The holidays are threatened by an artifact — what else — when “Warehouse 13” airs its Christmas special on Tuesday Dec. 6 and everyone’s plans are thrown awry when Pete (Eddie McClintock) falls while storing Rudolph’s Red Nose in the Christmas section.
At first it seems as if nothing has changed, but when Pete returns to the “Warehouse 13″ office, it is as if he was never born. Artie (Saul Rubinek), Myka (Joanne Kelly) and Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) have all disappeared and James MacPherson (Roger Rees) — who should be dead — is running the joint.
There is nothing left for Pete to do but escape and hunt down the Warehouse team — none of whom recognize him — and persuade them to undertake a life or death mission to turn back time. His only glimmer of hope is that Artie has an inkling of what may be going on.
“The Greatest Gift” episode takes a page from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Greatest Gift,” the short story on which the iconic movie, starring Jimmy Stewart, was based.
But before the episode airs, we spoke to McClintock, who shares his Christmas memories and talks about the holiday episode.
What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?
I really like going and seeing my dad. He lives over in Scottsdale, and my two sons, Jack and Max, they love their pap-pap. My dad’s not getting any younger and so [I take] any chance that I get to go spend time with him. Then, I actually have someone who will sit and watch football with me, because it doesn’t happen here. And my dad gets to see my boys.
Why do you think holiday specials are such a big tradition in TV?
It’s a tradition because the television networks created it, starting back as far as I can remember with “Miracle on 34th Street.” It’s a tradition at my house because we can put the kids in front of the TV and the adults can have some quiet time. I suppose that’s what my parents did with me.
When I was growing up, you couldn’t just dial up a Christmas show on iTunes or watch it on your phone. You actually had to wait an entire year to see those shows again. So it was exciting, it was like, “Wow, I remember this from last year.” You know, my kids watch “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” now like once a month. Hopefully, the tradition will be able to stand up in the face of all this new technology.
“The Greatest Gift” is an homage to “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Were you a fan of that film and did you try to incorporate anything from that into your performance in this?
I’ve seen it and I think it’s a great film. I haven’t seen it a bunch of times, so I wasn’t really able to try and incorporate anything into it other than for me just to try and make it an enjoyable show for the fans.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some good, lighthearted, funny stuff and there’s some heartfelt moments as well. It’s not that dark, but I think what it primarily does is it gives you the same feeling I think that “It’s a Wonderful Life” provided for viewers. That sense of redemption and struggle and, at the end, I think it’ll leave everybody nice and happy and ready to go see Santa.
There are some really touching moments in the episode. Do you have a favorite moment? What was the most challenging?”
I think any chance for Pete to nestle his head between Mrs. Frederic’s (CCH Pounder) ample bosom, I think that’ll be a fan favorite. And that kind of comes out of nowhere. That was really fun because everybody’s — the viewers and everybody on the show– so afraid of Mrs. Frederic and the fact that she ends up spending Christmas with us and Pete gets to give her a big hug at the end.
I don’t know if this is a spoiler or not but that whole scene there at the end with everybody there, when Pete tells them how happy he is to have them in his life and how much he loves them, it was really nice for me because I really feel that way about my castmates. So I would say the fun-est part for me was the last scene there where everybody kind of comes together.
What would your Christmas wish be for your character’s future?
I’d like Pete to find himself a good woman. You know, he gets tired of being alone at night back at Leena’s.
Aside from some of the more recent episodes with his mother, Pete’s kind of a lighter character in terms of having a happy, outgoing personality.
Did that make it difficult to do this?
No, I just liked this year’s Christmas episode better because … dare I say it? … I just felt it was a little too schmaltzy last year. Not that it was a bad episode, I enjoyed it, but I just like this one better.
I mean, Roger Rees is back as MacPherson, so there’s an actual bad guy and the stakes are much higher this year. But it was harder this year to give Pete the depth that I think that he needs to have longevity in regards to the show.
For us, it was our last episode so when we finished, we were all able to leave Toronto and go back to our respective lives. So it was very joyous for me. Nothing against Toronto, but my life is here in Los Angeles and I spend six months in Toronto in the middle of winter alone.
You mentioned MacPherson being back. Can you tell us who will or won’t be appearing, like Jinks (Aaron Ashmore) or Pete’s mom (Kate Mulgrew). Are they alive and well?
This episode exists out of time. It doesn’t exist within the timeline of the show, so Jinks and everybody is still alive, you know? There have been no deaths yet.
Besides seeing the cast again, what are you looking forward to when you start filming again?
I get to go back and see my extended family. You know, it’s tough to go to Canada for me. It’s hard to leave my home and my sons, my wife, and everything that I’ve worked really hard to accomplish here in L.A. But the upside for me, obviously, is I get to continue working on my show, on a show that I really enjoy, and I get to see the people that I’ve been on this journey with. And I get to explore more and have a good time making a show that people seem to enjoy.