Episode 12: MacPherson
This one starts with a flashback to fifteen years ago. A building is on fire and Artie and MacPherson are standing outside having an argument; MacPherson wants to use an artifact to save someone inside the building (someone they both love), but Artie says they can’t. If the woman inside lives, other people will die, and they don’t have the right to play God like that. MacPherson points out that the Warehouse people already play God by hoarding artifacts that could help people. He zaps Artie with a Tesla gun and takes a medallion from his hand. MacPherson heads into the burning building and comes out (none the worse for wear) with someone wrapped in a blanket. By the time Artie recovers, MacPherson and the woman he saved are gone.
In the present, Mrs. Frederick is telling Pete and Myka the story of what happened that night. The woman was Carol, MacPherson’s wife, and she lives in Washington, D.C. Five firemen died in the fire (which doesn’t sit well with Pete) and Mrs. Frederick says MacPherson got five life sentences for his part in the fire, but he escaped from prison after a couple of years (ironically, by faking his death in a fire). Leena says they’ve had Carol under surveillance since they knew MacPherson was back, but he hasn’t made contact. In the office, Artie explains to Claudia that the Warehouse walls are full of a substance called Painite, and MacPherson has been injected with a serum that reacts with Painite. So if he comes into the Warehouse, the blood in his veins will turn to acid and dissolve him from the inside out. Claudia finds a website with Edgar Allan Poe’s pen for auction and Artie stupidly clicks the link, which causes a systems crash. Claudia reminds him about running virus scans before clicking unknown links and tries to get things up and running again.
In Washington, D.C., MacPherson is showing a couple of guys (Freitag and Pak) some artifacts. He demonstrates a wine goblet that causes a sonic pulse loud enough to incapacitate, which he hands over as a gift. He then shows them the same medallion he used to rescue Carol from the fire, a Phoenix medallion. He demonstrates that by handing the Phoenix to his own bodyguard and pushing him into a blast furnace. Freitag and Pak freak out, but when MacPherson opens the furnace, the bodyguard strolls out perfectly fine. Unfortunately, Freitag and Pak’s bodyguards start choking and keel over dead. MacPherson explains that the Phoenix has to maintain a cosmic balance by taking life from someone in order to protect others. Anyone who didn’t touch the Phoenix is potentially vulnerable; I’m guessing that’s what happened to the dead firefighters fifteen years ago. MacPherson says the Phoenix could be invaluable to Freitag and Pak’s “patriots”, since a suicide bomber could use the Phoenix over and over without dying. So I guess these guys are some kind of terrorists.
At the Warehouse, Pete and Myka pump Artie for information on MacPherson and he gets pissed off when he realizes Mrs. Frederick told them about Carol. Mrs. Frederick says MacPherson is capable of anything so they have to use every possible lead to find him. Artie’s not happy, but Mrs. Frederick says he, Pete, and Myka have to go to Washington to talk to Carol. Claudia is still working on the computers and mentions her last couple of adventures, when she was magnetized to the ceiling and almost got chopped up in the goo-pump gears. Apparently, Artie hadn’t told Mrs. Frederick about that stuff, so she’s anxious to hear the details.
In Washington, Carol pretends she hasn’t seen MacPherson, but Myka spots clues all over (fresh-cut flowers, an empty jewelry box, an extra umbrella) and Carol finally admits she saw MacPherson three days ago. She tries to hide something on the coffee table, but Myka grabs it and Artie recognizes the symbol on it as Egyptian—a Was-sceptre; it also has an address written on the back. Carol is wearing a necklace with the same symbol and Artie takes it from her. Pete has one of his vibes, a really bad one about Artie. He tells Myka, but doesn’t mention it to Artie, which is a little strange considering all the guilt he had about not warning his father the day he died. At the Warehouse, Claudia and Leena get the computers back up and check out MacPherson’s website. Claudia recognizes him as her brother’s old physics prof and says she was in contact with him about 8 months ago. She’d been trying to figure out how to get her brother back and got stonewalled trying to get into the Warehouse computers, when MacPherson (or Professor Reynolds as he called himself) got in touch out of the blue and suggested a way to bypass the firewall. So MacPherson helped Claudia hack the Warehouse … but why?
