Recently, Three if By Space was lucky enough to sit in on an interview with Warehouse 13 show runner and writer Jack Kenny, Eddie McClintock (Pete, as if you didn’t know) and Joanne Kelly (Myka, yeah, you knew that too) for a look into what season 4.5 has in store for our favorite Secret Agents and Warehouse 13.
Q: Obviously after what happened with Leena, everybody’s upset. Obviously they’re going to forgive Artie, but can you talk about how the emotions from that are going to continue throughout the rest of the season? How it will affect them?
Jack: Artie’s the first person that has to deal with this and I’m sure you’ve seen the premiere episode already and we do a really cool thing where Claudia, who is our most obvious choice to go after Artie and bring him back to us, we have a really, kind of emotional moment. Yes, Artie’s having a very hard time dealing with what he did. He has been affected by an artifact, but he sees it as his hand is the one that did it and so he’s responsible. So there’s that hurdle that has to be leapt over in terms of Artie making his peace with what an artifact made him do and then there’s the tension between Claudia and Artie that we spend the next actually three episodes dealing with in terms of what she had to do to him. She had to stab him and then bring him back when he didn’t want to come back and a lot of other tension-riddled issues that they have to deal with, so those are some big hurdles to get over. And also the rest of the crew has to help Artie with this. There’s a second episode where Myka and Steve are helping Artie and dealing with Artie and then there’s this beautiful moment too where Pete stands up to give a speech to the regents on Artie’s behalf. The family is rallying around their patriarch to help him deal with this and to help the warehouse move on with what it has to do. Then we bring in Kelly Hu who essentially comes to run the BnB and we find out that she actually has a deeper purpose here (and ultimately an even deeper one that I don’t want to reveal yet), but a deeper purpose in that she is there for our people to talk to because I think the regents come to the conclusion that when you die and come back to life, when you kill someone you love, when you are attacked by an artifact and almost killed that maybe there’s some issues that have to be dealt with, a little PTSD that has to be dealt with, so Kelly’s here for that.
Eddie: I understand the guilt that Artie’s going through. When I was in college I drank and I was in a blackout. When I woke up, I had shaved a dog and I felt guilty about that, but everybody was like, “But Eddie it was the tequila.” and I said, “No, but it was by my hand.” So…
Jack: That’s a beautiful story. Did the dog forgive you?
Eddie: We’re now married.
Jack: That’s what everybody was afraid of. That slippery slope. That’s what everybody was afraid of.
Q: In the mid-season premiere you have guest stars James Marsters and Polly Walker, can you talk about what it was like working with them and what other guest stars we can look forward to seeing this second-half of the season?
Eddie: One of the great things about being on Warehouse 13 is when you’re on a successful show, successful people want to be a part of it and so I think we’ve been really lucky in regards to our guest cast. Having James Marsters and Anthony Head in the same show in the same season, it’s pretty cool. I bet legions of Buffy fans are just going to go crazy. Not just the fact that they have fans, but that they’re also great actors. I would do well to sit back and take notes a lot of times because the talent that we’ve been able to have come through has been really great and it’s a testament to the show and to the writing and to the network.
Jack: I have to say they both dove in feet first into our family and really fit in nicely. We had a great time. The first episode as you know is mostly more James than Polly. Polly has a couple beats in it and then Polly comes back later in the season and has a very big episode, episode 18, with Artie and Pete and Myka and they sort of partner up together in search of an artifact, which is kind of fun, so they were just great. I mean it’s nice. You get actors and they understand the genre and then, as Eddie was saying, they’re all such tremendous actors, so they can really play into the sci-fi fantasy of it and also bring you some real good, just some real good actin’, if you know what I mean. They just fit right into the group. They joined us at our level and that’s always welcome and exciting. And then we’ve got coming up this season, as been announced, Joel Grey is coming to join us in episode 14 with Steve Valentine and Nora Zehetner. In episode 13, we do an episode where Pete and Myka fall into the world of film noir and we’re joined by Missi Pyle and Enrico Colantoni, sort of a Galaxy Quest reunion – two people who also just fit in. I mean Enrico had such a great time on the show he came back to hang out on the set on another episode just because he liked everybody so much.
Eddie: He goes, ‘Man, the vibe on this set is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I just want to come and hang out with you guys.’ You know, if I may say so, it really comes from the top down. Jack sets a tone on the show. The tone is basically here.
Jack: We also make sure that everyone that shows up gets a hooker in their hotel room so that makes a difference. People really respond to that.
Eddie: and shaved dogs.
Jack: And Missi sings in the episode, which is also a lot of fun. We have Ricardo Chavira, Charlie Weber comes on in episode 16. Cynthia Watros is in episode 17. And of course Anthony Head is coming to join us for the last three episodes. And he turns out to be quite a powerful character. As it’s been released, he plays a 16th century alchemist, a rogue alchemist named Paracelsus. I like to joke that our show is probably one of the only shows on TV that you can have a great time, laugh, cry and get course credit. I didn’t also mention that Emily Bergl is coming on as well in episode 212.
