Sunday, March 1, 2015

Helix, Season 2, Episode 7: Cross Polination

Alan wakes up and sees his bloodied fingernails for a brief flashy recap of everything that just happened. Frankly, just about anything he did could have cause the damage but I’ll go with climbing out of the oubliette


Wait, 1601? Yes, it’s flashback to Michael in the distant past, narrated by the immortal French girl to Julia. Michael fell in love with and married a peasant girl – though she loved someone else, cheated on him and had an illegitimate child, much to the mockery of the people around. Michael decided the appropriate response was to burn his wife and her lover’s house down – with them in it.

Day 7

In Paris the girl finishes the story to Julia who is duly suspicious of the idea that this man will stop Ilaria. I kind of wonder why the girl thought this was relevant information on how Michael will stop Ilaria. Finished with the prologue, she now explains how Michael can help – he has perfected the science of causing infertility (hi there Utopia!) which only effects mortal men (which confirms that Michael is the father of all the children in his cult). A way to reduce the mortal population without genocide (well… depending on your definition of genocide. Forcible sterilisation of a group is generally considered an act of genocide). Julia decides to find Michael

To that island where Amy reports to a rather frazzled looking Michael that most of the infected who were released last episode are being hidden. Michael is all stressed because Agnes isn’t around to put everything just as he likes it – so he turns to Amy, her granddaughter (and his daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter) to do it. She warns him that people are scared and “people” are talking about leaving the island. (And by people she means she is).

The missing infected also worries Kyle; they’ve found 4 “Mycotics” which leaves 79 out there and the sedative is wearing off. Michael arrives to address the crowd in the makeshift infirmary and he says, for their own protection, none of them should leave the room. One of the followers, Malcolm, questions leaving their family outside – and Michael calmly says the health will be directed back to them while the infected will, basically, be left to die.

The crowd does not react well – one of them throws an egg at him. Michael has Landrey lock the room. He goes to his office to talk to his paintings of generations of daughters/sexual partners. Amy arrives to ask if Malcolm should be imprisoned in a “contemplation cell” (which, frankly, sounds more ominous than “death hole”) but no, Michael is all for hearty dissent which is a complete u-turn and something he contradicts 10 seconds later by shushing Amy and telling her about all her peacefully, obedient predecessors. He then starts grabbing her neck in a very threatening manner

Kyle and Alan go looking for Sarah and find a shoe in the lab – Alan picks it up and has a psychic vision flash. What? The psychic vision tells him where Sarah is. I’m going to assume this is a memory coming back from being under the drug since he kidnapped Sarah

Over to Sarah in an outbuilding, on a gurney clearly the victim of brutal gynaecological experiments. She gets up from the gurney and finds broken human tooth on the floor. She also finds a dead Mycotic and steals her shoes – which makes it easier to flee when we hear a woman screaming.

She finds some kids, hidden by their mother when their father became Mycotic. He’s out there calling for them – he hammers on the door of their hiding place then goes ominous silent when a woman screams.

Sarah and the kids leave, and it is amazingly scary and spooky – while Kyle and Alan also arrive at the building. They find the gurney where Sarah was experimented on and Alan has another psychic flash of the events. He also decides it’s time to tell Kyle that Ilaria is responsible for Narvik – and they’re working on something else. He also decides Sarah is part of it because that explains the kidnapping; Kyle responds to this implied criticism of his crush by pointing gun at him. He also sees Alan’s eyes shake back and forth like the kids who attacked him and he realises Alan has been drugged. But that’s about it. Honestly it’s “I’ve been drugged!” then back to finding Sarah, by splitting up.

To Peter in the Oubliette who has now been joined by Anne who is in full denial mode about Michael and how he is sure to welcome her back. She also wants to apologise for the cult not being that helpful – Peter doesn’t really like this weak apology since Michael dropped a barrel of rats on him. A gift basket is called for. They do find common cause in how awful it is to work with family. There’s a brief hope when Amy arrives to tell Anne that Michael is worrying her and talking to the d├ęcor – but Anne is still a loyal follower and tells Amy to meekly obey and go back and sleep with Michael. Amy refuses and storms off, not listening to Michael or Anne. Poor Peter tries to actually focus on rescue here but he’s the only one interested in that.

