Sunday, March 30, 2014

“You Must Have So Many Questions”

This is what Julia’s mother says, as she emerges from suspended animation after 30 years.  She has been stored in a box by the Ilaria Corporation, and most recently proffered as an incentive to return the Narvik virus to “the Scythe”.  He is Ilaria’s youthful assassin and son of the spectacularly evil Constance Sutton.  Julia’s mother does not have much time to answer her daughter’s questions, (such as “Why did you raise me in an underground bunker designed to look like a rustic cabin in the woods?”).  The Scythe, also known as Spencer, (“Don’t call me that!”), wants to achieve his mother’s goal of destroying Arctic Biosystems and just about everyone in it.  A climactic explosion ends the season finale of Syfy’s apocalyptic soap opera, Helix.

Alert viewers will suspect that not everyone perished in the blaze.  We learned on Saturday night that Sarah is pregnant, most likely with Allen’s child.  Major Balleseros, who episodes ago redeemed himself by saving the Inuit village from an Ilarian death squad, had just extracted from Dr. Hatake the names and locations of all of the Inuit children that Hatake had stolen and experimented on long ago.  Anana is in love with Balleseros, despite her brother Tuluk’s disapproval. 

Allen, Peter and Julia show up in the preview of the next season—cleverly inserted as “Day 235”, after the show’s format of labeling episodes with numbered days.  (Saturday night’s episode was “Day 13”.)  But Jay called the Scythe “Spencer” while begging for her daughter’s release, a ghastly mistake.  He has repeatedly told everyone not to call him that!  He attacks her with his favorite weapon, killing her.  Dr. Hatake falls at her side in the snow—but will probably recover, being an Ilarian.

This show is really tough on mothers.  (I am concerned about mother-to-be, Sarah Jordan.)

Meanwhile, the evil Ilaria Corporation has moved on to its next step in securing world domination.  It has released the Narvik-A virus in Puerto Rico, causing an outbreak of sangre negra.  The coming attractions indicate that the action will be shifting to France.  In the closing scenes, Allen and Peter appear to be part of some sort of underground, meeting clandestinely in a back alleyway.  Julia on the other hand has moved up in the world, leading a board meeting at an Ilarian branch office—around the table are a dozen of her silver eyed colleagues.

“You must have so many questions,” Julia’s mother tells her daughter, along with the show’s audience.  Is the immortality conferred by exposure to the Narvik-B virus really all that desirable? The first scene of “Day 235” shows Allen beating up and torturing an Ilarian businessman to get information about Julia’s whereabouts.  “You think this is the first time I have been tortured to death?” he seems to ask.  This reminds us of poor Gunnar from several episodes back, chained in the basement of a nearby abandoned radio station for 29 years after running amok with Constance Sutton.  Before he decapitates himself he offers the insight that “to live forever is to die ten thousand times.”

Both Peter, the hapless brother of CDC team leader Allen, and Jay, who is Julia’s long lost mother, appeared as disembodied beings in earlier episodes.  These events occurred while Peter was cryogenically frozen after becoming a zombie, and presumably while Jay was in suspended animation.  There is some interesting supernaturalism here:  were they spirits?  Astral projections?  Figments of Julia’s virus addled mind?  Both characters acted as Julia’s mentors and guides in their disembodied state.  Does the Narvik virus convey the ability to separate the soul from the body?

Fans will have additional questions, a few of which may be answered in the second season.

Constance Sutton makes a brief appearance at the end—at least the most identifiable part of her.  Her perfectly preserved head is tossed onto the Scythe’s helicopter as a distraction so that Allen can rescue Julia and one of the canisters of Narvik—hopefully the right one.  It is a “bit part” and hopefully we will see the rest of her in future episodes.  Allen is only able to retrieve the canister—Julia flies off with the Scythe to Ilaria HQ.

Helix returns to Syfy in early 2015.  For more information, see Helix | Syfy. 

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