Looks like my wishes came true from my past episode review in focusing a little more on the Ilaria storyline. It's always great to see Julia being utilized more as I've always loved her transformation as a character. We start off this week's episode with both Julia and Sergio (awkwardly ending a sex scene by the way) trying to make it in time for one of their Ilaria board meetings. If you go back to my Season 1 finale review, one of my favorite scenes from that episode was seeing the actual "puppeteers" of this powerful corporation for the first time. I love that we actually get a brief, but very significant inside look at the way they operate in shaping the world for their benefit. What we also get to see is the cold hearted, but rightfully understood reasoning behind their goals in wiping out the majority of the mortals to preserve the population. The host of the meeting's presentation spoke of the immortals seeing their families burned on stakes in different countries which directs back to what Spencer mentioned in Season 1.
What statements like these does for Ilaria (and why I'm so fascinated by this specific story arc) is create what can be seen as an anti-hero image of the immortals. Some of the most powerful villains in the history of storytelling are the ones giving a seemingly valid reason for their "crimes" and genuinely thinking that it's all for the greater good in their or someone else's life.
Ilaria sees the genocidal mission as a way of cleansing the world instead of mass murder. Another thing that I enjoyed about this scene is finales seeing how Julia not only interacts with Ilaria, but she is viewed amongst them. Having recently transformed into a "silver eye", Ilaria sees her as someone who simply would not understand their bigger picture and the emotional reasons behind their goals. This is emphasized on when the host of the meeting says to her "Must we hear this from someone who has barely lived a single lifetime?" after she opposes to their plans in favor of her nonlethal option. It was exactly what I was hoping for with this season in showing the continuation of her story as someone stuck between two different moralities. Julia is shaping up to being possibly my favorite character of the show period if they keep up this sort of "rise of a hero" image that I'm getting from her.
Putting Ilaria aside for the moment, we finally really dive into the sick and twisted side of Michael's character. After last week's ending of an episode, one can only imagine what other evil doings this guy has committed. It turns out that Michael has committed one of the worst things imaginable. A little something I like to call "generational incest"(yep he's that twisted). It is revealed that Michael has borne generations of daughters by having sex with each and every one of them once they have turned 20 (did I mention how twisted this guy is?). Now that in itself is an entire discussion all on it's own, but I'll focus more on why this works well for this character. Perhaps one of the biggest themes of this season in their villains is desperation and the almost limitless lengths of what people would do to fulfill their goals. Michael (much like Ilaria) has a larger than life task in preserving their legacy on Earth. In Michael's case, he wishes to have a never ending future of children continuing his bloodline which in essence stabilizes his legacy for certain (stability and balance is also another theme that binds the two antagonists). We also learn through Sister Amy that the more he continues to have children his daughters, the more stronger his immortality becomes. This is definitely the strangest villain I have ever encountered in a TV series which is why I love this show so much. They always introduce something that I've never seen or heard done before.
Here to carry on this tradition is none other than 19 year old Sister Amy closing in on her birthday, but of course she refuses continuing her personal path of escaping what she sees as a manipulated life of captivity. This is the first episode where I became completely won over by her character (another thing that this episode did positively in response to my last week's review complaints) as her motivations becomes clearer as a minor, but not to be taken lightly anti-hero. She stands up to Sister Anne and boldly exposes everything that is wrong with Michael. Although very convincing and obviously correct in her statements, this does absolutely nothing to an already manipulated Sister Anne as she only continues to tell Amy that she must continue the bloodline. This causes Sister Amy to become arguably the best part of this episode as you see her slithering her way through means of manipulation (runs in the family I guess) in getting Landry to use the infected honey to cause chaos amongst the community. She also eventually manipulates Soren's mother by utilizing her already stirred up emotions about her son's situation and her feelings about the CDC team being responsible for everything as a way of creating an angry mob of non-infected people fighting for a cause. It was simply brilliant and a great reason for viewers to keep their eyes on her in future episodes. She sort of became the "self-aware robot" that decided to take advantage of the programmed machines around her in doing her biddings as they lack the freedom of individualism. I would love to see what would happen if Michael found her out. It would be an interesting battle between his desperation for his bloodline and her revolution as an individual power.
