Sunday, April 12, 2015

Helix, Season 2, Episode 13: O Brave New World

Day 13

Alan has been shot by Julia. Alas, there’s little chance of him dying. Alan again begs Julia not to give Mother to Ilaria, not only is infertility genocide a bad idea, but it’s the source of the Mycosis plague. Michael couldn’t stop that even on an island, Ilaria won’t be able to either. Julia reminds him that in 12 hours Ilaria releases Narvik.

Meanwhile Kyle and Sarah have actually remembered that they’re CDC doctors and their main issue should be the plague heading for the mainland on any one of the ships around the island, not the infinite distractions that have plagued them. So they need to get off the island, soon, with the cure – which is difficult with Peter shooting at helicopters.

Sarah goes to Julia to ask about that job offer – she wants to join Ilaria for her and her baby’s sake. Julia agrees – but while they’re distracted Alan leaves his sick bed and goes wandering. Taking  Mother with him. They go looking and Sarah’s actually on the side of “you should have let him bleed to death” why, I never thought I’d agree with Sarah. She thinks Alan’s hatred of immortals is overwhelming and the only way to stop him will be to kill him.

Amy is alive! Because we all needed that. She has been rescued by Landry and isn’t happy about it since the gas has left her disfigured. This does not make Amy more restrained or reasonable.

Speaking of people who are not restrained or reasonable – Anne and Peter find where Julia found the Mother tree and now Peter decides he will use it to gain access to Ilaria and then RULE THE WORLD MUAHAHAHAHA!

Soren’s also upset about Peter murdering his mother and Kyle has to talk him out of random revenge. The kid runs off anyway and the cure gets put on the back burner a little longer. Soren does manage to stab Peter in the leg. Kyle catches up for him and tries to get used to this whole surrogate dad thing

Anne is alone with the kidnapped baby when Amy and Landry confront her – Amy scorns Anne’s apparent concern by reminding her mother that she was quite happy to see Michael rape Amy. Anne has finally recognised that Michael’s treatment of her and Amy was abuse – but she was so in his thrall and the conditioning so deeply rooted she didn’t see it. This would have been much nicer for Anne to see if it were more a revelation and less that she’s just replaced her god with a new one. Amy is outraged by the very belated apology – but does allow a second chance in exchange for the baby. She rips the baby out of Anne’s arms, telling Anne she won’t let her do to the child what she did to Amy.

Landry tries to be friends with the baby but Amy squelches that quite viciously. She wants to use the baby as bait for her “sisters”. The crying lures Sarah and Julia – but also the horde of toothless abused women (all armed) from the basement who Sarah forced Anne to release last episode. They take the baby while Sarah convinces Julia not to shoot them. They give Sarah her foetus in a bottle

Amy comes to see what a mess is left of Sarah and Julia and instead is ambushed by the women who pull out her teeth. She screams for Landry to help and he just takes the baby and walks away.

Over to Alan who has decided to douse Mother in flammable liquid when Peter arrives. Alan and Peter together always makes me wish for another bombing run. After being knocked to the ground I think Alan doesn’t realise just how far gone his brother is – as Peter continues to poor out the petrol around Alan. He links his transformation to his time in the Oubliette which, at least, tries to explain why Peter is so different. He declares Alan is not his family as he lights the fire.

Kyle and Soren see the fire as they’re given a new time for evacuation. Sarah and Julia also see the fire – Julia runs to save Mother and get her samples while Sarah leaves for the sake of her baby.

They go into the Abbey to find Peter (who has returned to the building he set on fire because of the baby he’s belatedly remember). He complains at Kyle for Soren stabbing him to which Kyle says “don’t do that” in a parenting style that doesn’t quite recognise the severity of bladed weapons and kiddies. He also punches Peter and tells Soren not to do that either. Then Sarah arrives and agrees that someone should have done that some time ago

Crappy parenting, but still awesome.

Landry takes the baby to Anne and when she asks where he’s going, he says “home”. He wanders off, possibly into a burning building

Julia manages to get Alan out of the burning building, alas.

Day 14

They were evacuated and they take Alan to a hospital. Kyle hands over the cure to the authorities. And Julia confronts Peter and Anne about Mother – but he’s already handed it over to Claire, Ilaria immortal who is an awesome cook. She asks Claire about Narvik C but Claire plays ignorant – why she nor anyone at Ilaria has ever heard of Narvik C! What a silly thing to say.

Of course, Kyle was sent to arrest Alan and he hands over the details of the safety deposit box Alan gave him. Peter is also arreated and Sarah hears that her baby has died.

Day 10963, 30 years later

Back to the future with Julia sick and in the ruins of the abbey. Caleb is looking after her – and tells her he was in the Abbey 30 years ago as well. He can also read the letters sword Hatake gave Julia – it’s an RNA code; a virus. His legacy is a virus. A virus to kill immortals. Julia realises Caleb knows a whole lot of answers but when she demands some answers he asks her “do you know the way to San Jose?”