In Washington, the address on the card turns out to be Freitag’s factory. Artie, Myka, and Pete tell Freitag they need to look around, but he uses the sonic goblet (which turns out to be the Goblet of Severan, which belonged to Elagabalus) to deafen and disorient them. Pete rushes him and the goblet smashes on the floor. Freitag takes off, leaving three deaf agents behind, but Artie soon cures them with a tuning fork he has in his bag. Artie examines the broken goblet stem and says the Goblet of Severan is in the Warehouse, so there must’ve been another one they didn’t know about. While Pete gathers up all the glass, Myka finds a wooden box with the Was-sceptre symbol on it. Artie uses Carol’s necklace to open the box, which contains a pair of glasses; kinda old-fashioned ones too—I had a pair like that back around 1979. Artie puts them on and sees an image of the Phoenix medallion (as well as some other weird shit). Pete tries them and notices the Phoenix has a starting bid price of $20 million; apparently, the glasses are like a virtual catalogue for whatever MacPherson’s selling. But Artie insists MacPherson can’t have the Phoenix because he knows it’s in the Warehouse. Myka tries the glasses (she’s the only one who looks good in them) and sees the address and time of the auction on the wooden box … five that afternoon.
At the Warehouse, Leena tells Mrs. Frederick that Claudia feels like shit for getting played by MacPherson and is back at the boardinghouse trying to make sense of it. Leena says she’s always had a weird feeling around Claudia, like something was a little off, and wonders if MacPherson has found some way to use her. Artie calls about the Phoenix and Mrs. Frederick goes to check in the Warehouse, but all she finds is an IOU from MacPherson. She and Leena check the Goblet of Severan and find a sippy cup in its place, so obviously MacPherson has some kind of access to the Warehouse. When Leena checks the log of who accessed the Goblet, Claudia’s name pops up.
In Washington, Artie, Myka, and Pete go to the auction site, which is in the middle of nowhere. Mrs. Frederick calls to tell them about the missing artifacts and they get paranoid, not knowing what MacPherson’s game is. A kid rides by on his bike, wondering why they’re all staring at him. Myka notices the kid’s tracks disappear and when they use the trippy glasses (which Artie says are a replica of the originals belonging to Timothy Leary), Myka sees a rectangular hole in the ground. She drops the wooden box into the hole (as Purple Haze plays in the background) and it opens up a hidden ladder leading underground. They head down and find an underground complex with a bunch of Warehouse crates. Pete has another bad vibe about Artie and tells him this time. Artie’s not too worried and says they should split up to find MacPherson.
Pete and Myka find Pak and the other buyers, but they’re shocked when Artie strolls up to sell the Phoenix instead of MacPherson. The buyers call Artie by name, so they must have dealt with him before; Myka and Pete run through different possibilities (Artie’s being controlled, he’s sold out, Artie and MacPherson are one and the same), but they really freak out when another Artie interrupts their reverie. After a little convincing, they realize this is the real Artie and MacPherson is using Harriet Tubman’s thimble (which can change a person’s appearance) to appear as Artie so MacPherson can frame him as a traitor. He’s tried that trick before, but this time there are video cameras everywhere, so MacPherson will have “proof”. Artie says they have to do something unexpected to trap MacPherson.
At the Warehouse, Mrs. Frederick and Leena confront Claudia with the proof that she’s been stealing artifacts. Claudia freaks and says she’s innocent, but Mrs. Frederick says there are ways of turning people into sleeper agents. Claudia asks them to use whatever method they like to read her mind, including Leena’s psychic powers, but Leena says she already has and there’s definitely something off with Claudia. Claudia realizes she’s basically the Manchurian Candidate and takes off. Mrs. Frederick says she has people watching her. At the auction, Pete, Myka, and Artie sneak up on the fake Artie as he sells the Phoenix for $42 million. He offers Poe’s pen and notebook next, but before the real Artie can get any closer, he’s jumped by MacPherson, who has a variation on one of the implosion bombs he’s used before.
