Helix “O Brave New World” Review (Season 2 Episode 13)

Helix - Season 2

Let’s think back to season 1 of Helix. It wasn’t a perfect season, but it had a lot of good things going for it. There was the threat of a global pandemic from a deadly virus that could turn people into zombie-like monsters. There was a brilliant, diabolical scientist whose ethics were questionable. There was a military conspiracy and a secret international corporation who seemed to want to use the virus as a bioweapon or worse. There were the good guys—CDC scientists determined to save the world from impending doom. Then there were the immortals—linked with the Ilaria corporation, their silver-eyed appearance was striking and futuristic. All of these elements came together in an isolated, arctic biostation, which created a feeling of claustrophobia and upped the tension. The seeds were here for something really interesting.

Fast forward to season 2. Some of the faces remain the same, but the show is completely different. Instead of going down the path of futuristic science fiction, the show returns as a combination of The Hills Have Eyes and Hostel. It starts with a series of inexplicable time jumps that eventually cease and then restart without rhyme or reason. Characters from the first season are gratuitously reinserted. Opportunities to meaningfully bring them back are squandered. Ilaria fades almost completely into the background. The characters we thought we knew become unrecognizable and unlikable.

I had hope throughout the season that Helix would pull through. Unfortunately, last night’s season finale dispelled that notion. It was a complete disaster. At this point, I can’t see tuning into a season 3. The only consolation is that a lot of the new shows coming to Syfy that were shown during the commercials look awesome. Here’s why the Helix finale didn’t work for me.

Let’s start with the ridiculousness of Peter. He’s still cuckoo nuts and now strangely devoted to Anne. I have no explanation for this one. I think we can agree that his plan to kill the “outsiders” on the island was ineffectual. It’s almost like Peter was lobotomized. He listens to whatever Anne suggests. This drastic shift in the character told me that the writers weren’t really concerned with their characters. His sudden devotion to her and his fake baby made me long for his demise. But no such luck. He ends up turning over the fungus to Iliaria in order for some deal that we don’t know much about. Not only is his character now annoying, his buddy Anne is no better.

It turns out that Julia shoots Alan so that she can take the magic stick. She manages to stitch together his bullet wound (here’s where my first eye roll came in) and Alan’s well enough to move about. We jump to the future and find her in the same hospital room being taken care of by Caleb. It turns out he’s not Sarah and Alan’s child, but Soren with a fake eye. Sigh. He does his stupid, “Do you know the way to San Jose,” schtick and Julia finally figures out what he’s talking about. It’s a cryptic reference to the day Julia and Alan married. This allows Soren to tell her his blood is a cure for whatever is killing the immortals. This is such a paltry pay off for all of the waste of time flashforwards that we had throughout the season.

I can buy into the over-protective mother idea for why Sarah is all crazy to save her jar baby. I can even understand why she’d choose to leave Alan behind in order to get her baby to safety. But why is she hold on to Alan’s gurney while they wheel him into surgery? She didn’t seem to care at all if he died. We see her waiting for news of her immortal child in what looks to be a regular hospital. Nobody at the hospital thought it was weird that a fetus with shiny silver eyes is brought in floating in a jar of blue goop? What are the odds that kid is actually dead?

The “twist” end was so ridiculous, I had to roll my eyes again. No longer is Sarah a CDC scientist. In 2029, she’s an obstetrician of sorts who puts women into giant pod contraptions in order for them to get pregnant and give birth. This also made no sense. If the fungus caused infertility in men, why is there a need for maternity pods? If women can still get pregnant and there’s a way to inseminate them, why can’t they live like normal people when pregnant? This whole scene felt so far off from the initial premise of Helix that it felt like a cheap parlor trick. Like they had no clue where to take the story next.

All of the stuff with Hatake was a waste of time. All of the flash forwards were unnecessary. The return of Amy and Landry was unsurprising and unimpactful. The idea that Sarah gave herself a spinal tap and turned Alan immortal because she’s mad about who knows what is stupid. There wasn’t a single thing about this episode that worked for me, and it left me frustrated that I’d spent as many hours as I have on this show this season. I know they changed the ad campaigns recently to tout the show as the “craziest on television,” but that’s only true if crazy means ludicrous. It’s almost insulting to the season 1 fans that they gave us this total mess.