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Helix Review: The Infected Need Their Own Place

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Helix has done an excellent job of establishing its world, mysteries and cast of characters. After last week's premiere, I was instantly hooked.

Helix Season 1 Episode 3, answered a few more questions, including the fact that Peter is still highly functional. He speaks and knows to self-medicate. In other words, this is not another zombie show. That said, Helix does feel like a mashup between The Thing, 28 Days Later, and The X-files.

The pacing is spot on, it’s only day three and Dr. Alan Farragut has hatched a plan for achieving full containment of the infected. That’s pretty efficient, wouldn’t you say? I absolutely love the serialized nature of the show, and the fact that each episode represents one day since the outbreak.

Lots of Infected

Last week, when Peter smothered Julia with his nasty black-goo kiss, I figured they would write it off as a dream sequence or hallucination. I’m sure Julia, herself, thought she imagined the whole thing. After all, she struggles with the assault the entire episode. Honestly, I did not expect one of our leads to be infected this early in the season. Bravo Helix for going there! It will be interesting to see how Julia’s infection progresses and how it affects the other major characters.

Peter’s recapture was inevitable, but I was surprised he turned himself in asking for help. On a few occasions now, we’ve seen Peter’s throat begin to spasm wildly. It happened with Doreen’s monkey as well. The first time we see this is in Helix Season 1 Episode 1, when Hatake offers Peter water. Hatake called it “progress,” which means these throat spasms are of significance right? What does it mean?

We learned that Peter has been controlling his condition using morphine. However, after killing several people and spreading the virus, it made sense Hatake wanted him in a more isolated and secure section of the base. “Level R” just seemed too good to be true though, didn’t it? I mean, if they achieve full containment in the third episode, where does the show go from there?

Dr. Alan Farragut: This secure lab allows us to separate vectors from those who are just infected.
Daniel Aerov: Vectors?
Dr. Alan Farragut: It's what we're calling the infected who are physically attacking others to spread the disease, like Peter.

Before the infected can be moved down to Level R, the CDC team needs to determine which people without symptoms are also infected. Pairing Sarah with Julia to develop a rapid response test, leads to some interesting tension between the two. I like the way Julia smiles at Sarah, in a kind of, been there done that sort of way. Sarah is brilliant but extremely young and naïve. Though it was always possible Julia was infected, it doesn’t seem Sarah’s hand tremors have anything to do with the outbreak. It appears to be a preexisting condition but we have no clue as to the cause yet. Also, what’s the deal with that scar on her back?

Dr. Doreen Boyle is easily one of my favorite characters. She has this no-nonsense way about her. Doreen’s the kind of person that speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back. It’s a shame she’s falling for Major Balleseros crap. Come on, the dude reeks of horse manure. Sure, she called him out about the frozen monkey graveyard. But when they test the blood and the virus grows at a ridiculously alarming rate, it’s time to talk to Alan. I think Doreen is too damn smart to be keeping secrets from him for long. While I understand her distrust of Hatake, lying to Alan is completely unacceptable. I’m hoping she comes clean sooner, rather than later.

Speaking of the frozen monkey graveyard, is this not one of the creepiest visuals of the series, so far? I’m looking forward to finding out why the frozen monkeys look scared and as if they’re running from something.

Major Sergio Balleseros: There are people in the Army, myself included, who are wondering if this outbreak was an accident.
Dr. Doreen Boyle: You think Hatake did this on purpose? Why would he do that?

With Julia freaking out over the assault in the shower, Sarah seemed the obvious choice to crack the rapid response test. Did she have to be so damn cocky about it though? I guess she felt good about herself, beating Julia to the punch. The writers really fooled me with Julia testing negative. I never even questioned the accuracy of the test, I simply assumed it worked.

In the end, Julia coughs up some black-goo, confirming that she’s infected and the test doesn’t work. Hatake was devastated by the news that she had to stay in Level R. He’s been watching her with a kind of fascination, constantly inquiring on her whereabouts and has a scrapbook with pictures of her. Are Hatake and Julia related? Is he just obsessed with her? We’ll see how things play out.

Bad boy Balleseros taking out the one and only satellite dish, further complicates matters. Poor Julia is not only infected, but she’s stuck in Level R with no way of communicating with her team. How will she let Alan know the frakin’ test doesn't work?

That’s Helix episode 3 in a nutshell. If there is anything I might have missed, please let me know in the comments. Let’s strike up a conversation about Helix, I’d love to hear your theories!

