In arguably the most massively scaled Helix episode, we've finally reached the finale of this twisted gem of a season. I say "massively" not so much as an emphasis on the episode having a huge climatic moment (like some of the past episodes), but mainly because of how many things actually take place in this one episode. It's quite a bit to take in once the Ilaira stuff starts to hit pretty hard. I honestly had to take my time with this episode a bit more than the others trying to piece together what everyone was saying to each other. So much like my Season 2 premiere review being more of a compilation of scattered thoughts, I ironically may have to do the same here.
Continuing on from such an intense ending with last week's episode of Helix, we find out that Julia did in fact shoot Alan before he could make the first move. Surprisingly enough we find Julia trying to stitch his constantly bleeding neck wound telling him that he tried to shoot her first. I honestly wasn't expecting this type of follow up, but that's why I love this show. There's a surprise around every corner (and "Boy is this episode full of them!"). You can tell from Alan's face while Julia is stitching him up that he still isn't finished with his task at hand. Alan isn't given much to do this entire episode, but his thoughts about Ilaria and Julia's plans on using "Mother" to control the population leads him to to a very significant moment in this episode.
We then see a very disfigured Amy screaming in the mirror at her horrendous image as Landry watches from behind (confirming my theory on him being the one who drags her away offscreen in Episode 11). This begins my first issue of this episode. I'm all up for villas surviving impossible odds so they get another chance and besting the hero, but Amy's entire portion of this episode felt unnecessary. Her supposed death at the end of episode 11 honestly was the perfect send off to her character as everything felt symbolic and highly fitting. Bringing her back just to see get yet another twisted punishment didn't feel needed whatsoever and could've easily been written out without causing any ripples down the line for our more significant characters. Now, technically we don't see her actually die, but I would be surprised if those angry freed women left her alive after what they've been through. My only thoughts on them having a genuine reason to bring Amy back is that she actually doesn't die in that scene and becomes something significant for Season 3 (which still could've been done with episode 11's ending). I always praise the writers for planting seeds of potential in each episode so who's to know that Amy's teeth pulling fate is meant to set up something in the future. As for right now, I feel that her scenes for the most part were pretty pointless. As much as I feel the same way about Landry as well, I did rather enjoy his small moments in this episode showing some little signs of redemption.
As for Kyle and Soren's growing relationship, I really liked how much they emphasized on them trying to get used to everything. The two never just automatically become brothers, but instead come across a few rocky moments which makes their bond stronger. Soren (still fresh from seeing his mother dying in front of him) decides to attack Peter (they hardly call him Eli in this episode). Surprisingly he does manage to stab him with a scalpel, but this is only handicaps Peter a little throughout the episode. I remember calling Soren the hidden savior of the season and this episode basically furthers that idea as Soren names the cure after his mother "Olivia". It's a great moment and again furthers his relationship with Kyle. There's a couple other great little moments in there such as when Kyle knocks out Peter telling Soren "Never do that either" after Peter calls him out on stabbing him. Another great moment (although very brief) is where Soren finally gets to see a city as he looks out a hospital window. When he turns to Kyle talking about the many lights, I couldn't help smile a little inside. It's a moment that I was hoping for and it's great that they took the time to place it in there. Kyle slowly became one of my favorite characters of the season with his outrageously bad luck almost never bringing down his light hearted personality as well as his honesty to his pairs. Aside from being sent to take Alan in, Kyle never really had any dark secrets involving anyone which made him one of the more pure characters aside from Sarah.
Speaking more on Soren, we get a very surprising twist with the Caleb character finally shedding some much needed light in his story. Not only is Caleb revealed to be Soren in the future (which I actually thought he was Sarah's baby), but he also reveals the TXM7 virus to be linked with Hatake and Alan. This is revealed through Caleb being able to read the letters on Hatake's sword stating that his legacy of creating more immortals changed to actually killing them off. Through Caleb's unseen timeline on the island, it is also revealed that Alan and Hiroshi created the TXM7 virus together after finding common grounds as Ilaria became an enemy for both of them. With Ilaria using the fungus from "Mother" to control the world, they both found reason to having to remove Ilaria from having such power over humanity. Going along my idea of Soren being the savior of the show, he states that in his blood lies the cure for the TXM7 virus which is why Alan told him to stay on the island until every immortal was dead. There's obviously a lot of mysteries unravelling with Caleb all in one episode, but I guess it's a great way to bring everything around in full circle. I admittedly couldn't grasp everything the first time around until I realize that everything basically points to Soren being the key to saving everyone. The season did a great job in later setting him up as someone who wants to help people in anyway that he can. There's also the scenes from Episode 11 where Alan shows him how special his blood is. So if anyone ever thinks that the Caleb character didn't get enough development, it's all shown and built up in Soren's timeline with Kyle and the rest (it's pretty brilliant set up actually).
