Episode 9: Regrets
This one starts with a dude named Lee wandering around a club full of young people. Everything’s out of focus and he looks confused so it’s probably a dream sequence. But the dream turns into a nightmare when one of the young girls accuses Lee of killing her while driving drunk. Lee says he hasn’t touched a drop of booze since, but the girl and everyone else at the club keep hounding him until he falls over a balcony railing … as it turns out he was imagining everything and is actually in prison, where he just fell off the upper level and slammed into the floor. The prison doctor rushes to help, but it’s too late. A prisoner in a nearby cell looks on with … satisfaction? I dunno, but it’s pretty creepy. At the boardinghouse, Myka has gotten the official report on what happened in Denver (when her fellow agent and Boyfriend Sam was killed), but she’s afraid to open it. Myka knows she did everything by the book—it was Sam’s own impulsiveness that got him killed—but she’s always felt responsible.
Pete comes in and says there have been some weird suicides at a prison in Riverton, Florida, so they have to head down there and see if an artifact is responsible. At the Warehouse, Claudia is doing inventory (including Tycho Brahe’s metal nose and Venus de Milo’s arms) when a flickering light bulb drives her nuts. She asks Artie (who’s composing some kind of song for his father) if she can change the bulb, but he says these bulbs never burn out and that she should get back to work. At Riverton Penitentiary, Myka and Pete meet Warden Huggins (played by Maria Ricossa, who was Ashley’s mom on Degrassi) and find out there have been four suicides in a month. All of them were model prisoners, including Lee, who had reconciled with his wife and was up for early release. Since the suicides started shortly after Huggins took over (after the last warden died), Pete wonders if something she brought with her could be the artifact, but her office is rather … spartan.
Pete finds a manifesto in Lee’s belongings written by another inmate, John Hill, who’s some kind of self-appointed preacher. The diatribe has an Ouroboros snake on it, the famous snake-eating-its-own-tail. As Pete’s talking to the warden, Myka thinks she sees Sam, her dead boyfriend, walking by. But when she goes after him, there’s nobody there. They go into general pop to check out John Hill (played by Joe Morton, from Eureka, Scandal, and a ton of other stuff); he’s preaching to a group of inmates, but notices Pete and Myka watching him. Hill takes a special interest in Pete and directs a few words his way: “Regret has no place in your life; the only salvation is here”, while pointing to his heart … or maybe the bible in his pocket.
At the Warehouse, Claudia is still bugged by the flickering light, so she decides to improvise. She dons Alessandro Volta’s lab coat, which increases the bio-magnetic attraction of the human body. With the coat on, she climbs the metal girders like Spider-Man and fixes the flickering bulb. Her troubles are just starting though; not only does the bulb go out completely, the lab coat seems to be in overdrive, pulling metal objects from a distance to glom onto Claudia’s body … paperclips, a key, and a colander, among others. At the prison, Pete sees his dead father in a hallway and he and Myka call Artie. Myka admits seeing Sam earlier, which gets Artie worried, especially when he learns a tropical storm is bearing down on the prison. Artie says electricity can amp up an artifact’s effects tenfold, so the hallucinations will get more and more real.
Pete and Myka check Lee’s body and talk to the doctor, who feels guilty for not noticing Lee was suicidal. The doctor mentions Lee was a “disciple” of John Hill, but got tired of his bullshit when Hill started exploiting the suicides to get more converts. Warden Huggins says she’s not fond of Hill’s dogma, but he seems harmless enough, and his religious stuff does calm the other inmates. They go to see Hill and notice he’s wearing an Ouroboros necklace. He spouts off about how remorse and guilt are sins and people should just accept everything as part of God’s plan. Myka sees Sam again, this time whispering that she killed him. Going by Hill’s spiel and the title of the episode, I’m assuming the theme is guilt: Lee felt guilty about killing the girl when he was drunk and it drove him to suicide; Pete feels guilty over not warning his father about the “bad vibe” he had the day his father died; and Myka feels guilty about what happened to Sam in Denver. The only question is, what’s causing it all?
At the Warehouse, Claudia changes the light bulb, but soon realizes she might be in trouble, as the coat has her stuck to the metal pillar and she’s starting to attract larger objects. At the prison, whatever’s going on is starting to affect Warden Huggins, but she shakes it off. She shows Myka and Pete the old prison records and they find out the place used to be a real shithole, with people going crazy and rioting. When the previous warden took over, he introduced religion into the place and got rid of anything he considered pagan—including an Ouroboros sculpture. Pete and Myka figure they’ve found the answer and go get John Hill’s Ouroboros necklace so they can drop it in the purple goo that deactivates artifacts.
