This one starts with Artie in front of a tribunal of Regents, waiting to find out his punishment for using the astrolabe and killing Leena. Pete gives an impassioned defense, but the Regents had already made their minds up; since Artie wasn’t really himself when he killed Leena (and his use of the astrolabe saved the world) he won’t be punished. Artie’s feeling massive guilt over Leena and wants to be punished, but Kosan says his own guilt is worse than anything the Regents could mete out. Apparently Claudia’s feeling guilty herself over stabbing Artie, even though that’s what got rid of his evil side. Back at the Warehouse, Artie won’t talk about what he’s feeling and Claudia isn’t even there. Myka’s worried about both of them, but Pete says some scary artifact will come along to get things back to normal.
Speaking of which … a guy named Bentley runs through a forest trying to get someone on his cell phone. Whoever’s chasing him catches up and shoots out a beam of blue light, creating a sinkhole that swallows Bentley up. After creating a smaller sinkhole to swallow Bentley’s cell, the killer carves something into a tree. Pete and Claudia come to investigate and while Pete talks to Ranger Smith (who doesn’t get Pete’s Yogi Bear references), Claudia finds Bentley’s cell and the carving on the tree. (The murder took place in Cowan National Forest, which as far as I can tell is completely made-up but supposedly is in Oregon.) Claudia checks out Bentley and finds he was a telecom dude who was trying to build a substation in the Forest, which pissed off an eco-group called Green First who have been trying to shut down the project.
At the Warehouse, Myka tells Steve she’s worried about how Artie has been spending all his time in the shelves instead of his office. She and Steve find Artie with a wakazashi, but it turns out he’s just redistributing the blade’s energy. Myka tells him she sent Pete and Claudia to Oregon, expecting him to give her shit for overstepping her authority, but Artie doesn’t seem to care. Steve finds a list and Artie admits that he’s taken over Leena’s routine, keeping certain artifacts in balance. Myka and Steve offer to help, but Artie says he doesn’t want help and zooms off on his Segway.
In Oregon, Pete and Claudia stop by Green First and meet the woman in charge, whose name is Autumn. (Autumn: “It’s great to see people coming out to help with their dads.”; Pete: “Ah, that’s what it feels like to be shot.”) When they mention Bentley, Autumn assumes he called the Feds to intimidate her group (and quotes Thoreau, which Pete’s “six years of college” help him recognize), but when Claudia says Bentley is dead, Autumn gets all worked up and takes off. Pete and Claudia find that suspicious, but have other leads to pursue. Claudia managed to clone Bentley’s SIM card from his broken phone and finds he made a call just before he died to a medical marijuana place called Fine Young Cannabis. If someone hasn’t used that name for a weed store in real life, they should.
When Pete and Claudia get to the cannabis place (which is owned by a dude named Nevins), nobody’s there but there is a frantic message from Bentley on the answering machine about how someone is after them and they need to hide. They see a blue glow from the back room (the hikers who reported Bentley’s murder mentioned a blue glow), but it turns out to be Nevins’ grow-op. (Pete: “Holy ganja, Batman!”) They find Nevins under a sheet, suffocated beneath a big pile of dirt; the sheet has the same symbol on it that was carved on the tree in the forest. Pete thinks the symbol looks familiar and tries to access the Secret Service database, but can’t remember his password. Claudia cracks it in five seconds (the password was “Peterules23”) and the symbol belongs to a group called the Last People on Earth. The government classified them as terrorists after they blew up a bunch of construction equipment all over the Northwest a decade ago.
Pete wonders if the Last People on Earth found an artifact and decided to make a bigger statement by killing people who harm the environment, like Bentley. Unfortunately, the feds never figured out who all was in the group, though they suspected it only consisted of five people; the only one identified was the leader, Ryan Clayton, who died in prison. The Last People’s hideout was a tumble-down cabin in Cowan National Forest, so Pete figures Ranger Smith can take them there. At the Warehouse, Myka and Steve find Artie in a very peaceful room with a feng shui circle in it. Artie explains that Leena used to circle to read an artifact’s energy so she’d know the proper place to house it. Artie reads the energy of a porthole from the airship Norge, and after Myka interprets the Chinese characters (“great sorrow”), he goes off to shelve the porthole. It seems obvious to me that the great sorrow is probably Artie’s emotions bleeding through, but that doesn’t occur to Myka or Steve.
In Oregon, Ranger Smith leads Pete and Claudia to the burnt-out cabin and tells them that Ryan Clayton set the place on fire himself when the feds cornered him there ten years ago. Smith leaves and Pete and Claudia search what’s left of the place. Pete finds a quotation carved into the wall: In wildness is the preservation of the world. Pete recognizes it as another Thoreau quote (plus the lyrics to Metallica’s “Of Wolf and Man”), which makes him wonder if Autumn is the one who killed Bentley and Nevins. When they get to Autumn’s place, they find she’s been packing to get out of town. She’s hiding in the closet and pepper sprays Pete when he drags her out. They accuse her of killing Bentley and Nevins but Autumn says they were her friends; turns out Bentley and Nevins were members of the Last People on Earth with her, and now someone’s killing them all off.
Autumn shows them a photo of her and the other members of Last People on Earth; besides Bentley and Nevins, there was Ryan (who died in prison) and a girl named Annie (who died of cancer a while back). Autumn says they were young and idealistic—and maybe kinda stupid—and what started as protests escalated until they were blowing stuff up. She mentions the company they targeted (Lockwood Logging) is still around and the owner, Haddon Lockwood, was accidentally hurt during one of their sabotage runs. Pete figures maybe Lockwood is getting his revenge on the Last People on Earth and goes to see him, leaving Claudia to look after Autumn.
