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Helix – Episode 1.09 – ‘Level X’ Review

Last week’s Helix brought us a solid set-up episode as we inch closer to day 13 – the season finale. Level X was dialed back a notch in intensity from the previous week’s Ilaria invasion, but it did further the movement in several key areas, lay the groundwork for the conclusion, as well as tie up some of the character arcs.

Among key developments, we learned that Ilaria will launch a full-scale invasion in two days (episode 11). We also see that our snarky cryogenics expert isn’t as harmless as he looks, as he steals the original Narvik A sample and prepares to leave the base with it. Is he working for Ilaria, or is he a free agent hoping to sell to the black market? Time will tell.

On a more personal note, Julia discovers that Hatake is his father, that she inherited the silver-eye trait from him, and that the cabin in Montana that’s been the setting for her repressed memories never existed. She was at the research base the whole time, and the woman she hallucinated as Jaye was really her mother.

Meanwhile in the Inuit village, we’re treated to a fun and touching reunion as Daniel is brought face-to-face with his twin, as Daniel, Balleseros, and Anana rescue the village from a small group of Ilaria soldiers dressed like Stormtroopers.

Finally, the truth of Sarah’s tumor comes out as she reveals it to Hatake in a near-hypothermic delusional state. We saw confirmed what I had suspected earlier, and that is to Sarah everything is about her. The base is near lost, and in her semi-delusional state, she rattles off a stream of “I’m never going to …” statements. Sorry Sarah, but to quote Alan, “that’s not our biggest problem …”

Meanwhile Julia is also thinking that everything is about her, but in Julia’s case she’s right. Why this is true we still don’t know. We know she is Hatake’s daughter and that she shares the same silver-eye trait – but how does creating this Narvik B strain tie back to her? Is it that Hatake couldn’t bear for his daughter to have the same condition he has and is looking for a cure?

These personal stories are brought together at the end to the song “Mad World,” a perfect music choice and a nice change from the quirky tunes we usually get.

For me, the stand out moments were the interactions between the family and Balleseros at the Inuit village. There are few interpersonal relationships on this show that have grabbed me, but I’m slowly warming to this family. And Balleseros – while I haven't forgotten that he killed Doreen – is fitting right in. There were also amusing quips between Balleseros and Clyde as they were being held captivate.

We also got our suspense in Alan and Julia’s adventure, descending down to Level X to move among frozen vectors with limited time to destroy Narvik samples. They don’t find Narvik, but find so much more, as Hatake has apparently been stockpiling samples of just about every disease known to man for his research.

My biggest nitpick with this episode was that Alan and Julia didn’t look cold when they were on Level X. The temperature was supposed be in the range of -50, enough to freeze the vectors, but there was no sign of steam from their breath, rosy cheeks, shivering, or frost starting to form in the room.

The most disgusting moment of the episode was the vectors passing around a cup to spit into, which they drained back into Peter’s mouth to bring him back.

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

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