Helix: M. Domestica Review

Helix hits its stride by clearing up character motivations, sharing sorely needed back story, and concentrating on the immortality plot.

When Helix starts doling out answers to long-held mysteries, it doesn’t mess around! This week’s episode, “M. Domestica,” is the first to really tie together the first season with the complete departure of the second. It also provides real motivation for some of the previously inexplicable actions of some of the characters on the island. And as I’ve said in my earlier reviews, anytime the show concentrates on the immortals of Ilaria, I’m happy.

The flashbacks to Julia in Paris have a decidedly vampiric feel with immortals of varying ages discussing the “stewardship of humanity.” Apparently, the majority of the group feels that mortals have made a mess of the planet, and the population needs to be scaled back – a lot! This explanation is the long-awaited foundation for pretty much all of season one, but it also provides a hint as to how things got started on the island of St. Germaine. There’s certainly more to the story there, but at least these mysteries are appropriately suspenseful and not completely confusing as has been the norm for this show.

Two of the new cast members from “the flock” also take on new depth in this episode. Brother Michael shows great interest upon learning that Dr. Jordan is pregnant with an immortal baby; apparently this has been his centuries-long goal as he impregnates each woman on the island (even his own daughters – ew!) at the age of twenty – or at least those belonging to the “A” line (Amy, Anne, Agnes, and continuing down through history).

And Amy is the other character who won points this week. Her attack on Dr. Sommer in an earlier episode using drugged, stone-wielding children was utterly baffling in its motivation and complete ineffectiveness. But this week, we see that she’s driven to escape the cycle of Brother Michael’s unquestioned rule. I particularly liked when she tried to convince Anne that Agnes’ death was not natural: “Does he even know what a stroke looks like?”

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Her manipulation of Olivia, however, and using the tainted honey to infect even more people seems misguided at best and downright cruel at worst. And can someone please explain to me why the one person who recovered from the virus, Olivia’s son Soren, was sent out into the woods with other mycotic exiles? That mystery has been hanging over our heads long enough, I think.

I do like having Alan back in the lab with the CDC; I never did care for his brother Peter playing the role of head-doctor-in-charge-of-speaking-with-breathless-and-accusatory-intensity.  I’m interested to see where the investigation of the fungus found on the apple blossoms will lead, and that’s a first for this science fiction show which has emphasized the fiction far more than its science. And Alan’s encounter with the wiggly-eye gas at the end of the episode was far more compelling than the kids who stoned Kyle a few weeks ago to a Brady Bunch soundtrack.

There’s still half a season to go, but if Helix continues down this more narratively sound track, the show might just be able to pull itself out of the hole of campy schlock it dug for itself midway through season one. Or perhaps it will be stuck like Peter, being nibbled by ravenous rats with no human company.


4 out of 5