If you were waiting for Helix to get batshit insane like the entirety of its first season, “Mother” is the place to be. Up until now Helix has played things surprisingly straight; maybe I’m just used to the craziness, but things have been pretty normal for a television show that used to throw fifteen new events into an episode. “Mother” starts that up in the season’s tenth episode, a mess of reveals that is a lot more fun than the show’s been so far. Power and respect is the name of the game for this episode, and the Helix focuses on a couple of characters as they struggle to decide how to react in situations.
We’ll talk about Amy, Sarah, and Julia first, because their subplot is one of the longer ones in this episode. Sarah is still trying to get her baby back from Amy, and realizing she needs Julia’s help, she reveals that it’s Alan’s baby. In return, Julia gives Sarah some info of her own – Illaria is trying to release Narvik C to kill off most of the world, a method that will limit population enough to start fresh. Because of that, Julia’s looking for an alternate method, and Amy has the key – Mother, part of the apple tree they can graft onto other trees to cause mass infertility.
Julia and Sarah haven’t been together the entire season, and in the past they have often disagreed with each other. Helix rectifies that because they’re forced to work together, to respect each other and their abilities in the medical world. Amy wants immortality, so they must find a way to give it to her. Landry didn’t turn out so hot, because he got Sarah’s spinal fluid and puffed up like a balloon; they’re hoping that’s not the case with Amy.
But Julia turns on Sarah, offering Amy a way to become an immortal by impregnating Amy with Sarah’s baby. It’s a double-cross I definitely didn’t see coming, because that’s fucking insane and I don’t see how it could do anything besides kill Amy and the baby. Still, it’s a nice turn of events – I just hope Helix knows what it’s doing with this plotline.
On the other part of the island, Alan and the rest of the CDC’s army are looking for the fabled blood tree that can halt the effects of the virus, because Kyle’s got it bad. He begins to have hallucinations of children picking on him, literally throwing shit at him, and it causes him to go a little insane. So much so that he nearly kills Soren, the kid who has been leading them to that blood tree. “Mother” gives us a little backstory about Kyle, although it’s difficult to know how much is true and how much of this is actually just Kyle imagining things. But Kyle’s past has been pretty shadowy throughout, so getting this small piece is a good attempt at developing him.
It also fits with the theme of the episode. Kyle has always wanted respect if his hallucination is to be believed. He was picked on in school, but he moved on from that bullying to become an important doctor at the CDC. “Mother” features a similar subplot with Peter and Anne heading to a secret part of the compound; Anne claims that she has Mother, so she leads Peter to an area where she forces him to realize what he really craves in life: respect. When he was infected with Narvik, he said he felt the most powerful because people would listen to him without him even having to speak. He wants that respect again, and Anne can give it to him.
She shows him a place where women are being kept captive, impregnated by Michael and forced to give birth to more children before being killed. Peter is offered the chance to choose who lives and who dies, something that will give him all the power he wants. This is where “Mother” gets twisted: this is a new development, especially for Peter, and it’s not clear what kind of impact this place will have on the team. It’s also difficult to believe Peter’s turn toward evil. Perhaps Helix hasn’t revealed ulterior motives, but at this point Peter’s shift doesn’t feel authentic.
Oh yeah, Balleseros turns up too, in a sequence in a bell tower with Landry looking very similar to Quasimodo. The show hasn’t given Balleseros much to do up until now, but I’d doubt he’s really dead. They’ve got to get more of him with his shirt off.
Helix is still neglecting that stuff with Julia in the future, but that’s okay: “Mother” has enough going for it where the viewer can forget about it, at least for now. At some point the show will need to explain why it was so important to jump 30 years in the premiere, though, and Helix has a lot to deal with in the next three episodes. But “Mother” seems to be getting back to Helix‘s original MO: crazy shit, thrown at the viewer all at once.