They promise Huggins that’ll be it for the suicides, but they’re immediately proven wrong. The doctor hallucinates that Lee is alive and blaming him for not recognizing his suicidal intentions (something we already knew the doc felt guilty about) and the doctor ends up dead. That pisses off Warden Huggins (especially since Pete and Myka won’t tell her what’s really going on) and she says she wants them gone as soon as the storm passes. In the meantime, they check the doctor’s office and find his recorder, which has him “talking” to Lee … plus some weird static. They call Artie and he says the static is interference caused by some kind of mineral or metal. Artie gets distracted when he has some strange noises of his own at the Warehouse, so Myka and Pete say they’ll handle things themselves.
The Warehouse noise turns out to be Claudia banging out an SOS. Artie isn’t happy when he finds her stuck to the top of the pillar, with metal objects flying onto her. He explains that Volta’s coat gets stronger with every object that it attracts, so I’m assuming it’ll keep attracting bigger and bigger stuff … which isn’t good news for Claudia. At the prison, Myka admits to Pete that she got the Denver report but hasn’t read it because she’s afraid she might’ve done something wrong. Pete says she and Sam are both heroes for protecting the President and the only person responsible for Sam’s death is the asshole who shot him. Myka rigs up a metal detector, but soon realizes the whole place is setting it off. She remembers some old photos in the lobby about how the prison was built on an old quartz mine, so the structure was probably built of quartz. That means he whole place is basically a giant tuning fork artifact, being amped up by the storm.
At the Warehouse, Artie’s working on freeing Claudia, but says the entire Warehouse (which is metal) could buckle inward and crush both of them … worst case scenario. At the prison, Myka and Pete figure that if the whole structure is causing the hallucinations, the previous warden must’ve brought something in with him that stopped the craziness the whole time he was there. With the storm getting worse, everyone in the prison is losing their shit, including Warden Huggins. I’m not quite sure what her guilt trip is about, but it seems like she feels guilty for all the deaths that have happened under her watch. She barricades herself in her office with her gun and Pete tries to break her door down (almost breaking his shoulder instead, since the warden’s door would obviously be rather sturdy). In general pop, the prisoners get out and start going nuts, except John Hill, who’s strangely calm.
Myka and Pete call Artie, who says it must be another piece of quartz that canceled the effects of the building under the previous warden. He’s still trying to help Claudia and says they have to shut down the effects of the coat gradually, to avoid shorting out her central nervous system. But time is against them, as the coat is so strong it’s actually pulling a huge armoured truck toward them. At the prison, Pete remembers a photo of the previous warden in front of a big quartz cross, which he finds in the storage room. Hill comes in with a couple of inmates and says he wants to help the warden. Myka lets them take the door off its hinges, but Warden Huggins is so paranoid, she shoots Hill. Myka tackles her and decks her and the other inmates take off.
Pete has another hallucination of his father, this time directly blaming him for not saving his life, and Myka has a vision of being back in Denver. Sam rushes ahead against orders and gets shot, but then he comes back to life and tells Myka she has to atone for his death with her own life. Pete repeats Hill’s words to his father, that the cruelest prison is the one we build for ourselves out of fear and regret. Pete says his father was a firefighter, so he would’ve gone to work that day whether Pete warned him or not. I assume the manifestation of his father (and everyone else’s hallucinations) is just their subconscious guilt taking human shape. Once Pete decides to forgive himself for his supposed mistake, his father disappears … though not before Pete gives him a goodbye hug.
Myka’s not having such an easy time; maybe her guilt is deeper, or maybe it’s just fresher. Pete says she knows the truth, that she didn’t do anything wrong. She finally admits that Sam’s death was his own fault for not obeying orders, thus relieving the guilt that’s been weighing down on her, and allowing herself to move on from it. She snaps back to reality and she and Pete place the quartz cross in its old place in the office, which seems to fix things. At the Warehouse, the entire structure is starting to buckle, so Artie grounds Claudia by shooting a line up with a crossbow and zaps her to short out the coat’s magnetic effects. She falls, but he has an air mattress waiting to catch her. At the prison, Hill dies, but doesn’t seem bothered; he says he was chosen for sacrifice and he’s now on a new path. Back at the Warehouse, Artie makes Claudia write lines on a chalkboard about never disobeying him again. At the boardinghouse, Pete says he’s taking “the girls” (who I assume are Leena and Claudia) out for ice cream and asks if Myka wants to come. She says no thanks and after he leaves, she throws the report on Denver into the fire … still unread.