Christmas Special — Warehouse 13, “Secret Santa”

I have a surprisingly strong affinity for Syfy’s Warehouse 13. I quickly caught up on season one before the second aired this past summer, and by the time things came to an end in late September, I was really impressed with how the series expanded its universe nicely by continuing to rely on the dramatic tensions between the characters. The two-part season finale was a shockingly potent exploration of how close Pete, Myka, Artie and Claudia had become over the previous 12 episodes.

Which is why the series’ Christmas special episode “Secret Santa,” is sort of disappointing.

Season two led up to this really great moment where Myka decided it wasn’t in her to be an agent anymore, which like I said, was a surprisingly emotionally beat. “Secret Santa” completely ignores this cliffhanger and instead presents us an episode that seems to exist in the present but also features a total disconnect from the past narrative development. I don’t really know how to react to this.

On one hand, I get it. This is a Christmas special for a series that only airs in the summer. W13 aired it’s last episode near the end of September and it won’t return again until July most likely. And I guess there is a sense that Christmas specials don’t have to be in continuity — is the Star Wars special in continuity? — but it’s not as if Warehouse 13 is such a massive hit that Syfy is programming this for a general audience. The series is a fairly nice hit for a sizable cable network. Making a Christmas special in itself is already a gimmick that probably only appeals to the series’ die-hard fans, so why not keep within the continuity of the series that has been so well plotted out?

Well, as my buddy Noel Kirkpatrick pointed out on Twitter, it’s very, very possible that bringing Myka back to the team with no questions asked and then having her and Pete have a few Bones and Booth moments suggests that this episode was written for fans — just a certain block of them. I’m a fairly savvy television viewer, I know that the producers of the series and Syfy want me to see the sexual tension between Myka and Pete and get totally invested in the relationship so that I just can’t take it anymore when they’re not together. You know, just like Bones or a dozen other series that have tried this exact same formula in the last few years. I get that, so I understand that when Pete and Myka share a few obvious “LOOK THEY KIND OF LIKE EACH OTHER” moments in “Secret Santa,” I’m supposed to be excited and happy.

But here’s the thing: I don’t trust any producer or writer these days to put their Unresolved Sexual Tension couple together and keep them together, so I’m not going to be invested, ever. There’s no way that in season two(ish), Warehouse 13 is going to put Pete and Myka together yet. I’m saying the scenes here are wasteful in any way, but it seems like a weird decision to disrupt continuity for a singular moment of fan service pandering that ultimately doesn’t really add up to much or matter, since the series has to address Myka’s legitimate absence when it comes back in season three anyway.

In that respect, “Secret Santa”‘s blatant disregard of continuity is both disappointing and pointless. The episode isn’t so revealing for Pete and Myka’s relationship that it will be remembered outside of its goofy, but fun Santa plot, but then so what’s the point of doing it in the first place?* If you’re going to throw continuity out the window, at least do something in the aftermath of that choice. Otherwise, you’re just pandering to shippers and perhaps the random people who just love Christmas specials too much to turn away.

*Speaking of revealing: Apparently avoiding continuity with Myka also means that she wears extremely tight shirts, even more so than before. Good lord Joanne Kelly.

In the end, I still enjoyed “Secret Santa.” The case was just fine and Claudia trying to bring Artie together with his father was a really nice little story to hang the episode on. And in general, I’m glad I got to spend an extra 42 minutes with these characters before 2010 ends. But stupid disrespects of continuity annoy me, particularly when they don’t really have any relevance or impact in their own right.

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