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We’re five episodes in, and I think it’s safe to stamp Helix as a pretty bad show, though it’s one that remains watchable as popcorn television. As in, I could replace my eyes with popcorn and still get the same amount of enjoyment from this deeply flawed television program. Like many of the god awful movies that Syfy puts out, Helix is filled with thinly designed characters whose only motivations seem to be making the audience laugh at their poor decisions. But unlike a Syfy Original movie, I’m actually invested in the story and the mystery. For every six groans, there is one genuine “Wow” that gets me temporarily excited.
In “The White Room,” where some of last week’s ever-present secrets start to reveal themselves, the siss-bang-boom scene involves Hatake’s Second Banana raising a bunch of preserved human heads from the snowy terrain outside the Biosystems lab. You’d have thought someone could have built another secret room inside the facility, but these heads are apparently super special. The main gloomy looking head they’re after belongs to a Dr. Hvit, whom the devious “Blood In, Blood Out” Major was tasked with retrieving before he’d be allowed to leave the base.
Of course, while he’s off making awkward inquiries about Hvit’s whereabouts, Alan is trying to figure out how Deena ended up dead beneath a rack of rat cages, bites all over her face. All cringe-worthy investigative roads lead to the guilty Major, but only after he and Alan realize that “The White Room” everyone keeps talking about merely means Antarctica, because everything is white. This would have been a terrible reveal had they dragged it out all season, but it works well enough here. Given the Major’s lack of actual murdering skills, it’s no surprise that his attempts to kill off both Second Banana and Alan are thwarted. He doesn’t actually do anything beyond leaving them in the snow, alone. So now the Major is presumably dead from a stab wound, and frozen solid. Good riddance. But what of Dr. Hvit and the other heads? We’ll have to wait on those answers of course.
The second major plus of this episode is that Alan finds Doreen’s chewed-up corpse. Her eyes are wide open and cheeks that shift, perhaps implying she’s still alive, or worse, a vector. But no, it was just one of them rats making a home for itself inside of her mouth. Gross. The surprise was mild, but the nastiness of the contrasting wet pinks of the rat’s skin and Doreen’s dead lips made me howl.
Meanwhile, Julia and her savior Jaye are tasked with taking care of Hatake, who comes to them for medical help after he deviously stabs himself for some still unknown reason. But wait, Helix Tyler Durdens the fuck out of us by revealing that Jaye was in fact just a subconscious figment of Julia’s imagination, and they show us every single scene where Jaye supposedly did something, only with Julia doing it instead. She had a TOTAL breakthrough, everyone, not just some little breakthrough that you or I might go through. I don’t understand why Hatake went along with all of it so casually. Having a crazy woman tending to dire wounds is not representative of the intelligence that goes into becoming a big time villain. Even if Julia was there as a child and he had something to do with it, you don’t let people who are hallucinating perform medical procedures. Common sense, people.
We see that Hatake has a ton of scars on his back that he attributes to a fire in Kyoto where he was burned while unsuccessfully trying to save his daughter. He’s probably lying of course, so we’ll probably find out he’s been a human guinea pig for the Cure or something. And one of the side effects is “not feeling like telling a woman that she’s daydreaming about flirting with herself through heroics and passionate dialogue.”
Very much like last week, the weakest and most ludicrous portion of the episode involved Sarah, whose time with Dr. Eigem includes a gawk-worthy conversation about using food fantasies as pain relief, all while Sarah changeds her shirt. But it gets worse when Alan and Sarah have a father-daughter exchange and an illicit lovers’ kiss that ends in accusations of drug use. This is sci-fi at its finest, right?
On another positive note, the episode began with the Major setting fire to all the frozen monkeys outside the base. They all screech in pain, which means that they were apparently still alive beneath the surface ice. Freaky enough to create foolish optimism for the next 55 minutes. It seems obvious that this virus or whatever won’t be able to be killed and that it will have to be frozen and buried as a form of containment. This will lead to a second season where someone finds and unleashes it again in a different place.
I do enjoy when the forced dramatics reach a level of camp, like when Hatake isn’t concerned with where the rats were coming from, but what they were running from! Ahhh!! The same goes for the scene where Alan and Second Banana search the Major’s room, find out about his cover-up, and Second Banana suddenly vanishes. Alan is confused, and then walks through the door that “whishes” quite audibly, making S.B.’s silent exit absolutely impossible. I like stuff like that, in the end.
Also, in the end, Peter regains some brain activity.
What happens next week? Only day six is all. How do people sleep in this place? I’m more interested in that, I think. Keep an eye out for black bloody mouths, and I’ll see you then.