The "Do you know the way to San Jose?" mystery is also unwrapped as Julia finally links it with her and Alan's marriage story involving the two getting married in San Jose after their car broke down. It feels like a bit of a stretch at first, but it's easily overshadowed by the more bigger situations at hand. Plus it connects Alan to Julia more as someone who feels like he lost her to immortality. With Julia slowly dying from the virus, Caleb offers a little of his blood to her as a cure which she contemplates on whether or not she deserves to live. There's a significant line that she says which at first went over my head until I read over my episode 3 review. She says "If immortality is the plague, then there's only one cure". Alan in episode 3 calls immortality a plague when talking to Peter implying that he'll do what he can in his power to wipe it out. It's little details that puts this show on another level than others. After everything that has happened to her, she finally agrees with Alan's negative perspective on immortality and Ilaria altogether. Fortunately, we never see her actually kill herself as she tells Caleb that she wishes she could see Alan again. I do hope that we see her in Season 3 although I have little to no idea on what the major storyline would be. Julia is such an interesting and entertaining to see character when following along her journey. Through her, we've learned quite a bit about Ilaria as well as got introduced to other immortals in the series. She became such a significant character on the show, that it would be a shame to write her off (unless the 3rd season goes way beyond her story).
With Caleb's mystery unraveled and Julia's mission coming to an end, let's talk a little bit about Alan in this episode now that he has become the connecting tissue between Julia and Caleb. After Julia helps stitch Alan's neck, he decides to escape after she is distracted by Sarah questioning her offer of joining Ilaria (something that'll tie in with the ending scene). Alan decides to burn down the remaining of the "Mother" tree, but is then stopped by Peter. This was a pretty intense scene even though it's easily overshadowed by the rest of the episode (that's how much stuff is inserted in this finale). We get a great scene of Peter knocking a very weak Alan down and telling him how much he helped shaped him from leaving him in the pit. I'm glad that the show decided to acknowledge that it is through Alan that Peter and Sister Anne became what they are now. Peter then decides to seal Alan's fate in a ring of fire after telling him that he's no family to him. It's a rather sad scene when thinking back on there moments in Season 1 where they bonded as brothers. After Julia runs in to rescue Alan, his is eventually taken to a hospital after the military comes in save everyone. Not only is it refreshing to see them get off the island and placed in a hospital, but we also get one of Helix's traditional strangely inserted musical choices.
During a very ironic song in Dionne Warwick's "I Say A Little Prayer"(considering the lyrics) playing in the background, we see Sarah and Julia alongside a military officer rushing Alan to an emergency room. Throughout the majority of the remaining minutes, Sarah is shown worried sick over his survival in the waiting room. Finally, as a doctor walks in implying that Alan won't survive the trauma, we get a very intense scene of Sarah entering the room and sadly staring at Alan before locking the door behind her. After Julia's final scene of telling Caleb that she wishes to see Alan one more time, we get the biggest twist of the finale with Alan waking up from his coma state in the hospital. As he walks towards the sink washing his face, he looks up at the mirror to see his new silver eyes of immortality. This puts him in a rage as he smashes the mirror. I really loved this scene for so many reasons. Not only does it fill in some blanks on how Alan got from being in a coma to helping Hiroshi and Caleb, but it completely turns the table around for his character. He inevitably becomes the thing that he's been fighting to destroy which is the ultimate sense of irony in this season (also links the reason for him to make a cure out of Soren's blood). I am more than excited to see where they take his character in Season 3.
