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Helix Review: “Level X” (Episode 1.09)

March 1, 2014  |  2:10pm
<i>Helix</i> Review: &#8220;Level X&#8221; (Episode 1.09)

The plunge into the past turns into a vertical descent this week as Jules fathoms Level X, continuing to connect the dots between her visions and her childhood. While she clarifies history for herself, much of what she discovers again comes as no great surprise to the viewer (much like last week). Hatake finally tells her who her father is, but the bigger question is whether he’ll disclose the nature of that paternity before Ilaria’s army arrives.

While Jules’ mother is finally revealed to be Jaye—the remembered/hallucinated figure who helped her stay alive on Days 4 and 5—how Mommy and Daddy came together still isn’t quite settled. How much romance, and how much science, went into producing Baby Jules? When Hatake finally reveals himself to Jules, he turns to her with a super-silvery look and says, “You have your father’s eyes.” She does now, of course, but she didn’t until the virus had delivered its genetic message. And that could be the reason Hatake waited so long to tell her: because he was never fully her father until that happened. He’d certainly had occasion to talk things over with her before, since Jules spent her cabin-bound Montana childhood right there in the basement. But that idyll apparently ended abruptly; we still don’t know whether Jules was taken away or sent away for her protection by Hatake, if her mother had to sacrifice herself, and who brought Jules up after.

Given the insistence on Jules being the key to everything, it’s tough to focus on the ongoing fight against the virus. Alan realizes the vectors have been making themselves scarce since taking Peter (presumably he expected a good dozen or so to chase the cancer-stricken Sarah through the halls).  Somehow Alan has come up with a count of the vectors—50 is a nice round number, though that looks like an overestimate from what we see on the lab’s cameras. The vectors continue to show some sentience, possibly stronger while they’re swarming, hive-mind style. Their method for reviving Peter involves each spitting some black bile into what presumably is Hatake’s “Keep Calm and Carry On” mug (though maybe that was part of the swag bag for all new Arctic Biosystems employees—they could sure use it). Peter swallows the sludge and surges to life, with his sway over the horde now at rock-star intensity.

The organization of the vectors looks like our heroes’ primary problem, and Alan devises an ingenious plan to freeze them. However, his object isn’t to capture, restrain or destroy them (which, admittedly, probably runs against CDC regulations). He just wants them rendered harmless long enough to get into the virus vault and destroy the Narviks. Now, you can understand the impulse to wipe out the disease that’s been creating all this havoc, especially with Ilaria’s second wave on the way. But the actual carriers of the disease are the more immediate threat, and presumably would be as much use to Ilaria for their extermination plan as the contained virus stored in the vault. In any case, while Jules and Alan commit several nasty diseases to the fire, the mission is fundamentally a failure, as the Narvik tubes have gone missing.

Meanwhile, Sergio finalizes his resignation from the Ilaria Corporation by braining their last soldier on-base. But there’s another contingent of soldiers Sutton sent out before she died, with orders to wipe out the nearby native town Anana comes from. Daniel and Sergio (and before long, Anana too) team up to put down the soldiers and save his twin. Daniel/Miksa and the twin being genetically the same person doesn’t seem to attract them to each other much, but eventually they bond over Hot Wheels (as boys do), and all is well.

Too bad, though, that Daniel didn’t keep that guard watching Dr. Adrian, the vodka-swilling cryogenics expert, as he turns out to be the Narvik thief, sneaking out of the base with the samples at the end. But if this really is a “Mad World,” that’s just the kind of place Jules can dominate. Even Peter can’t compete with the fear the vectors have of Jules. But so far, Jules hasn’t figured out how to turn that fear into control, which will come in handy. After her treatment by Hatake and Ilaria, she’s going to need instruments of revenge.

Andrew Westney is a Charlotte-based writer and journalist currently reviewing Rake and Helix for Paste. You can (and should!) follow him on Twitter.

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