Helix: “Black Rain”

(Episode 1.11)

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Helix: “Black Rain”

What this lab needs is an enema. Jules, Alan and Sarah have tried pretty much everything else to purge the Narvik virus, and while they make some scientific progress in this episode, it might be better for them (not to mention the human race) if they’d just take the cleanse: wipe all the diseased out, except for a select few, and start over.

That’s certainly Hatake’s point of view, pitched as usual somewhere between the human and the Immortal. (Finally, we have something to call those silver-eyed bastards!) With Ilaria six hours away and closing fast, he’s got explosives ready to bring the base down and make a run for it. Of course, he only really wants to take Jules with him, but he’s willing to bring Daniel, Alan and some others along. There are 20 more uninfected people elsewhere on the base, but he can barely be bothered to try to preserve them, much less the vectors. To Alan’s credit, he’s trying to save as many as he can, still looking at them as human beings. At his insistence, the uninfected are rounded up for safety’s sake.

But the vectors’ hive mind, with Peter at the center, has gotten much smarter—even hiding in a duct-free room won’t save you. The “viral collective” quite deliberately executes a sophisticated plan to capture a random survivor—who can resist microwaved rat?—and pipe her infected blood through the sprinkler system to drench the uninfected in the sunroom. This black rain plays out not to the hard rock song the title and the visuals suggest, but a lighthearted old-fashioned number. But the opportunely inappropriate tune that came to me in this episode was “Stuck in the Middle With You,” with Ilaria closing in from outside and the vectors massing for an attack from within.

The CDC crew does get in some licks of its own in the laboratory. First, Jules donates spinal fluid that apparently cures Sarah’s tumor on the spot. She hops out of bed, ready to work, helping come up with a plan to inject the vectors with a supercooled version of an antivirus to cure them before the virus can mutate. They manage to save Peter and many other vectors, although some—perhaps those less under Peter’s control?—scuttle away into (where else) the ducts. And Sarah’s recovery isn’t a sure thing. Her symptoms return, just as she exhibits the silver eyes she’s absorbed from Jules; is this an indication that even immortality can’t fix what’s too far gone?

Jules comes into her own as Hatake’s inheritor, as both genius and potential mad scientist. The only reason they can create the cure is that she saves the Narvik samples, hiding the fact from Alan. Alan accuses her of being no better than Hatake, and she takes some pride in that: “I’m my father’s daughter.” Jules’ defiance gives more charge to her character, and more flavor to her sparring with Alan—they’re more fun when they’re pissed at each other and fighting for control than rehashing their relationship issues. Still, she hasn’t taken the final step to power of asserting her dominion over the vectors, becoming the hive mind’s queen bee. To do that, at some point her mythical father, whether biological or merely scientific, needs to be slain.

The survivors have less luck fighting back with force, which is the only language the Ilaria Corporation understands (unless they also speak some alien tongue, which the newly revealed fact of their immortality neither confirms nor rules out). Daniel, Hatake and Alan try to make a last stand, but are baited by drones away from the base, while Ilaria infiltrates its secret weapon: the Scythe. Hatake calls this immortal “the worst of us.” And since child-experimenting, patient-murdering Hatake appears to be the best of them, that’s saying something. Given the dual short weapons he’s holding, Sickle might be a better name than Scythe, as he and his henchwomen go all Mr. Blonde on the French doctor and his group, with a similar fate planned for whomever’s left.

So the good guys (and whatever Hatake is), for all their efforts, remain between a rock and a hard place—the Scythe is their Scylla, with the still-evolving horde as Charybdis, now without Peter’s restraining hand to guide them. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

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