Episode 8: Duped
This one starts in media res, with Pete and Myka arguing in a hotel room and Pete trying to handcuff her. No, it’s not really wild foreplay, since Myka immediately beats the hell out of him, knocking him out. We then flash back to fourteen hours earlier at the Warehouse. (I hate that “flashback to catch us up to the exciting opening scene” device when it’s used in comics, but it’s not so bad in TV shows since the action is more immediate and the whole thing seems less artificial somehow.) Anyway, the story starts at the Warehouse with Leena telling Artie he should forget about MacPherson (the rogue Warehouse agent who almost killed him last episode) and concentrate on his work at the Warehouse, instead of letting Pete, Myka, and Claudia do it. Leena’s right, as we see the aforementioned trio down on the Warehouse floor doing inventory, which is supposed to be Artie’s job.
But just because they’re working doesn’t mean Pete can’t find a way to have fun. He’s playing ping-pong against his “alter ego” inside Lewis Carroll’s looking glass. (Or as Myka puts it, “Playing with yourself again?”) Myka’s in no mood for Pete’s games, although he figures out (by the tilt of her head) that she’s actually pissed off at Artie for keeping the truth from them about MacPherson. Pete mentions “daddy issues” which earns him a shove, which knocks over the table, the mirror, and a disco ball from Studio 54. They grab the mirror to keep it from breaking, but Pete has to let go to dodge the falling disco ball, which erupts into a sound and light show, complete with a rousing rendition of “I Will Survive”. The light and noise (or maybe the disco music) are too much for Pete, so Myka is left staring into the mirror as the light from the ball bathes her. The others hear the music (and Claudia gets her funk on) and come running just as the ball stops doing its thing. Myka has a strange look on her face and walks away.
At the boarding house, Leena and Myka talk and Myka seems a bit more … mellow than usual. She doesn’t seem to mind Leena’s fell-good talk and even scarfs down some of Artie’s baking. Leena leaves and Pete and Claudia show up, goofing around and playing some game on Pete’s phone. Artie gives them their new assignment and Myka gives Claudia shit for not paying attention. There’s a couple going around the country winning big at various casinos, even though they haven’t set off any alarms with various gaming commissions. Artie figures they must have supernatural help, so Pete and Myka have to go to Las Vegas to check them out and figure out if they’re using an artifact to affect the Laws of Fate. Artie gives Pete $10,000 as a stake to help their cover, though Myka seems put out that Pete got the money instead of her. As they’re leaving, Artie asks Pete if Myka’s still mad at him and Pete says she is, but maybe the Vegas trip will calm her down a bit. Claudia offers to try and track MacPherson down and Artie freaks out, telling her MacPherson is way too dangerous to mess with.
In Vegas, Myka has really dolled herself up and keeps admiring herself in the mirror. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say some kind of switch took place back at the Warehouse and this isn’t the real Myka. Pete is blown away by the sexy dress Myka’s wearing (she’s even wearing perfume!) and has a hard time concentrating. She’s read all the research Artie gave them and says the artifact must be a single object, and it must be something the “lucky” couple keeps with them. (She cites Carson’s Rule of Linear Transfer, which I assume is made-up.) They each decide to keep an eye on one of the suspects, Pete gets the woman and Myka the dude. They set up earpieces and microphones to keep in contact and Pete is upset because Myka won the coin toss and gets to carry the Tesla instead of he regular “boring” gun that Pete’s stuck with.
At the Warehouse, Claudia and Artie are hoisting the Studio 54 back into place as Artie explains that the ball absorbed all the desire and debauchery from Studio 54 in the 70s and can now project it instead of just reflecting like most mirrored disco balls. He says the ball imparts “a grim, stampeding inhumanity against anything decent”, which is pretty intense for a disco ball. When they set Lewis Carroll’s mirror back into place, they notice an image of Myka inside … and she doesn’t look happy. In Vegas, Pete and Myka find the inordinately lucky couple, Gary and Jillian Whitman (played by Niall Matter and Erica Cerra from Eureka) at the roulette wheel. Pete says he’ll go check their room in case the artifact is there while Myka keeps an eye on them.
At the Warehouse, Leena comes in to check out the image of Myka in the glass. Artie is sure it’s not the real Myka, just some weird afterimage like shadows burned into the walls at Hiroshima. Leena’s empathy power can’t determine anything, but the image definitely seems agitated and looks like it’s trying to speak to them. Claudia suggests figuring out a way to communicate, which Artie says is a bad idea. Shadow entities (like Bloody Mary, which is apparently not just an urban legend) can have a lot of power, especially if you let them speak. Artie calls Pete to ask if everything is okay. Pete says he hasn’t had any vibes and Myka is fine; the only thing bothering him is that the buffet at the hotel is overpriced. Artie doesn’t mention anything about the mirror (which is probably the wrong move) and breaks the connection. (Pete signs off with, “Kirk out”, which I loved.)
Pete searches Gary and Jillian’s room while Myka watches them closely in the casino. She notices Gary has a large gold coin in his hand that he rubs before placing each (successful) bet. But when Pete checks in and says he didn’t find anything, Myka keeps her mouth shut about the gold coin. At the Warehouse, Claudia has whipped up a steampunkish DIY version of a laser microphone, used by surveillance experts to bounce a beam off glass and translate the vibrations back into speech. She figures they can use her version to talk to Myka on the other side of the mirror. Artie isn’t too thrilled with the idea. In Vegas, Pete joins Myka in the casino and notices that one of Gary’s hands is all fucked up. Myka still plays dumb about what the artifact might be.
