Sunday, February 22, 2015

Helix, Season 2, Episode 6: M Domestica

It’s jarring interposed images time – at, what I assume is an Ilaria boardroom, some guy tells his fellows that Hitake is all bad bad wrong but they have a new strain of Narvik which is awesome (with a video of zombies reminding us that zombies are actually the goal of Narvik – with the nice words of “making the planet sustainable) intercut with Julia and Sergio having sex before she decides to stop. They get a call finally learning about the board meeting that they weren’t told about

Julia arrives to the meeting and is snarked at for being late, she throws side-eye at the guy giving the speech for not telling her it had been moved and snarky lady joins her in giving the evil eye to the guy. This would be easier with names. The guy continues his speech basically about culling humanity because we’re ruining the planet; he plans to use Narvik to destroy 75% of humanity within 3 months. Julia isn’t a fan of genocide as she’d been assured she would have chance to find a non-lethal way of stopping people destroying everything. Julia openly calls it genocide which everyone considers so very uncouth and she’s demeaned for being so very young among that room full of silver-eyed immortals with added lectures about the persecution the immortals have faced in the past.

The board votes in favour of genocide, Julia being the only dissenting voice.

Flashback over, it’s time for          Day 6

Michael sadly tells his little fiction of how Agnes died to Anne who confirms Agnes was her mother (why do I think Michael is the biological father not just metaphorical father of Agnes, Anne and Amy?). He also calls Anne his favourite daughter which is exactly what he called Agnes.

Anne tells Amy and she doesn’t believe their father that Agnes died of a stroke, especially since she saw Agnes go to accuse Michael of lying about being the only Silver Eyed in the world. Anne won’t question, she’s a loyal servant and demands Amy do something on her upcoming 20th birthday; something that Anne and Agnes and her mother did before. Amy confirms that all of the women over the generations are his daughters and his lovers (Julia’s only half-silver-eye and she became immortal – I would have thought over the generations of nasty incestuous inbreeding Amy would be an immortal herself). Anne thinks it’s all wonderful and really wants Amy to have a daughter by her father/grandfather/great-grandfather/great-great grandfather. Amy wants no part of it.

Alone she tearfully tells Landrey what’s going to happen to her and he’s all confused with his hero worship of Michael and devotion to Amy. He refuses to even let her talk of her father raping her. She reveals how desperate she was for everything to get worse since it would give her a chance to escape – and resorts to seducing Landrey to help her

Alan has been handcuffed by Kyle after his attack last week, which is when Sarah returns and it’s revealed that Kyle was here undercover to hunt Alan. But he is a doctor and while everyone distrusts everyone else, he tries to get them focused on the source of the plague – where the bees picked up the new zombie plague. That would involve matching the pollen to every plant on the island but Alan already knows the truth because Special (and it gives him more chance to snarl at Kyle) and points out it is an apple tree (they use the latin name so they can further snark at Kyle).

Peter is still stuck in the Oubliette and Michael has questions – is Peter an Immortal, is he part of Ilaria etc. Peter plays ignorant so Michael dumps in a crate of rats to encourage Peter to talk. Who even has a crate of rats? It’s not like he even dispatched his followers to hunt them down because he says they haven’t eaten in 2 days. He just keeps a box of hungry rats around in case they’re useful.

At Agnes’s funeral (the other dead people didn’t get funerals it seems), Michael leads the eulogy talking about a blackberry Agnes had created as testament to her skills. That blackberry is handed out in bowls to everyone attending, but before the service Landrey covered them in infected honey.

Kyle comes back from collecting apple pollen to find a huge outbreak of fungus-zombies running amok. Kyle quickly tells Anne to round up all the new zombies and lock them up, by force if necessary.

