This one starts with Myka and Pete finishing writing up the reports of a case. I guess even the Warehouse is plagued with bureaucracy. Artie comes in to collect the reports, which he’s hand-delivering to a courier, since email isn’t secure enough. He tells Pete and Myka to enjoy some time off, and mentions that Claudia is doing chores in the Warehouse. We see Claudia fixing an old stand-up vacuum cleaner, which turns out to be self-propelled like some kind of retro Roomba. She consults Artie’s chore list (and chills her soda with some kind of magic snow globe, which I’m sure is against the rules); her next job is to tighten and lubricate the zipline. (“Sounds kinda dirty when you say it like that.”)
Unfortunately, Claudia’s vacuum fix wasn’t perfect. The vac goes a little crazy, knocking her off her ladder which trips the lever for the zipline, sending Claudia zooming across the Warehouse. When her momentum runs out, she’s stuck … but not for long. The vacuum backs into the switch that disconnects the zipline, sending Claudia tumbling toward the Warehouse floor. The zipline’s fall causes a few other problems: a dodgeball that multiplies when thrown, and some cans of Super String (which is like really intense Silly String) spill out of a box. One of the cans falls through a grate into the gears of a big machine. The can explodes, spewing super-strong Silly String all over the gears, causing them to slow down. The gears are part of the Neutralizer Processing Center, which means the Neutralizer (the purple goo that’s distributed through the Warehouse shelves to contain the artifacts) will stop working.
Myka and Pete show up later and find several artifact disturbances in progress, plus the fucked up vacuum (now bumping against the wall, just like a Roomba), and the broken zipline. In a nearby town, Artie drops off the reports and tries to pass a message about MacPherson (the rogue Warehouse agent) through the courier. Artie is told Mrs. Frederick wants to see him. At the Warehouse, Myka and Pete are worried about Claudia, but first have to contend with the irate dodgeball. They quickly realize that not only does the dodgeball replicate after each hit, the balls are like Weeping Angels—they “attack” whenever Myka and Pete stop looking at them. They try to use a neutralizer sprayer to tame the errant balls, but it doesn’t work. Pete figures if the regular dodgeball rules apply, he should be able to end it by catching one. He tells Myka to play target while he makes the attempt. He gets buried in dodgeballs, but manages to catch one, which absorbs all the others back into itself.
Artie meets Mrs. Frederick in a restaurant (which apparently serves some kick-ass banana cream pie) and she starts grilling him about recent missions. At the Warehouse, Myka and Pete are still looking for Claudia, when Pete climbs a ladder for a better view. He sees an exact, full-sized replica of Leena’s boarding house, with a “Claudia-shaped hole in the roof”. He and Myka check it out, and up close it’s even spookier—a perfect copy of Leena’s boarding house. They go inside and find Claudia (who’s fine), but before she can warn them, Pete shuts the door. Claudia says they’re now trapped in the house for eternity, and Pete soon sees what she means: when he goes out the front door, he emerges back inside the house, through a doorway down the hall. It’s like some weird, Escher house with teleportational thresholds or something.
Outside, the Neutralizer gears have completely stopped, which sets off alarms and sends the warning gauge into the danger zone. Pete tries crashing through the window and ends up crashing back inside through another one. He asks if Claudia tried climbing out the hole in the roof and she says she ended up coming back inside, down the chimney. At the restaurant, Artie is defending Pete and Myka, but he’s distracted when a couple of customers leave and a guy gets up and locks the front door, turning the sign from “Open” to “Closed”. Everyone left in the restaurant—including the owner, who’s named Theodora, but everyone calls her Ted—is ready to hear his report on recent Warehouse activities. Artie realizes these are the mysterious Regents, who oversee Warehouse activities. He’s rather taken aback by the nature of the meeting, and one of the Regents (Valda, played by Mark Sheppard from Supernatural) asks if he expected people in dark robes meeting in a cellar full of candles. Actually, I think that’s exactly what Artie was expecting.
Artie shows he’s a bit of a snob, wondering how a waitress like Ted could be a Regent. Valda puts him in his place (“John Adams was a farmer, Abraham Lincoln was a small-town lawyer, Plato and Socrates were teachers, Jesus was a carpenter. To equate judgment and wisdom with occupation is at best … insulting”) and says if kings and politicians ran the Warehouse, there’d be nothing left. Valda asks about all the crazy shit that’s happened lately, and Artie vigorously defends Myka and Pete, saying they’re the best field agents the Warehouse has ever had. He soon realizes Pete and Myka aren’t the ones under scrutiny; it’s him … and MacPherson.
In the Warehouse, Pete, Myka, and Claudia figure there must be some artifact in this version of Leena’s boarding house that couldn’t be removed, so the whole building ended up in the Warehouse and Leena’s was rebuilt. They start looking for anything that isn’t in the current version of the boarding house (Pete: “I do not recognize that chair!”; Claudia: “You were sleeping in it last week.”) and Myka notices a painting that they’ve never seen before … a painting of the living room where they all are right now. She also notices that the painting changes as Claudia moves a lamp in the room. Pete figures anything they do to the painting will happen in real life, so he pulls a Road Runner and draws a door on one of the walls in the picture. A door appears on the real wall, but when Myka goes through, she ends up back in the house … upstairs this time.
