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Helix - San Jose - Advance Preview

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Some things will never change. Some things change. Paraphrasing Morpheus from the Matrix movies here, I thought of that line as I had the chance to view an advance screener for the premiere of season 2 of Helix, which is schedule to air on the SyFy Network this Friday at 10 pm EST, Jan. 16.

Many parts feel very familiar from the previous season. For one, this is still a little horror show based in science. While last season the plot seemed to be taking a turn toward a more War-of-the-Worlds type feel – shifting away from the viral outbreak toward a conflict between an immortal species that wanted world domination and a small group of CDC scientists – this season (from what I could see from the premiere), the show appears to have returned to its roots.

That’s a good thing, in my opinion. The show’s strengths lie in its ability to weave science with horror and create a feeling of isolation and foreboding as some new terror is grown in the labs of a person with ambitions, and sometimes good intent. The show got away from itself last season, as the plot kept twisting and turning, and eventually morphing into a species showdown between cartoonish villains and self-righteous heroes.

Whereas last season was based in an isolated scientific outpost in the arctic, with natural barriers being freezing temperatures and spotty communications, this season is set on an isolated island off Seattle somewhere. Again, a sense of isolation is set up as the scientists’ military escort tells them she can’t come with them and can’t pick them up for a couple of weeks. With no way off, no way of communicating, and a storm of sorts brewing, this season has a bit of a Shutter Island feel to it.

While the premiere touches upon developments related to the silver-eyed immortal species and Ilaria (the corporation controlled by that species), that conflict doesn’t appear to be central to the plot of the new season. We start off after a time-jump, with a team of CDC doctors that include Peter Farragut, Sarah Jordan, and a new guy, Kyle Sommer, whom I like already, investigating a deadly outbreak on a ship that the army believes may be caused by the Narvik virus (it’s not). We follow them to a creepy, remote island, believed to be the source of the outbreak. The show is still gross. The signature black goo of season one of Helix is replaced by a new something coming out of corpses’ orifices.

While some might be disappointed by what appears to be drop in the focus on Ilaria (although time will tell if that is indeed the case), and that there are no signs yet of Hatake, Balleseros, or Anana, overall I’m pleased with what I saw as a return to the horror roots of the earlier episodes from season one.

The episode creatively uses time as a device to tease the storyline in a way that builds mystery and suspense, and the character writing and dialogue seem to be off to a better start than last season. We’re also introduced to a couple of new intriguing characters: a cult leader played by Steven Weber, whose many TV credits include Dallas and Wings, and a mystery man who interacts with Julia Walker.

About the Author - Chris684
Chris is a New Englander with a background in print and digital media, who currently earns a living by making web and technology products easier to use. She has a weakness for TV characters who are 'dark and twisty' (to quote Meredith Grey) and reviews The Walking Dead, Legends, Halt and Catch Fire, and Dig for SpoilerTV.
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