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Helix S01E10: "Fushigi"


I get the feeling that in Television High School, Helix is the weird kid with no friends who's always in the corner doing something either awesome or horrible all by himself. You know the type—kids like that either end up being genius artists or serial killers, sometimes both, and in hindsight everyone feels like they should have seen it coming. As we close in on the end of Helix's first season, the series is either speeding toward greatness, about to careen off a cliff to unavoidable doom, or close to stalling and not going anywhere. It's like drunk driving a Bugatti on the edge of the Grand Canyon. It's dangerous. And frankly, I like it that way. 

"Fushigi" was a great example of the dangerous territory Helix likes to step into. Over the course of what was ultimately a disjointed hour, I snored, I "oooh"ed, and I scratched my head; not much happened in the first half unless you're really into vlogging and sanctimonious conversation, but things really opened up in the second half, with a major reveal and one hairless freakazoid chained up in the basement of an abandoned radio station. And because we're 10 episodes into the 13-episode season, anyone who's still watching is undoubtedly craving answers, so a solid reveal is worth trudging through the boring stuff. I get the sense that Helix is pacing itself because it only has a certain number of plot points left to hit before it's out of here (hopefully just for an off-season as it prepares for an as-yet-unannounced Season 2), which means we're plenty likely to see Alan scold Hatake for being a bad father to Julia instead of wild vectors barfing into people's mouths if that's what helps prolong the story. But like I said, it's totally worth it if a later reveal is cool enough to copme.


And I think it did in "Fushigi." Julia and Alan took a snow plow over to an old abandoned radio/radar/research station because that's where they guessed Victor was taking the Narvik virus, and it was a good guess because he was totally there. That's one advantage to hunting scoundrels in the Arctic, I guess: Not a lot of options. After turning on the power to light the place up like a year-round Christmas store and throwing Victor through a window, Julia and Alan were pinned down by an Ilaria Corp. sniper who took out Victor (oops). But that wasn't even the good part. The good part happened when Alan and Julia found a hatch that led them downstairs into a series of tunnels, where they ran into this gross guy:

Eww, gross! Silver-eyed, hairless, and smelling like a New Jersey rest stop bathroom, this dude's name is Gunnar Mikkaelson (spelling?), and he's all riddles and half sentences. But after decoding his gibberish we learned the following: Hatake chained him down there 29 years ago. And oh yeah, he's IMMORTAL. Well, mostly. As some of us theorized several episodes ago, whatever gene therapy is changing people into glassy eyed weirdos is also giving them the gift of eternal life, or as Gunnar put it—because he's a glass-half-empty kind of guy—the consolation prize of 10,000 deaths. It turns out that some people consider it a curse to never die, but Gunnar might be biased on account of being chained to a pole for almost three decades. 

Gunnar asked to be "set free" from his curse, and he got his wish when some wire cutters treated his neck as if it were a length of copper cable and opened it up like a can of tomato soup. It was pretty cool and blood shot out everywhere, so of course I screencapped it for your enjoyment. It would be irresponsible of me not to:




Aww, look at the little fella. So happy. But here's the thing. Are we sure he's actually dead? Sure, for mortals that's gonna leave more than a bruise. But for an immortal? Well, let's back up for a second and remember that Hatake made a point to detach Constance Sutton's head. Dr. Hvit also went headless. In fact, I'd wager that there are several glass jars outside of Arctic Biosystems with various heads in them. We don't know if Dr. Hvit was immortal, but we know Sutton was. So are we playing with Highlander rules here? Must the head be removed to prevent regeneration, or "rebirth," as Gunnar called it? I think so. There's a chance that severing the jugular is good enough, because Gunnar seemed pretty convinced that he was welcoming the icy hands of Death. But I'm thinking he's not dead and the head has to be completely separated for an immortal to stay dead. Who knows, maybe you can plop the decapitated noggin onto the neck stump and to bring someone back, meaning Sutton could return if her head and her body ever reunite. 