At the Warehouse, Claudia’s laser mike works and they can hear Myka, who begs them to get her out of the mirror. Artie isn’t convinced and says the image is just bullshitting them so it can screw with them. I’m not sure why he’s so adamant that this can’t be the real Myka; he says he’s “been burned before” by shadow images, but his reluctance to accept what seems obvious is baffling. Maybe he tried to bang a shadow image once and now he hates them all. He shuts off Claudia’s device and he and Leena start going through all the files on Lewis Carroll and the mirror. Apparently, the real Alice Liddell was some kind of murderous sociopath and all of Carroll’s stories about her were just chronicles about her descent into madness (the published versions being Warehouse fabrications). Leena mentions that Warehouse agents trapped Alice inside the mirror and wonders if the image of Myka is just bit of Myka’s psyche that got grafted onto Alice (as Artie suspects) or something more. Leena also mentions some murders that Alice committed before she was trapped in the mirror; I wonder if that’s a veiled reference to the Jack the Ripper murders? The real Alice Liddell was born in 1852, so she’d have been old enough to commit the murders in the late 1880s.
In Vegas, Gary and Jillian argue about whether they should quit using the gold coin to win money, since using it is turning Gary’s hand septic. He says they need five million dollars to pay off all their debts, so they have to keep going even if his hand rots off. Jillian says he’d better see a doctor first, but he convinces her to win a bit more money to offset the cost of seeing a doctor. She tells him to rest in their room while she takes the lucky coin and heads back to the casino. Pete and Myka are watching and to cover when Jillian walks by, Myka grabs Pete and lays a big smooch on him. Apparently it was pretty good, as he doesn’t even notice her lifting the Farnsworth communicator from his pocket. She says she’ll take care of Gary in the hotel room while Pete follows Jillian to the casino. Obviously, she didn’t see Gary give Jillian the gold coin.
At the Warehouse, Artie, Leena, and Claudia are still debating the possibilities. Artie remembers noticing the same thing Pete did, that Myka’s head tilts to the right when she’s mad at him. In Vegas, Pete notices Jillian rubbing the gold coin and we see how it works: it gives her a vision of what’s going to happen a minute or so in the future, so she knows exactly what number to bet on. At the Warehouse, Artie finally realizes it’s Myka trapped in the mirror. They have a heart-to-heart about trust and Artie admits he screwed up by not telling her and Pete everything. In Vegas, the fake Myka (Alice Liddell, apparently) tries to bullshit her way into Gary’s room, but since he’s a con artist, he sees through her act. She switches to the direct approach and decks him. Artie calls and is surprised when “Myka” answers instead of Pete. He says her ferret got out and they’ve been trying to call it but aren’t sure if she picked a name for it yet. She says she hasn’t and they should just put some food out. She signs off and goes back to business, which involves Gary tied up in a chair. Artie knows now she’s not the real Myka, since Myka actually did name her ferret (she named it Pete, a fact of which Pete is blissfully unaware).
In Vegas, Pete confronts Jillian and convinces her the artifact is bad news. It sounds like she was leaning that way anyway, what with the contact wounds it causes and the fact that it’s kind of addictive. She gives it to Pete (who experiences its power firsthand) and he says he’s going to put it away where it can’t harm anyone. Unfortunately, Alice is listening through the earpiece and now knows what the artifact is and what it does. Artie has been trying to call Pete but can’t get his cell; Claudia says Pete’s at a big hotel, so why not just have him paged? At the hotel, Pete bags the artifact and tells Jillian she and Gary can keep the money they fleeced as long as they leave town and don’t look back. Pete hears the telephone page as he heads to the room to tell Gary what’s up.
In Gary’s room, Alice taunts Gary (who’s still tied up) and shows her true self including her real face for a moment. Gary is understandably freaked out, and it gets worse when Alice blasts him with the Tesla. Pete comes in and pretends “Myka” killed Gary (tipping Gary a wink so he’ll play along), then pulls his gun. This is basically where we came in at the beginning of the episode, with some added context. Pete points out that the real Myka would never kiss him, even if her life depended on it. Alice admits who she is and Pete says once Artie frees Myka, Alice will disappear. Alice says nothing can come out of the mirror without something going in and she’s done being trapped. Pete tries to handcuff her but gets distracted on seeing her real face in the mirror. She beats the shit out of him and zaps him with the Tesla before taking the coin and leaving, saying she’s never going back into the mirror.
Some time later, Alice arrives at the Warehouse and finds it empty. She picks up a convenient hammer and goes looking for the mirror on the Warehouse floor. We see Artie following her stealthily as she approaches the mirror, and Claudia and Leena set up Claudia’s laser mike device back outside the office and aim it toward the Studio 54 disco ball that’s back hanging above the mirror.. (The song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane plays over this entire sequence, which is almost too on the nose.) Just as Alice is about to smash the mirror, Pete distracts her (with ping-pong balls) and Artie signals Claudia to hit the disco ball with her laser. The resulting disco inferno pulls Alice back into the mirror and frees Myka, who’s so grateful she dispenses hugs to all and sundry … including Artie.
Artie says the mirror will have to be moved to the Dark Vault (Pete: “Well, it’s better than the oy gevalt.”), which he describes as even scarier than the regular warehouse. Artie also drops some interesting trivia: Steve Rubell, the owner of Studio 54, originally intended to call it Wonderland. Artie’s not happy that Pete spent the ten grand he gave him on the Apache chopper ride back to the Warehouse (which explains how Pete got back so fast), and Pete takes great pleasure in pointing out that the Alice version of Myka said he was a great kisser … which the real Myka doesn’t find too impressive.