8.5
TV  |  Reviews

Helix Review: “Survivor Zero” (Episode 1.07)

February 17, 2014  |  2:53am
<i>Helix</i> Review: &#8220;Survivor Zero&#8221; (Episode 1.07)

There’s two new sheriffs in Helixtown. Well, one’s law without order—Anana, the local cop—and the other’s order without law—Connie, the Ilaria corporate killer—but between them, maybe they can clean up this hot-zone mess.

Because the men supposedly in charge have proven anything but. Granted, Alan has been working at a disadvantage, unaware (at least initially) of Hatake’s machinations and lacking firepower, so maybe he gets a pass. But Hatake ostensibly had things in hand, no matter how wild the outbreak grew. While his Jules initiative shows promise, though, otherwise he’s just as much at the mercy of events as anybody else. Whatever his master plan was, beyond disappearing behind secret panels like a Scooby-Doo villain, it’s blown apart now.

So it’s up to the new arrivals to impose control. Anana’s got her badge and a righteous cause. Her initial approach—holding a guy hostage who most of the base would prefer to see dead—is a bit optimistic. Fortunately, she immediately encounters Daniel (stolen brother Miksa), who after a little sentimental persuasion comes over to her side. Connie, on the other hand, has a big advantage, swaggering in with her squad of stormtroopers, but squanders it by underestimating Daniel’s threat and losing a chunk of her men in an ill-advised sortie to Level R.

Intriguingly, Connie’s agenda doesn’t quite jibe with her employer’s. When she gets Sergio alone, she tells him (following some boy-toy time, naturally) that finding the virus and its cure are only what the Ilaria Corporation pays him for—she pays him to keep Hatake from getting out of line. She seems to have been backing whatever rogue research Hatake was performing, but now that the virus is out, she’s set on saving what scientific stuff they can and killing whoever’s left. That includes Alan, Sarah and Jules, with Connie intimating that she’s got connections higher up at the CDC that can make a cover-up happen.

Hatake had been keeping Connie in the dark about his work with Narvik B, especially the importance of Jules to it. And it’s too bad he doesn’t get to see through that experiment, because she may be, as Imaginary Peter tells her, Survivor Zero: the first cured of the disease. Jules sure looks much better, back from the brink after Hatake’s treatment, although she’s still wrapping her mind around being crazy. Hatake’s certainly very excited when he sees her, especially because the only remaining visible symptom are the silver irises.

Technically, it seems that Jules isn’t survivor zero, since Connie as well as Hatake have those eyes too. Yet it’s possible that both the eyes and dominance over the vectors aren’t a residue of the disease itself, but come from the genetic alteration the virus is designed to transmit. Hatake and Connie could’ve had those powers spliced in directly, making Jules the first one to receive them via the virus. She may even have powers that the others lack—Hatake only nonplussed the vector he showed his eyes to, while Jules positively terrified the one that attacked her.

Connie does seem to have suffered some side effects, whether from the virus or genetic change. (Unless she belongs to some whole other race of beings born that way—i.e, aliens, who are implanting part of their genetic code in human beings—which is a mindfuck too far for this week.) She even has a whole daily maintenance/beauty routine established, filing down her teeth when they get too fierce, and snipping or cutting off who knows what else with the array of surgical tools she’s laid out. Connie is the Chief Operating Officer, so she ought to be good with a scalpel. She wields words rather less sharply, speaking a kind of corporate-ese, an imitation of jargon. Her dialogue suggests a kind of Dead Office Space. (Come to think of it, a blood red stapler would fit right in with the show’s decor.) Jeri Ryan purrs and struts in generically sexy mode as Connie, not really squaring the circle on the part. Taken on the whole, I have to say that I feel the new personnel, at the present time, while not exactly a non-starter, isn’t quite value-added. But um, Alan, we’re still going to need a cure and your TPS report by Saturday…

He’s doing his best in the absence of Jules, determined not to be distracted by the fling with Sarah. She’s on the same page, saying it was “just biology” (though there’s not much comfort: The virus is biology too, and so are life and death). She’s not all the way over it, though, because she’s more than a little sad seeing Jules and Alan finally achieve their long-frustrated reunion. (Can you square the circle on a love triangle?) Hatake had given Jules contacts to cover up her infection, but she reveals the truth, after some hesitation, to Alan. Now it’s a race to see if they can find a cure without Hatake or Connie finding out.

Maybe Jules’ RNA expertise really can turn the tide against the virus, but with the vectors remembering they’re smart and busting through the roof, it doesn’t look good. We’re living in the future already—as Hatake notes to Connie, those who control the virus will rule the herd. Anana and Connie may be headed for a showdown, but I still expect Jules to decide the battle, possibly with a horde of vectors under her direction, serving the more advanced genetic strain. Like the song says, the fever started long ago … and the only cure is more disease.

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