Helix "The Reaping" Review: Hatake's Choice
Poor Hatake, but who is going to clean up the mess in that picture up there? And who's going to clean up the mess left behind from "The Reaping," a penultimate episode that focused on *gulp* relationships? I think I've been pretty transparent with regard to what I love about Helix: the inappropriate treatment of rodents, zombified people barfing into other people's mouths, and all the other weird shit you can expect from a typical episode of this messed-up show. I was all ready to put a bunch of words on pictures and bask in the insanity of "The Reaping"—that title suggested all-out slaughter!—but the hour turned out to be more of a massacre of familial bonds than a bloodletting, and that made it a pretty uneventful table-setter for the season finale.
Every other minute, someone was bemoaning a father or a brother or a sister or a mother instead of killing each other or spreading disease. In fact, the only contagious thing about "The Reaping" was its plethora of relationship problems. Big old softy Daniel led the charge, repeatedly voicing his disappointment in his adoptive father Hatake for lying to him about Hatake's biological daughter Julia. Sarah counseled Daniel on his relationship with his father, going so far as to assure Daniel that she was sure Hatake—the madman who caused the whole mess she's in—had a reasonable excuse for the way he was behaving. Really, Sarah? If you think you know Hatake, you're as good of a counselor as you are a scientist. Peter and Alan worked out some childhood issues during a field trip into the vents, bickering like brothers fighting over who gets the last beer, and we realized that those two had problems well before Julia made the Farragut rounds. Even the Scythe spent most of "The Reaping" weeping over the death of his mother, instead of following orders and bringing sweet death to everyone at Arctic Biosystems. And Anana, Tulok, and Balleseros got into the soapy action too as Tulok played overprotective little brother to his sis, even though the romance between Balleseros and Anana had materialized out of nowhere. What is this, Helix or Grey's Anatomy?
In some cases, this relationship-building worked for the story (Daniel vs. Hatake, Scythe and Mommy), and in other cases it didn't because it felt forced and unnecessary (Alan and Peter, Anana and Balleseros). The Scythe's discovery that Hatake killed his mother led him to kidnap Julia for some payback, and Daniel bringing the cure and virus to the Scythe (why did he do that?) brought him right into the Scythe's clutches for a fun game of Sophie's Choice with Hatake. I still have no idea what Daniel was doing this entire episode, but it meant that he and Julia both ended up with explosive collars around their necks, with the Scythe telling Hatake to choose one of his kids to save so I will excuse his inexplicable behavior because of what happened next. Hatake refused to choose, Daniel made the decision for him by sacrificing himself, and the result was this nifty head-exploding .GIF:
It's a good thing Meegwun Fairbrother has a built-in safety net and can stay on the show as Daniel's twin brother, but I'm going to miss Daniel even though he was a bit of an idiot toward the end. Still, his "Sorry, father" goodbye to Hatake was a bona fide tearjerker, and his head explosion gave Hiroyuki Sanada an excuse to do some legitimate acting. There was something about seeing Hatake emotionally devastated that really punched me in the heart. I mean c'mon, this was sad!
But Daniel's demise was met with different reactions from the other witnesses.
Haha, I loved the Scythe's reaction. And while we're talking about him, I think we should admit that he's not too scary after all. Isn't this supposed to be a man in a young boy's suit who spent centuries perfecting the art of inflicting pain and suffering? So why is he so non-threatening so far? The elevator massacre from "Black Rain" gave us a look at his murderin' skills, but in "The Reaping," he ran away from a fight and then later on he got his ass beat by Alan. ALAN! No offense, Alan, but you're kind of a wuss. The Scythe was pitched as some immortal badass, but instead he's just a brat, and that's going to be a problem going into the finale because I don't see a major threat. Heck, even the virus is like "whatever" at this point.
We also saw what was in the box that came with the Scythe, and it was either another bait-and-switch by Helix or just my overactive imagination hoping it was a monster. Instead, it was Jay—Julia's mom and Hatake's baby mama—who was definitely not looking immortal because either she's aged since Julia hallucinated her or a high-altitude drop in a cargo box adds 40 pounds and wrinkles.
That was about it for "The Reaping," an episode could've used a lot more balance and that tried to shoehorn in some character relationships a little too late in the game to be effective. Helix needs to finish its first season on a high note, and now it's going to have to rely on one hell of a finale.
– Haha at the Scythe's friend for falling into that trench trap! Later, lady! Have a nice trip! See you next fall! Cold enough for ya?
– If anyone can figure out when Alan and Hatake had time to make that trap (and how they set it up over a bottomless fissure), that would be cool.
– What in the heck is going on with the Anana-Balleseros-Tulok storyline? We haven't even seen these villagers they're supposed to be saving, how are we supposed to care about them?
– Who is the "him" that the Scythe needed to speak to at the beginning of the episode? No doubt a semi-big name guest star that will later be announced as the Big Boss in Season 2.
– Julia said Hatake was 513 years old. Is this the first time we've heard that, or did I miss that earlier?
– I loved the girltalk between Julia and Sarah about being immortal now. They're so chill about it. "Yeah girl, you get to look 26 forever LOL!"
What'd you think of "The Reaping"?
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