Helix season 1 finale review: Dans L'Ombre

Review Billy Grifter 31 Mar 2014 - 13:30

The Helix season 1 finale is a narrative lasagne layered with confusion and idiocy, says Billy...

This review contains spoilers.

1.13 Dans L'Ombre

It has been 48 hours since I watched Dans L'ombre, and I intentionally gave myself a cooling off time, before writing this. I can’t hold back any longer, this was a huge rebuff to anyone who was crazy enough to stick with this painfully irrational show.

What was obvious as I was watching it, and confirmed afterwards, was that Helix has a second season, and the writers knew this when they penned an abysmal ending to this one. Having created some narrative and tension about how things would end in the Arctic base, it was all blown up (literally and a narratively) like it’s been obvious it would be from the pilot onwards.

How this came about was stupid in the extreme, and consisted of a collection of events none of which made any sense whatsoever. Throughout Helix we’ve been presented with characters for whom there is no narrative purpose, and here two of them are disposed of almost like the creators had forgotten why they existed. There’s Scythe’s minion, who is just a nanny for Julia’s mother, and there’s Julia’s mother. When she appeared I got really confused, because Amber Goldfarb who plays Jane Walker is much younger than Kyra Zagorsky who plays her daughter. To fix this slight problem they applied copious amounts of duff prosthetics onto poor Amber to ‘age’ her. My immediate reaction was that we’d get a flashback to her as a young person, but alas she was dead before the episode ended. So why not use an older actress?

But, a trademark Helix aspect, confused points like that were ten-a-penny throughout the show. Even the twist, and there has to be a twist, was confused. Peter works for Scythe was the twist (sorry, if you don’t like dumb reveals), but that rather forgets that Scythe would have blown up Peter if he was still a Vector, and therefore wouldn’t have any allegiance to him. Why didn’t they have Doreen come back instead?

That Sarah has a confirmable pregnancy, just 7 days after sex was another low point, as was her stupidest-scientist-on-the-planet character surviving.
And then the scene to top them all, the actual destruction of the base by Scythe. They’re in the garage, the one you can’t park helicopters in, and they open the door to the outside and Scythe is standing there with the explosives detonator. Boom! He’s such an utter idiot, he blows himself up along with everyone else. Julia is pushed out into the snow by the explosion (because otherwise how did she get there?), yet has no visible injuries, unlike her prosthetically impaired mother.

Then, when Alan needs a distraction, as you do, he manages to magic up Constance’s head to throw in the helicopter! When did he get that, and how did he make it rise up from storage with the facility destroyed? And, when Julia pushed him out of the helicopter, with one canister (which one? who cares?), why didn’t the chopper just land again? The layering of confusion with dumbness is some sort of narrative lasagne was breathtaking, if only in its audacity.

I guess if you’re going to do this you might as well make a complete joke out it, and in the final scenes where Alan is drinking coffee with a CGI Eiffel Tower in the background was probably what we deserved for not just turning off much earlier. He pays about $300 for a coffee, which makes Starbucks seem modestly priced. And, in the meanwhile by events unrepresented, and probably without a reasonable explanation ever, Julia is now heading the Ilaria Corporation. Ta Da! It was a middle finger gesture to those who watched the whole thing, where those behind it secured a second season and didn’t actually care how this one ended. Except they’d been told no more silly Arctic facility guff, because CGI Paris is a cheaper option.

I don’t want to think about Dans L'ombre (which translated means ‘in the shadow’) any more, as it just irritated me for its entire running time. As it’s the end of the season I’m inclined to look back at the early days of the show where the quirky sound and music provided an interesting feel to events, before all that promise spiralled out of control. Like it was set in outer space, that atmosphere escaped like someone opened the windows, around episode 5 or 6, and it never recovered. The number of plot points that weren’t explainable or had ridiculous underpinning (Daniel the Ghostbuster and Sarah the sonic weapons hobbyist) increased exponentially. The variable geographic location of the facility, with multiple unmentioned floors, and previously denied features didn’t help any sense of reality. The characters weren’t likeable, and the ones that were (like Doreen) they quickly killed off.

There is only one question I’ve got now, which is do I review season 2, after having my intelligence liberally insulted by season 1? I’ve got 7 months or so to decide that, though at this moment watching another 13 episodes as badly written as this isn’t an appealing thought.

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

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Disqus - noscript

Wow if you hate the show so much why are you the reviewer. find somebody that is neutral, cmon DoG. I personally love the show and had no issues with the things you are picking on from this episode. Is some of it a bit silly? Sure, but so was Divergent and that was just terrible. He paid 300 for the coffee because the waiter dropped him the Ilara access Card to presumably get in the building right in front of him. Maybe you should wathc the episode instead of tweeting so you can give an objective review instead of just a tantrum.
The first 4 or 5 episodes of this series almost had me ready to bail, but something was there I knew it, and personally I think its going well, although maybe I'm wrong. But I like it, and I bet (since there is a second season?) others like it as well. So how about a responsible review that is objective, sure tell us you didnt like it thats fine, but this is a joke.

