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Helix - Episode 1.08 - 'Bloodline' Review

This week we saw the conclusion of an action-packed two-episode arc that had a group from Ilaria, carrying automatic weapons and led by executive Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan), taking over the outpost. And they did not go quietly.

I’m going to take a minute here to say I am really starting to love this show. It had its clunky moments in earlier episodes – with awkward dialogue, forced romantic triangles/quads, and characters who I couldn’t quite bring myself to care about – but it’s starting to fall into a rhythm, the characters are becoming more rounded, and the story is broadening to something not yet defined, but damn intriguing.

This week Sutton dropped the pretense of being a corporate problem-solver, and instead showed her nature for what it was. Egged on by Hatake, a former lover who calls her “a pathetic shell of a woman,” and Alan, who tries to blow her up, an unstable Sutton teeters on the edge of rage as she faces off against cool and unruffled Hatake for the final confrontation. In an ironic twist, Hatake uses a string that he pulls from the watch that was a gift from Sutton to strangle and behead her.

But before Sutton dies – and I use the term dies loosely because I can’t help wondering why Hatake is preserving the heads in their arctic freezer if there’s no way to regenerate the body – she spends the episode hunting down Julia, bullying aids, and showing off to Hatake her torture weapons that she threatens to use on Julia. She has Alan and Sarah locked in the lab. Meanwhile Julia, who was captured by Sutton but escapes via the vector-infested ducts, is scurrying around above visiting Alan and Sarah first, and then going to rescue Hatake.

When Sutton eventually recaptures Julia, and plans ship her back to Ilaria headquarters because according to Sutton Julia is property of Ilaria, there’s a great scene of muffled screams coming from the wooden cargo box as Sutton and her armed escorts discuss travel plans. “Love to travel, just hate to pack,” Sutton tells her companion.

This was also an episode of clues and semi-answers. It’s finally confirmed that Hatake is Julia’s father. We also learn that Hatake sees Sutton’s plans as genocide, and that he’s sympathetic to humans. But like every time we get answers, more questions are raised. While Julia being Hatake’s daughter explains why she is special to him, it’s implied that her value is greater than personal. It’s confirmed by Sarah that Julia has no antibodies that could help them make a cure, and Hatake tells her, “You’re more important than anyone else.” Hatake insists that he didn’t cure Julia and doesn’t have a cure, and for some reason I believe him. It follows with this idea that Julia is still special in ways we’re not seeing yet.

Another interesting clue is that Sutton makes reference to a “Willis Hypothesis,” using it in the context of saying Hatake was chasing the Willis Hypothesis “to protect that abomination,” and by abomination, I think we can assume she was referring to either his child, Julia, or humans in general. The Willis Hypothesis apparently refers to the “age and area” hypothesis by botanist Dr. Willis. In short, it says that an area a species takes up depends on its age, assuming no natural barriers, and that species rarely actually die out. In other words, plants just spread out and change, they don't really die out.  This could be connected to his experiments at the outpost in that he’s in an isolated location with natural boundaries (the arctic) running unauthorized experiments to find cures to cancer – if we’re to believe what he told Alan in a previous episode. These experiments, such as those with Narvik B, were not sanctioned by Ilaria, who obviously have a different agenda.

Character growth

While we saw a different side to Hatake this week as he dropped the veneer of mysterious scientist, we also saw different sides to Balleseros and Daniel. They both warmed to Anana and tried to protect her. I made comment earlier that one of the issues I’ve had with this show is really warming to any of the characters, but this trio came emotionally alive to me this week. Daniel and Anana were fun to watch walking together down the hallway – Daniel about two times her size, as he keeps reminding her to try to blend and not draw attention. They naturally fall into an easy sibling relationship, and are fun to watch.

Anana sees both Daniel and Balleseros as being stolen children scarred with damaged self-worth. The fact that Balleseros tells her that back in Brazil, he was the one stealing the children, and that he’s a “murderer and a parasite,” doesn’t change the fact that she still sees value in him. That trust is rewarded when he surrenders himself to give her a chance to escape. Daniel knows that Balleseros helped his sister, so I’d love to see the two of them, who we learned this week are not all that different, come to work together on the problems at the base.

Everyone’s changing

Change, and the realization that they are all changing to fit their environment, was a theme explored in the episode. Sarah is the first to note it, as she and Alan plot to put together a bomb and kill Sutton. She says, “This is crazy, right? I mean, Look at us, what are we becoming.” Alan responds, “What we need to become,” to which she answers, “Like the virus. Mutating. Changing in order to survive.”

Later, as Julia speaks with Alan she says she doesn’t recognize herself anymore. Alan responds, “We all change. But it doesn’t mean we lose who we are.”

Other Thoughts:

- Is this the first time we got a good look at vectors scampering around the ducts? The way they moved, they looked reptile or insect like. I couldn’t place what they reminded me of, so I’d love to hear some suggestions.
- For a brief moment saw what people look like to vectors. Looking down at Alan and Julia, one saw Alan’s circulatory system as a green diagram – almost like an X-ray. However, Julia didn't look the same to him.
- Alan was such an awful liar, it’s no wonder he got caught after he planted the bomb to kill Sutton. Did you catch his eyes looking around up to the ceiling? Don’t even try it, Alan, and don't quit your day job for a life as a spy.
- Julia’s joke choking was apparently a reference to the movie Alien. Although I’ve seen the movies, I didn’t place this, but I heard it mentioned elsewhere. Maybe someone can explain it to me? Sorry.
- Why do you think the vectors kidnapped Peter? I used to think Hatake and the silver-eyed creatures controlled them, but I don’t think they have that type of influence. Hatake didn’t seem surprised, however, and was confident they wouldn’t hurt Peter. I wonder why? The vectors came after Julia and others down on Level R, so it’s not only about not hurting their own. I’m wondering if Peter holds some level of importance to them.  The episode is titled Bloodline, so I'm wondering if as the first infected, he holds a place of status with them.

What did you think of the episode?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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