Sunday, March 9, 2014

Helix, Season 1, Episode 10: Fushugi

Day 10

Sarah is put into an MRI to scan her tumour now her secret is out – apparently a side effect is to hallucinate goo-zombies. The tumour has probably spread to her brain. She apologises for lying – but she wanted to go into the field, one last chance to do something meaningful with her life

Julia and daddy dearest Hiroshi are catching up. Her mother left him and took her when she found out about him kidnapping Inuit children – Julia is as unimpressed by his regret as I am. He tries to prove his love by talking about all the times he’s stalked her – which she condemns along with his “stalker book”. Nor is she impressed by him keeping things from her to try to “protect her”.

Julia decides to consult Alan who thinks she could be one of the kids Hiroshi kidnapped and experimented on. Alan decides he can actually achieve something constructive by storming to Hiroshi and stomping about on Julia’s behalf. Hiroshi has more pressing concerns – he’s found the footage of Dr. Victor Adrian heading out onto the ice with the Norvik, though Hiroshi thinks he’ll just die out there because there’s nothing around (except that Inuit village?) But looking at the maps they find an old base 50 miles away he could reach – possibly with a working radio

Julia and Alan decide to go, while Hiroshi fears for her, that it’s dangerous and that Victor will totally die anyway. They don’t listen, of course, and set off in the giant ice tractor thingy (I want one). Julia decides the journey is a good time to randomly talk about the night they broke up.

Back at the base, Peter the Goo Zombie King ransacks Hiroshi’s office. Sarah has a brief sadness moment over the euthanasia she helped, before deciding it’s time to get back to work. Hiroshi comes to help, full of regret of the terrible things he’s done “in the name of science”. And Sarah comforts him with the story of Edward Jenner testing his smallpox vaccine on a child –all the bad stuff totally doesn’t matter if you end up making something that works! No. No. No. Aw HELL NO. Hiroshi gives her a look which is, I think, supposed to be surprised revelation but I read as “what was that shit that just fell out of your mouth?!”

Hiroshi is sure there’s something in Julia’s blood to explain her surviving the virus and that they need broader testing; he throws in a big inspiring speech as well. He then returns to his office to find Goo Zombie King Peter fascinated by his Stalker Book. Hiroshi says he wants to help, that it’ll be all over soon and gets the reply “sooner than you think”. Ominous.

In the lab, Sarah has run the tests again and found something – science science science her telomeres have lengthened which is apparently impressive. Science science, this is a cure for cancer, science. Her cancer specifically. She throws in her own personal messages of goodbye if she’s dead before anyone finds this.

Julia and Alan arrive at the abandoned base and find Adrian using the radio to contact Ilaria (how? Does he have a frequency or other contact details? Or is he just transmitting and hoping?) – he grabs an ice axe when he sees them (did they think to bring a gun? No? What did they think would happen when they found him? Their cunning arguments would vanquish him?) After cunning argument fails, it’s time for violence – and Julia takes an ice axe to the face (ouch) but Alan wins and they restrain Adrian.

In the Inuit village, Anana doctors Sergio and he and Miksa seems to have accepted Sergio – no antagonism any more. But Ilaria will probably come back and kill everyone to keep their secrets. Miksa thinks the village should leave (he says “your people” Anana pushes back with an “our people”. Miksa still has some way to go).

As the village packs to leave, Miksa planning to stay behind and delay Ilaria, they realise the snow mobile is missing and only 4 of the 5 Ilaria guards are dead. Miksa sets off to stop him

At the empty base, Julia works to fix the radio, damaged in the fight (Alan is surprised she can and she makes a pointed comment of the things she’s had to learn since they split up). She manages to get the power on – and the whole place is decked out for Christmas. And yes it’s very very creepy. While Adrian gives his nasty little opinion on Alan and Julia’s love life, Julia tries to call for help with the radio. And rightly snaps at Alan when he wants to try – you can push a button and speak better than she can, Alan? Bickering is called by a laser sight appearing on Adrian’s chest – followed by a gun shot. He’s dead – at last he shut up.

They take cover and the gun man tells them to throw out the virus and no-one else has to die – which is kind of funny when you think that the virus is a doomsday weapon of genocide. And while cowering for cover, the radio flares to life – someone has heard their mayday call and is responding (in German) Alan crawls to it – but the gunman shoots the radio.

They then decide that while being pinned down by gunfire is a great time to discuss their break up. I see it as a new, exciting form of couples therapy!

They find a trap door and quickly duck into it, into a large room and tunnel under the base. They hear singing and follow it to find a baled man chained to the wall – he has silver eyes. They try to talk to him but he’s not very rational, though he keeps insisting they free him. What they do learn is that Constance forced him to pick a side – he did, so Hiroshi locked him up for 29 years (picked the wrong side there). He adds there can only be 500 (silver eyed?), and some talk about “rebirth” and eternal life. Which is apparently not that much fun.

Alan thinks it’s all nonsense, Julia’s not so sure and, either way, wants to know what she is anyway. With the gunman finding the tunnel, Julia insists he be freed since she needs answers. She tries to free him with bolt cutters and he grabs them and holds them to his neck – he rants about eternity means losing everything, watching everything die, then closes the cutters, killing himself, “freeing” himself. The distraction of the man bleeding to death gives the gunman chance to capture them

And start hitting Alan to find where he hid the virus. I won’t lie, I rewound it a couple of times to see Alan get smacked. He’s about to shoot one of them when they’re rescued by Miksa shooting the guy, who followed him from the village.

They burn the base – and the virus.

In the Inuit village, Anana isn’t happy about leaving their home so Sergio drops the wise but rather twee words about making home about people not places. They talk his guilt, saving the village, redemption – and kiss. About time. What did anyone not see this coming?

Sarah collapses during her research and Hiroshi helps her to bed again, he doesn’t think she has long. Julia has Questions about his prisoner. Hiroshi tells her the man betrayed her mother to Constance (a death sentence) so he responded (with a life sentence). Sounds reasonable guys! The 500 Immortals who run Ilaria will do anything to protect their secrets – he protects Julia by keeping her ignorant.

Sarah starts crashing and everyone rushes to resuscitate while Sarah voice overs her goodbye. They manage to bring her back, but she only has hours to live. Hiroshi pushes for Julia to use her special cure (transfusing spinal fluid or some such from her special miracle body). And, for some reason, Julia didn’t destroy the virus – she has kept it and hidden it.

In his Goo Zombie King Lair, Peter pastes up pictures of Julia. Julia, you’re being obsessed over by 2 supernatural weird beings. Joy!


Can we stop using the Edward Jenner excuse to justify complete lack of medical ethics? The fact your science ends up doing some good does not justify unethical, brutal methods that treat people like objects to use for your own curiosity. “None of that will matter if we can get this anti-viral to work.” No. No way Sarah – it matters. Especially since the fact he kidnapped Inuit children is also part of the pattern – the lives lost or ruined or risked in these experiments frequently come from vulnerable and marginalised communities. They matter – even if some miracle cure results from their pain – they matter.

Helix is very good at juxtaposing action with incongruous music. I thought the Nutcracker science scene was good – but the gun fight and Christmas music may have it beaten. But that whole scene would have been more reasonable if Alan had taken some of Hiroshi’s men or a gun or, y’know, some forces

What are the goo zombies actually doing? Most of the episodes they seem content to mill around doing nothing in unknown parts of the base