Episode 5: 13.1
It looks like Claudia and Todd’s romance has progressed rather nicely, since this episode starts with them sucking face on the couch at the boardinghouse. But Claudia’s not totally into it; she’s too excited by the fact the Warehouse is finally getting a computer upgrade. Todd’s not really a computer guy, and since she can’t tell him the truth about the Warehouse, Claudia’s forced to tamp down her enthusiasm. She leaves Todd to go meet the tech guy who’s doing the upgrade. At the Warehouse, the tech guy is already there and it’s Douglas Fargo from Eureka (played by Neil Grayston). Artie’s not thrilled to have Fargo pulling everything apart to upgrade the Warehouse, so Pete has to drag Artie away just so Fargo can work. (Pete and Myka played rock-paper-scissors to see who had to deal with Artie and Pete lost).
Later, Fargo is connecting some circuits in a junction when he drops his torch. Claudia shows up and retrieves it for him (using a ring that amplifies her body’s energy to light up the hole) and they hit it off instantly; unlike Todd, Fargo is a total tech geek, so he and Claudia speak the same language. When Fargo finishes the upgrades, he shuts down the system to bring the new OS online, but the system stays shut down. Weird sensor columns pop out of the floor all over the Warehouse (including in the office) that look like parking meters … except a lot more menacing. Apparently, shutting off the old OS triggered a fail-safe, which nobody was aware of. A voice announces that everything is operating within acceptable parameters. Artie recognizes the voice as that of Hugo Miller, who designed the Warehouse computer systems, so Artie heads for the computer lab.
Yup, Warehouse 13 has a computer lab, although as Claudia points out, it looks more like a computer morgue. Artie says Hugo spent most of his time in the lab, working on the Warehouse systems. Pete finds some old board games and says “He must’ve spent a lot of time playing with himself too.” Pete also finds an old can of soda, but Artie warns him that Hugo was an inveterate practical joker who liked to booby trap soda cans. Claudia notices an active computer panel, but Fargo gets a shock when he tries to turn it off. Claudia notices that the computer is uploading huge amounts of data from their mainframe. Pete asks why they don’t just find Hugo and ask him what he did, but Artie says Hugo “retired” after suffering a nervous breakdown. (Pete: “Well, sitting in a windowless room for ten years playing Monopoly with HAL, what could go wrong?”)
Pete and Myka head to the sanatorium where Hugo is staying, a couple hours away. Myka mentions that every former Warehouse agent they’ve met is either crazy, evil, or dead—or all three. Hugo (played by Rene Auberjonois) definitely falls into the “crazy” category; he thinks they’re Ulysses Grant and the snowman come to talk to him about the lack of zippers for Arbor Day. Pete jokes about all systems functioning within normal parameters and that triggers Hugo to mention the fail-safe, but he says they can’t shut it off without the code. Pete asks for the code and (after being told Hugo wants to be paid in bicycles) gets a drawing of a cat. They figure if they take Hugo to the Warehouse, it might help him remember. He’s pretty excited about taking a trip and starts going on about spinning and dancing; he hugs Pete and grabs Pete’s Tesla and blasts him and Myka. For a few moments it seems Hugo’s maybe not so crazy after all. That impression quickly disappears as Hugo skips giddily out onto the front lawn.
At the Warehouse, they go through Hugo’s file and find that before his “retirement” he was found collapsed in a Warehouse aisle; the cause was put down to mental exhaustion. The computer finishes its upload and everything comes back online, but they’re still locked out. A hologram (of a Benson-era Rene Auberjonois) appears from the security column and says it’s Hugo-1 and comes online in case of catastrophic failure in the Warehouse. Artie explains they were just doing an upgrade and there’s no catastrophic failure, but Hugo-1 says it’ll be the judge of that. Fargo realizes Hugo-1 is a true Artificial Intelligence that’s integrated itself into the Warehouse. Hugo-1 says it has to review decades of artifact retrievals and scan the whole facility with its electric eyes. Pete and Myka call to tell Artie Hugo has disappeared and he tells them to find him and bring him to the Warehouse. Hugo’s spinning and dancing rant gives Myka an idea where he might’ve gone.
Sure enough, Hugo is at an amusement park (which Myka remembered passing on the way there) watching a merry-go-round. Hugo seems disappointed, saying that “it didn’t work this time” and that he can’t really help them without the spinning. Pete handcuffs him and they leave for the Warehouse. At the Warehouse, Hugo-1 completes its analysis and isn’t too impressed with all the screw-ups in Claudia, Fargo, and Artie’s records. Hugo-1 says the catastrophic failure was caused by the current Warehouse agents and locks down the Warehouse. Claudia gets a call from Todd and has to blow off their lunch date. Hugo-1 cuts off the call, saying external communications are for official business only. Hugo-1 says protecting the Warehouse is its primary responsibility, so it’s initiating Falcon Scott protocols. That means the Warehouse will be cooled down to sub-zero temperatures to preserve the artifacts. Unfortunately, the people inside the Warehouse are shit out of luck.