Finally, we get the more complex story of the finale in Ilaria's involvement with everything. In a scene in the beginning involving Sister Anne and Eli coming across the now revealed remains of "Mother", Sister Anne suggests for him to deliver the valuable fungus to Ilaria. This gives him the idea of using Ilaria as a way to gain more cult followers from around the world as he would be looked upon as a hero (at least that's what I grasped from that scene). After the military comes in to take everyone off the island, Julia finds Peter in a room with Sister Anne and surprisingly Claire Wallenberg (one of the head board members of Ilaria as well as the woman who sends Julia on her mission). After the remains of "Mother" sitting in jars right next to her, Claire tells Julia how Peter told her of Julia's significance of helping secure the fungus (which we know is just him saving himself at the moment). Stating that he doesn't need the money that Julia is implying for his compensation, he states that Claire has been "more than generous". Julia then pulls Claire away to ask her about "Narvik-C" which Claire confusingly looks at her stating that she doesn't remember talking about it. After telling Julia "Nor do I think will anyone at Ilaria", I wasn't sure what she was implying at first (with so much happening in the episode). I eventually just placed it as her now having "Mother" in her possession removes any reason for the board to go ahead with its Narvik-C plans.
Kyle now having Soren by his side at the hospital is met by the same unknown agent from episode 5 who sent Kyle on his spy mission. After asking about Alan's retrieval based on his evidence that he gathers, he contemplates after realizing what Alan has done for Soren and everyone else on the island. He eventually tells the agents to look into the same bank safe number than Alan gives him. We never get to see what's in the safe (something Season 3 will reveal hopefully), but it does lead towards Alan being free from capture. However, we see the same agent and her team taking Peter in handcuffs as he turns around smiling at Sister Anne. This moment alone makes me a bit hyped for Season 3 as it now lays the groundwork for so many possibilities. Towards the ending of the episode, we're transported years in the future where we see an ad for "Ilaira Fresh" showcasing how much Ilaria has shaped the world through their food resources (which of course contains the infertility fungus). I love the emphasized shots on the fresh apples linking back to the infertility apples that Michael experimented with.
I loved the scenes in the future showing a very clean and sterile look as we see a young woman being called out in a hospital. As she walks inside a room getting checked up by a nurse, she starts speaking about having a family and basically how rare it is to see children. I started flashing back to one of my favorite films "Children of Men" which centers upon a similar idea involving an infertility focused future. Film comparisons aside, we see the young woman finally walk into a giant circular room full of baby chambers being transitioned to different sections of the room. This is one of the most impressive visual FX on the show as the room just screamed "awesome futuristic tech" to me from its design. As she walks towards the doctor operating the machine, the doctor turns around revealing to be Sarah with an Ilaria tag on her shirt. It's one of the greatest Season finale ends almost mirroring Season One's ending scene with Julia joining Ilaria. As shocking as that scene was, I really connected more with Sarah in this as we get more of a build up to her jointing Ilaria as well as some insight behind the baby chamber technology. My only question is "What happens to Sarah's baby?". I'm not sure if I missed something during the episode, but I truly don't recall them every mentioning her baby's fate (something else for Season 3 to dive into I suppose). With Sarah now taking charge as the person behind the new world's vision of how someone obtains a baby, Season 3 is shaping up to have quite an interesting transition from where we are now.
My dreams was for Season 2 to be centered on Alan's pursuit on the Ilaria board, but what I ended up having was something so much more and quite massive in scale (more is better in this case). I really enjoyed this season as felling like a major step forward from the first instead of just simply rehashing the same beats and tropes. It's refreshing to watch a show that is not afraid to push its own boundaries as well as constantly offer something unique whether or not it works at first. This season has ranked Helix higher up on my list of favorite TV series which is saying something if you consider my thoughts on the premiere episode. It shows me that giving a show a chance to prove its value after 3 or 4 episodes is a great plan as sometimes you find a hidden gem of an entertainment experience (which I consider Helix to be for me personally). I cannot wait to see what Season 3 has in store for us, but I'm happy to say that this finale wrapped up nicely without forcing my attention to impatiently wait for the next episode.
Things to Point Out:
1. Dionne Warwick's "I Say A Little Prayer" lyrics possible ties to the scene
2. "From Here To Eternity" is the film that plays on the TV when the doctor walks in implying Alan's inevitable death to Sarah.
3. Caleb/Soren's Fake Eye
4. "Mother" Fungi Remains
5. Sarah's Future Baby Chamber Machine