The exciting Helix series, produced by the creative team of genius’ including Lynda Obst, Sony Pictures, and Tall Ship Productions, takes us to a place few have ever been, the land of reality replete with hallucinations present in the fifth episode of the series.
A science fiction horror suspense fan favorite series, Helix, continues to astound this editor most favorably!
In “The White Room”, the CDC team confirms who the real bad guys are at Arctic Biosystems as viewers already witnessed in the previous episode “Single Strand”.
A question came to mind; could the creators of Helix, when crafting “The White Room” been thinking of the 1968 Cream hit song of the same name? When I viewed the episode (more than once, it was so good), I was immediately drawn to a similarity in the rock song lyrics by Cream, the Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker British “super group” of the fabled 1960’s psychedelic era.
Just like in Helix in “The White Room”; “Where the sun never shines” and “where the shadows only run from themselves”, I hope your agree the classic song included herein sets the tone perfectly for my review, and the poor Dr. Hvit as pictured above!
“The White Room” is an exciting fast paced episode that proves Helix is a superior science fiction horror drama that continues to deliver action, suspense, mystery and critically, high live viewer ratings in Canada (561,000) and in the United States (1.331 million), that this reviewer hopes will virtually ensure a second season for this outstanding series!
Script writers Cameron Porsandeh (creator, pictured above right) and Misha Green knocked it out of the park with an incredible story directed by industry guru Duane Clark that literally sent chills down my spine as the action unfolded, especially the blood curdling sound of screaming Monkey’s witnessed in the opening moments.
As this reviewer witnessed the superb interaction between the main cast members, Hiroyuki Sanada, Billy Campbell, Kyra Zagorsky, Meegwun Fairbrother, Mark Ghanimé, Jordan Hayes, unconscious Neil Napier, and believed to be dead Catherine Lemieux, it is all so realistic I was cheering ecstatically as I watched “The White Room”!
Each scene, in specific one near the beginning between Arctic Biosystems security chief Daniel Aerov (Meegwun Fairbrother) and Major Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanimé) in which mutual loathing between Major Balleseros and Daniel Aerov made me feel the negative emotions each has for the other. Both appeared ready to punch out the other as these two Narvik virus conspirators shared looks of hatred!
Instead both deserve Emmy nominations for the real life tension that would be generated in such circumstances when working for an alien, corporate and or terrorist overlord bent on world domination.
Just prior, Dr. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell), the CDC Team Leader, in effect tells Aerov to go get “Frakked” (expletive deleted), when Aerov “orders” him he was to report to Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) “on the hour”. Clearly Farragut is figuring out that Hatake is a suspect minion of some other power, likely to tell the “good doctor” to take a flying leap in the future!
Seeking a way to escape, and warn everyone what has happened to her, as well she begins to suspect what Hatake is really planning! Due her own progression of the Narvik virus, no one will even open a door for her! Can you say YIKES!
And speaking of the supposedly evil Dr. Hatake, before the great elevator music theme, he does the unthinkable upon his own personage by stabbing himself! Why?
It is all in an effort to further his own agenda to deliver the Narvik virus for his own purposes, and or, to his enigmatic superiors as we learn more about during the unfolding of the superior story arc in delineated in “The White Room”!
The White Room:
It is a very bleak night. There is a blizzard in progress as Major Sergio Balleseros heads outside to visit the field of dead monkey’s we have witnessed in the previous episodes, poor experimental creatures who have been slaughtered to advance the Narvik conspiracy.
Of concern to any sane minded person is that Balleseros is part of the virus conspiracy with Daniel Aerov, both in league with the nefarious Dr. Hiroshi Hatake, in creating the Narvik-A, Narvik-B, and as this editor noted previously in my analysis, a Narvik-C version.
Balleseros liberally pours gasoline to ignite and BBQ the entire monkey field. His goal is to incinerate any evidence of what they have done to these helpless creatures. The question becomes; will the human victims of Arctic Biosystems face a similar fate?
Perhaps one of the most terrifying and scary sequences is when Balleseros sets the field of Monkey’s ablaze. It is certainly one of this editor’s favorite parts of “The White Room” as the camera pans back revealing the poor simian creatures on fire and screaming as they thaw out, temporarily coming back to life!
What is also intriguing is that we were led to believe that communications in and out of the Arctic Biosystems facility were cut off. It seems the communications blackout is a fact only for the CDC team of Dr. Alan Farragut, Dr. Julia “Jules” Walker, and Dr. Jordan (Jordan Hayes), and the deceased, or should I say murdere (*sniff*) Dr. Doreen Boyle.
