Helix "Bloodlines" Review: Action Over Answers

By Tim Surette

Feb 22, 2014

Helix S01E08: "Bloodlines"


Well that was crazy, wasn't it? "Bloodlines" was an insanely paced episode that zipped between captures and escapes with so much gusto that it almost obscured the fact that not a whole lot happened, especially since the episode's big reveal was also Helix's worst-kept secret. A lot of the show's now-typical weirdness was shelved this week in favor of focusing on power struggles; in the end, Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan) was ousted as Queen Bitch, and Arctic Biosystems found itself close to where it was a few episodes ago, before the mysterious corporate behemoth that's bankrolling this clandestine operation butted in.

There's not much point in recapping the events "Bloodlines," since it was heavy on insignificant action via characters running around, getting caught, and escaping. Alan and Sarah were stuck in a lab and then escaped thanks to a microscope bomb, Balleseros was cuffed and then uncuffed thanks to a lock pick, Julia Walker was thrown into a locked room and then escaped by taking out an air vent, Dr. Hatake was bound to a chair and then set free by Julia... it was enough to make me think I was watching Revolution! But one thing we SHOULD discuss is the big murder of Sutton at the end of the hour, and whether she ultimately had an impact on the show, because I'm having a hard time figuring out why the writers ever brought her into the labs in the first place, at least from a narrative standpoint.


Other than being the first human (or maybe even non-human) representation of the Ilaria Corporation and understanding that Julia was highly valued by science types, Sutton apparently arrived just to stir some shit up by barking orders and teasing answers to some of the questions we've been asking. We know Sutton is was another silver-eyed freak (along with Hatake and Julia), but why? We know she had a romantic past with Hatake (she even gave him a watch! Also, who HASN'T she had a romantic past with?), but how does that fit into things? And we know the two of them were collaborating on something involving the virus, but what? These questions don't identify interesting new possibilities so much as they underline mysteries that already existed, and on a show like Helix—which relies heavily on the question-and-answer relationship it maintains with its audience—they're slowing things down. And now Sutton is dead. 

I'm not saying the character was a waste, no no no. I loved Sutton and the energy she brought to Helix. But when I look back at her arc, all I see are some fun one-liners and tiny question marks, instead of a giant Jeri-Ryan-shaped indentation on the story—especially now that Ilaria has been booted from Arctic Biosystems, and things appear to be exactly as they were before. 


But let's move on. Poor Julia! She had the worst Take Your Daughter to Work Day ever! Sutton did confirm what I thought was too obvious to be true, and what Helix didn't really try to hide: Julia is Hatake's daughter. It's the type of reveal that completely changes the outlook of a character. Now Hatake looks like he's trying to be a pretty good dad instead of a megalomaniac, which qualifies as one of those "you think you know the character but you don't" twists that showrunner Steven Maeda discussed with me just over a week ago.   

"Bloodlines" was a somewhat sloppy episode that only had one real goal: to wrap up the Sutton storyline and get the Ilaria goons out of the lab. But getting there required a lot of roundabout action and dangling threads. Why didn't Alan ask about Julia's eyes? What happened to the supposedly infected food supply? Why didn't the vectors that were released into the lab last week have more of an impact? The good news is that "Bloodlines" ousted Ilaria, and that gives me a good feeling about the last few episodes of the season.



LAB NOTES BUT MOSTLY QUESTIONS

– Vector Vision! And the vector couldn't see inside Julia, just Alan and Sarah. And it appeared to be looking at a human's bloodflow. Does that mean Julia's blood is different?

– I don't know why Arctic Biosystems stores their grub in a room illuminated by blacklights, but it looked cool. Maybe Daniel throws raves in his downtime? 

– Any theories as to why Julia was so famished after getting "healthy"? Is she one of the Returned from The Returned? (If you haven't seen The Returned, please spend the rest of the weekend catching up.) Also, Julia's viral fake-out was not funny. Not funny!

– Sutton sounds like a bitch of a boss. She thought CDC scientists would work better under pressure, so she decided it was a good idea to let vectors run free so the chaos would help Alan find a cure. Ooooooookay. 

– Balleseros's character sure has fallen off, hasn't he?

– Why did the vectors grab Peter?

– Julia ran into some vectors in the vents, but they just sniffed at her kept going. Compare that to the last time Julia confronted a vector, and it ran away screaming in fear. Was Julia wearing colored contacts in the vents? 

– Have you noticed that the Ilaria Corporation has a lot of redheaded employees? They're the true freaks! (Just kidding, gingers!) 