We also learned a big rule of being immortal, which Hatake confirmed: Only 500 immortals can exist, and most of them are part of the Ilaria Corp. As for whether that's a steadfast rule dictated by the universe or a suggested guideline from the Ilaria Corporation's employee handbook, I'm not sure. But either way, 500 is substantial number of beheadings to orchestrate. And I'll be happy to see them all.

"Fushigi" wasn't a completely engrossing episode from start to finish, but it did deliver some solid answers. (Answers which also open up more interesting questions, no less.) My biggest fear with Helix is that it'll close out Season 1 without giving us the goods. But the producers have promised to resolve all the big questions, and I'm inclined to believe them. Really, that's all I'm asking for from here on out. Oh, and maybe some more blood, black goo, and insanity.



LAB NOTES

– I didn't mention Meeksa, Balleseros, and Anana in the meaty part of this review because ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.. I'm just not invested in the "Save the village!" story, either because I'm a cold-hearted monster or because Helix hasn't done a good job of showing me why I should care. But anyway, Balleseros kissed Anana, so there's your update. 

– I also didn't talk about Peter bouncing around the facility collecting pictures of Julia and then taping them to walls of his air-duct home, because I didn't really get anything out of it. However, it's nice to know that the virus doesn't interfere with love! Also, cool reading squat, bro!

– Sarah continues to be more of a problem than an asset for the CDC team. This so-called wunderkind genius had the shakes from her tumor and fell into a pile of seizures, forcing Hatake to set her up for some experimental treatment. Will we see some of Julia's cerebral spinal fluid injected into Sarah's nervous system, as Sarah presumed would work? Will it turn Sarah into an immortal?

– The chat between Alan and Julia DURING A SNIPER FIREFIGHT about Julia's Scientist of the Year banquet was surprisingly sweet. Ridiculous, but sweet. There was some legitimate emotion flowing back and forth between those two, and I loved how Alan admitted that he smashed her award to pieces and she understood that. Until now, I've never believed in this couple's past; that was good stuff.

– The opening scene of Sarah getting MRI'd (or whatever) during a vector attack was so, so good! I loved the way it was filmed. But because it was a hallucination, it didn't mean a damn thing. Normally, that would piss me off. But I watch Helix for thrills and chills, not for revolutionary storytelling, so I don't have any complaints. Low expectations, embrace them! 


What'd you think of "Fushigi"? And what are your predictions for the last few episodes of the season? 


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/10/2015

Season 2 : Episode 13

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I am 50 50 with this one the bad points village with the eskimos dont care, how on earth did that super soilder find that echo base in sub zero temperatures. Good points were at least we are in highlander mode I expect clancy brown to turn up in a snow plough decapitating the 500 immortal's. Its a kind of magic!lol
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Credit Helix for getting better and more organized as it goes. Hopefully S1 finishes strong and it gets a Season 2. Don't think this story lends to more than 2 seasons anyway but they could make for an entertaining yarn for that long easily.
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Just when I think we will discover what the hell is going on, another thing happens and it's amazing !
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How about the elephant in the room with Julia having preserved the Narvik strains?

Gunnar's last name should contain two "S" as it was swedish. Most likely it's Mikaelsson.
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whatever gene therapy is changing people into glassy eyed weirdos is also giving them the gift of eternal life

Gunnar implied he was old as hell... having been a warrior of old and all of that. He started reciting a list of things he's been over the years.

So I imagine it's not gene therapy that turns people into gray-eyed immortals... but some old-school mutation, species offshoot, alien, etc.

As to why only 500? I imagine it's a rule they put out to A) hide and B) so they world wouldn't over populate with immortals.
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Also to add to my original thought... perhaps her eyes only turned gray at that point because she certifiably died down there... either via the virus or the injection. And then her inner immortal kicked in and rebirthed her... since the immortals on this show are that way due to death/resurrection instead of some Wolverine style immortality.

