Last night's episode of Helix took us further toward the final showdown between Ilaria's private army and our ragtag gang of vectors, scienticians, and silver-eyed somethings. We've discovered what Illaria represents, by the way, and it involves a lot of silly science talk. Spoilers ahead!
So basically what we're dealing with are a bunch of evil transhumanists who've figured out how to live forever by lengthening their telomeres without telomerase. Which, as Sarah explains to us in an embarrassingly awful monologue, could also cure cancer! Because you could take out telomerase and then cancer would die! Ohhh, sciencey! I honestly have no idea why this show keeps trying to bring in actual science if it's going to be so painfully bad. Honestly I would be much happier if we got one line about handwavium and just got back to the plot.
As Orphan Black has already proven, evil transhumanists are the new vampires. Helix is running with that idea in a major way, which we see when Julia and Alan race to an abandoned station to track down the random scientist who stole the black good virus. He's using the barely-operating radio to call Illaria and sell them the virus. And even though Illaria supposedly has an army on the way, they send one guy with a helicopter to pick up this item that is basically the most precious item in the world to them. That one guy quickly dispatches random scientist, and chases Julia and Alan into tunnels below the station — where they find a silver eye chained up like Damon in an episode of the Vampire Diaries.
"Free me," mumbles silver eye. He's half-crazy, but Julia tries to get information out of him about his eyes and what Hiroshi's plan is. Turns out Hiroshi has had this guy chained up for almost 30 years. All the dude wants to do is kill himself to "be free," which he does after a series of growly speeches. Apparently he's one of "the 500 immortals," which Hiroshi later explains are the people who run Illaria. Hiroshi also spills a few other facts, including the fact that Julia's mother left him when she found out that he was kidnaping Inuit kids like Miksa. But it's OK, because "most of them" went to childless families.
In a hamhanded bid to draw out suspense, Hiroshi refuses to tell Julia about how the silver eyes came to be. Obviously they've been around since the earliest days of transhumanism, since the guy Hiroshi chained up has been there since the 1980s. Maybe they're even holder, though. As many commenters have already suggested here, maybe they're actually aliens or vampires, instead of transhumanists who simply act like them. We know they're immortals with telomerase powers, but that's about it.
So let's return to what we do know. At some point, Alan tells Julia matter-of-factly that Hiroshi had a bunch of Inuit kids he was experimenting on. Which — what? Did we already know that? I mean, Hiroshi admitted he was kidnapping the children, but he never said anything about experiments. So now we just assume that he was experimenting on them, and then sent them out into the world to be adopted with Illaria's blessing? Given that this subplot involves a major character, Miksa, and a major revelation about Arctic Biosystems, I could sure have used a little more explanation here. You know, like maybe we could have cut Sarah's "so science very telomere such cancer wow" speech and actually solved the mystery of Miksa's upbringing?
Speaking of Miksa, he's rounded up the Inuit villagers with Sergio's help and they're "scattering to the winds" to escape Illaria's incoming army. I guess they're going to go hide in snowbanks or something? Anyway, who cares because Miksa's sister has told Sergio that he's a nice guy for saving their village and now she and Sergio are making out! I can't help liking this scene because, well, let's face it — Sergio is hot and his main role in this show is to make us happy by kissing people and looking shmoopy. Plus, at least nobody is telling me about telomeres and cancer.
On that note, let's return to Sarah's epic quest to solve the mystery of Julia's genome even though she's now officially got cancer in her brain. (But don't forget we can cure that by doing things without telomerase! Next time I order a sandwich I'm totally going to try ordering it "with mustard but without telomerase" to see if that has any salubrious health effects.) Hiroshi comes in to help her and tell her she's a good scientist in a rather fatherly way. And then she gives Hiroshi the same absolution that Miksa's sister just gave Sergio. She tells him that even though he kidnaped kids, it's OK because other doctors in history experimented on children too and now we have vaccines! So it won't matter if he destroyed a bunch of families if they can figure out this miracle cure for everything.
Please note: This episode contained more than one scene where we were supposed to ponder the awe-inspiring similarities between science and miracles. I hope you were sufficiently blown away.
Sense of wonder aside, are we any closer to knowing what the virus was really for? We've got this immortal 500 making deadly virus, presumably to clear the planet of other pesky humans who might get in the way of the immortals doing whatever they do. But Hiroshi has rebelled against his fellow silver eyes by making some other virus that creates vectors. And those vectors have now made Peter into their barf-drinking god. Unfortunately, all Peter wants to do is break into Hiroshi's office and steal pictures of Julia from the My Stalker Workbook so he can stick them to the wall of his cozy duct and cry. What the hell are the vectors for? And why do they have this weird hive mind and creepy voicebox thing?
Don't be surprised if the answer is revealed in some offhand way in a conversation about how Alan has unresolved feelings about Julia, and Sarah has unresolved feelings about Alan, and Hiroshi has unresolved feelings about Illaria. Next week, Alan will say: "I'm so sorry I didn't go to your award ceremony while that vector hive mind was busy controlling the citizens of Earth." And then Sarah, all rebooted on Julia's spinal fluid, will reply, "Yeah, but now you can have sex with me while the 500 evil transhumanists fight with their Singulatarian enemies to have the least scientific perspective on the future."
Seriously, though, next week there will be more black goo zombie action so maybe we really will find out what those vectors are doing with their barf network. That should be fun.