Helix Season 1 Review “Dans L’Ombre”

Helix Episode 13 Dans L'Ombre (2)

Helix closes out its first season this week with “Dans L’Ombre”, an explosive (get it?) episode that made a valiant effort to move the series away from the frozen remoteness of the arctic and onto a global stage.

The episode began with a flash forward to Day 235, where Alan was torturing an Immortal for the whereabouts of “her” (you can say the name, Alan, we all know there’s only one person anyone on this show ever bothers to look for). While the flash forward definitely piqued my interest, the fact that this show still seems to boil down to a constant Julia hunt lost that interest pretty quickly. I was happy when we returned to Day 13, and I did appreciate the juxtaposition of opening on Julia interrogating a different Immortal for the whereabouts of another “her”.

I also appreciated that the episode spent some time touching on Hatake’s grief over Daniel/Miksa’s death from last week. Though it was full of the same melodramatic dialogue I’ve criticized previously, the writers showed good judgment in including a scene that showed us Hatake genuinely loved his “son”. It also put Hatake and Julia in a place where their bonding felt more natural than it has up to this point. I hope Helix continues to give us more character moments like this.

I also hope the series continues to develop Ilaria as a deeper and more serious threat. Seeing the effects of Narvik on an actual population was disturbing, and lent a relevance to the past season that’s been illusive up until now. Though it hasn’t quite gotten to the point that there are full on vector attacks in the streets, seeing what Ilaria is capable of on a wider scale was chilling.

When I look back over this past season, I come to the conclusion that Helix is a storm of mediocrity with enough lightning strikes of brilliance to keep me coming back every week. In many ways it reminds me of the first season of Revolution, another science fiction show that failed to live up to its ambitious premise during a flawed first season. In Revolution‘s case, it returned with an even more ambitious second season that has an impressive sense of purpose to it. Utilizing the first season as backstory to a revitalized, character driven second year has worked wonders for that show, and I think Helix can learn from this example.

Here’s hoping Helix pulls off a Revolution when it returns in 2015. Otherwise, I fear the series will become so hopelessly mired in the kind of convoluted aimless mystery for mystery’s sake storytelling audiences rejected in the wake of Lost (remember The Event? Surface? Invasion? The Nine? Flashforward?) that it won’t make it to season three.

Now that Helix has wrapped its first season, I’d love to know what you think! Has the series thrilled you, or left you wanting? Let me know how you feel about the goings on up at Arctic Biosystems in the comments below!

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