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Helix Review: The Hand of Man

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Damn you, Balleseros, did you have to go and do that?

I had a feeling my favorite characters would not be making it out of Arctic Biosystems alive. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. Let's start at the top shall we?

Helix Season 1 Episode 4 continued to provide answers, while simultaneously introducing brand new mysteries. The X-Files and Lost, a couple of my favorite shows of all time, always did a masterful job of this. Helix is definitely right up there with those classics, plus a touch of The Walking Dead's ruthlessness.

Yes, friends, tonight we learned that even our favorite characters aren't safe.

Again, Day 4 picks up right where we left off last week. Julia is stuck in Level R, with several infected patients who are hatching a plan to cut off the oxygen supply upstairs. She objects and gets sent packing.

Thankfully, a stranger in a biohazard suit comes to her rescue. Part of me thought this savior was Hatake, who had taken a secret passageway down to the lower level. Well, I was half right, Hatake's got a secret passageway.

Alan questions whether the satellite explosion was an accident, while Hatake drinks out of his "keep calm and carry on" mug. That's a brilliant detail, as Hatake is the epitome of calm on this show. Hatake reminds Alan that moving the infected to Level R was his idea and they must be abandoned for now. We learn the base has periodic supply drops, which I'm sure will come into play at some point.

With so many questions still up in the air, I think Alan made the right decision to give Peter the cure-all (SODRA). It allowed Peter to be lucid for a short while and we find out his affair with Julia was ongoing. Alan was surprised to discover this was not just a one time thing.

Didn't Julia tell Alan it only happened the one time? Now I'm not sure, but I could have sworn she had. We also find out that Hatake had Peter performing animal necropsies, nothing related to mutagens. Once again, Hatake seemed mostly interested in Julia. I realize Peter ends up in a vegetative state, but what if combining the Narvik-B with SODRA completes his transformation?

At one point, I caught Balleseros say to Hatake "you made a virus." This should have been a red flag that the guy knew all along what was going on. He tells Doreen that he's special investigations from the Pentagon.

Why exactly was he playing this game with Doreen? Was there truth to any of it? Did Balleseros simply use poor Doreen to confirm that the virus was man made?

You don't have the intellectual capacity to evaluate my work.

Dr. Hiroshi Hatake

The person in the biohazard suit turns out to be a young woman. She saves Julia from a rampaging vector. The two go looking for a hidden food supply (Cheez Whiz?) and come across a child's writing on the wall. Julia quickly realizes it's not only her initials, but it is her handwriting as well. Since Level R is the earliest stage of Arctic Biosystems, it is possible she had been there as a child.

What exactly is her connection to Hatake? Of course, Julia is infected, so she could be hallucinating the whole thing.

Another interesting revelation this episode was that Sarah is not infected but has a tumor. This explains the hand tremors and medication she takes.

What about the strange scar on her back? The doctor who comes to Sarah claiming to be sick happens to be an Oncologist. When the woman starts hallucinating, Sarah realizes the test doesn't work. I thought they might drag out the test's failure a bit more, but once again the pacing on Helix is just right. Alan is made aware the test is faulty and he tells Sarah to fix it.

Balleseros kept looking strangely at Doreen all episode. Especially, when she tells him the virus was "designed." Of course, he already knew that didn't he?

Someone designed this virus and it sure as shit wasn't mother nature. We're looking at the hand of man here.

Dr. Doreen Boyle

Hatake's secret spiral staircase is yet another one of this guy's secrets. He and Daniel confront the infected doctors responsible for cutting the oxygen to the base. It was interesting that Hatake managed to talk them into restarting the oxygen, only to kill them afterwards.

Hatake is definitely cold and calculating. Even Daniel was surprised by his actions. This episode Daniel came across much more like a pawn in Hatake's game.

The infected Oncologist tells Sarah she knew she would protect her from them. The infected always seem to mention "we" or "them." Do the infected share a collective consciousness? Sarah ends up taking morphine to calm the shakes, not a good sign.

Poor Doreen seals her fate, when she informs Balleseros that the single strand is completely unknown. What is that specific trait the designers of the virus want to manifest in humans? Personally, I doubt the answer is as simple as a super soldier serum or something along those lines. I mentioned earlier that we said goodbye to one of my favorite characters this episode. R.I.P. Dr. Doreen Boyle.

I have read several theories, where fans think Hatake has gone through and survived the virus. This is why his eyes glow white (opposite of the black-goo.) Whatever is going on with Hatake, that vector stepping out of his way at the end is proof he's not quite human.

What do you think of Major Sergio Balleseros after this episode?



Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (16 Votes)

Henry A. Otero is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I don't think Doreen is dead. The last time we saw her she was overrun with rats, but her leg was twitching.

