[Note: The following post may contain spoilers for any and all aired episodes of Warehouse 13.]
Hello, everybody and welcome to the Farnsworth Society, where we, as a group, re-watch television shows that are dreampunk, steampunk, cyberpunk, anypunk-related and meet weekly to discuss each episode one at a time. Our first show is the steampunkalicious Warehouse 13 (it only seems fitting to begin the Farnsworth Society with this show, doesn’t it?). Today, we’re covering the second season’s “13.1”. And please fill up the comments with your own thoughts, remembrances, favorite things about the episode, absolutely anything. And, yes, spoilers for any other aired episodes from Seasons 1-3 are allowed. We considered making it spoiler-free, but then decided it would likely constrain conversation far too much. Let’s get to it, kids!
“13.1” is one of my favorite episodes of Warehouse 13. I’m not sure whose decision it was to merge the universes of Warehouse 13 and Eureka, but to whomever it was, you, Madam/Sir/Whatever, are a genius. Before this episode aired, I never dared dream that we would ever see the one and only Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) installing a new computer system at Warehouse 13, let alone clashing with Artie and falling for Claudia. When is the last time you saw a more purely joyful moment of geekitude than when Fargo and Claudia merged his laser with her artifact to CREATE A LIGHTSABER? (Geeky Internet Law requires I write that in all-caps to convey the legendary, epic level of legendary epicness that that implies.)
And Fargo and his robots aren’t the only insanely geeky thing about this episode, which also has Rene Freaking Auberjonois, known to sci-fi fans worldwide for playing Odo on a tiny little show called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, here playing not one but two parts. Well, technically one part, divided into two: one a loony old man, and the other an intelligent, holographic computer into which half of the man’s mind has gone. Oh, and did I mention that it also involves Benjamin Franklin’s ring, a Zoetrope, and Artie playing a game of Battleship with the aforementioned hologram, who, by the way, has a porn-stache? Could it get more amazing? I don’t think so.
Speaking of which, like the two halves of Hugo, and the ring joining the laser, Warehouse 13 convinced me the first time I saw this episode, in no time flat, that Fargo and Claudia belong together. They’re both computer geniuses, they’re both adorably awkward in romantic situations, they’re both equally impressed with the cool things the other can do, and just in case you might worry that they sound too much alike on paper, he’s definitely more nebbishy and nerdy, while she has kind of a cool, hacker chick thing going for her. She says “Dude” a lot, he’s a doofus. Put them together, and you have geeky magic. (Though I do have to say that, since then, Eureka‘s own character, Holly Martin, played by the wonderful Felicia Day, has possibly supplanted Claudia as “the one” for Fargo…But only possibly.)
And speaking of magic, you also have to love how the writers introduce the two and their two different perspectives. Upon seeing the Benjamin Franklin ring work its spell, Fargo attempts to explain it in a very Eurekaish manner, rife with pseudo-scientific phlebotinum that sounds more convincing the less about actual science you know, while Claudia provides the Warehouse 13 response, which is more related to energy and mysticism and resonance and what have you. The moment is a perfect, meta-encapsulation of the divergent worlds of the two shows, but also why they fit together so well. On Eureka, the seemingly mystical is explained through “science.” On Warehouse 13, science overlaps with magic far more often. Similar effects and tones, just different explanations for how they were accomplished. But Claudia and Fargo (who amusingly thought Warehouse 13 was “just an internet rumor” before being contacted by Mrs. Frederic) respect and accept their differing analyses. I also have to congratulate Ian Stokes, the writer of the episode, for capturing Fargo’s voice so well. Sometimes, when a character from one show appears on another (for example, when Buffy‘s Willow, aka Alyson Hannigan, guested on Angel in the show’s fourth season), he or she feels slightly off, but not so here. This is definitely Fargo, through and through.
And as incredible as the predicament and circumstances that lead the two to one another may be, Claudia and Fargo’s spark makes complete sense, emotionally speaking. Fargo recently lost his girlfriend to a time rewrite and has trouble attracting girls under normal circumstances, while Claudia has only recently begun to consider dating at all, having spent most of her life obsessed with her work, trying to bring her brother back from another dimension. It makes sense that Fargo would fall for Claudia (she’s geeky and hot), but even more so that Claudia would fall for Fargo. Sure, she likes Todd, but he also seems to be the only available guy of appropriate age and attractiveness within 100 miles of where she normally is. She can’t tell him about her work, and as far as she knows at this point (though she learns the truth later), he’s nearly as intelligent as she is. It makes sense that she would instantly find a better rapport with someone on her level, who speaks her language, and who she can talk to about her secret work.
It also, however, makes sense that Claudia would, despite being drawn to this guy, feel conflicted about her own guy, because while another woman in the same situation might recognize that she has much more in common with Fargo, one has to remember that while Claudia is very mature in many areas, she’s still learning the ropes when it comes to romance, and Todd is her first love. Like Hugo and the “lightsaber” for most of the episode, again, she is divided between the part of herself gravitating towards Fargo and the part reminding her that the first person she ever felt these sorts of feelings towards, is Todd.
At the end, Claudia loses Todd, regardless of rejecting Fargo, when he abruptly dumps her. This episode doesn’t clarify why he does this (though we find out later), but as far as Claudia’s reaction, it rings with emotional truth. Practically everyone remembers how awful their first break-up was, and a large portion of them would probably admit that the boyfriend or girlfriend, in retrospect, years later, may not have really been worth the pain they suffered as a result of the break-up. This is how I see Todd. He seems like a nice-enough guy, but Claudia can do better.