Anything Can Become An Artificact, Anything Can Become Sacred
For my previous post on Warehouse 13, see: Warehouse 13: Science Fiction, Sexism: When Inclusion Becomes Oppressive
I have been a fan of the Syfy Original Program Warehouse 13 for a couple of years now. Up until this point, there hadn’t been any discussion of religion or a higher power, etc. No season (granted, the past 3 seasons were 13 episodes each, but still), there weren’t any allusions to religious figures or anything for that matter. This season however, season 4, everything has changed. Fans are now learning the origins behind what makes an “artifact,” what makes an artifact dangerous and the need for the Warehouse. Artifacts, in the world of Warehouse 13, are ” mysterious relics, fantastical objects, and supernatural souvenirs that are each packed with enough energy to somehow move and affect other objects.” Each episode of Warehouse 13 involves the core team of Artie, Myka, Pete, and Claudia using their skills to track down an artifact gone awry. In the first three seasons of Warehouse 13, “the monster of the week” was caused by the artifact that a person had either stolen or had been given accidently as a gift, etc. This season, fans learned that what makes an artifact is HUMAN ACTION, usually an act of courage. The Warehouse does not collect these items right away, but if things start going wrong, it is up to our favorite detectives to save the day.
The focus on the miraculous, the occurrences of the unexplainable in the everyday lives of humanity is similar to my conversation on miracles. Miracles do not violate creation in any way; what happens is that they occur within nature. Artifacts are not initially destructive in most cases; much of the time they start out with great creative potential. Whether we are referring to Harriet Tubman’s Thimble or Gandhi’s Doti, or Lewis Carroll’s Looking Glass or Pliny The Elder’s Scroll, Warehouse 13 serves as a part religious, part edu-tainment program. The roles that Brother Adrian and the Brotherhood (who seek knowledge with the permission of the Vatican)have given religious persons a new image. Rather than the trope in science fiction of the backwoods zealot, what we have in the Brotherhood are persons who are religiously devout and scientific minded. What it means to be religious in W13 is defined in part by human ethical actions during moments of great distress.
How have you dealt with the changes this season in Warehouse 13? Does it shed a positive light on persons who are both scientific-method affirming and religious?