Helix: "The White Room" (Season 1, Episode 5)


“Warm, gooey chocolate brownies.” It’s a medical treatment, didn’t you know?


The other memorable line from tonight’s episode came from a SyFy commercial for the show: “WTF is happening on Helix?” For a show with this kind of attention deficit disorder, that’s probably a line best avoided.


The opening is just all over the place. Evil Military Guy (EMG) has a can of gasoline. One whole can. He pours it on the ground at the field of frozen monkeys outside and sets them on fire. He then uses his portable satellite dish to tell his superiors he’s completed his assignment. He needs extraction. They say no dice until you have Dr. Hvit. They don’t tell him who that is, of course, because then he could go about finding Dr. Hvit in an effective manner.


Oh, and the burning monkeys suddenly start screaming. They scream but don’t move.  Also, there’s no way a field of monkeys that big was set ablaze with one can of gas. Minor sin on a show this insane.


We jump to our hero Alan doing painful technobabble about Hatake’s lethal anti-viral wonder drug, Sodra, from last week. Never having seen it before, Alan has made modifications to it in a couple of hours. Now he wants to start animal trials. So it’s time to go find Doreen. That won’t end well.


Dumb Dr. Sarah still has that dumb infected lady who could kill her at any time in her quarters. The latter is in pain. Dumb Dr. Sarah tells her to envision “warm, gooey chocolate brownies” to feel better. Dumb infected lady one ups Sarah by imagining red velvet cupcakes. As God is my witness, I am not making that up. 


EMG sneaks into Hatake’s office looking for records on Dr. Hvit. No luck. Head of Security guy named Daniel finds him and chases him out.


The sinister Dr. Hatake, last seem wandering the isolated Area R basement for no particular reason, deliberately impales himself on a sharp object for no particular reason. He then stumbles across Jules and her new friend JJ.


That’s the opening. Remember the talking dog from Pixar’s “Up?” That’s pretty much what we have her: “We have made you this exciting and innovative new—SQUIRREL! This TV show is produced by Ron Moore and features his signature gritty—SQUIRREL! We hope you are enthralled by—SQUIRREL!”


Back from the break, Alan finds dead Doreen. They have a dead rat come out of her mouth because they can; it’s not a squirrel, but it is a fellow rodent. Alan, EMG, Security Daniel and a couple of other people all put on face shields to stand around and argue. The effect is cumulatively ludicrous. Since he’s the good guy, Alan finally has the decency to admit that and rip his face shield off.


Jules and JJ drag Dr. Hatake around through dimly lit corridors.


The surveillance camera records from the room where Doreen died are corrupted. While EMG tries to find the nonexistent Dr. Hvit, Alan does an autopsy and discovers that Doreen was… wait for it… MURDERED! We actually watched that last week, so his forensic detective work is kind of tedious. Meanwhile, Security Daniel has figured out EMG murdered Doreen. They exchange harsh words and leave it at that.


Dumb Dr. Sarah comes back to find her infected lady guest gone. She races out to find dumb infected lady down the hallway doing a hallucination dance. The potential involvement of brownies or cupcakes remains unclear. When Sarah approaches her, dumb infected lady goes all vector and tries to slobber on her. She doesn’t succeed before suddenly turning dumb normal again.   


Dr. Hatake gets lugged around some more.


WTF is happening on Helix? I’ll tell you WTF is happening: Cosmically dumb Dr. Sarah has returned dumb infected lady to her quarters. Now honestly, even setting aside the whole virus thing, trying to slobber vomit on someone is a serious social faux pas. Invitations to the house DO NOT follow. Dr. Sarah graduates to possibly the dumbest person on Earth by shooting up dumb infected lady with morphine and then shooting up herself. That way she can pass out again in a room with a budding vector who just tried to slobber vomit on her.


This is supposed to be a touching digression on mortality, but it fails miserably. It hasn’t earned the right to serious discussions when the set up is so mind numbingly idiotic.