Additional thoughts…

Balleseros asks about the research conducted in Level R with nuclear reactors. Daniel Aerov replies that it was “controlled fusion,” an abandoned project. Obviously, Daniel lied about not having monkeys on the base, so the guy can’t be trusted. Controlled fusion will probably come up again at some point.  

The “cure-all,” with a nearly 100% cure rate that kills over 75% of its subjects, must figure into the outbreak. Is the cure-all somehow tied to Peter’s condition? Was it used to alter the Narvik-B strain?

Do you think Hatake caused the outbreak?



Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (17 Votes)
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Ok, i don't think Hataki CAUSED the outbreak nor was he ordered to do it...but he is most definitely involved...there's more to this outbreak than we've been it they were messing with extraterrestrial DNA, messing with our DNA, or something totally different happened...Hataki is involved but i don't believe the outbreak was intentional on his part...i believe he was inadvertently infected and now the parasite for lack of a better word is in 100% control of him now...

@ Suzy Mills

Another phenomenal theory Suzy! Don't you just love trying to figure out where the writers are going with all these clues? Don't think I've been this involved with a show since LOST probably. I like the idea of extraterrestrial DNA. When they mentioned the virus is old, that's the first thing I thought of. For some reason, I don't think Hatake is innocent in all this. Someone that keeps that many secrets obviously has something to hide. Was he experimented on along with Jules when they were younger? So many possibilities, hope the outcome is as cool as many of us are dreamin' up! Can't wait to watch Episode 5 tonight, and write my review. I'm sure there will be tons to talk about.

@ Henry A. Otero

Lots of possibilities for sure ;) He's controlling things,involved now for sure, but i do not believe that it was intentional on original Hataki's part...but IS on Vector Hataki's part ;) does that make sense? Can't wait to see what happens! Maybe he and Jules were there together when they were younger and are 2 sides of an experiment by the original creator of the whatever the heck it is?


Thought I might havta go back and watch the episodes to refresh my memory, but you covered EVERYTHING in your review, Henry A. Otero, lol! I really enjoyed the first two episodes. The third was ok. I too have been spoiled by OnDemand when it comes to this show. The field of frozen monkeys was hysterical. Easily one of my most favorite scenes. Loving Dr. Boyle. She reminds me of Pam on Archer. Kinda looks like her too. The only problem (and I'm using that term loosely) I'm having with the show is that, right off the bat, it came off like stuff I've seen before. Not only that, but my mind always jumps to questions of how are they gonna keep up the suspense of the storyline if they get picked up another season. The story takes place at a facility in the Arctic and there are only but so many people at the facility. They seem to be leaning a lot on the fact that they are isolated and don't know who can be trusted but I'm wondering how long it'll take before that wears thin. There's a lot of room for backstories so I'm sure they'll get to some of that. I'm not knocking the show. I like the cast and plan on continuing to watch! Oh, as for Peter, I think he's purposely infecting certain people. can't wait to see what's up with that, if I'm right.


Well I definitely tried my best to cover as much as possible. I had the same thought about a possible Season 2, how are they going to keep the tension and suspense up? Peter is definitely calculating when he attacks, there's much more to this than some virus.


Lets first say that that I have really enjoyed this show so far. As you stated the pacing is perfect. My only issues is just how incompetent everyone seems to be whether it is the CDC crew or Hatake's security team. It was great that they were able to create a make shift containment room but it did feel kind of rushed which we saw meant that they did not have proper testing of the virus. Another instance is they have infected people and they are not properly contained so it makes for easy escapes. I guess that is what will keep the show going just hope they don't stretch these things to far. All in all love the show and all the characters minus the head of security.

@ Chris Larrondo

I think part of the problem is that you're supposed to be able to trust the competence, intelligence, and loyalty of your staff. These are supposed to be the best of the best, but no one really seems trustworthy. Julia's infected, so she really can't be trusted. Who knows what Sarah's real story is? Why wouldn't she test herself? Why did Julia let her off so easily? I think there is more to Sarah's character than we have seen thus far. Head of security is Hatake's puppet, but I think in the end his character could go either way--part of Hatake's people or behind Alan. There are just too many questions and what ifs, which is why this is such a good show. I'm not so willing to claim incompetence as the reason so much is going wrong, as I am willing to claim that the producers and writers are very clever.

@ Chris Larrondo

Well the CDC team is at a disadvantage because they're dealing with the unknown. I think they're bound to slip up, being lab folks and not generally in the field. Except for Alan, who has worked on location during several outbreaks. The security people, now that's a different issue. They're a mess but I guess they are also not used to this level of activity. More like glorified mall cops is what I'm thinking. I do know what you mean about pushing it as far as the incompetence. We'll see how things continue to play out. Thanks for commenting here btw... You're awesome!


