Helix episode 6 review: Aniqatiga

Review Billy Grifter 10 Feb 2014 - 11:31

Helix appears to be getting messier with every episode. Here's Billy's review of the latest instalment...

This review contains spoilers.

1.6 Aniqatiga

The theme of this week’s Helix is getting better, after what seems like fatal injury, death or infection. Those characters (with the sad exception of Doreen), who you thought were goners all make miraculous recoveries.

The first of these is Sergio, who we see dragged away from where Daniel left him dying in the snow. For most people an ice axe to the gut would be a serious injury, but his military training has prepared him to shrug off minor scratches like that. In fact just to show how tough his is, in -sixty degree temperatures his blood doesn’t even freeze immediately. Perhaps I’ve underestimated him.

What might be keeping him going in the gallons of testosterone that Daniel and Alan have access to, as they make grunting sounds in front of the easily impressionable Sarah. I like that Alan is more pro-active in addressing the obvious discrepancies in how Daniel and Hatake are addressing the outbreak, even if he’s easily so sidetracked. He’s like a pinball, flying from bumper to bumper, before being caught by the eager Sarah bonus trap, before posting a high score. Go Alan, I’m sure Julia will be impressed you’ve moved on.

His unintentionally funny contribution this week was to get all concerned about infected staff just minutes after he sawed the arm off one of those same people. He’s also very confused about what ‘Thermite’ is, because it’s certainly not a liquid.

This eventually lead to a scene where Peter is drowned to keep him alive that was essentially borrowed from The Abyss, enhanced by some very poor CGI immersed rats. The scientists explanation of how we don’t breath in the womb wasn’t remotely credible, unless they’ve tied Peter up to a massive umbilical we didn’t see.

More entertaining, and mysterious, was the Julia subplot. As she drifts in an out of consciousness she has a series of increasingly bizarre dreams/hallucinations, where her mind tries to send her big hints about what’s actually going on. As she doesn’t follow it, there isn’t much understanding to be had, but it’s almost certainly got something to do with an event that happened when she was a child.

This is very similar to the Olivia Dunham backstory in Fringe, mixed with the whole imaginary friends deal referencing Number 6 in Battlestar Galactica. That she’s now apparently recovered, after Hatake injected her, and now has the same odd eyes was a good way to end what was a very fragmented episode, and not a story as such.

The writers’ intentions here seem to be to introduce some rogue components to the status quo, so that even those who actually know what’s going on can be caught off guard. Or, alternatively, it turns out that nobody really knows what is going on, and some just think they do.

As if to underline this we had the Sergio subplot. Where he wakes up with super-sexy Anana (Luciana Carro, Kat from Battlestar Galactica), the well-known Inuit crime-fighter. All sense in this part flew rapidly out of the Window, when she rescues Sergio only to handcuff him to an immovable object, dress his wounds and refuse to feed him. She wants answers, like what’s going on in the research facility, and where did all the kids go that nobody else cares about? At this point I had questions too, like why anyone living in such low temperatures would need a fridge, and where you might plausibly get seaweed in this geographic location in the winter time?

This is an ongoing problem nobody on the Helix writing team wished to confront. As this show progresses, it gets more and more muddled about where in the world it is. In the pilot we’re told that the research facility is north of Greenland, which is open water in the summer. Now we’ve got a law officer telling us that she’s the only law up there within 400 miles. Not that there is much call for law in that region, as 99% of the population doesn’t live anywhere remotely that far north, and the most northerly settlement is at 77% north, and this is set another 6 degrees, or about 550 miles further north.

I wonder how Anana copes when her house sinks to the bottom of the artic sea each summer? I guess that must be very annoying for her. But at least there is plenty of light, even if there should be less than four hours per day at this latitude and time of year.

I realize that these thoughts I’ve presented aren’t very coherent, but then the show wasn’t either. It’s like a jumbled stream of thoughts, where there isn’t much in the way of core concepts to follow. I’m also getting irritated by the lack of proper thought given to things they’re doing and how people in science really work.

The show’s insistence that you can watch a virus invading cells using an optical microscope has been repeated in almost every episode, despite it being utter guff. Some shows deserve some leeway in respect of storytelling, but the sheer amount of credibility issues here are daunting.

Next week Seven of Nine turns up in her poorly her CGI’d helicopter, to tell them all that they’re assimilated, presumably. This show is a mess, and I can’t see adding more new characters is actually going to make it less chaotic.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, The White Room, here.

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