Anyway, Alan shows up to tell Sarah that Doreen is dead. Sarah starts kissing him because she’s high. Alan figures out she’s high. He gets pissed off about her work ethic (Should I have not shot up morphine? I have to tell you, in my last lab job they did that sort of thing all the time.) Sarah goes back into her quarters to sleep it off on the floor beside the lethal infected woman.


Time out.


How hard is this?


Sarah: “Sorry Alan, but I’ve got this unnamed tumor that’s making my hand twitch and making me dumb. And I’m probably going to die. So cut me some slack.”


There. Out in the open. Everything’s above board, and you’ve taken care of your professional responsibilities to this mission. If you screw up anymore, that’s on Allan cuz’ he knows.


Time in.


Oh, and by the way, Alan insisted earlier that Doreen couldn’t have had a heart attack because of the strenuous medical testing performed on CDC personnel eligible to go on missions. So I guess we can assume Sarah has a sneaky tumor. Other than the whole hand twitching, exhaustion and guzzling pills stuff. You can’t expect trained medical professionals to notice signs like that.


Jules and JJ are still lugging Hatake around. They get jumped by a vector. Jules and Hatake lock themselves in a room but JJ is left behind. I don’t care because I’ve figured out JJ is the infected Jules’ hallucination. Hatake never seeing her is a pretty big clue.


EMG is tired of looking for Dr. Hvit. He tells Alan that Doreen had talked to a Dr. Hvit in the hopes that Alan can find him. Alan yells at Security Daniel. They bond over yelling and decide to mutually mistrust EMG.


Dumb infected lady begs Cosmically Dumb Dr. Sarah to kill her. Sarah asks if she’s sure several times since those imaginary brownies are so very warm and gooey. Dumb infected lady isn’t buying that anymore, so Sarah gives her a lethal injection. Good luck explaining the corpse in your bed. Better that than a field of shrieking, burning monkeys, I suppose.


Alan and Security Daniel discover plastic explosive and a portable satellite dish in EMG’s quarters. Supposedly, Dr. Hvit is in “the white room.” The white room is Antarctica. How clever.


Security Daniel goes outside to check on Dr. Hvit. Having successfully used the oldest police trick in the book, EMG follows him. Alan insists he has to go outside, too, to find out what’s happening. 


WTF is happening on Helix? I’ll tell you WTF is happening: Security guy Daniel goes out into the snow, touches some device, and heads in jars rise from the snow. Yes, heads in jars. Does that mean EMG is going to sneak up on Security Daniel, knock him out and steal Dr. Hvit’s head? You bet your sweet slobber vomit bag it does.


Jules finally patches up Dr. Hatake. She runs into JJ again but figures out this time that she’s a hallucination. Better that than a field of frozen heads, I suppose.


EMG runs into Allan. He beats him up and throws him down a hill. It must be a little hill since Alan has no trouble getting back inside. Elsewhere, Security Daniel ambushes EMG. He also sticks a grappling hook in his gut. Then, while EMG is wallowing in pain, Security Daniel takes off his coat, shirt and shoes, leaving him with only his thermal underwear, pants and socks. However, he leaves the coat, shirt and shoes in a neat little pile by wallowing EMG.


Is this like some weird hazing they do in the Antarctic?


I mean, if you want somebody wallowing in pain to die, just kill them. Don’t partially undress them while leaving their clothes immediately available. I can only assume we haven’t seen the last of EMG. Daniel is either an incompetent killer or a very strange man.    

Saintly Alan and Dumb Sarah are buddies again. Brain dead infected Peter shows neural activity again, which is more than you can say for this show.


WTF is happening on Helix? I’ll tell you WTF is happening: this show makes “Lost” look like a dry, scholarly treatise on how to construct a fact-based, fastidiously cause-and-effect story. The producer and writers are just blatantly throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks. I have zero faith they have any idea what any of this means.  


As a comedy, it kind of works. As drama?