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TV REVIEW: Helix Delivers in “Black Rain”

By on March 17, 2014

(Photo by: Philippe Bosse/Syfy).

By Clinton Bell

Helix’s eleventh instalment generally bears the same strengths and weaknesses as the ten episodes that preceded it. Strangely, “Black Rain” barely touches upon last week’s immortality revelation, and instead focuses on Alan and company scrambling to treat the infected and get down into the bunker before Illaria shows up. It’s a fast-moving episode that doesn’t provide much breathing room—and that’s okay, because the show is at its best when it’s not wasting time.

At the episode’s climax, Illaria returns to the base, this time sending a small group of skydivers. Among the group is a new character known only as The Scythe—yes, that’s really what they’re calling him—who quickly gets into an elevator with the base’s scientists and kills them. Despite the goofy name, I enjoyed how The Scythe was introduced; the shot of the dead scientists in the elevator is one of the more disturbing, evocative moments of the season thus far.

But the most surprising thing about The Scythe is that he is a baby-faced teenager. There’s not really much else to say about the guy, but the fact that the writers chose to make him so young is definitely more interesting than if he were some ordinary, muscular bald guy.

Some of the episode’s more muddled moments also occur during the final stretch. How exactly did Hatake know that it was The Scythe that had entered the base? The scene would’ve worked fine without Hatake’s explanation. Also, what happened with the explosive charges? Were they just not set properly or did The Scythe and his crew disable them somehow?

As for Anana and the others, I can’t say I missed them at all this week. It remains to be seen if the writers will do something interesting with the abducted kids storyline, but my interest has already waned. I imagine we will learn why the base needed all of those kids by season’s end, but is anyone in the audience still interested?

I expect next week’s episode to be pretty crazy, largely because of the well-trained, scythe-wielding maniac that has invaded the base. I’m hoping we’ll learn a little bit of background information on The Scythe and why someone so young—or perhaps he’s immortal and not nearly as young as he appears—is working as an assassin for an insane corporation. He’s certainly a curious character.

And what will happen to Peter and the rest of the infected? Is he officially cured, or is it only temporary? Why do the Vectors behave the way they do, anyways? There are only two more episodes left, and there’s still a lot of ground to cover. “Black Rain” is an average episode of Helix, but an important one that hints at a violent conclusion.

Additional notes:

– A rat in a microwave. Okay. Interesting trap, Vectors.

– I enjoyed the scene where the scientists are drenched with black Vector slime. I have to admit, when I saw the title for this week’s episode, I wasn’t expecting it to be so literal.

– I’m not sure why Illaria felt the need to create that diversion. I doubt Alan and the others would’ve seen those people skydiving through the night sky.

– I would not be surprised if a major character died next week. Who will live, who will die?

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