Which could be why Hatake lost his s**t and started crying... perhaps until that point he was unaware if she 100% inherited his immortality. Knowing your daughter died while you were 0.25 miles away is emotional... knowing she DID wind up inheriting your one gift and it saved her life has to have compounded that emotion.
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Great review Tim but why did you not mention the part where Julia kept the Narvik A and B strains. That was a more WTF moment than the silver eyed Observer (just by a little though)
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So that's what happened to the child Observer from Fringe. Walter took him into the future to meet that Norwegian scientist and once they were done with him they sent him back through time into Hatakes dungeon. Poor kid! That was a Norwegian person answering the mayday too! Dun-dun.
The future is calling! :P




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Actually he was Swedish, most Norwegian surnames end with "sen" as with Danish ones. The accent is also something I have to listen to everyday in school so I'm well familiar with it.

Didn't even think about Fringe as I was watching it! Feel like such a letdown :(
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Victor was shooting off some pretty funny one-liners at the station after picking up on Alan and Julia's bickering. "It's chilly in here, but it's down right sub zero between you two".
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This was sort of a meh episode, though I did love the big reveal of the immortal 500. So where did they get the original strain of Narvik, how did Hatake cure her with his blood, and why couldn't they use Hatake's spinal fluid to save Sarah? Oh, and a bigger question, why even save Sarah, and if she's saved, will she turn into a competent scientist who can think of anyone other than herself?

I hope Sergio goes back to being a cool badass...I miss him being a cold-blooded killer. This sweet romantic side of his is boring, especially since it's not with me. ;)

Why in the he!! did Julia keep those 2 vials of the Narvik virus?!

I'm still on this crazy ride, I just hope there's a crazy finale of apocalyptic proportions heading our way.
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I think she will try to do tests on it and also trade it for ansewers or something stupid...
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Whatever can be said about Tim's spelling of Michaelsson it was for sure better than Julias awful pronounciation of the name. He is supposed to be norwegian, and the girl who answered the mayday-call spoke in norwegian as well. Narvik is of course a city in Norway.
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hmmm...lots of Norwegian ties. Maybe this an homage to the Norwegian research team in The Thing. ;)
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It's mentioned that Victor could have gone to Juneau & that it's 8 hours by snowmobile. Arctic Biosystems is supposed to be above the arctic circle and Juneau is roughly 550 miles south of the Arctic Circle, as the crow flies. Juneau cannot be the closest city to Arctic Biosystems. If they just thought that Victor would be heading to a city or large town, why would they think of Juneau?
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I think they said 8 days travel .. not 8 hours
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It was a pretty fun episode. However Alan seriously needs to focus on the virus. I mean seriously, virus is missing! Let's go talk to Hatake about Julia for ten minutes about father daughter stuff. This is basically the same thing he did when he got there. He focused on personal crap and let things go to hell. I am starting to think he is a crappy Doctor.

The Sarah thing is just kind of Meh. It isn't that I don't care about her, but really I just don't care about her. Hopefully whatever Julia does to her will make her interesting. Because she is in dire need of being interesting.

Julia and the silver eyed dude in the Basement was pretty fun. 500 immortals no more no less. And they are looking to cull the rest of the population because we are ruining the earth and we are only here temporary where they are stuck with the Earth forever. I do have to admire Hatake for his interesting method of punishment. How do you punish an immortal? Lock him in a basement for 30 years, whereupon he would proceed to go insane. I doubt that he is dead as well. I figured about the head thing last week. I doubt merely cutting the jugular is going to do anything. Severing the spinal cord, maybe. Either way him running around could be fun.

Peter and his new obsession is interesting. Is he really obsessed over Julia or is he looking for something to apply pressure to Hatake.

The 500 no more no less seems interesting I wonder where they came up with that number. Why not a 1000? Why not 200? Do people like Balleseros know that the people that he works for are immortal? What happens when they send their immortal soldiers to do the work? How does it transfer over, Hatake just injected Julia with his blood. Why do the vectors fear them? I want to know the answers to these. And with that this show keeps bringing me back.

Good episode.
More+
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vectors are stronger then humans, silver eyed people (immortals) are stronger then vectors, they would know not to pick a fight with them I guess?
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Has the sliver eyed people done anything thus far to show a superior level of strength? We know they have a higher metabolism. But I am not sure they have shown any impressive feats of strength.
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not as yet but they why else would vectors fear them?
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I like the idea of 500 Immortals - killing them all will take at least 3 seasons. The more the merrier :)

That guy spent 30 years in the basement. It's a wonder he didn't die out of boredom.

