My apologies to anyone who noticed that I wasn’t able to get to last week’s episode of Helix. I woke up in an unfamiliar place and realized I was on a lower level of my housing compound. It was only after I was able to provide a saliva sample that I was able to get back to my family and computer. What they don’t know is that the test doesn’t work. The test doesn’t work! But I’m back for this week’s episode, “Single Strand.”
I’m going to have to acclimate to the fact that Helix is a series intent on using every played out trick in the book to weave its mysteries. This is a research lab where the only thing most of the main characters do besides battle diseased vectors is talk to each other. With that in mind, CDC hero Alan is the only person who actually talks to people with anything that resembles genuine honesty. But he’s clueless about everything, because nobody else in that damned place will have a straight conversation. Everybody is hiding something. That makes for frustrating viewing, knowing that a five-minute conversation could fix 75% of the side drama and allow everyone to work together to either find a cure or get the hell out of there.
I’m getting used to the fact that this approach is standard for Helix. Hatake has the most to hide here, but now we know Major Sergio is actually working for the Pentagon, investigating the “research,” and isn’t afraid to let Doreen know that. And this is all before he stabs her in the neck with a syringe after she reveals the monkey DNA is manufactured. Not so surprising, considering these Biosystems guys were full of great ideas, but now Sergio knows something that he won’t be telling anyone else. Considering he’s also the one who blew up the comm satellite, I think it’s safe to say he’s more dangerous than Hatake at this point. This is a man who murders people by letting genetically-modified rats loose to eat the body. That part was, of course, one of my favorite moments in “Single Strand,” even though it was a stupid character move. He has no idea what these flesh-eating rats might spread, but that’ll probably be one of the next major plot points.
What of the formerly monumental threat, the veiny biter Peter? Brother Alan injects him with the deadly SODRA “cure.” This move does indeed help Peter gain some lucidity, before it kills him. Then he gets revived, so who knows where things will go from there. He’s either going to infect somebody else or die for real. They can’t just keep this guy brain dead and strapped to a hospital chair for the rest of the season. We can’t bear to witness anymore heartfelt conversations about who loved who and when. I guess one of Julia’s hidden secrets was how deep her romance with Peter was as compared to what Alan assumed.
Julia has a new flirt buddy now; a savior in a gas mask who is eventually revealed to be a woman. She’ll come in handy because she knows where the emergency rations, like spray cheese, are hidden. Julia actually utters the words, “My rescuer!” which struck as hollow as a lower-tier fairy tale. It is only Day 4, and people can still theoretically be missing, but I can see the writers continually bringing people out of the bloody woodwork when things hit a lull, kind of how Under the Dome did. Julia discovers a set of initials and flowers childishly gouged into the wall that she says were recognizable as her handwriting, signifying she’d been there before. She said it with such matter-of-factness, I don’t even know if they mean she’d been there before during that very same day, or there in the past, as in perhaps Peter somehow got her down there and did things to her. Conspiracy, or just a case of Julia’s sickness manifesting?
Sarah has also been hiding things. Apparently she has a tumor of some kind, as revealed by Dr. Rae Van Eigem, the oncologist played with melodramatic exuberance by Miranda Handford. The scenes with these two characters did nothing but make me cringe, so I’m not going to talk about them. But it’s obvious Sarah’s condition will come into play eventually.
Besides a vector who gets his arm split open in a fun way, the episodic threat is a team of Level R badasses who have access to the vent valves and it’s “6 Hours to CO2 Poisoning” for everyone upstairs. It is of course an empty threat, as you know it’s going to be figured out by the end of the episode. Hatake goes against advice and heads down himself with Second Banana, makes a deal, and the valves are returned to normal states. Then Hatake kills them. Problem solved.
This is all in line with how eeeeevil Hatake is, but here’s what I take from it. He left Second Banana to “dispose of the bodies.” One man has to move three bloody corpses in the middle of a floor full of infected people. That sounds terrible, and Second Banana will probably snap if he has to keep putting up with this kind of shit. I bet five vials of this super secret formula I’ve been developing that this guy yells “I didn’t sign up for this!” at Hatake by the end of this season.
So, what we’re left with is another bunch of references to what a lousy alcoholic Alan and Peter’s dad was. We get it, guys. Bring it up when it counts. And more painful bits of the score. This is Helix, and I’ll be back next week for another diseased trip into the wild.