Syfy’s Helix (Fridays, 10/9C) started out as an outbreak show – some kind of new virus struck members of an isolated research lab above the Arctic Circle and the CDC sent in a crack team to contain and cure it. Since then it has evolved – much like a virus does – into something similar but not quite the same. Now there are elements that suggest all manner of strangeness and, with this week’s new episode, Survivor One, there are new players and more layers coming to light.
The major new face, this week, is the Chief Operating Officer of ILARIA Corporation (owner of Arctic Biosystems), one Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan). In public she says all the right things, but her statements seem stilted. In private, say with Dr. Hitaki (Hiroyuki Sanada), she’s less precise but ever so more direct. Survivor One finds Sutton being as ruthless as Hitaki – but with much more authority.
The episode also lets us in on what’s going on with Dr. Julia Walker (Kyra Zagorsky), whom we saw seemingly abandoned by Hitaki last week (though, in fairness, he did try to put up a protective barricade to keep vectors from finding her).
Because of last week’s discovery that the virus is carried by deliberately re-worked RNA, and because that kind of thing is Julia’s specialty, she becomes extremely important to Dr. Alan Farragut’s (Billy Campbell) team. There’s also something going on with her that gives her huge importance to the story in an entirely different way – and it’s something that connects her to Hitaki and Sutton (and others) in a unique way.
We also find out what happened to Balleseros’ (Mark Ghanimé) body – and that ties in with some major revelations for Hitaki’s adopted son and head of security, Daniel (Meegwun Fairbrother). That all ties into the appearance of a law person called Anana (Luciana Carro) who has cause to hate Hitaki – but not Daniel.
Then there’s the peculiar not-quite-love-interest and tumor sufferer Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes), who still hasn’t told Alan about her tumor but admitted to the massive migraines it causes. Once again she does something that could be construed as totally bananas (how is she even still alive at this point?).
There are layers within layers on this show and every time one is peeled back, we discover there are more. Like Julia’s hallucinations – after the revelations of this ep, even she is wondering why she still has them (and they are as unhelpful as ever… sort of). Then there’s Hitaki’s hidden stairwell (hidden passages usually mean fearsome mysteries and potentially haunted houses, right?).
Even when a character does something that has us screaming ‘oh no you didn’t!’ at the screen, the consequences of those actions is radically different than we expect. Seriously, there was a moment when I thought, ‘The building is haunted by alien corporate ghosts!’
Helix has lived up to the high expectations generated by its excellent early episodes. Survivor One even has some action and a bit of witty banter!
And, yes, I am increasingly freaked out by boss nova – a situation exacerbated by the way Helix’s snippet of theme music rubs itself in my face every week.
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Photo by Philippe Boss/Courtesy of Syfy