Now for the "Poor Peter" segment of the episode as we see our fellow double agent (or however one could describe Peter at this point) still locked up in the pit. Peter attempts to climb out only to be sent right back down by an unknown and seemingly insane woman. Eventually, we see the show's continuation of Michael figuring out everything he can about Sarah's immortality by question Peter. Of course after making a false deal to let Peter go if he told him about Sarah, Peter mistakingly tells him about Sarah's baby being possibly immortal which intrigues Michael resulting in him sending Landy to capture her. Not only does Michael leave Peter in the pit with this new information, but he also leaves him with a few hungry rats to keep him on his toes (now that's evil).
Speaking of Sarah, we finally see her get back on her feet and back to the test tubes and microscopes. Only this time, she runs into seeing Alan handcuffed still by Kyle. What's great about this scene is that not only does Kyle not hesitate to tell the truth about his mission in investigating Alan, but it also leads to a realization that Alan's knowledge in the field is necessary for their mission whether or not Kyle thinks he can be trusted. After the chaos of Sister Agnes funeral leading to a war zone of infected people savagely attacking people (due to Sister Amy's honey scheme), we get a desperate (there's that word again) alliance between Kyle and Alan to get everyone in order and attempt to treat them as soon as possible.
The actual viral outbreak in this scene is one of the best moments in the show so far as not only do we get these great shots of Kyle trying to focus and keep it together through the madness and panic that surrounded him, but the music and sound design was exceptionally well in leading the tension of the scene (a nice change from the norm of this series). Honestly, they did it right this time as any sort of direction in adding a sense of charm to the scene by playing some hilariously fitting music would've ruined a perfectly engaging moment. I'm thankful that they took the serious route this time and it worked in favor of the season showing how truly terrifying this virus really is and why we should care if they cure it or not. What's also great is that we finally get to see Alan fully working with the team in figuring out what's going on in which they discover that the spreading of the virus was a fixed attempt and not accidental. It's just great to finally see our CDC team slowly forming back together now that everyone's secrets are coming out in the open bit by bit. I feel as tho eventually, there will be nothing else for anyone to hide which will either bring the entire team together as one again (with the addition of Kyle this time on the roster) or these secrets will cause more conflict than anything. We'll just have to wait and see. Look what happened to Peter and Alan after their little "discussion" about hiding things from each other. During their temporary team up, we see Soren's mother (after being manipulated by Sister Amy) gathering up the non-infected for an all out revolt on the CDC by taking away their infected family from their care. But before this revolt happens, the team learns that the infected outbreak was a fixed sabotage by someone in the community. As I said, it's great to have Alan back on the team especially after having inside information about the island and how certain things operate.
This being a Sister Amy focused episode for the most part in terms of the island's continuity, we see Amy telling Landry that he has to choose between her and Michael. Now that she knows of Michael's plans for Sarah, she again uses Landry to serve her purpose in capturing her, but before this can happen, she must stray away Michael's suspicion about the infected outbreak being fixed. As everything goes haywire in the community, we see the final stages of Sister Amy's plan go down as Michael stops both her and Sister Anne in front of everyone to confront them about it. As Michael's suspicion grew amongst them, he uses Landry to search the locker to see what he'll find. I honestly didn't know what would happen in this scene as Sister Amy looked genuinely nervous not knowing whether or not Landry took Michael's side or not. As he pulls out Sister Anne's coat, that's when I thought "Yep, she's doomed". As he discovers a jar of honey in the pocket of the coat eventually taking her away, we see the devious eyes of Sister Amy as the camera zooms in on her. You can tell that she's starting to become the powerful villain that the show has been slowly hinting at throughout this season.