Also Peter is a creep.
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Creep or creepy? I say both. Why is Peter so obsessed with Julia anyway? Is it because the part of him that is still human is in love with her? or is his obsession Narvik/virus related?
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Peter is both creep and creepy. Also I think the source of his obsession is both love and vector / virus stuff.
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I do too. But again, if they can actually be killed. I still think taking the head and freezing it is the only way preventing them from regenerating or being reattached to another body or something. They really opened up a lot of potential plots with this episode.

Plus I didn't even get to Julia keeping the virus.

And yea Peter is creepy.
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I can't wait till they allow Constance to regenerate her body. I want Jeri Ryan back in the show ASAP.
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I so loved it when Julia found a wire cutter down in the tunnel. Of course there is a wire cutter in any tunnel.
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I want the to have the silver eyes right now!
So i can live forever!:D

And all the negative people should really just stop watching a show they don't like. Instead of wasting your time, if you really hates a show that much. And if you still watching and bitching I can't really see the point in your life? Surely you have something better you can do, than put out negativity watching something you hate, and I'm talking about all the shows you write bad about.

Like I have written before, if you don't like it don't watch (Easy as eating a pie).
Nobody is saying or making you watch it, only yourself.
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"You lost the right to be her father years ago!" If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that line on a TV show, I'd be rich from watching TV shows.

This episode was, indeed, mostly boring. Let's hope they get back on track now.
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i will quit the show if hot sarah dies.

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I think her dying is just so Julia can save her and we find out Julia has some super DNA or something...
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Really? That's interesting, cause I'm kinda hoping she's next. I guess, not being a guy, her charms are lost on me
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I hoped so hard that she was dead never to return again. Nobody has a right to be that boring.
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i guess thats it. Julia is OK to look at, but sarah is a hotty in my book. can't kill off the best looking chick on the show...well without introducing another one first anyway.
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Me too!
Don't judge me harshly, but was I the only one laughing hysterically during her second seizure? It was so poorly done.
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The headaches and dizziness, good grief!
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Meeksa, Balleseros, and Anana storyline is horrible. i wish they would all fall into an ice fissure and die. :)
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with helix its possible they are making us no pay attention to that storyline until they want us too....
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So Sarah will be alright? Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So we call aliens "Immortals" now? I'm ok with it as long as they reveal that their immortality has an alien origin. Perhaps Ilarians came to Earth thousands years ago?

Also fingers crossed the writers will show us a space ship (or at least a part of it) in season's final.

Tim - you didn't mention the big elephant in the room - JULIA STILL HAS BOTH NARVIK-A and NARVIK-B. What is she doing? Is Julia evil now? Will she resurrect Sutton? So many questions.

I can't wait for the next episode.
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I thought for sure they were aliens too! But I'm cool with immortals...especially if they get to do the Highlander head cutting with rock music in the background.

The prisoner guy said he was scientist, a preacher...and a viking! So I'm guessing that immortal dude goes far back in the ages. I hope this means Hatake can be traced back to medieval Japan and they reveal he was once a Samurai!! Come on Helix, make it happen. Hatake swinging a Samurai sword at the 500 would be awesome.
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I though the prisoner guy was just blathering. However if he really was a viking - then Hatake has to be a samurai! Make it so, Syfy!!!

Also digital_dice - once again we find out that the great minds think alike :)
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OK I didn't see any swords in the preview...but I definitely saw someone with 2 sickles behind their back! And the episode is called Black Rain....so you know what that means....the blood is gonna pour. We may just get to see some Highlander type action after all.
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It would make dozens of prequels possible ......
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Also Helix could really use some Queen tracks.
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I am not a doctor, but I was astonished by the fact that they could restart her heart after she died of a cancerous tumour.
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Sarah should've died. Kinda hate all the guy comments saying she needs to live 'cause she's hot.