As the fake Artie tries to auction the Poe stuff, the fire alarm goes off and the buyers all leave, not wanting to be around when the authorities show up. Pete and Myka cuff the fake Artie, but MacPherson shows up to taunt them. Turns out “Artie” was MacPherson’s bodyguard, wearing the Harriet Tubman thimble. MacPherson drags Artie out on a chain with the grenade in his mouth (a combination that looks like something out of a fetish club) and explains that it’s an eggshell grenade—too much pressure will set it off. And he’s added something called Promethium to make the grenade nuclear; so if the grenade hits the floor, or Artie gets too nervous and clenches his teeth, a small nuclear explosion will go off. I’m not sure how MacPherson thinks he’d avoid being killed by the nuke too, but maybe he’s crazy enough not to care.
Pete and Myka drop their guns and MacPherson tries to tempt Pete to join him. He says Pete knows the artifacts should be out in the world where people can use them instead of locked away. Pete isn’t tempted though. (“You are out of your gourd, McNutty Pants. You put a bomb in a man’s mouth; not really a great recruiting tool.”) MacPherson prepares to take off, leaving Artie (whose jaw is pretty tired at this point) to drop the mini-nuke. Pete pulls the stem of the Severan Goblet from his pocket and smashes it, bringing MacPherson to his knees. Myka catches the grenade before it hits the ground and Pete gets his gun on MacPherson before he can recover.
They take MacPherson back to the Warehouse, where Mrs. Frederick gives him a diamond-and-palladium necklace to neutralize the chemicals in his blood so he can enter the Warehouse without dissolving into goo. Artie explains that they’re going to put MacPherson in the Bronze Section, a place where the worst criminals are transformed into bronze statues and kept for eternity. Pete figures they have guys like Hitler, Mussolini, and Michael Vick in there, but Artie says the people in Bronze Section are worse than all the Hitlers and Mussolinis, but they’re caught, flash-frozen, and bronzed before their evil can threaten the world—which is why nobody’s ever heard of them.
Leena asks Pete and Myka to help her shelve all the returned artifacts, leaving Artie to freeze MacPherson in preparation for his bronzing. MacPherson makes Artie one last offer to partner up. Artie thinks it’s strange that he’d be pleading for his life, but MacPherson says he’s actually trying to save Artie’s life. Artie ignores him and turns him into a bronze statue. At the boardinghouse, we see Claudia with a bag packed, looking like she’s taking off. I hope not; Claudia’s my favourite character and I don’t believe for a second that she’s helping MacPherson. Leena and Myka are shelving artifacts and Leena goes to check on Artie. Pete is pushing a cart full of stuff and gets another really bad vibe.
Outside the bronzing chamber, somebody shows up and reverses the process, bringing MacPherson back. He thanks her and tells her to make sure and wave to the cameras. She does and we see it’s Claudia … but we just saw Claudia leaving from the boardinghouse, didn’t we? As MacPherson is released, Mrs. Frederick has a vibe of her own and tells her driver to turn around. MacPherson and the fake Claudia go to the office where MacPherson removes the Tubman thimble from his accomplice and we see it’s … Leena. (Ha, I knew it wasn’t Claudia!) MacPherson says when his website crashed the Warehouse computers, some protocols were downloaded and he has to access them, so Leena leaves him to it. Artie is shelving artifacts and hears some weird noises from the office, so he goes to check it out.
In the office, Artie tries to zap MacPherson with the Tesla gun, but MacPherson has something that makes him immune, so Artie jumps him … but not before MacPherson sets off the protocols in the computer. Whatever he did seems to lock down not just the office, but the Warehouse too, setting off alarms and dropping metal shielding all around the walls. MacPherson kicks the shit out of Artie and runs up the “umbilical” tunnel leading outside. Myka and Pete are locked in the Warehouse, but start busting their way into the office, while a groggy Artie goes after MacPherson. Outside, MacPherson hits a self-destruct for the tunnel, which Artie is still in when it blows up. MacPherson struts away and Pete and Myka get the door open only to find the tunnel to the outside is gone; the whole thing has been obliterated, which probably means they’re trapped inside the Warehouse. Now that’s what I call a cliffhanger! Yup, this is the last episode of the first season, so we’ll have to wait to find out what happens with Pete, Myka, MacPherson, Claudia, Leena, and (sniff) Artie. But don’t worry … we don’t have to wait months, only until next week.