As the show's producers have promised all along, Helix isn't amplifying its mysteries with endless twists — instead, it's solving them, and things are getting damn interesting. In Friday night's episode, we met the mysterious corporate patron who controls Arctic Biosystems. Plus, the scary/funny tone of the series is finally coming together.
Let's go through the reveals one by one and rejoice in each individually, shall we?
1. We now know what Arctic Biosystems' mission truly is.
As the show begins, we meet Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan, in full badass mode), CEO of Ilaria, the company that funds Hiroshi's work. She's a great combination of steel-toothed aggression (LITERALLY steel-toothed, as we discover when she brushes her teeth with a steel sander WTF), and fake-sunny corporate buzzwordery. She sweet-talks Alan, promising to extract Julia from Monster Level. Then she gets Hiroshi alone in his office and starts strangling him because he created the virus she wanted but not the antidote. "That was your one job!" she snarls.
That's when she lets the Big Reveal drop: Ilaria is developing the virus to "thin the herd." OMG it's like the Genentech Eugenics project. This show has absolutely won my loyalty by giving us this reveal in mid-season. Because now it's not all about The Big Reveal, but instead the reasoning behind what Ilaria was doing — and the repercussions.
Obviously Hiroshi has been creating his own little backdoors on the virus and antidote. Because A) there are two strains, one of which creates the Vectors (which is something Constance is not happy about); and B) he seemingly has a cure, which he's hiding from Constance. Which leads me to our next reveal . . .
2. Julia is a silver eye.
So we now have three silver eyes. Hiroshi, Constance, and Julia. Last week, Hiroshi gave Julia the silver eye thing when she was about to die of Vector-itis — and now she's cured and can control Vectors with her gaze. Unfortunately, she also has migraines all the time. Her miraculous cure makes her "Survivor Zero."
Here's the big question. If this really is a cure, and Constance already has it, why is she yelling at Hiroshi about how he doesn't have an antidote to the virus? My guess would be that the silver eye thing is an unrelated genetic upgrade that makes people immune to a lot of things, and the virus happens to be one of them. That's why Constance and Hiroshi already have the upgrade. So it could be used as an antidote for the virus, but then it would also bestow all kinds of other post-human goodies on the recipient, which Ilaria probably wants to reserve for their new genetic ruling class.
So it seems like Genentech Eugenics — erm, I mean Ilaria — has plans to remake the human race as a set of biologically distinct classes after "culling the herd." Which — I'm not sure I see the profit in that. Maybe the idea is that they can sell the antidote after unleashing the virus? Or maybe they have moved beyond the profit motive into Ayn Rand/Rapture territory.
3. Hiroshi has been experimenting on children for decades, and Daniel is one of them.
Daniel's long-lost sister Anana discovered Sergio out on the ice last week, and brought him back to base in this episode. The always-persuasive Sergio has lured her into doing this by telling her about how he's seen her long-missing brother Daniel under Hiroshi's care, which is entirely true. There's a creepy undercurrent of political commentary here that I like. First of all, there actually is a history of non-Indian people stealing Indian kids in the U.S. and Canada. Plus, Sergio has experienced kid-stealing of a different nature, back in the Brazilian city where he grew up, where mob leaders stole kids to be in their gangs.
Once Anana and Daniel get to talking, he realizes that she's telling the truth about how he was stolen. In addition, he reveals that there "were always kids here." So Hiroshi (or somebody at Ilaria) was responsible for stealing 30 or so local kids, and Daniel may be the only remaining one. Of course, this also sheds light on who Julia might be. Maybe she's one of the stolen kids too.
Now we're left wondering what kinds of experiments Hiroshi did on those kids. But we also get a pretty strong hint that Hiroshi wasn't happy about it, and that whenever he could he tried to "father" these kids and take care of them. At least I think that's one way to interpret his relationships with Daniel and Julia. Of course, his lack of transparency about all this means that Daniel is starting to hate him. Julia, however, has come to trust him — especially after he cures her virus and gives her special contacts to protect her silver eyes.
But Julia doesn't put those contacts in fast enough, so now Alan knows about the silver eye thing. Good. Let's keep this plot moving, people.
4. Sergio is bonking Constance.
Nobody in this show is allowed to go into a room alone with another person unless bonking is going to happen. Really, people, give in to the sudsiness. Last week it was Alan and Sarah, who did something "biological" after stripping out of their high-performance long underwear from REI (seriously, this show is basically porn for people who are hot for SmartWool and yoga pants).
Still, Constance's "soft kisses" for Sergio don't prevent her from throwing him in jail. She doesn't want Alan or anybody else to know about her soft spot for Sergio until after the antidote is found.
As an aside, I love how Constance keeps using cheesy corporate speak to frame how her company will be working with the CDC. "It's a new relationship between private industry and the CDC!" she says with her "I eat nails" smile. And then Sarah slips in a line about how "big pharma" only cares about the bottom line. If only she knew! I feel like this show is playing with some of the best themes from the Starz series Torchwood: Miracle Day at this point, and I like it.
5. Show, you have finally figured out how to use your ironic music!
Love, love, love the way "Fever" is playing in the background as Constance and her henchmen explore Monster Level and discover that every single scientist has become a Vector. The zombies are all running around drooling black goo and screaming about how this never would have happened if their NSF grants hadn't run out. Alan has to shoot another one, and have more emo feels about it.
Also, as the show ends, we get another great dose of the same song as the Vectors smash their way out of Monster Level and into the main part of the facility. This nasty, funny bit felt like the show really coming into its own, tone-wise. It fit perfectly with Ryan's sunny/evil performance, and the anti-corporate satire that's come to permeate the show's main plotline. The early season floundering is over. We're getting down to business, and I like it.
6. Everybody dies.
In case you were wondering, Hiroshi's orders all along have been to kill everyone in the facility after he develops the virus and antidote. Constance makes that crystal clear. Not sure whether that means her boy toy Sergio will die too, but if not, hopefully we'll see her beat him up a bunch more times before he's Vectored.
To return to my point about reveal #1, showing us this incredibly dark motive at this point in the season is a great move. We know the stakes now, and there's no pussyfooting around. Time to save the world, people. And maybe do a little more biology stuff in the lab hump room, too.