Sunday, February 15, 2015

Helix, Season 2, Episode 5: Oubliette

Everyone was stabbed last episode, so rather than reveal how many of them are totally ok, we have a flashback to:

Washington DC, 3 Months Ago

And Kyle being instructed by a superior on Alan Farragut so he can join the CDC team and collect evidence to help them arrest Alan.

Day 5

Kyle runs through the cult headquarters carrying Sarah who is bleeding profusely. Peter and Kyle try to help her and Agnes shows up to take over, pointing out they’re both research doctors while she’s treated every wound on the island. Duly dismissed, Kyle pushes Peter to call for help to get them off the island (since this is the second time a member of the team has been nearly killed). Peter won’t do it because they have to stop the infection. He’s also not telling people about the infected honey because it could cause panic.

Seriously? People will PANIC if they’re told “don’t eat the poison honey” so it’s best to let them go out every day and continue to eat it, become infected and turn into raving fungus zombies which are causing panic?! This is such a ridiculously bullshit excuse for secrecy

Kyle doesn’t point out my reasoning but does point out that kids stoned him and someone stabbed Sarah and that panic is the least of their concerns. Peter gives in and agrees to talk to Michael while Kyle cordons off the hive.

They tell Michael the source of the infection and add that the bees could have picked it up elsewhere and brought it to the hive (so the hive may not be the only source). Michael protests his people would never eat sweet sweet honey when they can eat the healthy healthy food they grow. This cult leader has a very limited knowledge of human nature. Peter implies that Alan is behind it all and exposes him as a terrorist and his brother. Michael isn’t that excited about this because they have a whole policy of people forgetting their pasts but does listen to Peter’s advice about keeping him away from everyone else.

Alan is grabbed and dropped in an oubliette. With Peter. Michael’s curious about whether they’ll talk out their issues or kill each other. Time for a long argument about blowing up buildings, Julia, ruining each other’s plans, Julia, Arctic Biosystems, Julia, whose the better doctor + younger brother envy and, of course, more Julia. They then fight. I hope they kill each other.

Afterwards they discuss how they were so united facing their abusive father. In the new sense of family they decide to work together to free themselves (including lots of “we’re family, I’d never leave you here” which completely ignores the whole attempt to have Alan locked up in the first place). When Alan gets out with Peter’s help, he refuses to help Peter. After ranting about what a terrible brother Peter is, he adds that he knows Peter is working for Illaria.

Michael confronts Anne and Amy about the infected honey. They protest how impossible it all is and Anne falls back on “nature finds a way”, aha, dinosaurs next? C’mon this show makes little sense already, you might as well have dinosaurs. Michael has a proper supervillain rant about how he controls natural – and proves it by forcing Anne to drink sap that should have poisoned her but for his manipulations.

Amy confronts Landry on not telling her about the honey sooner, making it clear their sex life is now curtailed because of his failure.

Anne sees Michael alone to apologise for failing, completely accepting his abuse. He is all kind and tender and praiseworthy – until he mentions how terrible it is she’s so old now.

Kyle goes to the hives as instructed and is chased by several cultists who want him to know how unwelcome he is. Some of them show marks of infection and one of them is fool enough to throw Kyle (in full protective gear) into a bee hive. The bees react angrily and we have a very dead cultist.

In the aftermath, Landry smokes out the rogue hive while Amy tries to flirt with Kyle who isn’t impressed, especially since two fungus zombies are still on the loose. Though how much is her desire to be with Kyle and how much is to make Landry jealous is another issue. It certainly works in that case with Landry being all stalky and angry at Kyle.

Sarah recovers and Grace is stunned by her healing ability. She’s also critical of Sarah being around infectious diseases while pregnant. Grace talks about how children are the key to immortality and a legacy though Sarah isn’t exactly that enthused by immortality through childbirth since she is an immortal.

Grace collects pollen from one of their many odd plants and uses it to knock Sarah unconscious so she can then remove the contact lenses in Sarah’s eyes, exposing her silver irises. She’s pretty shocked and horrified by the discovery. She tells Amy who is equally shocked and also declares it “impossible.”

Landrey delivers a jar of the infected honey to Amy who is very happy about this – she says it will get her off the island. Landrey is now in sexual good books again.

Alan goes to Kyle to try and find Sarah and Kyle tries to find out some more about Arctic Biosystems and Paris from him. Alan decides this is suspicious and to attack Kyle for possible Illaria connctions. Kyle handcuffs him.

And time for a nice big reveal – Agnes treats Matthew’s eyes with an injection to change their colour. Their natural colour is silver, he’s an immortal. He told Agnes (and Anne and Amy) that he was the only one. When she tells him about Sarah he gasps “impossible, she wasn’t there!”. Agnes is upset about being lied to – especially since she realises there may have been a way to make her like him. Michael deflects and says how much he loves Agnes, the favourite of his daughters and her doubts will destroy what he’s built – for 500 years. He kills her.

 Day 10955 (30 Years later)

Unsurprisingly, Julia isn’t dead. She’s found by Caleb who takes her and her new katana. He takes her to a cave and sews up her wound while she explains the limits of her immortality (expressly saying she’s not Wolverine). He also refers to Hatake as “the haunted man.” And leads to what may be the best lines of the episode:

“You killed your father?”
“We had issues.”

Caleb discusses his own father who died in a Narvik outbreak when he was young. His mother brought him to the island when there were multiple outbreaks (of Narvik, we assume since going to where the fungus zombie plagues started to escape it seems odd). Julia talks about the world being devastated as well as well as her ongoing quest to save the immortals. Caleb notes that “all it took was a little mortality to make you people human again”.

They also check out the sword Hatake left Julia – there’s writing on it in Japanese but Julia can’t read it. No doubt this will be relevant later. When she wakes up she finds Caleb gone – with the sword.

I don’t think there are enough words in the English language to convey how little I care about Farragut family drama.

One of my utter pet hates in this genre is convoluted secrecy – because it’s used over and over again to patch ridiculously broken storylines. Ok, Peter is working a completely different angle, but the whole “we can’t tell people not to eat poison because it may cause panic” is so patently ridiculous that he should have blushed when he said it.

I do kind of wonder what experience Michael has of the world that he thinks he could kill 3 CDC doctors and not face a shitstorm of consequences for it. I rather think that the headline “cult kills 3 CDC doctors trying to stop zombie plague” would be quickly followed by the headline “cult is annihilated with ludicrously excessive force.”

I wish there had been a different pushback to Grace’s “the only way you leave a legacy is kids” speech. She herself said she’d saved many lives and was a leader of the cult – that isn’t a legacy unless she had kids? Sarah is a CDC doctor, she’s saved innumerable people through her work – this isn’t a legacy?

I also hope there’s some more exploration of the immortals changing in personality when faced with the threat of death when they thought themselves immune to it. I’m also curious as to how many people in this world know about the existence of immortals. I’d also like to know more about the apparently dystopian state of the world in Julia’s time

I just have… so many questions and so little information. Who is Caleb, what does he want, why is the sword relevant. What is Julia actually trying to achieve? What is Anne trying to Achieve? What is Amy trying to Achieve? What is Illaria doing? What is Michael doing? What is Alan doing? What is Peter doing and why?

Why, why, why, why, why? Far too much why.