Loving the show so far...eager to see what's gonna happen in upcoming episodes..

@ Howard Otero

Glad you're enjoying Helix and thanks for commenting! You are watching some good TV these days ;)


I was sick last night and I wasn't able to watch episode 3. I just watched it now on and I just have one thing to say...WHERE THE HELL IS MY MONKEY???? My husband commented that the choice of music reminds him of LOST. He's right. I couldn't place it before, but that's what it reminds me of. Love it! I know lots of people---particularly young people---are turned off by what they call "elevator music," but I think it really adds something to the show and makes it even more different than other sci fi shows. I'm really loving this show. Unfortunately, that probably means it will be canceled. LOL!

@ Fringeite

That's the new Helix "catch phrase," it was all over Twitter! What do youngsters know... the contrast of the music makes the show even creepier in my opinion. I agree, the "elevator music" gives the show an air of uniqueness. I believe Syfy is pleased with the ratings so far... "Helix shattered channel ratings records for L+3 growth, soaring 64 percent in Adults 18-49 (1.2 million), 57 percent among Adults 25-54 (1.4 million) and 53 percent among total viewers (2.8 million). This feverish percentage and absolute L+SD to L+3 growth for the Helix debut (Friday, January 10 at 10PM) are the highest for any Syfy original series premiere since Nielsen first recorded L+3 in 2007." -TV by the Numbers


I'm really enjoying the show so far. The daily number at the beginning of each episode reminds me of Battlestar Galatica. Glad they threw that in. But that's the funny thing. Just like in BG, they're in a huge area yet somehow people are confined to small areas and that's when the drama begins. I'm not sure about the alien angle but that would be an interesting way to justify Hatake's eyes. I can't wait for episode 4. Netflix has kind of spoiled me. I'm irritated knowing I have to wait until the next week.

@ Relojo Asenime

I agree about Netflix! Wish I could binge-watch all season 1 of Helix. Between commercials and waiting a week, you forget where you are in the storyline. Someday the old TV model will be history, can't wait for that.


Can't believe SYFY doesn't have the latest episode up yet on Demand, I have 4 more hours until I'm home to watch it on my DVR.

@ Kaprina Steward

Im so excited to see more but bummed there is no epi 4 on demand too Kaprina.


Helix drew me in and I feel there are levels to this virus/organism. Like Peter and a few other maintain and function. Spreading it by total violation of the mouth, but one of the infected savagely bit someone instead of mouth violation.

@ Tanyatta Rowe

Hey Tanyatta! True, there are definitely different reactions by the infected. I can't wait to learn more about that. Also, wondering about Hatake's eyes. Perhaps he is the first successful mutation?

@ Henry A. Otero

Hatake's eyes scream alien origins to me and he brought the virus/organism and is very happy with his results now. Heck look at all those frozen/dead monkeys outside. Hatake is excited it finally mutated in the human subjects. Just my threrory so far.

@ Tanyatta Rowe

A frackin' great theory it is too! I like it!!!


I am not going to ready this review just yet. This show wow'd me the first few minutes. SyFy hasn't put anything out this good of this caliber in while, I am just hoping they keep it up.

@ Kaprina Steward

I so agree Kaprina I hope they keep this caliber of show going as well. I can only seeing Helix opening the door for even more goodness on SyFy.

@ Tanyatta Rowe

Did you guys see the Syfy trailer for DOMINION? Starts in June and looks pretty good!

@ Henry A. Otero

Excited about Dominion as well.

@ Henry A. Otero

NO! Did you post that on your YouTube channel?

@ Kaprina Steward

It's awesome to see Syfy actually putting out great sci-fi television. About time too! Make sure you come back and share your theories Kaprina. Thanks ;)


I always love your show reviews! When I'm looking for unbiased, fair, and intelligent reviews I always look for your articles, Hank. I absolutely love Helix and I was hooked right from the pilot. It is intelligent programming along the same lines of Fringe, which I sorely miss, and I look forward to watching Helix and reading your reviews to try and figure out what has happened, what is happening now, and what will happen in upcoming episodes, with you and other viewers. Thanks for providing a forum to discuss the episodes!

@ Fringeite

First comment! Thanks so much for your kind words. I completely agree, Helix hooked me much the same way Fringe did way back in 2008. I miss the show terribly and though it's great to see John Noble on Sleepy Hollow, it's not quite the same. We're going to have a blast theorizing about Helix!