Q: On the subject of Leena’s death, I wanted to thank you for the way her death was resolved in episode 12. I thought it was wonderfully and meaningfully written and handled. I wondered if you could share what originally motivated the decision to kill her character? And what the loss of Genelle has meant to the behind-the-scenes Warehouse 13 family?
Jack: Well, it was very difficult for all of us because Genelle is so sweet and wonderful. There’s a lot of different levels that played on, for me as a showrunner and writer too. Essentially we needed somebody to die and stay dead because we’ve brought back Artie, we brought back Steve and you know if death doesn’t mean anything then the stories no longer have stakes. If you can bring back anybody from the dead, then death is no longer a danger and so it becomes impossible to make sounding dangerous and it raised the stakes in the story. So we had to lose someone that stayed lost so that we could deal with real mortality especially since mortality was such a strong element of our season this year. So that was one thing that was very important. Then it became, “Well, who can we lose? Who in the cast can we lose, and yet it would still have a powerful impact on everybody?” Leena was the obvious choice because it was hard to get Leena into stories, into artifact snag-and-bags since she’s not an agent and yet it would have meaning for the characters to lose her because she’s such a warm and lovely presence and such a loving presence in their lives. It was sort of the prefect opportunity to really punch everybody in the gut and have them have to deal with something monumental in their lives. Any other external character wouldn’t have meant the same thing. Also such an innocence, such a pure innocence who was literally turned around to help Artie when she thought he needed it would essentially gave her life. In the second episode, one of the things we tried to show was that everybody knows what they’re getting into when they go to work for the warehouse. It is a dangerous job. It’s like joining the military. You could lose your life and you have to be prepared for that, so that was also very important. Genelle was so lovely and so sweet and everybody loves her. We do get to see her in a few more episodes, because as you know, it’s sci-fi. Once you’re dead it doesn’t mean you’re off the show. It just means you’re dead.
Q: Jaime Murray, she’s now doing Defiance, I know that she’s coming back in to Warehouse 13 for an episode, but there was something a while back about a spin-off series for H.G. Wells. Has that been put to bed or do you still hope to do a movie or something?
Jack: Bob Goodman, one of the other writers on the show here, and I pitched a series for H.G., at the time we pitched it as a period piece in 1890s New York as she’s the Sherlock Holmes kind of character also scouting for Warehouse 13, but those things get expensive. I think that plates get filled up with other things, so they take their time. Nothing’s ever dead in Hollywood. Sure, a movie would be great. I’d love to do a movie with that character. I’d love to do a series. I’d love to have her back on the show occasionally just playing H.G. in our world. I can’t say that anything is in the offings, but I can say that I’m hoping for anything they want to do, because I love the character. I love the relationship and the dynamic she has both with our characters and the world in general and I think it would be a really dynamic, fun character to have on TV that kind of isn’t there right now – that sort of metro-sexual period piece woman who is smarter than anybody else in the room. I’d love to dive into that sometime.
Q: Joanne, you did a couple of episodes last season where you were working very, very closely with Claudia and you were taking Claudia out in the field. Would you like to do more of those kinds of episodes where it’s just you girls? I just found that the dynamic between those two characters is kind of fun to watch.
Joanne: Yeah. I love the mix-and-match episodes. I think Eddie and I are such old hands at being together all the time that there’s a sort of ease when we do our episodes together, but the mix-and-match are fun. They’re different. It’s a different stride. I like to see the way that Myka’s and Claudia’s relationship has grown. As their relationship has grown, we see at the beginning it was a little sister/big sister kind of deal, and as Allison herself and Claudia the character, has gotten older we see more of an equal footing, which has been really interesting to explore.
Q: And one last question for Jack, I actually read somewhere that you’re going to be exploring the thing with Claudia that she’s going to be a caretaker of the warehouse. Can you talk a little bit about that? She’s kind of like the caretaker of the warehouse and she could be replacing Mrs. Frederic. Are we going to see something about that this season?
J: Absolutely. Actually that’s a big driver to our season finale. We’ve always teased that Claudia has a destiny at the warehouse beyond just being an agent. And one of the things we’ll learn, certainly into season 4.5 and even into season five that we’ve been talking about here in the writers’ room these days, is that there are certain people destined to be connected to the warehouse and the life of the warehouse. No matter what the world does or what the world looks like, they will always be connected. And Claudia is just one of those people that is destined to be here. As you’ll hear Artie talking about it in season 4.5, that she’s kind of born to this. So yeah we tap on it a couple of times. As you know, last year we had Mrs. Frederic take Claudia along with her to see the birth of an artifact so she could have a little peek behind the curtain into what Mrs. Frederic does. And we‘re going to keep playing that dynamic of Claudia’s starting to sense her own connection to the warehouse, starting to sense that she actually is, in a way, organically connected to Warehouse 13 in a way that’s beyond what anybody else is. And it’s kind of beautiful and Allison plays it very nicely, very subtly. You’ll see it in episode 15, there’s a great story where she and Kelly Hu are hunting the warehouse, something’s going wrong with the warehouse and they’re trying to figure it out. Kelly, Steven, Artie also are in that story. It was kind of fun, so yeah we’ll definitely tap on that.