Well at least we may get an explanation to this random question.

It turns out it’s a cryptic reference to Julia and Alan’s marriage. And Caleb is Soren, all grown up, with a false eye.

He reveals that Hatake and Alan worked together to create the virus on the blade – TXN7, the virus to kill immortals in response to Mother being used to control human procreation. There’s also a cure – in Soren’s blood which he gives to Julia. Soren has remained in hiding on the island to ensure his blood isn’t used by he immortals. Julia doesn’t take the cure “if the plague is immortality, there is only one cure.”

She does wish she could see Alan again – cut to Alan back in time in the hospital, with silver eyes

What? Are we in full madlib zone now?

Year 2029

A woman goes to a clinic and explains her desperate desire for a child to a completely uncaring medical professional who performs a series of tests (in the waiting room we see an advert for Ilaria selling food). The treatment to have a child seems to be extremely involved and restrictive and high tech. Very intimidating. The doctor administering it is Sarah.

Alan was right

AAAAAAAAAAAARGH. I hate this. I hate it because it makes no sense. I hate it because the whole idea that the entire board of Ilaria lied about Narvik C for months to Julia, arranged the immortal French girl to meet her and went through all this ridiculous, convoluted plot to get Julia to find Michael is LUDICROUS! This is a truly ridiculous amount of effort to spend when there were so many easier ways to get this done. Alan accused Ilaria of this wretched scheme with nothing more than deluded paranoia – but now he has been validated through pure nonsense.

On the whole I can’t say I particularly liked this reboot of the first season. There weren’t enough connections, there wasn’t enough continuity and there wasn’t enough development from the end of season 1 to the beginning of season 2. If this were a book series, I would say that I had gone from book 1 to 3 and skipped those in between. As it is most of the cast being present on the island – Peter, Sarah, Kyle, Alan, is all either unexplained, vaguely alluded to or utterly unexplained. It just happened and it adds to the overall convoluted nature of his season – the writers wanted to tell this story which needed the characters to be here so the characters would be here. Did it fit, did it work, is it a smooth progression? It doesn’t matter this square peg WILL go through that round hole, damn it!

This follows some of the characterisations – like Peter – that I didn’t quite follow. Yes he had a harrowing time in the oubliette but to come out of it and declare home spun cloth, rape dungeons, baby kidnapping and cult leading is the way for him seems… unsupported.

I also wonder how Michael can spend several centuries trying to create silver-eyed people while we have Julia, Sarah and now Alan all going silver quite easily. Michael you fail.

I think one of my main issues with this season was how distracted it was. We had a solid plot with them fighting the new disease, finding the infertility cure while the cult wars with outsiders, Michael’s control and Amy’s rebellion. But then we had to have immortal foetuses and rape dungeons and Mycotics who want red sap and eyes and Olivia leading her rebellion and Peter going so far off the rails he can’t even see the tracks – it all felt like weird extras glued onto the core plot and it was utterly unnecessary.

Speaking of unnecessary – so much rape. Couldn’t Amy have been the rebellious up-and-comer wanting to get off the island and escape Michael’s stifling control without the threat of rape looming over her? Couldn’t Michael have had his cult without the rape dungeon? Couldn’t Peter have taken over as cult leader without maintaining it? Couldn’t Sarah have had a storyline that didn’t revolve around her womb-robbing? Sexual & reproductive violence against women saturates this season and I don’t think any of it was remotely necessary for the plot – it’s there for cheap horror and is a real blight on the generally bad depiction of women here anyway: Amy and Anne are both villains and victims. Anne an abuse victim who only realises this when she finds another man to worship. Amy starts out using whatever she can to escape a terrible fate – but quickly loses all pretence of rationality and reasoned motives. Agnes dies, Olivia dies (and, again, decided lack of rationality). Sarah spends the entire season obsessing over her foetus that pretty much defines her. Winger ends up dead and sorely underused after being constantly overruled by Alan or Peter

Which leaves Julia who comes in too late, has been manipulated the whole time and spends an inordinate amount of time being tied to things. Houdini doesn’t have this much experience having to untie himself.

And POC? DEAAAAAAAAAAAATH. When we saw the Black woman at the end of this episode I kept waiting for Sarah to draw a knife and stab her because living POC are unknown! We even had previously dead POC show up as hallucinations because so many had died. Hatake and Sergio are both dead, Miksa started dead and no new POC were introduced. Michael’s cult was very white (I think there was an unnamed Black man in the background occasionally). We had Claire show up for two episodes, a total screen time of… 10 minutes maybe? Considering the number of characters and plotlines that’s pretty appalling. As is the complete ongoing erasure of LGBT people for two seasons now.

All this leaves me both not looking forward to the next season but also somewhat curious. Not because I really want to see it but in a slightly morbid “what random nonsense will we get next” kind of way.