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TV REVIEW: Helix “The Reaping”

By on March 24, 2014
(Photo by: Phillippe Bosse/Syfy).

(Photo by: Phillippe Bosse/Syfy).

By Clinton Bell

Helix’s penultimate installment is a talky, and largely disappointing hour. After last week’s blood-soaked introduction to The Scythe, he is mostly wasted here, and is not nearly as scary as he was at the climax of “Black Rain.” He is even rather easily apprehended at the episode’s climax.

Speaking of which, the climax is tense, and really the only part of “The Reaping” that is worth remembering. This week we said goodbye to Daniel, who sacrificed himself so that Julia can live. Though the scenes between Daniel and Hatake were always clunky, Hiroyuki Sanada gives a convincing performance during Daniel’s last moments.

But “The Reaping” struggles in nearly every other regard. There’s an excessive amount of lengthy, tug-at-the-heart conversations that feel stiff. It’s easy to lay blame on the show’s dialogue (which I admit isn’t good), but I think some of the blame can also be directed at the performances and direction. Some of the dialogue shouldn’t sound nearly as bad as it often does. There are exceptions: Alan and Peter’s air duct chat is one of the few exchanges that doesn’t sound completely hollow.

Even the episode’s tense climax is tainted by uneven moments. Alan bonking The Scythe with a crowbar came off as more comedic than it should’ve, and was out of place considering the tragedy that had occurred seconds beforehand. It’s also odd that the episode ends with another twist; rather than take a moment to fully absorb Daniel’s death, the episode concludes with a surprise that robs the climax of its emotional power. It’s almost as if they were in a rush to get to the next episode. I know that Helix is mostly about its crazy, twisty endings, but in this situation it felt inappropriate.

But let’s talk about that twist. We now know that Julia’s mother Jane, who is presumably immortal, is alive and living in an Illaria-owned box. My guess is that The Scythe’s partner will threaten to hurt Jane in an attempt to get them to hand over Scythe and Hatake. But the big question is: why is Jane in a box? If you think your family is dysfunctional, take a look at Julia’s.

Another problem is that “The Reaping” bends logic further than the show normally does. Somehow The Scythe (or his partner) was able to snatch Julia from the elevator without anyone noticing. Yeah, it was dark, but it’s still hard to believe that they were able to take her without a sound.

Following last week’s episode, I had high hopes for “The Reaping.” Sadly, it’s an overly talky disappointment, rife with odd creative decisions. The show can still close out the season (or series?) on a high note. I can’t imagine Alan and company are going to want to stay on that base for much longer. Will they make an effort to leave next week? I’m hoping that Helix goes for broke in the finale, and delivers a wild finish. But if the finale is anything like “The Reaping,” I doubt many viewers would ever want to return to the world of Helix.

Additional notes:

– At this point, the Anana/Balleseros stuff feels like it’s happening on a completely different show.

– The first few episodes had nice visuals, but the bottom half of the season looks pretty bland by comparison.