Helix: "Fushigi" (Season1, Episode 10)


It’s Japanese word meaning “mystery,” or “secret.” Clever, huh? In all honesty, though,  “Fusilli” would work better as a title. That’s a thick, corkscrew shaped pasta, a better description for the actual experience of watching this show’s plot unfold.


This week’s line: “I do no believe in miracles; my faith lies in science.” I don’t know what’s worse—that someone actually spoke a line that tired, or that the writers thought it was profound. It was especially pointless since no one on the entire show prayed or otherwise showed the slightest intention of looking for an actual miracle. It was science all the way.


Bad science.


A sign of this show’s hopeless diffusion is how many issues we get shoved at us in the opening montage. I counted seven: (1) Hero Alan is running an MRI scan on Sarah, who has a hallucination of a vector attack we know didn’t happen before the show snaps her out of it to reveal it didn’t happen; (2) Julia argues with newfound Daddy Hatake about his refusal to explain anything coupled with the fact that he’s got a creepy stalker book of photos he’s been collecting on her; (3) Alan tells Sarah her MRI wasn’t good; (4) the Inuits are disposing of the bodies of Ilaria goons on the ice while Anana tightens those stitches on Evil Military Guy (EMG) yet again; (5) Julia complains to Alan about what an evil, lying stalker creep her newfound Dad is; (6) Alan confronts Hatake in his office about what a poor excuse he is for a father, only to be told that Dr. Adrian somehow stole the Narvik virus samples last week; and (7) Hatake ineffectually tries to keep those wacky kids Alan and Julia from stealing the family Snow Cat to look for Dr. Adrian.


Did you follow all that? Here’s a tip for would-be writers—never try to cram that much crap into the opening few pages of your story. It’s not engaging or a sign that you’re successfully juggling a lot of balls. It’s simply irritating.         


When we come back from commercial, we’re in the Snow Cat and immediately assaulted by this jarring line from Julia to Alan: “My National Science Award? What did you do with it?” There is no way on earth I could possible give less of a damn about that. It’s writer intrusion into the story, a blatant attempt at characterization so blatant it does the opposite. It puts the superficial, cardboard nature of these characters into sharp relief.


I mean, come on, how lazy can you be? They couldn’t even be bothered to give her award a name that wasn’t completely generic.


Anyway, there’s an abandoned listening post named Echelon Station that Alan surmises Dr. Adrian must have headed for in order to use its radio to contact Ilaria. And get this, it’s been abandoned for… twenty-nine years. In the Arctic Circle. Near the North Pole. That’s not exactly a good environment for electronics. Since we know, however, as yet another plot contrivance, that the radio will work, why haven’t any of the people at Arctic Biosystems yammering about how desperate they are for communications tried this?      


Infected Peter, the Vector, sneaks into Hatake’s office. On the plus side, he’s cleaned up. He doesn’t have that chin painted black that’s supposed to represent constant slobber/vomit. Good for him. He’s looking at Dr. Hatake’s creepy stalker book of Julia photos when Hatake comes in. You’d thing something dramatic should happen, but you’d be wrong. Hatake just asks why Peter is here. Peter just gargles something in reply and leaves. Must see TV it ain’t. 


Camp Echelon is frozen over with very thick ice. Of course the radio still works, and of course Dr. Adrian has Ilaria on the line. Alan beats him up and hogties him. Alan then finds a working generator in the icebound station that’s been abandoned for twenty-nine years. Christmas lights come on, along with a slow, loopy track of Silent Night.


“Silver Eyes,” anyone?


Back at the Inuit village, Tulook, Security Miksa, Anana and EMG decide the village has to be abandoned before Ilaria returns. The Inuit have a better change if they scatter into the deadly cold that would have killed everyone at Arctic Biosystems in 28 minutes last week. But that was last week, so **** it. It was ridiculous anyway.


Hatake has a long, uninteresting conversation with Sarah. He prods her to investigate Julia’s DNA again. She does and finds it‘s got all these wonderful properties that could make you immortal and cure cancer and let you sing show tunes really well. She will eventually think she’s discovered something, then get dizzy and collapse to the ground doing convulsions that look some kind of cartoon character. They’re embarrassing. [Sidenote: That isn’t making fun of cancer patients, just terrible actresses trying to pretend to be a cancer patient in bad TV shows.]         


An Ilaria sniper shoots Dr. Adrian. The sniper subsequently pins Julia and Alan down by firing a randomly placed shot every few seconds. Endless ammo in the Arctic, I guess. Alan finds a trapdoor to a tunnel below, where he and Julia find a tall Gollum. The guy’s name is unintelligible, so I’m sticking with Tall Gollum (TG). He has silver eyes, too. Otherwise, he looks all pale and skinny in an oddly dull way.


TG says Hatake chained him up here twenty-nine years ago. He asks Julia and Allan to free him. Julia wants to know about his silver eyes. He says he’s immortal, that there can only be 500 immortals, and that it sucks: “To live forever is to die 10,000 times.”


So if there can only be 500, who’s counting? Is that a hard and fast rule, or just a general guideline? Inquiring minds want to know.


EMG and Anana kiss in what is the most forced, unbelievable romance since Anakin and Padme graced the silver screen. Their dialogue is even worse than Anakin and Padme. And I guess we’re just supposed to forget EMG killed Doreen and blew up the satellite dish, thus causing this whole mess. Fair enough. It’s hard to chain anything in this show together on a week-to-week basis.  Meanwhile, Security Miksa goes off to find an Ilaria goon who escaped.


TG keeps asking to be freed. Alan says no way. Julia grabs a bolt cutter because she has to know what the crazy guy will tell her if she frees him. Turns out not much. TG’s idea of freedom is to use the bolt cutter on his carotid artery. If more characters on this show were that considerate of the audience (I’m looking at you, EMG; you, too, Security Miksa) maybe we’d finally get down to a plot that matters.


The Ilaria sniper shows up just in time to threaten Alan and Julia before he’s shot by the freshly arrived Security Miksa. The three of them then burn down Echelon Station. Alan says the Narvik virus is gone for good. Except for, you know, all those infected Vectors back at Arctic Biosystems.


Oh, and the CGI flames are awful. You’ll see more believable special effects on Scooby Doo.   


Alan gets back in time to find out Sarah is dying. Hatake put her in a coma to get those cartoonish seizures to stop because, well, I guess he has some production standards. Hatake also admits that 500 immortals run Ilaria. That might have been almost interesting, say, seven episodes ago. Now it’s just sure, whatever. Alan and Hatake agree that since Sarah has nothing to lose they’re going to do some experiment on her.


Infected Peter is hiding out in a ventilation duct while sticking pictures of Julia on the ducting. The thing is, ventilation ducts are supposed to have nontrivial airflow running through them. You can’t really stick paper on the inside of the ducting and expect it to stay. Forget technical advisors. Does this show have anyone associated with it who’s even spent any time in an office building?


And Julia faked Alan out. She kept the Narvik virus samples instead of burning them. 


Sure, whatever.