At the Warehouse, Artie contemplates watching Leena’s signature statement, a video testimonial every Warehouse employee makes on first coming to work for the organization. Myka urges him to watch it, but Artie says it won’t change anything, and that Leena wasn’t okay with dying for the Warehouse. Before Myka can try to change his mind, they get an alert from the Warehouse floor; the Norge porthole is acting up, causing a chain reaction of other artifacts running amok. In Oregon, Pete talks to Lockwood, who’s still pissed off at the Last People on Earth for blowing up his logging sites and almost killing him. Lockwood says an anonymous tip led the FBI to Ryan ten years ago and the best day of Lockwood’s life was when his testimony put Ryan in prison. He even has a photo of Ryan being taken away outside the courthouse, and Pete notices a scuzzy-looking dude in the background.
At Autumn’s place, she and Claudia talk about making stupid decisions and Claudia confides in her (sort of) about the whole “stabbing Artie” thing. Autumn says people tend to make bad decisions in their twenties, but all they can do is learn from it and move on. Someone comes into the house and it turns out to be Ranger Smith, but Autumn recognizes him as Evan, Ryan’s younger brother. Evan uses a blue lantern to go all Tremors on Claudia, knocking her out. He drags Autumn outside, saying he knows one of the Last People on Earth tipped the feds to his brother’s whereabouts so now he’s taking them out for revenge. Pete shows up (and Evan indicates that he actually did get all Pete’s Yogi Bear references, which kinda pisses Pete off), but Evan buries him alive with blue light from the lantern and takes off with Autumn.
At the Warehouse, Artie uses a Goo-nade (another of Claudia’s inventions) to explode purple neutralizer goo on the errant artifacts. But one is still loose … a gargoyle that swoops down to attack. In Oregon, Pete and Claudia check the ranger station but Evan and Autumn aren’t there. They do find Ryan’s old journal, which describes the Last People’s activities using code names (and not very imaginative ones … September instead of Autumn? Really?) Pete finds a map with Lockwood’s logging camp circled and they figure Evan might want revenge on Lockwood for screwing over his brother. Pete and Claudia head for the camp but don’t get far; Evan has opened a chasm across the road. Pete gets an idea and he and Claudia take the rangers’ ATVs to go off-road and approach the camp from a different direction.
At the Warehouse, Artie explains that the gargoyle is actually a robot created by Da Vinci. It was originally bagged by Warehouse agents through dumb luck, when a lightning strike overloaded its circuitry. Artie says a Tesla won’t be enough to short it out, but he gets an idea. In Oregon, Lockwood isn’t prepared to shut down his operation because of some eco-freaks, even after Pete says Evan is probably already nearby. Pete has a vibe and he and Claudia realize the cliff right beside the camp would be a perfect attack point. Sure enough, the cliff starts coming down and sinkholes open all over the camp. Evan is on the cliff, blasting the lantern all over the place. He tells Autumn he’s going to kill everyone, then kill her so she can take the blame for all the deaths. Evan hates Autumn the most because his brother loved her and went to jail to protect her (and the others), while they got to live their lives.
Pete zaps Evan with his Tesla (“Who’s smarter than the average bear now?”), but the lantern falls over the cliff and snags on a branch, still shooting its destructive beam down into the logging camp. At the Warehouse, Steve acts as bait to lure the gargoyle to where Myka can shoot it with a crossbow. The bolt is wired to a generator and the gargoyle is blown to shit. Myka realizes all the trouble must’ve been caused by the Norge porthole being in the wrong place. Artie says the feng shui circle indicated that aisle and Steve says maybe there’s something wrong with the circle.
In Oregon, Pete suggests Autumn and Claudia use his belt to lower him down to the lantern; Claudia points out the obvious, that she should go since she’s much lighter. Pete lowers her down (Pete: “Don’t twist the belt, it’s Prada.”; Claudia: “I’ll make that my priority.”) and she grabs the lantern. Pete pulls her up and they bag the lantern, ending the threat. At the Warehouse, Artie tries the feng shui circle numerous times, getting a different result every time … all of them negative. Myka finally points out the obvious; the circle is reading Artie’s negative feelings—sorrow, fear, misplaced anger—instead of the artifact. She and Steve offer to help fulfill Leena’s duties and when Steve tries the circle, he gets a result of “indescribable beauty”. Makes sense for an artifact that was part of the first airship to fly over the North Pole.
In Oregon, Autumn admits to Claudia that she’s the one who tipped the FBI to Ryan’s whereabouts ten years ago. Ryan was letting his anger take over and he wanted to start hurting people, not just damaging equipment. Autumn feels guilty for screwing him over (“I loved him and I stuck a knife in him.”), which resonates with Claudia, since she literally stuck a knife in Artie. Claudia says Autumn did the right thing, saving Ryan from himself. Autumn says her big regret is not being there for Ryan after he was arrested; he told her (and the others) to stay away, but he really needed their support whether he knew it or not. Back at the Warehouse, Claudia and Artie make peace and he thanks her for bringing him back to reality. He watches Leena’s video statement and sees that she did understand the risks and accepted them willingly. It doesn’t completely erase his guilt, but it helps a little.