Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Syfy’s Warehouse 13 returns for a third season tomorrow, continuing to mix historical super-science and magic with comedy and the promise of thrills, spills and maybe the occasional chill, for taste. But if you’ve never tuned in before now, here are the answers to all the questions you might be asking in order to get up to speed.
What Is Warehouse 13?
As the name suggests, it’s a warehouse. Specifically, it’s the 13th in a series of warehouses throughout history that store artifacts of strange energy and importance — some supernatural, some scientific — from figures both famous and obscure. The Warehouse is staffed by members of the U.S. Secret Service, but the Warehouses go way beyond just the U.S. government, or even America as a continent; final decisions on staff, location and what objects get kept are made by a group called The Regents, about whom very little is actually known … and I’m sure they like it that way.
What Happened To Warehouses 1 Through 12?
Beyond “lost to history,” we still don’t really know. We saw a rediscovered Warehouse 2 in Egypt during the end of the second season, but other Warehouses have only really been hinted at at most. It’s safe to assume that Warehouses are placed in positions of global power at the time — so expect Warehouse 14 to be in China or India, I suppose — but as to why a new Warehouse is built, or whether artifacts are transferred between Warehouses, that’s still pretty much open to question right now.
Who Works At The Warehouse?
The man in charge at W13 is Artie Nielsen, a disgraced former cryptographer-turned-Secret Service agent who has worked at the Warehouse for long enough that he (a) knows everything, and (b) may have lost certain social skills due to atrophy. He’s in charge of two field agents: Pete Lattimer, a Secret Service agent who’s a little bit goofy, a little bit of a maverick, and also a little bit psychic (but only a little bit), and — until the end of the last season — Myka Bering, a by-the-book, overly capable Secret Service agent who’s book-smart but, apparently, a little too easily fooled by bad guys with seemingly good intentions. Myka resigned at the end of the second season, embarrassed at being hoodwinked by a faux-repentant HG Wells — yes, really; no, don’t ask — so expect a new agent at least temporarily in the show’s third season. Besides the three Secret Service staff, there’s also Claudia, self-taught teenage computer genius (and, much to Artie’s pretend unhappiness, essentially his adopted daughter); Leena, another psychic who runs a guesthouse and acts as exposition tool for the other characters; and Mrs. Frederic, the liaison between the Warehouse and The Regents. She too has mysterious powers, and — it’s been heavily hinted — might be a lot older than she seems.
How Much of This Do I Need To Know?
One of the joys of Warehouse 13 is that it works very well as a standalone shows, even when it delves into its deeper mythology: Everything you need to know to understand an episode will be at least referenced, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself too lost. Which is to say, you don’t really need to know any of it … but it might add to your enjoyment if you did.
Where Should I Start?
If you can, right at the beginning: This isn’t a series that really had a steep curve of weak episodes but improving as it went – Everything was pretty much in place from the beginning (In large part because the pilot is so strong). But if you’re looking to get caught up with the plot threads so that you’re ready and eager for tomorrow’s season premiere, start with the second season premiere, “Time Will Tell,” and go forward from there.