Helix episode 8 review: Bloodlines
This week's Helix takes one action-packed step forwards, then two steps back. Here's Billy's review...
This review contains spoilers.
I might be a glutton for punishment, but I enjoyed small parts of this story. Where it massively benefitted was in resolving the alliances of various parties, though the downside to that is that it effectively erased everything that happened from the point Constance turned up.
This week's opening scene, in which they pastiche the classic Alien breakfast sequence, did hint that the writers themselves realise how derivative they’ve been on occasion. It was funny, if only because they've borrowed parts of other movies wholesale. The joke is more of a personal one between the creative people, than one we can all join in.
After last week I couldn’t actually believe that Jeri Ryan would carry on playing Constance like a genetically mutated Regina George from Mean Girls, but she did.
Without the remotest sign of any other personal flaw, Constance's attitude came over as cartoonish. Maybe it was meant to be ironic, but the scenes where she bullied her subordinate into massaging her ego, and then almost immediately accused Daniel of not thinking independently were just too delusional. Really smart people don’t buy their own hype, and those that do aren’t smart.
I found the Constance character so much hard work, I was sort of relieved when her mouth finally signed a cheque her brain couldn’t cash with Hatake. But before then she did have a rather critical conversation with him, where we got more information about how they’re different from everyone else, and why his daughter Julia (not a surprise) has joined their ranks. I took these references to this special group as being alien, though it could be that they’re a next generation of human. The borrowed from From Russia With Love watch gadget seemed entirely out of place, unless we later discover a link between SMERSH and Ilaria.
Who certainly isn’t next-gen is Alan, who together with Sarah, hatched the worst assassination attempt ever. Obviously the special people are super-tough, but the explosion didn’t even injure the ginger solider. It didn’t help that Sarah’s eyes gave away the plot entirely, and Alan couldn’t make a big enough bang to cause a nosebleed. And, in the glib build up to that scene the whole thing with the sonic weapon that's Sarah’s ‘hobby’ was just too ridiculous for words.
The best characters currently are Daniel (or Miksa, if you insist) and Julia, who is dealing with being genetically transformed pretty well. I’m enjoying her character more now she’s not wandering around level R feeling sorry and confused. She still hasn’t realised that the vectors aren’t a danger to her, but she’ll work it out eventually I’m sure. Sarah is more of a problem, because everything she’s involved is a disaster. I do hope they find something to do she doesn’t mess up, if only to create a minor plot twist. Why Alan has any confidence in her is beyond reason, unless she’s fantastic at spontaneous ‘biology’ sex.
Thankfully the better characters are all evolving, and the scenes with those in were the most watchable by far.
However, Helix production can on occasion can be rather sloppy. There were a few rather obvious continuity faults this week. The worst of these was the location in which Sergio was held, which had previously been presented as a nuclear test area down on level R. I also didn’t follow why the relationship between he and Anana changed even before he did something selfless. I also dread them going outside in this show, because the effects are very average, and it’s hard to believe what’s being presented.
Towards the end we see him trying to fix the satellite dish, which seemed a really tough way to get communication up and running. Didn’t he have a mini dish in his coat pocket that Daniel took back into the complex? As was proven previously, it’s easy to come and go from the base without anyone noticing, so it would have been easier to find that than try to fix something previously blown up with explosives.
I’d also like to ask that they stop showing that Anana, Miksa and Toluk picture. It’s poorly photoshopped, where they took one youthful image of Meegwun Fairbrother and copied it. It looks like one of those things you'd find at funfairs where you stick your head through a hole and take a photo.
What Helix did do was to end on a high note, with Hatake and Daniel planting Constance’s head in the ice, where Dr Hvit’s previously resided. I’ll take a guess that she’ll be back at some point, otherwise what’s the point in keeping that memento? Decapitation is obviously the way to disable these people, but does it actually kill them? I doubt it.
While some answers were forthcoming, other, like the purpose of the vectors, are being held for future stories. I just hope Hatake starts being more forthcoming from this point onwards, as him withholding things now is illogical. As much sense as how the best tactical solution to being outflanked is to shoot yourself in the head, as Constance’s people do.
Overall, lots of action, but the plot just reset to where it was two episodes back. If they don’t reappear at some future junction, then both Anana and Constance have been in this for no purpose.
Next week we descend below level R, according to the trailer, which is pretty neat trick for a structure that should be sitting on sea ice 15ft thick.
Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Survivor Zero, here.
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