Helix season 1 finale Dans L’ombre Review
For the most part I have fond memories of Helix. Both the mystery of the NARVIK pathogen and the suspense it created reminded me a lot of Lost. Certainly the first 4 episodes used both the suspense and character drama deftly to let us get to know Dr. Alan Farragut, his estranged ex-wife Julia, Dr. Sarah Jordan, Hatake and Aerov. Then the show changed, I felt for the better, with introducing a wider world outside the base by introducing characters such as Anana and fleshing out the character of Major Balleseros. Last but not least Jeri Ryan made an explosive entrance as the diabolical corporate fixer Constance Sutton. Sadly after just two episode she ended up with her head in a box.
That was in episode 8. The show never managed to get back on track after that. With the introduction of Constance Sutton and Ilaria Corporation the science investigations into the NARVIK pathogen were gone, and I liked that aspect as it kept the show very much grounded into reality (of some sorts). After the defeat of Sutton there was no threat from Ilaria and no NARVIK plot, the show had quite simply burned itself out after just 8 episodes. In my opinion season 1 should have ended with episode 10. The creators should have written some sort of cliffhanger and spent the next 6 months carefully pondering their next move.
Instead I shall give you a short recap of the episodes after Constance-head-in-box event. Apparently Hatake is immortal, and Ilaria has been planning a take over for hundreds of years. Julia and Alan found another immortal in a radar station abandoned for 30 years but the Christmas light work just perfectly. Julia and Alan then found a cure for NARVIK and everybody at the base lives happily ever after. Apart from those scientist who ran into the next batch of Ilaria super soldiers and discovered why one is called The Scythe. In order to defeat The Scythe everybody abandons the dumb plan made by Alan and Aerov gets his head blown off by a collar bomb. Ooh and Major Balleseros and Anana regularly don’t appear onscreen for entire episodes.
The only thing that you still have to go through is the season 1 finale of Helix, episode 13 entitled Dans L’ombre. A lot happens in this episode and it does manage to get Helix back on track after the disastrous episode before. However, it also becomes painstakingly clear that the show creators have no intention of respecting the suspense of disbelief factor in writing science fiction. For the most part there is just disbelief. It would be highly doubtful that Helix will return for a second season. I am starting to ponder how a producer of the caliber of Ronald D. Moore could have allowed this show to derail so quickly.
Alan (Billy Campbell) is trying to stop Julia (Kyra Zagorsky) from torturing The Scythe about the whereabouts of her mother. Alan fears they are becoming more like Ilaria themselves but Julia has no such fears. Julia confronts Hatake about Aerov’s sacrifice. Hatake states that he was forced to create the NARVIK virus for Ilaria because they held his wife (Julia’s mother) captive. Anana and Aerov’s brother Meegwun find an abandoned snowmobile belonging to Major Balleseros. They are hesitant to try and locate him in the freezing cold.
Alan is the next person trying to convince The Scythe to hand over Julia’s mother. As one of the The Scythe’s henchwoman Blake is still in the base it is assumed she has her. The Scythe announces that Ilaria already has the NARVIK virus and shows them footage of an outbreak in Puerto Rico. However, Alan and Peter are not convinced that it is NARVIK, it merely looks like NARVIK, but major Balleseros missing they fear he may have stolen a sample.
Balleseros instead finds himself captured by the last Ilaria super soldier. Blake reveals that she managed to get the virus and the cure and that The Scythe meant for himself to be captured. Balleseros pretends that he is still working towards Ilaria’s goals but she had her doubts. Balleseros hints they had an affaire in the past. Alan, Julia, Hatake and Peter consider that they have not alternative but to try and retrieve the NARVIK virus and cure from the Ilaria henchwoman to try and stop a world-wide outbreak.
Balleseros knocks Blake out cold when Alan, Julia and Hatake make their move. Alan accuses him of causing the outbreak but Balleseros states that he is only interested in the list of Inuit children taken by Hatake. Blake wakes and starts arguing with Balleseros. He shoots her and demand the list from Hatake. Meanwhile Jordan has made the acquaintance of Dr. Haven who states that he wishes to examine Jordan’s blood. He finds indicators that she has cancer.
Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) writes a list of all Inuit children taken and where they are now. Julia tries to help her mother but her mother doesn’t recognize her. After Hatake has written the list he hands over the NARVIK virus and cure to Alan. Peter meanwhile visits The Scythe and it is revealed that Peter smuggled the virus of-base. He was never meant to be infected with it to such an extend. Peter frees The Scythe and continues to work for him.
Julia’s mother slowly comes around from the deep sleep she was in and is astounded to learn Julia has grown old. Hatake shows that he still has feelings for his wife, though she seems more hesitant. Anana and Meegwun show up at the base to retrieve Balleseros’s list. Anana also wants to help with the evacuation. She is silently informed that Aerov is no longer alive. Peter bursts into the meeting with a head wound pretending The Scythe escaped without his help. Hatake states that The Scythe only has one real weakness.
Alan tells Julia to escape from the base with the NARVIK cure to try and stop the outbreak on Puerto Rico. Dr. Haven manages to catch up to Jordan and states that the test merely indicated cancer but that there was no actual cancer to be found. As the group make their escape The Scythe reveals himself and sets off the explosives he planted throughout the base. The Scythe then threatens to kill Julia. Julia’s mother Jane tries to reason with him but only ends up infuriating him and he kills her for it. A Ilaria helicopter arrives to pick up The Scythe.
Alan throws the head of Sutton unto the helicopter to distract The Scythe. Alan climbs onboard but he can’t free Julia as she is handcuffed. Julia hands Alan the Narvik cure and pushed him out of the aircraft. The story the moves 222 days into the future, Dr. Alan Farragut is in Paris. He is seen paying for information on Ilaria. Alan meets with Peter and says he has found Julia and thinks she is still alive. The last scene of the episode show a boardroom meeting of the Ilaria Corporation. Julia walks into the meeting and sits down as the head of the organization.
The episode concludes with stating that Helix will be back in 2015.
The episode was hardly brilliant, it was in fact quite flawed. Some of the characters made decisions that were never fully explained though maybe they will be in season 2. The episode did lay down the groundwork for another season and such it is effective despite the flaws. One scene was beyond redemption though. Showing how Alan somehow manages to throw Constance’s Sutton’s head onto the helicopter in slow-motion almost made me stop watching the episode and there were only a few more minutes left.
The death of Jane was strangely enough not a sad occasion, throughout the episode her scenes with Hatake and Julia were quite boring. In fact, some of the drama had absolutely no suspense whatsoever in contrast with the earliest episodes. With a running time of just 37 minutes it is odd that a season finale managed to come over as quite dull.
The cliffhanger for season 2 salvaged the episode but only to some degree. I do remain doubtful that there will be another season s fans have not forgiven the debacle after episode 8 and ratings are still dropping. The only salvation for Helix is a return to the hard-science side and more Jeri Ryan.
Score; 7 / 10. A very mediocre episode of Helix but the cliffhanger is OK.
Mentats Of Dune Free Giveaway
About a week ago I did the review on Brian Herbert’s and Kevin J. Anderson’s latest Dune book Mentats of Dune. I thought it was a good book and decided to hold a giveaway contest. Sadly so far there has only been one entrance. The only thing you need to do is come up with an original title for the third book in the schools of dune trilogy. It can be of a humorous nature. I will pick a random winner from the entrances. So do head over to the Mentats of Dune review and post your title as a comment. Your chances of winning a free copy of Mentats of Dune are excellent.