– Sarah's hobbies include operating sound cannons with precision targeting. Sounds about right. 

– Is Anana gone for good? What did she bring to the series? She'd better come back. 

– Sutton's comments about Hatake's watch were about much more than the watch: "I guess once you start replacing the parts it's not quite the same." The question Helix will be asking soon: "Does gene therapy make us inhuman?" 

– I miss Doreen.


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  • woz22 Feb 28, 2014

    I finally caught up with the episodes now after avoiding the spoilers , a good episode will miss crazy sutton although jeri ryan was a bit hammy. I do think the head in the case is a bit like matrix Dr Zevit head in the case like this series might be deja vu. I do think the season getting better a least we getting somewhere to knowing the truth ,although the Major and the Anana escaping and getting caught got boring.

  • bluemorphotat Feb 25, 2014

    I enjoyed very much having Jery Ryan round but:
    - It was too short
    - I still do not see the point...

    I feel that Mark Ghanimé & Luciana Carro have some crazy, crazy chemistry and I drool every time they have a fight scene... is that bad?

  • entil2001 Feb 25, 2014

    This show is a hot mess.

  • sangbaran Feb 25, 2014

    I miss Doreen,
    8 episodes done but still no clue where we are heading,
    I have enjoyed the ride but fatigue is round the corner.

  • JackSaat Feb 25, 2014

    This is, basically, The Walking Dead in a smaller space with a better plot and it seems to actually go somewhere! And it seems like the B Virus is designed to turn someone with "Sliver eyes DNA" in them into Sliver Eye whatever they are! But it doesn't work on none Sliver eye childen.

  • chestergunnn Feb 25, 2014

    If I am writing Helix, in two weeks, I bring back Sutton, in the same manner as before---choppers, storm troopers, bad attitude and all, only this time I write her even in an even worse mood than the first Sutton.

  • PhoenixTremayne Feb 24, 2014

    This is basically one of those episodes where they hit the reset button; now things are exactly back they were before, Peter is back with the Vectors, Julia is back with her team, Hatake is back in charge with Daniel by his side. Sara is back to pressing her face against the glass and watching helplessly as Alan worries about Julia,, Balesseros is still on the fence of good and bad, not knowing what side he's really on in the end. Jerri Ryan came in like a tornado but went out like a burst of fart, I like the actress but did she really bring anything to the show if they were just going to turn around and kill her off and then hit the reset button. The only question answered is that Hatake is Julia's father, I thought he just was in love with her so that explains alot; except for one thing, Hatake has not aged, he looks exaclty the same now as he did in that picture and Julia's visions. She was there before as a kid so her past will probably Vector related, but my current guess of the ingame is that Hatake and the others are aliens and they are using the virus to take over human hosts.

  • pa-tan Feb 24, 2014

    Yeah this episode was tons of action but not enough substance.
    I mean Julia is Hatake daughter... yawn.
    I did liked when Julia was referred as a monstrosity! cool! please let her have awesome psychic powers.
    And Daniel/ Miksa is staying in the facility with Hatake mmm
    Yes Doreen was awesome I miss her too

  • angelpix24 Feb 24, 2014

    Ok I have one question... I must've missed it.. who was the first head in the box guy?

  • angelpix24 Feb 24, 2014

    Why didn't Alan ask about Julia's eyes?
    Pretty sure he already noticed it in the last episode...

    What happened to the supposedly infected food supply?
    It got eaten. lol. Jk... I thought Daniel decontaminated the room?
    I mean Miksa.. Daniel..MiksaDaniel...

    Why didn't the vectors that were released into the lab last week have more of an impact?
    They did..they stole Peter. That's all they wanted. And I honestly think the food supply thing was to distract them...because they wanted Peter.

    Does that mean Julia's blood is different?
    I think her entire genetic makeup has changed in ways they can't detect.

    Balleseros's character sure has fallen off, hasn't he?
    Was I suppose to like him when he let Anana go? I did not forget you KILLED Doreen...you douche...

    Why did the vectors grab Peter?
    Because he's there leader :) Patient Zero

    Was Julia wearing colored contacts in the vents?
    Probably didn't know how to activate it. In any event...they didn't want her. She could also now..."smell like them"

    Have you noticed that the Ilaria Corporation has a lot of redheaded employees?
    I honestly thought it was the same guy over and over... lol. ooh clones.. ginger clones!!!

    Is Anana gone for good? What did she bring to the series?
    Of course not..that's too easy..she's going to bring back the other brother with the weird name..and then they're going to go around going.. My name is Miksa.. My name is Anana.. My name is.. whatever the other guy's name is..

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