Director – Steven A. Adelson, Jeremiah S. Chechik, Jeff Renfroe
Cast – Billy Campbell, Kyra Zagorsky, Jordan Hayes, Neil Napier, Matt Long, Mark Ghanimé, Hiroyuki Sanada, Severn Thompson, Alison Louder, Sean Tucker, Luciana Carro, Steven Weber, Sarah Booth, Catherine Lemieux, Cameron Brodeur, Amber Goldfarb, Patricia Summersett, Jim Thorburn, Clare Coulter, Kayla DiVenere, Jeri Ryan, Julian Bailey, Meegwun Fairbrother
Release Year – 2015
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The first season of Helix was a pleasant surprise to me. Because of it’s Syfy channel origins I assumed it would be terrible, but it wasn’t. Sure it wasn’t a top-notch production, but it was top-notch for what it had to work with. Because of this I was excited to give season two a watch and see where they would take the storyline.
Set 15 months after the events that took place in Antarctica, the CDC team once lead by Dr. Alan Farragut is now being lead by his brother, Dr. Peter Farragut. This time, the team lands on a remote island where a strange religious community is suffering an outbreak similar to the Narvic outbreak they dealt with in Antarctica. Alan is no longer employed by the CDC, as he has been targeting and killing immortals in his quest to stop Alaria from world domination. At the same time, we are shown regular sequences of the events taking place 30 years after the first outbreak, where Julia is on her own quest. Sure enough, each of these individual elements ties together in what appears to be the final season of this horror/sci-fi show.
This second season kicks off with CDC scientists Peter Faragut, Sarah Jordan, and new addition Dr. Kyle Sommer arriving on the mysterious island to investigate the virus that killed everyone aboard a nearby boat. They don’t quite have the authority to make heir way onto the solitary island, but they do so anyway and from the get-go their problems begin. Corpses can be found strewed about, and before long they are taken captive by the locals. These locals aren’t quite holding them captive per say. Instead, they are holding them within the confines of their compound to keep them safe from the dangers lying in wait outside their walls. “What dangers?” is the question you be asking yourself, and as the season rolls on you begin to realize that yes there are dangers outside their walls, but there are also dangers from within.
It is the dangers from within that brought Alan Farragut to the island, leading to a reunion with the team he has since been excommunicated from. As a television series you can expect some drama, and the drama is heavy between estranged brothers Alan and Peter. While this is going on we fast-forward 30 years and watch Julia on a solitary quest to save the remaining immortals from a virus killing them off. The seemingly deserted island isn’t quite deserted, and Julia faces both familiar and unfamiliar foes during her quest. I really enjoyed this use of present and future storylines as they of course coincide with one another, but the writers manage to still keep us guessing about the future despite us knowing what happens in the present. The present scenes are the most exciting and command the majority of the time be spent on it. The future scenes are the most interesting but with so few characters it naturally should consume less of the runtime and take a backseat to what is going on in the present.
The horror in this season is good but it does not reach the levels seen in the first season. The infection saga continues here but it is different than that seen in Antarctica. On this island the virus is plant / spore based and affects the humans differently. They still become violent, but the bodily disfigurement they go through is different and somewhat resembles the “clickers” seen in the video game The Last of Us. Just like the Narvik outbreak in Antarctica, there is a conspiracy going on behind the source of the virus. The compound on the island isn’t merely a group of settlers tucked away from the thralls of society so they can govern themselves, as they claim. Our protagonists eventually deem them a cult and learn that the leader of the compound, Brother Michael (Steven Weber), is hiding more than meets the eye. There is something strange going on within his walls. Compound residents are disappearing overnight, with this mostly happening to those displaying early signs of illness. What is Brother Michael hiding, and what does it have to do with the maniacal killers waiting outside their walls? With the infected killing off those who venture from the compound, killers protecting the compounds secrets from those who threaten its agenda, and horror erupting in both the present and future, this second season of Helix provides the horror we seek. Sadly, the series closes out on a lesser note.
Overall, Helix: Season 2 is sure to please fans of the first season, but keep in mind it is a step down. The horror is there and I found it enjoyable, but it lacks the tenacity and terror of its preceding season.