So, in case you forgot Warehousians… Warehousers? Anyway, Artie used Magellan’s Astrolabe to reverse the catastrophic damage caused by the butthurt fiend that was Walter Sykes (Anthony Michael Hall). This greatly peeves Brother Adrian (Brent Spiner) and the Brotherhood, as well as the Regents (once they know about it). Turns out Brother Adrian isn’t trying to kill Artie, at all… the Astrolabe is creating a ‘bad Artie’ that’s stealing the most dangerous artifacts and using them against those he loves.
This all culminates in the prophecy of Claudia killing him becoming reality, kinda. In order to stop Artie from releasing the effects of the Chinese Orchid that’ll release a worldwide pandemic, Claudia is forced to stab Arthur, but it’s too late. The Orchid’s protective case is compromised, everyone gets infected, oh shit we all goners, blahblahblah…
So. What happens now?
Taking place immediately after the half-season finale, “The Living and the Dead” begins with a gravely injured Artie; the 13 crew is transported back to the Warehouse as Mrs. Frederic and the Regents create a cover story for the plague and determine there are roughly 16 hours until the first fatalities will occur. Meanwhile, the dagger used on our favorite curmudgeon separated the “evil” side of him; the dagger is an artifact that casts the evil out of people. Unfortunately, his brain patterns are slowly degrading. The group splits off: Jinks, Claudia, and Mrs. Lattimer (Kate Mulgrew) attempt to revive Artie; Myka, Pete, and Mrs. Frederic seek out an artifact to restore the Chinese Orchid and end the plague.
Pete and Myka make their way to Professor Bennett Sutton, an expert on the Count of St. Germain. An irascible character with a penchant for liquor, terrible flirting, and sporting a florid British accent, Sutton (James Marsters) nonetheless is essential to recovering the Count’s ring. According to the professor, the ring is located deep in the catacombs of Paris, but first they have to make a stop at his ex-wife Charlotte Dupre’s place and steal the legend (AKWARRRD). During their journey, Pete and Mykes discover the true identity and purpose of Sutton’s assistance which ALMOST does them in but all is well. Naturally.
Meanwhile, Claudia and Jinks enter Artie’s subconscious, via Freud’s desk clock, and discover his brain and its defenses are manifested into the Warehouse and persons from their past and present adventures. With each encounter, the representations get increasingly violent. Jinks provides a distraction for Claudia to carry on, leaving her to find Artie and restore him to the conscious world.
For one, the brief cameos by Dr. Vanessa Calder (Lindsay Wagner) and James McPherson (Roger Rees) were nice pleasant surprises. Marsters’ performance as Sutton was a nice foil between Pete and Myka and, given the brevity of his character, HAS to pop up every now and then in the remaining episodes of this season. Hopefully, they’ll flesh him out further because, at the moment, he comes off as an unholy cross between Spike and Jonathan of the Mummy films. By the way, he made a sly jab at vampires that made me chortle. Yes. CHORTLE.
The meat of “The Living and the Dead” is thanks to the scenes featuring Artie with Claudia and Mrs. Frederic, respectively. Everyone loves Artie, yet Saul Rubinek manages to dig deeper in his acting repertoire to depict the immense guilt for killing Leena (Genelle Williams) weighing heavily on him. The rapport between him, CCH Pounder, and Allison Scagliotti was definitely the highlight of “The Living and the Dead”.
If you’re one of six people who are aware life as you know it is pretty much about to end in 16 hours, I’d think you’d be a bit more pressed for time. Y’know, have a fire lit under your ass to save things? Nope. Not these guys. They still have time for witty banter and their side-eyeing. The pacing was a bit weird to me, as if they had two scripts and decided to merge the ideas together. It would have been better suited as separate episodes, especially one focusing on Arthur’s anguish and recovery.
There’s not much one can do in 40 minutes of running time or with a scant budget, yet I never felt the Chinese Orchid was a massive threat as it was built up in the first half of season four. It’s supposedly one of the most dangerous artifacts in existence, and barely any of the characters appear affected. It’s all wrapped up with a pretty bow in one episode, after hyping it for three. They kind of dropped the ball there.
Overall, not a bad second start to a solid season!
Yep. After all that writing. One sentence conclusion. Deal with it.