He knows that she believes what she’s doing is right, he doesn’t think she’s got it in for them or anything. Lots of people have done terrible things in the name of what they thought was right, so I’m not sure this was a good argument. It turns out Deb has been onto a few of the Warehouse’s stories from the past but always hit a dead end. Now her boss is on his way, and she’s finally going to find out about the medical potential of Warehouse artifacts.
Pete is blustering his way through trying to get Deb to stop prying when Regent Kosan shows up to talk to him. Because of Deb and her boss, someone placed a call to a Senator inquiring about Warehouse 13. That’s just not going to fly with a secret organization, and Mrs. Frederic can’t always make that go away. Their other option is to let Deb be introduced to the Warehouse. Pete gives her a tour as well as the speech about artifacts having downsides when she gets too excited about using artifacts to cure people. Kosan is impressed with Deb, and in the penultimate scene of the episode, offers her a potential job as a Regent. I guess that means Deb will be back soon then! That’s good, I like her character. She’s passionate and smart and will probably be excellent as a Regent. I also hope we get more insight into the Regent process; despite their more active involvement recently, they’re still a very mysterious group of people that I’d love to know more about.
While Deb is being introduced to the Warehouse, Claudia and Steve have a run-in with Adrian disguised with the thimble as Artie in the basement. They find the threshold stashed away behind a stack of chairs, though they don’t seem to have noticed the probably fatal trip wire Adrian strung up in the doorway. Thimble Artie then confronts Real Artie upstairs. “Do you have it in you to shoot yourself, Agent Nielsen?” Adrian taunts. “Wouldn’t be the first time,” is Artie’s terse reply. That one line is so intriguing and so tragic all at the same time, and all I want now is to know what the story behind it is. We don’t get nearly enough Artie backstory on this show, and it’s high time we had a little more.
Adrian takes the thimble off and returns to his usual Brent Spiner body to continue his threats to undo every good deed Artie has ever done. He’ll keep using and stealing artifacts until Artie restores the proper timeline, even though he died on the day that never was. I give a lot of credit to Brent Spiner for being a thoroughly menacing villain while still remaining calm and restrained. Sci-fi villains can get cartoonish if left unchecked, and I think he projects the perfect mix of icy exterior and internal drive to be believable.
Artie realizes that Adrian would have set a trap for Steve and Claudia and shouts a warning into his earpiece just as the trip wire is triggered, knocking the threshold to the ground and collapsing a wall. Thankfully they discovered the trip wire on their own and triggered it purposefully, and so no one has to be dead again, though the threat of Brother Adrian still looms.
The threat of Moorpark Pharmaceuticals and the Senator, however, has been taken care of. An unidentified source (likely a Regent) directs them to the grand Storage Space 6, a crappy garage filled with shelves of useless junk. This is my favorite joke of the episode, hands down. Moorpark and the Senator storm out, no doubt mourning the loss of the money they could have made.
What really shook this episode up was the ending. Artie, upon his return to the B&B, opens up the back door to none other than H.G. Wells, our favorite absentee agent. She was the one he called to search out the dagger. She has a few leads, but she really wants to talk about that day he saved the Warehouse. Seeing events clearly the way no one else has been able to, H.G. immediately accuses him of time travel. It’s the only explanation for his actions; she’d know, she wrote the book on it (Ha!). She also suspects (correctly) that he used Magellan’s astrolabe to do it, and she’s shared this suspicion with Mrs. Frederic. Adrian’s warning of danger echoes in Artie’s mind, and the episode ends.
The main artifact plot was only so-so tonight; it definitely took a backseat to the introduction of Deb and the advancement of the Brother Adrian plotline. That’s okay, though, because I’m dying to find out more season-long story arc information, and more about how H.G.’s knowledge will affect Artie. So if for now we have to sacrifice fascinating artifact cases for the overall season four mythos, I’m okay with that.