This review may contain spoilers.
As soon as “Secret Santa” begins with a storybook “Once upon a time in South Dakota,” it’s probably for the best to assume that this episode either takes place outside of the actual series continuity thus far or maybe happened in between other episodes (but presumably after “Vendetta”). This continues as Pete voiceovers “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” and Myka argues with him that “this is a Christmas show.” So, there’s really no cause for alarm at the fact that Myka left the Warehouse “for good” at the end of the second season but now seems to be back like nothing ever happened.
At least, not if you don’t think about it too hard.
“Secret Santa” was all about the magical powers of Christmas. Sure, there was an artifact at play, but it ultimately led to a Christmas revelation (in the form of Santa Claus, of course).
Larry Newley is a regular Scrooge, driven by money, money, and, well, money. That is, until he’s haunted by Santa. The whole plot ends with a very touching and overly saccharine emotional realization, just as you would expect from most Christmas specials, especially a ‘Warehouse 13’ Christmas special.
The magical powers of Christmas continue on Claudia’s (Allison Scagliotti) side of things came more from the powers of deception than actual magic, though. Claudia (aka “the annoying girl”), with big brother Josh along for the ride, goes on a mission to find Artie’s old piano that eventually becomes a quest to reunite father and son. This, of course, leads to Claudia busting out the big guns to get Artie and his father to even be in the same room as each other — “he’s dying.”
It’s a foolproof plan. Until it’s not, of course. Everything leads to a happy ending though, because this is Christmas at “Warehouse 13” after all.
The Christmas-fied opening credits were a nice touch, with fruitcake as one of the artifacts, a gingerbread man, a dreidel (during Jewish cast member Saul Rubinek’s title card, naturally), and much more. ‘Warehouse 13’ definitely went all out for this Christmas special, and hopefully this is the first in a yearly tradition.
The “Artifact That Almost Killed Each Of Us” t-shirts were also adorable, so of course they’re for sale online.
What Didn’t Work
Honestly, the continuity problem was the only hurdle you really had to get over to appreciate this episode. But it is kind of a big one the more you try to think about how it all fits into the series. It wouldn’t be such a problem if it didn’t have the subplot with Artie’s father. Considering how major that is to Artie as a character, it’s difficult to just write this episode off as a one-shot standalone.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Warehouse 13” stars Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Genelle Williams, Allison Scagliotti. “Secret Santa” was written by Bob Goodman and directed by Jack Kenny.
“Warehouse 13” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy. The third season premieres in 2011.