Really have to agree! I loved the idea of this program when it started but over the weeks the mystery has gone and it's become so very predictable! We take bets now in terms of what line is coming next and how the episode will end... and don't get me started with the main character (Billy Campbell) whispering... why can't he talk in anything other than a whisper?

I managed to stick with it. It has been a strangely entertaining show despite the number of continuity errors and some bad dialogue.
I'm not really looking forward to season 2. The Arctic setting was what made it largely enjoyable even if no one knew where the base was actually meant to be. The last episode just felt like they were trying to throw as many surprises as possible without bothering to set them up. I just sat there going, "really, really, really."

I've watched the show from the beginning and I have to agree with the author. I thought this was a horrible slap in the face to viewers. Everything that this show touted from the beginning seemed to just be dumb-ed down each episode until we got the silly flying head from who knows where.

There were so many plot holes from the beginning of the episode to the last moment. I don't know if I'm going to be watching next season, but I understand where the author is coming from.

And Divergent? I saw that movie this weekend and I regret spending my money on it. To compare it to anything is a slap in the face to any comparison. That movie had more plot holes and terrible acting than anything I've ever seen.

I agree! I haven't watched Helix yet, but the review above is like one of DoG's for Revolution. That show is entertaining. It doesn't always need to be top notch Inception class scifi.

Um, since when does a website have to assign someone 'neutral' to the show? They of course should be neutral at the beginning, but if they find the show bad, then they should be honest. If you had your way, it seems that all shows would be getting at least average reviews, and once a reviewer writes a couple of bad reviews they would be replaced. That seems remarkably silly to me. The fact that someone gives negative reviews to a TV show does not make them non-objective or irresponsible.

I have found Helix enjoyable despite (and in some ways because of) the flaws but can't disagree with any of them. My one issue, is that this has been guaranteed a second season, when there is still no news about, the on balance much more worthy, 'Almost Human' I would much rather have seen this tied up in the 13 episodes and see the continuation of that series. Sadly, in classic Fox style, airing out of order, shuffling in the schedules and as usual not listening to anyone means we've probably seen the last of that!

Cannot believe this pile of sh#t has been renewed! literally gobsmacked. Gave up watching around ep 5 or 6 as the writing was appalling and nothing made sense. I've actually enjoyed the reviews on here more than the show and saved myself an hour a week to watch something that doesn't make my brain bleed.
Do yourself a favour and don't bother watching next season, life's to short.

"...Amber Goldfarb who plays Jane Walker is much younger than Kyra Zagorsky
who plays her daughter. To fix this slight problem they applied copious
amounts of duff prosthetics onto poor Amber to ‘age’ her. My immediate
reaction was that we’d get a flashback to her as a young person, but
alas she was dead before the episode ended. So why not use an older
actress?"

Because Amber Goldfarb first appeared in episode 4, during Julia's hallucinations down in the lower levels. It was revealed she was seeing her mum in a later episode (possible ep5)

a show so bad I had to keep watching. I don't know why I did, maybe there were subliminal messages in the elevator music drawing me back...

It's over... It's over! It's over!!! Smeagol is freeeeee!!!

i am totally with you, Helix is a load of writing rubbish - nothing makes sense, and falling pregnant after 7 days.. give me a break...
what started out as a virus outbreak turns to become one man vs corporation- a group of immortals whom is portrayed to be god like but can die with a punch or can kill 20 before the lift arrives in 5 floors.

every event and theme about this show just became ridiculous - they should of just renewed stargate or something.

I couldn't agree with you more. I've been with this show since episode one. (Not that it was that long ago but still.) They've tested me week by week and STILL I managed to stick with the it. I just had a small glimmer of hope that the writers would right their wrongs. That there was a point to all this. Well thank you Helix! Thank you for confirming my fears and wasting precious time that could have been spent on something worthwhile....Like HOUSE OF CARDS!

Love your reviews. Come back for season 2.....I will probably....but only to look forward to reading more of these. DAMN YOU HELIX!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN YOU TO AN ETERNAL LIFE THAT ONLY 500 OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE AT A TIME? WTF

Yup, Helix is incredibly stupid. I read the review before watching the show (dumb I know) I actually wasn't going to watch it but I think the reviewer was being a tad unfair.
As another poster wrote I think it was fairly obvious all that money wasn't for the coffee, rather cash being paid to an informant for the card... (also come on, the CGI for "Paris" wasn't that terrible)
As for Julia, who knows what they did to her in the time, between the events..now I'm not really jonesing to find out but it will be interesting to see who the writers try and explain this all..now everything has moved out of the facility, how will they proceed?
I hate myself for saying this.... I sort of kind of like this show *ducks for cover*

I watched this cos Ron Moore's name was on....
Now i'll avoid anything with Ron Moore's name on it.

Continuity errors?????!!!!!!! Day 1 to Day 13 wasn't good enough for you? You sat there going 'really' probs cause you haven't watched the previous episodes or perhaps you just another online troll

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