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Syfy (ended 2015)

Helix S01E11: "Black Rain"

TGIFBHIO! (TGIF because Helix is on, right? I can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend than to watch the series of moving images and grating audio that is Syfy's viral thriller. Any show that can make me say, "Is this really happening?" or make me feel like I'm in a sweat lodge is alright with me. It's almost like Helix took a bad video-game story and made a TV show out of it, except it sometimes tapped the A button too fast to skip some of the cut scenes. This is a weird show and things don't happen for any reasons in Helix, except in actuality they only happen for one reason: for our sick entertainment. 

"Black Rain" was a great example of this as either the show's rules are being written as it goes along or Helix knew it was crazy the entire time. Case in point: the vectors are now setting traps for the hungry scientists stuck in Arctic Biosystems. Apparently that problem of the food being infected from a few episodes back is an actual conundrum now, because food was scarce enough that a random scientist lady was scavenging the halls of the facility munching on half-eaten protein bars like she was about to drop dead at any second. Scientist lady, you should know that's not very healthy!

But these vectors laid one hell of a trap for this unfortunate gal by putting a rat in a microwave in an abandoned hallway. I love this show. Think about what these vectors, who we thought were nothing but primordial black barfers, had to do to make this trap. They had to find a rat. They had to find a microwave. They had to find an abandoned hallway. They had to find an abandoned hallway with an available electrical outlet in it. They had to wait for a human to come into this section of the facility. Then they had to turn the microwave on at the right time so that the rat wouldn't explode before the human showed up!

Did they plant the rat in there thinking the scientist would want to eat it, or was it there just to draw her attention because, "Hey, there's a rat in a microwave!"? These vectors are clearly much smarter than we thought, somewhere on the intelligence scale between the average human being and a regular watcher of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I could honestly write 2,000 more words on this rat-in-a-microwave trick, but let's just wrap it up with this GIF.

This show just does not care about rats.

And if an appliance-based surprise wasn't enough to show off how these vectors are not to be underestimated as mere virus vessels, what they did next I'm pretty sure requires a medical degree. Led by Peter, the vectors took the science lady—now in the throes of infection, I believe—to a table and bled her out into a bucket. Then they put all that black blood into blood bags (probably an unnecessary step if you ask me, the bucket would have sufficed but I'm no vector doctor) and emptied all the bags into the fire-prevention sprinkler system and set off the fire alarm so that a bunch of uninfected scientists quarantined in a room would get a sickly shower. No luffa sponge will get off this grime!

It was like the muddy mosh pits of Woodstock '99 except cleaner and much less groping and better music.

With all these Redshirts finally infected (it's about time, guys), it was up to Team CDC to find a way to cure them. Television-based science has a knack for very convenient timing, and Sarah of all people finally made herself useful and applied her biology degree to something other than examining the contents of Alan's pants. I don't claim to know anything about RNA receptors or viral bonds or whatever it is she talked about, but it went something like this (apologies to the science community in advance): bind a reprogrammed Narvik virus with cryofluid so that the cold would slow the vectors' viral defense long enough so that the new version of the virus could work its magic. I think. I'm sure a bunch of scientists reading this just groaned very loudly, but hey, I'm trying my best! My specialty lies with booby traps made out of kitchen appliances, not virology!

All that matters is that it meant that Dr. Hatake strapped on a Ghostbusters pack filled with cryo juice and Julia had endless syringes of Narvik Slurpees to inject into vectors' stomachs, and that gave us the following sequence of events:

It was like when that security guard pepper sprayed all those protesters in Berkeley but better. Also, nice elbow cock after freezing that guy into the fetal position, Hatake!

But there was more danger because this is Helix and goo-spewing zombie men aren't good enough. Constance Sutton's phone hadn't checked in with Ilaria for a while, so the company dispatched what Hatake thought was a 100-mercenary-deep hit squad to clean out Arctic Biosystems and kill everyone inside. Once the vectors were popsicled and cured, a perimeter alarm went BEEP! BEEP! meaning Ilaria's fighting force of extraordinary magnitude had arrived. Naturally, Arctic Biosystem's macho-est men went into action, and Daniel, Hatake, and Alan got strapped with some high-caliber guns and thought they could fight off an attack that had 97 people more than they had. There were a gazillion headlights on the horizon! Oh no!


But in a picture-perfect example of how Helix likes unnecessary everything, all those headlights turned out to be explosive, unmanned snowmobile drones. They were a distraction for these guys!

HALO jumpers! (Who probably didn't need a diversion since they fell from the sky and only distracted three people.) Turns out Hatake knew EXACTLY who was coming. A three-man murder party led by a deadly and feared assassin named The Scythe. The Scythe! SCARY!

They were outfitted hella-cool, too. It would be so awesome to be systematically assassinated by these guys because they looked like a mix between Shadow Stormtroopers and Daft Punk. And the Scythe walked around with his hands behind his back like a true murderous gentleman.

While walking to kill everyone in sight, they ran into the cured scientists who were unaware that Ilaria had sent a trio of trained killers to snuff them out. So the scientists held the elevator for them. In hindsight I think we can all agree it was a big mistake.

The Scythe don't mess around! Who was this feared harbinger of doom!? When you look into the face of DEATH, what face peers back!? It's...

... STEVIE FROM BEING HUMAN!?!?!? Yep, that's 17-year-old Canadian actor Robert Naylor, last seen as the pipsqueak ghost kid from the American version of Being Human. Now he's the most feared corporate assassin in the world. This is the BEST guest casting I have ever seen and I bow before Helix and it's obsession with destroying our expectations over logic. Bravo, Helix. This was a great episode that entertained by constantly one-upping itself and was beyond any reasonable criticism or analysis. Just rip off all your clothes and let Helix wash over you.


– No Balleseros, Anana, or Tulok this week. No village stuff at all. Can't say I missed it, either!

– Oh yeah, Sarah is now silver-eyed, so I guess she has a purpose in this show now! Way to go, Sarah!

– Hatake, talking about getting a vector to stand still so they can administer a cure: "Do you expect them to line up and say, 'Ahhhhh'?" Everything is 10 times funnier when Hatake says it.

– After cryofreezing Peter while Vectorbusting, Hatake tried to sweet talk Julia, who replied, "Oh no, this is not father-daughter bonding time." Ummm... creeping around basement tunnels while wearing hazmat suits and under attack from vectors is the PERFECT time, Julia. 

– Ha ha, I loved how Sarah heard that Julia was Hatake's daughter and she was like, "What?" and everyone just ignored her.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/10/2015

Season 2 : Episode 13

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