DEADtime TV: Helix ‘Vade in Pace’

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Interestingly enough, Helix finally makes use of its season-long gamble of jumping ahead thirty years to show Julia exploring the same island Sarah, Peter, Alan, and Kyle are stranded on in the present. “Vade in Pace” capitalizes on a moment in the present and then quickly switches to Julia, presenting a near literal reenactment of the the threat Michael shouts just before being buried under rock. And yet for all its bluster and dramatic nuance, the moment leaves the viewer wondering if this was the sole reason for the time jump – one measly reveal.

In general, I don’t mind Helix jumping back and forth in time; there’s just got to be a reason for it, and an continuity within it. Season two has been incredibly withholding when it comes to Julia’s story, especially because it feels like the writers are never sure when it’s appropriate to change time periods. Last episode, “Cross-Pollination,” at least utilized the past to develop some backstory for Michael, but “Vade in Pace”’s time jump is here solely to shock. It feels designed from the very start as a way to impress the viewer, and besides the reveal that Michael is still alive on the island thirty years later, nearly blind and weak but still powerful, it’s a wholly unnecessary inclusion in the episode.

That’s because “Vade in Pace” really only has three different scenes of any importance in the future: one is finding Michael buried in the oubliette, another is Julia and Michael discussing the immortal baby stem cells that she needs to cure the immortal disease, and the last is Michael’s double-crossing and his subsequent beheading. Helix has been using the future only when it wants it, and that’s a dangerous basket to put eggs in because the audience recognizes how little narrative has occurred in the future.

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The other parts of this episode are pretty good, though. A militarized team sweeps the island after all of Michael’s followers are poisoned, wondering what the hell has been going on, and they notify Sarah, Alan, Peter, and Kyle that another island has shown signs of the disease. A team has to leave, they say, even though they haven’t done much good on St. Germain either. Still, it’s nice to see fresh faces on the island, especially those that aren’t part of the weird cult, and it leaves room to explore some more exposition.

Chief among them is Sarah’s baby, gone missing after being ripped from her womb. She attempts to confront Amy about it, but Amy is a little power-hungry after dominating Michael. She wants to take over the island, start a new race, and become the next leader just like Michael. Amy’s ridiculous attitude change throughout “Vade in Pace” wears a little thin, but after nearly 20 years of being stuck on an island and nearly raped by her father, she deserves a little freedom.

The virus makes a return, too, except in a mutated form. A few of the infected people outside of the village’s walls come back, even though they should have died days ago, prompting Alan and Sarah to wonder why their virus is behaving differently. Before they leave the island, they want to do an autopsy to figure out the differences, so Kyle and Alan set to work on that while having a particularly sane conversation about Sarah’s immortality.

It’s good to see Helix moving from this island, especially now that the rest of the villagers are dead. There’s really nothing left for the team to do here, so the show can’t get away with its one-setting plot like season one. With the shift of setting, hopefully the show can get back to the viral aspects that make it so exciting, because season two has been lacking that claustrophobic paranoia.

“Vade in Pace” squanders its future flashforward, but at the same time it makes big strides towards connecting the plotlines. The emphasis on Sarah’s baby defines why Julia has come back to the island, even if that subplot about immortal disease hasn’t been very effective so far. And with Helix promising a shift to a new island, it’ll be interesting to see how the virus might have changed.

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