Helix episode 12 review: The Reaping

Review Billy Grifter
23 Mar 2014 - 18:12

Helix approaches its season finale without making any more sense than usual...

This review contains spoilers.

1.12 The Reaping

If I was to sum up what happened in The Reaping, it wasn’t anything as widespread as that title suggests. In fact only two people died in the whole episode, making it mostly an exercise in small conversations, a few of which actually made sense. Other than some utterly inconsequential diversions off on the ice with Anana, Sergio and Tulok, the episode took place entirely in the lab complex. For once we get to see the garage where the snow tractor lives. Yes, the same location that didn’t exist in the pilot episode to house the helicopters.

That scene was loosely connected to the blank page that the writers left in the script, the one where they explained how, using a snow tractor, you can dig a chasm, and cover it with a thin sheet of ice, forming a trap. I know that in fantasy shows you need occasionally to stretch reality, but this was yet another example of how those behind Helix just creatively shrugging when they’ve created something totally silly or inexplicable.

What was more worrying was that this was part of a plan thought up by Alan, and people followed his plan, to a point, even if all his plans to this point had been an unmitigated disaster. I’ve no idea why they listen to him. His nemesis this week was the intentionally irritating Scythe, played lisp and all by Robert Naylor. We’re told he’s ‘a perfect sociopath’, who then has mummy issues, proving that he’s not perfect nor a sociopath. If he’d been the latter he’d not have given a hoot that Constance ended up shorter, because true sociopaths don’t care about anyone.

After last week’s death elevator scene Scythe was built up as something special, but in the end he was rather pathetically easy to capture. But before that happened, we had the very predictable showdown where he threatened to kill the two people Hatake really cared for (Julia and Daniel), as bad people do. As they did in Arrow, this very season.

It didn’t take the powers of Sherlock to work out how this would resolve itself, as Julia has significance should the series return. Maybe Tulok (brother of Turok, Dinosaur hunter) will get a bigger part then, securing more gainful employment for Meegwun Fairbrother. What’s a little fascinating is that buried in here, under all the histrionics and guff there’s a really interesting context that fails to make it to the surface. Hatake’s real breakthrough isn’t the virus or the cure, it’s that Julia exists.

Because it’s clear that the 500 assumed once you become immortal you can’t reproduce, which is probably a good thing. However, Julia’s existence proves otherwise. Without that possibility turning everyone into an immortal would effectively condemn the whole species, because eventually they’d all die by accident or intention. It may be that for the human race to carry on there must be none-immortals, like Julia’s mother. This is an interesting subplot which the writers either chose to make little of here, or didn’t see the potential in discussing at this point.

Yet they did think it would be fun to have Sergio, Anana and Tulok bickering out in a snow storm, about saving people we don’t know and mistrusting everyone else. If this made sense in the writing room that’s wonderful, because it didn’t contribute anything useful so far in the story. It may be that the reproduction issue might get some air in a possible season two, if Syfy are crazy enough to commission one. Personally, I’d draw the line next week, but then I just get to throw knives at this stuff and not try to push it to advertisers.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Black Rain, here.

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