Peter tries to reason with Anne who is busy blaming herself for everything.

Kyle finds Michael’s botany lab and hides when Michael arrives to poke at his plants. While hiding he finds the cult records going back to the 1600s and a big family tree. He pockets a the book while Amy comes in to confront Michael making it clear she’s not going to sleep with him or spend her life by his side. Michael’s turn – he knows Amy manipulated Landrey into plaguing everyone but he likes Amy, she’s like him, a leader. He disposed of Anne because she’s a “sheep”. More, he thinks the whole “crop” is rotten – he’s basically planning on destroying the whole cult. He’s already preparing the poison

It’s not even the first time it’s happened. He’s had two previous purges, each time he repopulated the cult with his then daughter/wife having multiple children. Amy refuses – and he grabs her, saying she’ll co-operate “with or without your teeth.” He imprisons her in a cabinet full of toxic plants. As he’d told Anne and Agnes before her – he tells Amy she’s his favourite.

Over to Sarah whose escape is delayed by the need to tell the frightened children a story. Kids, once upon a time, I rescued kids from near certain danger but they wouldn’t come with me because they were scared. I left them behind and they were eaten by fungus zombies. The end. Who can tell me the moral of this story? Alas Sarah is not as cruel as me and she pauses, and while she’s telling a story the Mycotic father catches up.

They run, the hallways littered with bodies, but Sarah’s injury from the invasive surgery stops her from continuing. Just before he reaches them, Alan leaps on the man and knocks him out. Or, as it turns out, the disease conveniently killed him at just that moment. This leads to a science discussion and Sarah and Alan realise that Mycotic-ness can kill people super quickly (and conveniently).

Alan takes Sarah for an ultrasound – and they find she is no longer pregnant, there is no sign of the foetus. Alan also thinks this is the best time to tell her he was drugged and he attacked her. Sarah accuses him of hating immortals so much he attacked her to get rid of the baby. Michael leaves and she begs Kyle to let her out – he refuses.

Instead he finds Peter and Anne in the oubliette, he rescues them and describes what Michael is doing. With stories from Anne’s ancestor they realise that a mass killing is underway. Kyle even references Jonestown.

Michael goes to his gathered followers and offers them a “cure” that the CDC developed. To prove it is safe, he drinks it first. He makes a point of telling them to give the cure to their children and the elderly.

One boy spills his “medicine” and hides it while around him everyone gets sick. Kyle, Peter and Anne run to the hall but the doors are barred. Michael walks through the crowd as the people sicken and die. He reaches the kid who spilled his poison – and gives him a new cup. The child drinks it.

Well that was a horrifyingly powerful effective ending. That touch with the one child we think will survive being found by Michael was especially horrifying.

We do seem to have hit a lot of cult staples with the sexual exploitation and mass murder – but it also feels a little like someone’s just grabbed all these staples, put them together and BEHOLD cult!

I think they have done a decent job of flagging a lot of domestic violence markers with Anne to really bring home how wrong it is when she blames herself for his cruel abuse.

I don’t know what’s weirder – Alan suddenly developing psychic visions or Kyle deciding to go along with said psychic visions. Ok they’re Alan’s memories coming back from under the drug, not psychic visions – but why is Kyle running with it?

The plot is moving along but I can’t say I’m particularly fascinated. I don’t hate it – but I kind of think if it were cancelled tomorrow I wouldn’t notice. I think it’s because I don’t like any of the characters, I have no connection with any of them. The plot is also just a little confused - too many elements with Kyle and Sarah and Peter and Alan's family drama, the time shift, Julia,, much going on. 

Still, it does get points for style and emotional impact this episode