Faced with the huge outbreak and Sarah still injured, Kyle is forced to release Alan. As an added problem, Anne won’t let them use western medicine until Michael intervenes. They also put two and two together and realise the berries were the probably source of the infection. And since only some of the berries were infected, it points to deliberate tampering

Meanwhile Amy continues with her plan – she goes to where Olivia is being held for stabbing Sarah, winds her up a bit more and lets her go. She gathers some followers and they all arm themselves. She has quite a following considering her babbling

Peter climbs to the top of the oubliette only to find a deeply creepy fungus zombie at the top who pushes him back down. Michael comes to ask more questions and Peter cracks – and tells Michael that Sarah was pregnant when she was made immortal.

Landrey was there paying attendance and he tells everything to Amy – but adds a somewhat stretch that the baby may hold the key to making them all immortal. Amy also expositions on her lack of silver eyes – Michael is trying to breed an immortal which is why he keeps having a child with his own daughter until a child is born with so little mortal in them that they have silver eyes. Landrey is getting shaky in his loyalty though and is unsure about delivering Sarah to Amy rather than Michael.

Later many cultists are gathered as Michael searches a locker and finds infected honey in a coat – in Anne’s coat. Amy, of course, defends her mother (nice touch their Amy) while Michael orders Landrey to bring Anne into custody.

Olivia leads her forces to free all of the quarantined infected – Alan and Kyle try to talk sense into her but it doesn’t work. They take the sedated infected away. And, later, Landrey makes Alan breathe the same mind-altering plant that caused the kids to attack Kyle.

In the lab Kyle and Sarah discuss their findings – the fungus is in the apple pollen but isn’t Mycotic like the honey. Drugged Alan arrives and convinces Kyle to leave before strangling Sarah.

Time to run over to Ilaria where Julia tells Sergio about the upcoming apocalypse and her plan to tell all to the CDC in the hope they can stop it. She also gives him the single dose of the Narvik cure she has.

Julia goes home to find chief snarky woman waiting for her (hey she cooked dinner at least). She has used her considerable intelligence and experience to realise exactly what Julia’s doing – and how much it’s going to fail. However, she’s not exactly on board with her colleagues’ genocide plans either. She gives Julia a name and a meeting place and time.

Her contact is a silver-eyed child; the immortals do come in all apparent ages. She is not part of Ilaria (saying you can’t change the system from within). She tells Julia about another renegade immortal – neither part of Ilaria nor one of her group who has a project that may stop Ilaria’s Narvik. She’s also immensely cryptic because that’s a rule and she gives Julia a pendant with a tree on it. The same tree symbol used in Michael’s cult.

I am feeling very teased now, by Helix. Because what Julia is doing? That is the plot line I wanted after season 1 ended. This is what I wanted to see; Narvik being put to use, the machinations of the immortals, trying to save the world – everything the finale of season 1 promised

I’m far more interested in that than I’m a CDC Doctor, Get me out of here! on the island with incest cults thrown in.

I am torn over the incest storyline. On the one hand, it’s very much true to life – a huge number of cults had their leaders sexually exploiting the women within their flock. It’s such a common aspect of cults that not including it would have been something of a wash of the reality of close, insular cults. Equally, even with Landrey and Anne supporting it, it’s very clearly presented as revolting and repellent and the cult’s support of it is just more aspects of how abusive it is rather than excusing it

It also serves a lot of add motive and humanity to Amy. So far we have seen her as the ambitious, sexually manipulative, devious and heartless conniver - which is an incredibly damaging and sexist trope – demonising female sexuality, casting women as manipulative and contrasting her with the passive followers of Agnes and Amy. Now we have a very humanising motive; is she manipulative, willing to kill, use her sexuality as a weapon and generally devastate the whole community? Yes. But the alternative is being raped by her own father and I’m having a hard time not just saying “burn it all down if you have to!” and cheering her on if that’s her path to escape.

The flip side is that we are introducing rape into a storyline that really doesn’t need it. And we’ve turned one of the more active and cunning women on the show, albeit an apparently evil one, into a victim. I don’t like that when juxtaposed, again, with the passive Agnes and Anne and the fact Julia has spent 4 out of 6 episodes tied to the furniture and Sarah’s spent the last two dealing with a  stab wound.