Helix: The Ascendant Review

Helix delivers a disturbing but flat penultimate episode with tinges of hope for a blowout finale.

With a cure for the plague assured, you’d think we were headed for a happy ending to the season in “The Ascendent.” But this is Helix! Even the major players, who should know better, have their own agendas, some of them more believable than others. The interesting part of heading into a finale is that the future of the island has already been revealed in Julia’s story. So was the Narvik C released? How will Sarah’s baby enter the mix? And who makes it off the island alive?

There were plenty of people who weren’t so lucky in the aftermath of the CDC purge last week, and Peter and Anne start this episode off with the thankless task of body disposal. The disturbing juxtaposition of the hacking of limbs with their own entwined limbs was certainly shocking but only established how crazy their storyline is. Peter’s transformation into Eli (the “ascendent” from the title) has been one of the more credibility-stretching aspects of this season. Although it definitely makes his character more interesting, the idea that he would become as ruthless as Michael was, especially in killing Olivia, is downright implausible.

In second place for unbelievable short-sightedness is Sarah, whose single-minded devotion to her immortal fetus, while understandable, is causing her nothing but dangerous difficulty. As other characters echo our thoughts wondering what kind of life the child can have, Sarah takes the attitude that she’ll just figure it out later. Meanwhile, there’s a cure for mycosis, and you’re in the CDC! Maybe you need to worry about that as well!

Kyle continues to be the only sane one, even coming down from mycosis. His mayday call from the bell tower does yield results, but they’re made frustratingly brief by Pete – I mean, Eli’s interference. I’ll admit I’m baffled by the idea that Eli and Anne want the cure at the expense of letting the CDC have it. Why? I’d think they would want to be left alone to continue their creepy cult with the few members they have left! They even lessen their tribe by one member as Olivia’s aid causes her to be killed in front of her own son. Soren’s sorrow and Kyle’s offer to be his adoptive family was one of the more touching scenes this show has had.

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I also enjoyed Julia’s discoveries, not the least of which was being introduced to a newly-vested Eli; her laugh gave voice to our own feelings about Peter’s change. But of course the true discovery was in finding the Mother tree stump under the floor of the abbey. This investigation breathed life into an otherwise stale episode. Likewise, Alan keeping her in check, reminding viewers that the infertility solution is still pretty horrible, was a welcome bit of conflict. The only problem? The gunshot at the end may mean Alan’s demise, given the future scenes with Julia by his grave.

Is Helix having its final episode next week? It certainly feels like the story is wrapping up, and the likelihood of a final scene set in the future is quite high. I would applaud the show if it managed to tie its disparate storylines together somehow because as it is, Sarah’s immortal baby, the inscrutable endgame of Anne and Eli, the impending Narvik C release, and the far-future plague that kills immortals seem to be completely unrelated. Perhaps the show will pull a rabbit out of its hat and end with a bang.


3 out of 5