DEADtime TV: Helix ‘Plan B’

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Plan B is destruction – it almost always is in Helix. If the CDC can’t stop the spread of the virus, then everything has got to be razed. It doesn’t help that almost everyone has a miraculous change of personality in these later episodes of Helix‘s second season, because their new orientations are throwing off what’s expected of them. Take, for instance, Peter, who has gone through such a crazy 180 twist that I almost feel like I missed an episode in between last episode’s “Mother” and the one before that. Helix has quickly made him into an enemy, but it has yet to explain why he’s decided to work with Anne so quickly – it’s creating interesting and, frankly, ridiculous twists, but at the same time it seems to have come out of nowhere.

“Plan B” follows this new arc for Peter, allowing him to be as crazy as he needs to be in order to get things done around the island before the Navy flies in and drops a load of chemicals on the island to effectively take care of the situation. Peter’s newfound direction as a father – adopting a baby from the abbey’s basement – has left him in the hands of Anne, molding him into the new Michael to continue the progress at the abbey. But Helix has given no hint at what has made him change so fast. He seeks power, of course, but lots of people do; that doesn’t turn them into maniacal dudes that go around stabbing people fifty times with a small knife, then stringing them upside down to let their guts drain out. “Plan B” doesn’t do anything more to give motive for Peter, and that feels like a long-running flaw for this season – the show should have been planning this out in advance, not throwing it at the viewer in the final few episodes.

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The timeline for “Plan B”, though, makes it a fairly suspenseful episode, also giving it more of the hyperventilating qualities the first season had. The Navy’s plan to chemically nuke the entire island leaves everyone scrambling to get their business done before it hits, and nobody’s more rushed than Julia. She’s got to make Amy into an immortal so that she’ll tell where Mother is, but Sarah doesn’t want to have to give Amy her baby. They come up with an alternative plan – a Plan B, if you will – where they inject silver eye dye so that Amy will think she’s immortal. It’s a good plan, considering how Helix has used this device earlier in the season, and it shows the good in Julia even though she’s working with Ilaria. Amy’s final sequence dancing around in the chemical smoke until she eventually melts is fitting for a character that has often pushed the viewer’s buttons.

Alan and Soren set out to find a cure from the red sap for Kyle at the same time, but Peter interferes and traps Alan in the botany lab with crazy Kyle. Interestingly enough, this reveals some evil backstory about Alan as well – he’s most likely been working at the island to come up with the fungal virus, not because he wants to kill humans but rather because he wants to use it on Ilaria. Helix has increasingly shown that our main characters are neither good nor bad but somewhere in between, and while it works for the most part, it tends to show the flaws in Peter’s character – he goes from a good guy to a specifically evil guy, with no gray area in between (at least considering what we know right now).

Despite that qualm, though, “Plan B” returns to what makes Helix so exciting – countdown timelines, crazy twists and developments, and characters that often can’t be trusted because of their sinister backgrounds. “Plan B” effectively switches between three primary subplots, too, all of them important to this season’s conclusion. With only two episodes left, things are going to get even crazier, and I hope Helix can conclude all of these elements. There’s that future storyline left behind right now as well.

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