Maybe the whole lab is a spaceship!
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No, it's not "guys" it's just one guy saying it over and over again! .... Sad really.
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Yeah, I noticed it after posting the comment...
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sarah needs to live becuase she is hot. all the rest of your comments i agree with
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I don't care about Sarah, and they killed a much more likeable character early on, but I'm afraid Bambie will be resurrected with Julia's blood or something. One particular reason I dislike her is that she seems to miss major points, like "if you make a mistake in the lab because your hands tremble people will die", "when you are seriously ill with inclination to grand mals you should stay away from genetic experiments because people will die", "you are a shitty scientist if you can't tell when you are more of a burden than help, because you collapse all the time". Sorry, but she is not likeable at all.

The suicidal immortal was a good plot point, I hope they move to that direction.

And for some reason I started caring about the whole Alan-Julia-Peter thing. Maybe because Julia seems like an interesting woman and it is actually believable that two men could fall so hard for her.

I like Sergio, why is he in a love story in a village instead of being awesome where the action spins, I really don't know.
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sarah is hot and awesome and sergio is dumb. :)
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I think Julia is hot and Sarah is as vanilla as it gets, but whatever works for you. :-)

Seriously though, Sergio has proven his intelligence, with plotting and escaping and being two steps ahead all the time, I really can't understand why he is at the sidelines with an uninteresting love story.
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I think they want us to forget about Sergio and the other three for now as they will play a bigger part in the last ep or possibly season 2 :/
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Tell me about it! I'm hoping that once Alaria goons show back up, he'll start being the badass I fell for again.
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Great episode! The show is getting better.

"Must the head be removed to prevent a regeneration or "rebirth"...? I think so"

I am inclined to agree with the latter part of the paragraph where you suggest he/they might not be dead, and plopping a noggin' on top of a body could cause the 'rebirth'. Otherwise, why bother freezing them? If they're dead for good, they could just toss the head down the garbage shoot. But if they can still be reborn, you gotta keep 'em on ice. That's why there were going for that one dude's head earlier on, methinks -- to bring him back (I'm guessing Hatake put his head down there).
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so... am I the only one thinking of the Umbrella Corporation here? But better! :) IMMORTALITY (I'm going all Mortal Kombat) it's not the best show but I keep coming back because it's entertaining, well-acted and well cast.
their plan: 500 will rule the world when the others die by the virus? But the infected people aka Peter knew that and changed it or the virus mutated? Peter is a stalker, love him! Go get your immortal gal! You goo vomiting freak :)
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To rule you need people, so the virus can not be meant to kill all other humans.
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I don't believe that Ilaria wants to kill all mortals. They wanted an antidote to the virus, and they seem to be immune. More likely they want use the virus, to reduce the mortal population, to a manageable size. And then enslave the rest, using the
antidote.
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That's Alaria.
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no. The spelling is Ilaria with an "I"

like the Late Oligocine marsupial

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I prefer the death theory, how do you control the masses if you're only 500?
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Virus & Antidote.
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Constance even said in that whole speech to Hatake about the virus and antidote something along the lines of "we don't want to kill them all, just bring them down to a more manageable size."
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I can't wait for the finale. I have it on good authority that Alan and Hatake will be facing off with the 500 out on the ice, armed with nothing but chainsaws. Should make for a great hour of TV.
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There Can Be Only One 500 :D
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or 4400
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Or The 300 (but they are really not immortal).
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I give up on this. Not interested in Julia's childhood and Hatake's parenting skills or lack of. It showed such promise.
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Come on, only three episodes left, keep hanging on like we do.
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This 500 rule is so random and unfounded. How/who can regulate ONLY 500? And why 500? The doey eyed doctor's storyline was going nowhere, so at least there's one less thing to take up airtime.
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Since it is a fairly ridiculous science fiction show why would you consider any specific plot point random and unfounded,are you okay with all the other nonsensical story lines.Especially since the writers have not yet provided you answers as to why 500 and how and who regulate the 500.I'm fairly certain there will some head shaking explanations and I believe I saw the "doey" eyed doctor standing with some other characters in next weeks coming attractions so she might be around to take up some more airtime.
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i'm sure we'll find out
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Sarah becoming an immortal would be enough to put me in a coma. One of the lamest characters ( and sorry…actresses) to ever grace a thriller.
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she is kinda dumb, but she's hot, so i'll forgive her
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