Pete gets mad and throws his pen at the painting, which sends ripples through the walls of the room. He tears a hole in the painting and an identical tear appears in the wall. Myka cuts a hole in the painting and a hole appears in the wall, allowing them to finally escape from the house. They’re greeted by alarms going off (the gauge is reaching Critical Mass now) and a huge electrical storm up near the roof of the Warehouse. Luckily, Claudia has installed computer terminals at certain points, so they don’t have to go all the way back to the office. She soon figures out there’s a problem in the Neutralizer Processing Center (which she refers to as the Gooery) and that’s why the place is going nuts. They know they have to get the Processing Center working again, but the quickest way there is through the Dark Vault, where the most dangerous artifacts are kept. Pete is reluctant to let Claudia come with them, but Myka points out they might need her scientific skills (plus, unlike Pete, Claudia has actually read the Warehouse manual). Pete finally agrees and they head for the Dark Vault.
At the restaurant, Valda is questioning Artie’s judgment in letting Claudia get involved with the Warehouse, and in allowing Agent Dickinson to assist in cases. Artie admits he sometimes goes outside procedure to get things done and Valda says that could mean trouble for him. At the Warehouse, Claudia gets them into the Dark Vault by figuring out some kind of code algorithm for the keypad. They head in and the place is full of really dangerous (and “creeptastic” as Claudia says) artifacts. Luckily there’s a back-up generator, so these artifacts are still bathed in purple containment fields … at least until they start shutting down too. (Claudia: “Don’t worry, they should hold up long enough to … realize my karma sucks.”) They make it to the exit, but while Claudia’s figuring out the (different) code algorithm, Pete gets freaked out by a weird doll and ends up fascinated by a typewriter that starts typing automatically.
The door closes automatically, before Myka and Claudia notice Pete isn’t with them. They try to get back in, but the code algorithm for this door is way more complex. A recording of Mrs. Frederick comes on, telling all Warehouse personnel to evacuate. Myka decides they can’t waste any time and kicks the keypad off the wall, which opens the door. Pete is inside a containment circle, still staring at the typewriter and looking somewhat bereft. It turns out to be Sylvia Plath’s typewriter, which drains people of their feelings and the will to live. (Claudia: “Myka, I spent some serious time in the bell jar … I know who Sylvia Plath was.”) Myka tells Claudia to go to the Gooery and fix whatever’s wrong while she deals with Pete. Claudia is surprised, but Myka says she trusts her, so she takes off.
At the restaurant, Artie is tired of being interrogated and gets mad. Valda says if Artie is allowed to break the rules, he might end up just like MacPherson, but Artie says if he wants to get MacPherson he has to be able to break the rules, because MacPherson will be assuming that he’ll follow them. Artie realizes the Regents are actually scared of MacPherson, so he says they need to let him do his job or fire him—or kill him—and walks out. In the Dark Vault, Myka tries to get Pete to grab her belt so she can pull him free, but he’s too far gone. She finally gets a broom from outside and shoves him free of the containment field.
Claudia gets to the Processing Center with five minutes left to Critical Mass. She starts pulling the Super String from the gears and it comes off like cheese on a pizza … though she says it kinda smells like chicken. She takes off her purple goo-infused gloves to get a better grip, which gets her hand stuck to the Super String, which pulls her toward the gears. Pete’s still out of it, so Myka runs ahead to help Claudia and gets stuck to the Super String too, even after Claudia warns her. So now they’re both being pulled into the gears, which still aren’t quite back to normal, which means there’s less than two minutes until Critical.
Pete shows up and they warn him not to touch the String. Myka figures they need something to cut the String and Claudia tells Pete to grab the snow globe from her tool belt (which she took off before trying to untangle the gears). Claudia figures he can freeze the gears, but Pete gets a better idea: he freezes the Super String and shatters it with a hammer. That’s the last of the String, which means the gears start turning again and the purple goo starts flowing, bringing the gauge back down into the Safe Zone—and all with just under ten seconds to spare. At the restaurant, Mrs. Frederick tells Artie the Regents are keeping him on, despite his outburst. She apparently told them Artie was the best Warehouse agent ever and they believed her. She says Artie can go after MacPherson and hopes he won’t get himself killed.
At the Warehouse, Claudia is mad at the vacuum for causing the whole mess. I can’t help wondering if it really was an accident; when the vacuum backed into the switch that released the zipline, it seemed deliberate. Maybe the whole thing, with Claudia and the zipline and the Super String gumming up the gears, was orchestrated? I’m not sure how that would work, but I feel like it’s a possibility. Claudia asks if Myka can teach her to do cool kicks and Myka asks for some hacking tips. Artie returns and they tell him what happened; he’s not all that bothered, saying he once took it down to seventeen seconds. (They don’t mention that they were under ten.) They head out to get tacos, while Artie stays behind to plan his strike against MacPherson.