On the way to the Warehouse, Myka notice in Hugo’s file that a recent brain scan shows a big chunk of Hugo’s brain is dormant. Hmmm, I wonder where that’s being used? At the Warehouse, Artie passes out some Babel Stones, which renders speech unintelligible to anyone not holding one. Now he, Claudia, and Fargo can talk without Hugo-1 listening. The AI doesn’t like that, so it taps into the remote service bots Fargo brought (which look like mechanical spiders) and sends them scuttling off into the Warehouse. Pete and Myka stop at a gas station so Hugo can take a whiz (and get some ice cream) and Myka calls Artie. Since she doesn’t have a Babel Stone, she can’t understand him, but she tells him about half of Hugo’s brain being burnt out. Artie writes a note that the computer has taken over and to bring Hugo back as fast as they can. Pete reads the note out loud which alerts Hugo-1 and he taps into the state TV networks, broadcasting a report that Pete and Myka are wanted for kidnapping. The gas station attendant sees it just as they’re leaving and decides to be a good citizen … by pulling a shotgun on them.
At the Warehouse, Claudia and Fargo search the aisle where Hugo collapsed years ago to see if anything there could account for the dormant half of his brain. Fargo quizzes Claudia on Todd and Claudia says she really likes him, even though she wishes she could be open with him about her job, like she can with Fargo. They find a zoetrope that belonged to Max Wertheimer, the gestalt psychologist from the 1920s. Fargo spins it and becomes fascinated by the images inside. When Claudia pulls it away from him, she sees Fargo’s whole life flash before her eyes. Claudia figures it might be the artifact they’re looking for (“I spent some time in a psych wa- … research facility.”) since it allows for mind transfers and Myka mentioned Hugo’s rants about spinning and dancing. Hugo-1 sends Fargo’s repair bots to stop the “unauthorized artifact removal”; the bots shoot capture nets and streams of fire at Claudia and Fargo.
At the gas station, Myka shows the attendant her Secret Service badge, but since the President is nowhere to be seen, he figures she’s full of shit. When Hugo gets a soda from a machine, Pete tries to coax him into sabotaging it like Artie mentioned, but Hugo’s booby trap turns out to be a little underwhelming. Myka uses the distraction to kick the attendant in the face (at which Hugo yells, “Billy Jack!”) and they leave before the cops show up. In the Warehouse computer lab, Artie challenges Hugo-1’s hologram to a game of Battleship, since the real Hugo was obsessed with board games. It agrees, even though it thinks Artie is just trying to distract it. Claudia and Fargo are still running from the bots, but they get cornered. Fargo asks if Claudia’s ring can amplify anything and pulls out a laser cutter … at which point, Claudia says, “Marry me.” I think she was only half joking.
While Artie is kicking Hugo-1’s ass at Battleship, Fargo and Claudia turn his laser cutter into a light saber (complete with genuine sound effects) and total the pursuing bots. Claudia’s so happy that she impulsively smooches Fargo, then immediately tells him she really likes Todd. She just realized that, since she was thinking about Todd while she was kissing Fargo. (Fargo: “This is why Jedi turn to the dark side.”) Pete and Myka get back to the Warehouse with Hugo and find that they’re locked out. As if that wasn’t enough, one of Hugo-1’s security columns pops up right in front of them.
Artie beats Hugo-1 at Battleship, then admits that he cheated. He says the real Hugo used to drive everyone crazy by cheating constantly at board games, Artie points out that the game-loving part of Hugo Miller is in the computer AI, but the cheating part is still in his physical body. Hugo-1 admits he took a shortcut when funding was cut off for his AI project, but instead of just copying his brain patterns, the artifact transferred them to the computer. Artie says Hugo’s compassion, intuition, and improvisation are still in his real body, and that he can’t run the Warehouse with half a brain. Artie urges Hugo-1 to let Myka and Pete bring his body back inside.
Outside, we see the security column has started shooting lasers at Pete and Myka and they take cover behind their SUV. Inside, Hugo-1 tells Artie it’ll let Pete and Myka in with the real Hugo so the two of them can re-integrate—not physically, inside the computer. Just as Pete is about to try blasting the security laser with his Tesla, it disappears and the Warehouse door opens. When they hear what Hugo-1 is planning, Myka can’t believe Artie would go along with it, since it’s tantamount to killing Hugo Miller. But Artie says they have no choice, a fact that’s illustrated when Hugo-1 sends one of Fargo’s bots to jump Pete. This time, it whips out a spinning blade, threatening to slice Pete’s face in half as he desperately holds it back.
They start the transfer with the zoetrope and the lights dim, just as Artie hoped. He figured the transfer would take all Hugo-1’s processing power, giving them a chance to get into the system. Claudia finds the system is password protected and Myka gives them the cat drawing that Hugo said was the code. Artie remembers the name of Hugo had a cat, and Pete recalls Hugo mentioning a cat named Albert at the gas station. “Albert” turns out to be the password. Claudia locks Hugo-1 out of everything except the computer lab and Artie spins the zoetrope backwards. That reverses the transfer, putting Hugo’s entire mind back into his body (and shutting down all the security measures, including the bot threatening Pete).
Later, Fargo finally completes the upgrade and prepares to leave. He’s taking Hugo back to Eureka to do some brain mapping, but Artie says if Hugo wants to come back to the Warehouse, he’s always welcome. Hugo remembers playing Battleship with Artie decades ago (and remembers that Artie hated computers) and says the two of them should get together with MacPherson some time. Awkward! At the boardinghouse, Todd shows up for a date with Claudia and she’s about to tell him how much she really likes him … but he says they shouldn’t see each other anymore. Yeah, double awkward. I guess I can see where he’s coming from … Claudia hasn’t really seemed all that into him, but if Todd knew the whole story, maybe things would be different. Too bad, but I think Claudia’s not going to find real love with someone she can’t be honest with … which, unfortunately, shrinks her options quite a bit.