ByPeter von Harten, writer at
29 year-old blogger, electronic musician, & author of strange & mysterious things. I survive on Monster Import energy drinks and pizza while
Peter von Harten

Ah, my dear fellow ( perhaps former?) fans of [Helix](series:822306). I am so very sorry, but it appears we have now been duped. Upon my initial viewing of the first season of this show--which I regarded as a sci-fi godsend--I felt compelled to give it all the praise and adoration I could possibly muster. It was my first post for this site, and I was ecstatic about the first episodes of the second season. They felt like quite the departure from the Arctic setting of the first, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and was fairly confident that all our questions about the end of the previous season would be answered in full. Viewers of great television shows place a certain amount of faith in the creative teams behind them. There is and always should be a sense of somewhat linear direction, though it can be staggered when necessary--provided you actually intend on answering those questions.

What Went Wrong?

Oh, you know. Just...EVERYTHING.
Oh, you know. Just...EVERYTHING.

Just as with the CDC team and Peter, our faith was sadly blind and misguided. Intense and intricate questions began to pile up as the season progressed. Then more questions, and yet more questions, right up until the last episode of the season. A few that I had been asking ad nauseum:

  • Why did Julia choose to join Ilaria?

  • What happened to her right after Arctic Biosystems?

  • What happened to The Scythe?

  • What was the point of cutting off the heads of immortals in Season 1?

  • What purpose does Hatake serve in this season, and why did he go insane? Surely if he wanted to kill immortals, Soren's blood could have made him immune to the effects of TXM7. They were on the same island, after all.

  • Why is Sarah's immortal baby the worst plot device ever? All it does is die anyway. Come to think...why are there SO MANY discarded plot devices? (see also: Michael)

  • Alan's bones are not Alan's bones, they're a combined skeleton of other people's bones...why? And what's the deal with the map etched on the hip bone?

  • What was the purpose of digging up Michael just to slit his throat?

  • Why is Soren's blood even needed, if the sap from the Bleeding Tree is the already the cure for Mycosis?

There are many, many others of course. But rather than provide any answers to these questions (thus breaking some of the fundamental rules of storytelling and angering a good portion of their fan base), it seems the writers of the show would rather forget them entirely or reduce them into small flashbacks for but a passing mention in favor of skipping farther ahead in time to the next bright idea.

Now I'm not saying that Season 2 flat-out sucked by any means; it would have been exponentially better as maybe a spinoff, or a standalone story perhaps featuring a different set of characters or separate CDC team. Heck, even using it as the basis for Season 3 might have worked. But instead of spending Season 2 focused on answering the questions posed by the finale of the first, they decided to divert into an entirely new and unfamiliar narrative focused on posing even more questions that, by the end of the season, are still left unanswered.


If I didn't know any better, I'd say Damon Lindelof had something to do with it, though I'm sure he's taking notes.

How It Should Have Been Done

Season 2 would have started exactly where the first left off. Instead of those petty flashbacks, the narrative would follow Alan Farragut on a linear path throughout his entire search for Julia as he goes on an immortal-killing rampage, later winding up on St. Germain. His arc would juxtapose with that of Julia as Ilaria mercilessly tortures and brainwashes her to carry out their most covert operations. Perhaps it's infiltrating and stealing known viruses from the CDC, or scouring the world for the most virulent strains.

Sarah Jordan and Peter also team up to find Alan, and maybe Sarah would infiltrate Ilaria for that very purpose. Alan was no doubt a major target for Ilaria. Maybe they would aid her in hunting him down. Peter, on the outside, would give him up. Then Julia, brainwashed of course, would come in to have a bit of fun torturing Alan before resolving to take him back to the US and discredit his work with the CDC, ruining his career and reputation rather than killing him, as Ilaria wants. She would send Peter off to some dead end to keep him away from Alan. Sarah, concerned for Alan's safety, would get him documents with a new name and help him find refuge in exile somewhere.

Just a rough, general idea that would have tied up the loose ends a bit better, instead of resorting to intermittent flashbacks or passing mentions from the characters. This season of Helix could have been so much more than it was, and I'm talking Lost-level awesome, but we were all clearly let down. All they had to do was answer some of the bigger questions. An uprising is inevitable if this continues.

"Smell that? Smells like shit!"
"Smell that? Smells like shit!"

Still, that's not to say it wasn't good. It just didn't feel anything like the same show. The end came with a crazy, futuristic cliffhanger a la Children of Men, which only served to confuse and infuriate everyone more than they already were. But maybe that's just a part of the general staggered formula Helix wants to follow, no matter how illogical it is to skip over important parts and venture off into some random direction, leaving loyal fans behind in the process.

If there is one positive takeaway from all of this though, they definitely managed to up the creep factor by several notches with that birthing chamber.


What did you think of Helix season 2?


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