While Helix had a shaky start this season, it has had a few episodes in a row now where answers to long-held mysteries have been revealed. The coming together of disparate storylines and the overturning of people in power has kept things lively as well.
The problem is that, despite all this improvement, it’s getting more and more difficult to care. As secrets cease to obscure the underlying landscape of the story, the audience can see how barren it really is.
Attempts to recapture suspense include the capture of and threatened danger to some of the main characters. Kyle’s ordeal with a mycotic couple gives an interesting look inside the life of those somehow surviving with the virus outside the walls of the abbey. For both seasons of Helix, however, it at least felt believable when the infected were in mindless fits of compulsion to spread the virus inside them. Somehow seeing these creatures, who were presumably once peaceful abbey inhabitants, act like cannibalistic cavemen fighting over eyeballs just seems silly.
I know I should be used to that by now, but it’s a virus, right? And Kyle’s strategy to fight off his captors by infecting himself just because the infected woman told him they don’t eat their own is misguided at best and fatalistically stupid at worst. I did like seeing Soren, though, and I presume his recovery from the virus is still key to getting a cure. The red sap may prevent death, but it’s no antidote.
Another character who’s supposedly in danger is Sarah, from whom Amy wants the gift of immortality. This story arc is laughably bad as Sarah inexplicably cooperates with almost no visible threat. Sure, she wants her baby back (what will she do with it?), but to allow Amy to perform a painful spinal tap with no anesthesia simply because she loudly proclaims she wants the procedure done NOW is simply baffling. Is Landry that threatening? Well, maybe he will be now that he might be immortal himself.
Speaking of immortal, it was nice to see the modern version of Julia on the island, and her desire to use Michael’s infertility expertise to present an alternative for population control to her Ilarian colleagues is the most interesting part of this episode. The link between the infertile apples from “the mother” tree and bees carrying the virus from apple blossoms seems obvious, but since most of the CDC is out in the woods looking for sap, this knowledge may take awhile to spread.
It was nice to see Doreen, a likable character from season one who died too early to fully enjoy, but the visions while Alan was either asleep or unconscious seemed more gimmicky than useful. Their discussion of Kyle and his animosity towards Alan and his supposedly terrorist ways is a character study that goes nowhere, especially given Kyle’s fate in this episode.
All in all, the episode felt flat, even though the series has been turned on its head by Michael’s absence and the long-awaited visit to the infected outcasts in the woods. The surviving members of the clan follow Amy instead of Anne, but it just doesn’t seem to matter given how few people are left. I could say the same for the dwindling Helix audience as well.