I decided to focus this portion of the review on the continuation of Julia's mission throughout this episode as it is the most globally significant story of this universe. You can see Julia as being Earth's hero in Ilaria's plans ands the CDC team as being the island's heroes in Michael and Sister Amy's plans. When this season first begun, I really wasn't sure how they would handle the two separate timelines, but now everything is starting to shape up in Julia's continuity (my faith in the writers of the show has only gotten stronger at this point). We see Julia speaking to Sergio about Ilaria's plan on killing off a mass amount of the population by utilizing the virus. Julia then reveals her plan about letting the CDC know beforehand what's about to happen which would officially label her a traitor to Ilaria. This of course puts Sergio in a tight spot as being a traitor as well from being associated with her stating "You know Ilaira does to traitors". We also get a very brief but well noted reminder that Sergio was a soldier and have seen enough deaths in his time. I doubt we'll be seeing a lot of his character this season, but it's always great for a show to remind the audience on the most significant aspects of even their side characters at any time that it makes sense to insert. Julia tells Sergio that he could probably stay hidden in one of Ilaria's safe houses and gives him a single dose of the cure in a briefcase for safekeeping. This will be known as the most important substance on the planet, so by giving it to him to hold onto makes Sergio a valuable character at the moment. Sometimes I forget how this show brilliantly emphasizes on how each character will play a very important role at some point in the story even if they seem distant in some episodes.
What's interesting is that aside from Sergio, Julia discovers that there are other Ilaria members who are against the human extermination plans in which we spend the rest of the episodes meeting them. The first on the list is one of the heads of true board (not too sure if they ever mentioned her name in the episode) which we saw earlier on in the board meeting. Julia finds her at her home uninvited with a nice dinner set up for her. Although on the surface, one can call that a cheesy moment, but for me I thought it was cool how she told Julia that her entire plans of telling the CDC would fail as well as how Ilaria owned her place giving her access whenever she wants. It was a reminder that even if Julia has her own plans to defeat Ilaria, she is up against something more powerful than she could imagine. She tells Julia of her sickened feelings about the board's plans on how she knows of another who shares her feelings as well, Madam Durant. After she leaves Julia, we get a pretty funny ending where Julia takes a bite of the dinner stating "Damn, this is delicious!" I know it felt a little out of place, but being a food lover myself, I found it kinda hilarious that they would actually show her taste the food as unimportant as it was (that Helix charm is something else).
Insert the best introduction to a character on the show since "The Scythe", we have Madam Durant. A little girl on the surface, but an immortal who's been living on for who knows how long. Madam Durant tells Julia how changing the system from within is a "young person's mistake" and how she knows of another renegade immortal with a promising project to help. I loved how confident and powerful she seemed through her wit and intel as coming from a little girl's mouth seems a little shocking. She also makes reference to Spencer stating "It is because of people like him, there are people like me" right after insulting him of course (I like this character already). She shows Julia a necklace pendant of the same symbol that can be seen in one of Michael's cult building. What does this say about Michael's involvement with the Immortals is very interesting and I can't wait to see how everything leads into each other. Now with Ilaria's plans in the process, we have this sense of a pressure building time bomb for the rest of the season for Julia. We also get the same feeling on the island in Amy slowly taking over and how that would affect the CDC team. This season is shaping up to be one of the most unique, engaging, and intense seasons I have ever experienced in a show. Kudos to the writers for delivering something larger scaled and impressively paced this time around in comparison to the tightly sealed in confined space of the first season. It is the perfect transition in my opinion and it works exceptionally well in the lore and world crafting of the show.
After the non-infected revolt caused by Amy, we end the episode with Landry sneaking up and knocking out Alan with the same gas inducing mechanism used to control the children that attacked Kyle. This leads to a very intense moment where a mentally suggested and unstable Alan tells Kyle to help go room to room to find the substance used with the honey. As Kyle leaves the room with Sarah being alone, I knew something terrible was about to happen. Alan goes up to Sarah and violently attacks her choking her while his eyes dart left and right just like the children before. One can only theorize what will happen next, but I'm hoping Kyle or even Peter (miraculously) saves Sarah and snaps Alan out of this state. This scene also opens the door to any character of the show turning into a monster no matter how significant they are to the story (although Alan isn't an infected person, but just under a trance-like state). This episode is definitely in my top 5 favorites of the series as we get the secrets out from different characters with each other. We also get the Ilaria focused Julia story arc that I've been more than interested in showing that she is not alone in her mission. Also more importantly detailing what her mission actually is. I am more than excited to see what comes next as Helix reaches its 7th episode next week. It's only been six episodes, and I feel like we're already about to hit a big finale with everything that's been going on. Gotta love the writing of this show.
Things To Point Out:
1. Madam Durant's Pendant
2. The crest of the cult symbol