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Helix’s “247” Shows Progress, Continues to Intrigue

By on January 19, 2014

Pictured: Billy Campbell as Dr. alan Farragut -- (Photo by: Phillipe Bosse/Syfy).

By Clinton Bell

Helix deserves a lot of credit for its tantalizing endings. Last week’s premiere ended with a nauseating scene where Peter infects Julia, and this week’s episode—entitled “247”—ends with an even more terrific cliffhanger.

The episode opens with Alan finding Julia, unconscious, in the shower. Julia tells Alan that she can’t remember what happened. Moments later, Alan finds Peter, who willingly turns himself in. “247” doesn’t shed any more light on what is going on with Peter or why he attacked Julia, though it does seem that Peter has retained at least some of his intelligence after being infected.

A little while later, Julia returns to the shower to see if something will jog her memory and allow her to figure out what happened. We see flashes of Peter attacking her again as she begins to remember the incident. Julia, unsure if the incident with Peter ever took place or if it’s just her mind playing tricks, goes about her day without telling anyone about it. Once Sarah creates a rapid response test, Julia is the first one to take it. The test reveals that she is not infected. In the midst of all of this is the episode’s worst moment, a scene where Julia tells an unconscious Peter how she feels about him and Alan. Surely there’s a less cheesy way to reveal Julia’s feelings, right? While the characters are, overall, still stiff, Julia is the weakest of the bunch. “247” doesn’t provide any further insight into what went wrong between Alan and Julia, though I doubt viewers are terribly interested in learning more about the messy love triangle between Alan, Peter, and Julia. Helix’s characterization suffers due to the lack of definition in the characters’ relationship.

There is some progress made with Dr. Hatake, who opens up about some of the things that went wrong at the facility. It’s hard to be certain about the show’s apparent antagonists since so little about them has been explained. Nearly everyone who was at the base before the CDC crew showed up comes off as a villain, yet I suspect that this is only what the show wants us to believe for now.

As in last week’s premiere, this week’s Helix does a fantastic job of building suspense, and pulls off some great surprises. The reveal that the infection test doesn’t work and the destruction of the satellite were excellent twists that left me wanting more.

It is still unclear what Helix is promising. We know that it is a tense, attractively shot thriller, yet its story and characters are still so clouded with mystery that it’s hard to judge effectively. When Helix reveals its secrets, shows its true colors, then we’ll have a better idea of how good or bad it really is.

Additional notes:

  • The show has drawn comparisons to John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the excellent music (composed by Reinhold Heil) evokes The Thing just as well as the icy setting does.
  • Like most of the characters on this show, I’m not sure what to make of Doreen—the quirky scientist from the CDC—nor am I sure why she would trust Major Balleseros (who appears to be working with Hatake) even a little bit.
  • I love the music that plays over the (albeit very brief) title sequence.

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