"Warehouse 13" is closing up shop.
The charming and entertaining TV series introduced us to covert agents Pete (Eddie McClintock), Myka (Joanne Kelly), Artie (Saul Rubinek), Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) and Steve (Aaron Ashmore), who race across the globe to retrieve supernatural objects before they wreak havoc by falling into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, SyFy notified viewers in May of 2013 that a shorter six-episode Season 5 would also serve as "Warehouse 13"'s last. The good news was that allowed the cast, crew and creative team the opportunity to try to deliver an unforgettable season of character moments, antics and one hell of a send-off.
It's a warm July afternoon when HuffPost Canada TV visits the Toronto set of "Warehouse 13" one last time. The cast and crew are busy filming the fifth episode "Cangku Shisi," which is Chinese for Warehouse 14. Today's sequence takes place in the middle of the warehouse, where Artie and Steve have managed to open a portal to China, so Pete, Myka and Claudia can follow a lead concerning the whereabouts of Claudia's presumably dead sister, Claire (Chryssie Whitehead).
"We knew Claudia had a sister, but thought she passed away," explains Ashmore during a break. "Now we know she's alive. That’s a difficult thing we start to explore. It’s really between Claudia and Artie because Artie knew. There’s a betrayal they have to deal with. All Steve can do is be supportive, be a good friend and serve the team."
After a few takes and some clarifications about the scene, Ashmore, Scagliotti, McClintock, Kelly and executive producer Jack Kenny each sit down with HuffPost Canada TV to discuss "Warehouse 13"'s swan song season.
Call Of Duty
Before Kenny and the writers can even begin to wrap things up, there's a certain crisis at hand that needs resolving. Season 4 ended with Paracelsus (Anthony Head) taking full control of the warehouse. Only a gutsy Claudia and her newfound link to the warehouse stood in his way. When Season 5 commences, that highly-anticipated confrontation is in progress.
"Where we left off, I really got to have my 'Buffy' moment, and in a very meta way, since I was essentially facing off against evil Giles," says Scagliotti. "It’s very satisfying how we eventually defeat Paracelsus. We get to see what an alternate Warehouse reality would be like and how sad and un-fun that would be if [the warehouse] wasn't the way we've grown to know it and love it. Per the usual, in setting one thing right, we’ve set off another problem to cope with."
Upon joining the "Warehouse 13" team, Steve and Claudia immediately hit it off. Young, attractive, smart and quick-witted, the two were a perfect match for each other on paper, except Steve turned out to be gay. They still developed a strong bond and that friendship proved to be one of the highlights of the series.
"I was elated to have a gay best friend, because that’s something I have in my own life," offers Scagliotti. "It’s a relationship that’s very common and should be represented more on television in a way that doesn’t hang a lamp on it, and make it somehow abnormal. And Aaron, of course, we can’t stand him. He’s an asshole. I say that with all the irony in the world because I can’t gush enough about what a wonderful person and actor and presence Aaron is.
"We have an episode together that I don’t know how I kept a straight face for," continues Scagliotti. "Steve gets split into two personalities. In addition to the reserved, rational Steve we all know, we will meet Steve’s very flamboyant gay self. It was a laugh a minute when I read the script. It’s the same script that is also half in Spanish because the other half of the gang falls into a telenovela. It’s hysterical."
Then there's Pete and Myka. The pair has strictly been friends, with plenty of flirting and sexual tension on the side. Recently when Pete believed Myka was dying from cancer, he risked the whole world to save her. In the final block of episodes, there's no holding back. Pete and Myka finally acknowledge their feelings for one another.
"Last season, we saw Pete and Myka's relationship go in a direction we’ve never really explored before," agrees Kelly. "Relationships change in dire circumstances. You never realize how you feel about somebody until you’re in danger of losing them. The cliché is a cliché for a reason. It was nice to see their deep need for one another."
The Last Hurrah
After five seasons and 64 episodes, no matter how "Warehouse 13" culminates, it's going to be bittersweet. Ashmore knows this all too well. The Canadian actor played Jimmy Olsen over three years on the long-running "Smallville." There was a lot of build-up and high expectations for that series finale, and despite Jimmy previously being killed off, Ashmore still made a brief cameo as a special nod to the Superman legacy. Obviously, when it came to "Warehouse 13," he was eager to find out what Kenny and company had planned.
"How do you finish the show?" says Ashmore. "The stakes are always high at the end of every season. We’re constantly overcoming all these odds, so how do you then wrap it up? In the movie format, you get the big bad and you know it’s really close, but are they going to make it? Then they do. To do that at the end of this may seem a little anticlimatic, so I was curious about how we would finish up.
"The ending is so fitting," adds Ashmore. "It wraps up all the characters really well. That’s what will be lasting and what the fans will appreciate. It’s as exciting as it always is. People will be surprised, but also fulfilled with the way things turn out."
Crafting a satisfying series finale is a daunting task. You can't please everyone. Kenny decided early on that instead of manufacturing some big cliffhanger, he and his staff would concentrate on the characters, tell a personal story and incorporate one of those quirky artifacts.
"There’s an artifact that records your defining moment with the warehouse," explains Kenny. "That’s what Ms. Frederick (CCH Pounder) asks all of them to do. They realize 'That’s because the warehouse is moving, isn't it?' She says, 'Yes, the warehouse is moving.' Pete is angry and furious. He doesn't want to move. He refuses to do it. The rest of them are recording. As you see their defining moment, we learn something about each of them that we didn’t know."
McClintock has always appreciated "Warehouse 13"'s loyal fan base. He's enjoyed interacting with them at conventions and listening to their comments, both pro and con. Before being called back to set, McClintock offered a few final words for them.
"I’m so flattered that I could be someone that they would want to watch from week to week and invest so deeply in," says McClintock. "Because of their dedication to the show, it’s given me confidence and makes me smile. It’s helped me take care of my family. I’m forever grateful to my fans and I love letting them know. When I was back in Ohio as a little kid, I loved Henry Winkler as The Fonz. I never will forget the day I got a letter back from him with some signed pictures and a poster. To be able to touch someone like that … if I can do that, that’s what it is all about for me."
Perhaps this isn't goodbye though. "Warehouse 13" comic books exist. A TV mini-series or reunion shouldn't be ruled out. Maybe these beloved characters and their adventures could live on, but just in a different type of format.
"In this day and age, the possibilities are endless," Scagliotti concludes. "I leave that in the hands of the fans because now more than ever, with crowd-sourcing and the amazing thing that happened with "Veronica Mars" and Kickstarter, now is the time when people who want a product need to dictate what it is. Since we have the resources to do it, let’s do it, whatever that might be."
"Warehouse 13" Season 5 will premiere in Canada on Monday, April 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showcase, and at 9 p.m. ET on SyFy in the U.S.