Harrison lee

Dunno if you saw the blog post but one fellow pushed the notion that Helix is actually a superhero/villain origin story. Doreen's actress, Lemieux, let something slip to iO9 about the fact that the virus actually turns people into superheroes. So....is it really a virus? My own working theory is a bit different from that. I've been thinking about the emphasis on animals and primal instincts. Any time the animals on the show are involved in some sort of action, it's usually with some sort of herd mentality. And then there's the scene where Hatake is able to stare down the one infected researcher as if he's an alpha of some sort. To me, at least, the virus is actually devolving humans into mutant pack-centric animals, with Hatake at the head of the pack. While the employers of both Balleseros and Hatake seem to have an interest in the project, my guess is the employers were looking for a mind control agent. What they got instead, however, was a mad scientist interested in devising his own plans for domination in one of the only places where he can't be touched. A bit of a far-fetched plan, turning people into powerful animals, but it could explain that whole staring-exchange.

@ Harrison Lee

I love your theory Harrison! Yes I did read the io9 article with Cat (Doreen). I was under the impression she meant it more like "super-human," than X-men type superheros. After all, we've seen increased strength but no real superpowers. I'm not convinced this is a superhero or super-soldier show. That said, Hatake obviously has some effect on the vectors. Is he an alpha as you mention? Or a fully evolved vector? I sure can't wait to find out!

Harrison lee
@ Henry A. Otero

Yeah, I felt the same way. I think heroes and stuff are great fun but Syfy has plenty of shows like that. It's still way too early to tell where this is going but, if it becomes a hybrid of World War Z, The Walking Dead and Contagion.....I'd be pleased, to say the least.


Okay, I finally watched 104 last night and it was fantastic. I really love this show. Just when you think there is nothing good on TV, out comes Helix. So, of course, this new ep has left me with more questions and has given me more surprises, and more laughs, than I thought possible. The mug was excellent, and a few of the lines in the middle of some serious stuff were priceless. Now, as to your review. I may be in the minority because I know a lot of people liked Doreen, but I'm really glad she's gone. I really, really, really disliked the character, or at least the actor's portrayal. I think if there was going to be any reason to give up this show it would be because she annoyed me so much!! (Just kidding, I would never give up the show for that one reason.) I'm looking forward to a Helix wiki, where I can read transcripts of the show--like Fringe or Lost--and check things that I can't quite remember. I don't know if Julia actually said it was one time or if I just assumed it was one time. Either way, I'm not so sure I believe everything Peter said. The scientist said that the virus was coming back and the virus brings on hallucinations and delusions. So, I'm just not too sure about Peter's revelation about the length of the affair. Though I do find it very intriguing that Peter claims Hatake only had him there so he could get information on Julia. That, coupled with the fact that Julia finds her own writing on the wall makes me further question why Hatake has a photo album of Julia. Did she really grow up in Montana? Or was she hatched in the arctic lab? Hmmm??? The whole Balleseros/Boyle thing was just plain weird. It's obvious that it really pained him to have to kill Doreen. Is he a good guy? A bad guy? Who knows? About the spiral staircase...when I saw it my first thought was that it reminded me of a single strand. Could be just me, though. Thanks for an excellent review, Hank! And thanks for providing a social network neutral place to talk about the show. LOL!

@ Fringeite

Did Syfy take this long to get the episode online? That's a shame, I wonder why the hold up. As you know I liked Doreen. For me, she represented the only person actually making some progress regarding the virus. I thought she had some of the best lines as well. I can understand why folks didn't care for the actress but didn't bother me. The Julia/Hatake connection can be anything from father & daughter, to two people that were tested on in the past around the same time. It's possible Hatake sent for her because he knows (from the past) she will survive the virus and evolve. So many different directions the show can take. It might turn out not to be a virus at all but the next step in human evolution. That's the X-men fan in me talkin' haha

@ Henry A. Otero

I stopped waiting for SyFy to post it. They had been posting the ep right away, but not this time. I got a copy from someone who taped it ;) I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like about the actor's portrayal of Doreen. I don't know why other people don't like her--in fact, I didn't know there were others who felt the same--just something about her that didn't quite click with me. I didn't think about the father/daughter thing. Though, the way Hatake found Daniel in an orphanage makes me question a whole lot of things. Did he find Julia in an orphanage, too? Did she somehow escape the Arctic as a kid? Was she let go and purposely placed elsewhere. There are just too many possibilities. My head hasn't hurt this bad since LOST and the first 3 seasons of Fringe!!

@ Fringeite

The general opinion on Twitter seems to be Doreen's accent was awful and expressions bordering on overacting. I agree so many possibilities, a fun show to speculate about and I've missed that!


Oh no. I wish I had known that! It's on so late and I couldn't stay up. I'll have to figure something out for the future or else just force myself to stay up. I'm sure I can find a link somewhere for now.


I thought I could rewatch to get a better understanding of what I missed... only to see my DVR only recorded 24 minutes of the latest episode. Oh well. It's a tricky show.

@ Carissa Pavlica

Hate when that happens :(


I'm very disappointed that syfy hasn't posted this episode on their web site yet. :( Do you have any free links to watch it?

@ Fringeite

Don't think Syfy planned to release every episode at their site. I watched it several times but it's been deleted from the DVR.

Helix Season 1 Episode 4 Quotes

You don't have the intellectual capacity to evaluate my work.

Dr. Hiroshi Hatake

Someone designed this virus and it sure as shit wasn't mother nature. We're looking at the hand of man here.

Dr. Doreen Boyle
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