The Narvik conspirators have planned their pandemic well. Or have they? Balleseros is told via text the evacuation is on hold until he, Aerov and Hatake locate and retrieves one Dr. Hvit (actor not named). When he requests more information, the message from his masters is rephrased: “RETRIEVE DR. HVIT.” Balleseros, and us: “Who the hell is Dr. Hvit?”
Balleseros is heading back inside Arctic Biosystems when he hears the thawing Monkey’s uttering screaming sounds as they are being BBQ’d. This means only one thing; the cooking monkey’s were alive having been revived by the Narvik virus!
Could this mean that everyone infected could come back to life, including Dr. Doreen Boyle, who was Injected by Balleseros in the previous episode? This is not likely for Dr. Boyle as we will find out in “The White Room” However, this reviewer is hopeful we will see more of Doreen again in flashbacks during future episodes!
A Narvik-C version of the virus appears to have infected Dr. Julia Walker that leaves the victim unblemished, similar to Hatake, who sports silver eyes. The Narvik virus is apparently designed to create super soldiers who can replicate more recruits by simply spreading the infectious disease, a horrifying fate for any human being?
Dr. Alan Farragut has isolated a genetic compound that slows the Narvik virus infection rate as he relates to Dr. Philippe Duchamp (Patrick Baby) . The compound does not kill Narvik, but represents progress. Alan thinks the next step is animal testing on Doreen Boyle’s rats. Unfortunately he has not found out she was injected by Balleseros. Heading down the hall, Alan encounters Aerov who berates him about maintaining hourly contact with Hatake.
Dr. Sarah Jordan wakes up from her morphine induced slumber to find her Narvik infected visitor, Dr. Van Eigem (Miranda Handford) is getting worse. What no one at CDC, let alone Alan Farragut, knows at this time is that poor Sarah has developed a morphine dependency.
Van Eigem is obviously in pain, asking how Dr. Jordan is able to do deal with people who are “waiting to die.” Jordan indicates that everyone is waiting to die, and that “she just has less time than others”. Later, Sarah will make another mistake when she induces a mercy killing of freaked out Van Eigem who is likely a Narvik vector who would survive, not become a hungry Zombie!
We segue to Daniel Aerov who finds Major Balleseros taking up residence in Hatake’s office. It has become obvious that Balleseros and Aerov do not see eye to eye, this despite the fact that they are paid by the same mysterious, soon to be revealed Ilaria Corporation, the source of all the Narvik retro-virus trouble brewing at Arctic Biosystems!
Major Balleseros is seeking the enigmatic Dr. Hvit alluded to in the cryptic text message. Naturally, Aerov denies any knowledge of a Dr. Hvit, meaning he knows precisely where the good doctor is… In “The White Room”, which many who ski or snowboard know this phrase refers to being in a blizzard outside the Arctic Biosystems shelter.
Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the nefarious Dr. Hatake is doing what seems to be the unthinkable, by pushing an unusual type of what appears to be a hunting knife through his backside and his stomach. We are left to wonder why the good doctor is doing so?
We will learn that Hatake has acclimated to Narvik, gaining super healing powers in addition to the silver eyes that denote his new power. The reason Hatake is knifing himself also become clear later; he is going to use the empathy from fellow doctor Dr. Julia Walker.
Speaking of our female hero, Narvik infected Dr. Julia Walker, she has “met” Jaye (Amber Goldfarb) during her stay in the mysterious lower levels of the Arctic Biosystems facility seeking answers from Dr. Hatake.
The entire scenario is a Narvik induced hallucination that Julia begins to understand when Jaye calls her “Jules,” the nickname only Alan Farragut and her mother have ever called her by.
Just as reality is about to take hold in Julia’s mind, the series main nemesis (for now) Dr. Hatake appears, slashed from the self induced knife wound, Claiming that Narvik quarantine victims attacked him.
Hatake begs “Jules” to help him. Julia takes mercy on Hatake and moves to help him. This is exactly as Hatake planned so he can be near her to finalize her Narvik transformation to superhuman status.
In a grotesque, but superbly rendered visual effects scene, a lab rat emerges from poor Doreen Boyle’s dead mouth! Balleseros is monitoring the scene via a security video and grins or smirks in an evil manner more than befitting his new status as the primary Helix antagonist and heads to the lab to cover his tracks.
An autopsy will later confirm this as fact, although Balleseros will escape detection and make good an escape to “The White Room”… for a bit of time! Don’t worry Helix admirers, Balleseros will “get the just reward” he so richly deserves before the end of “The White Room” episode!
Naturally, our “good” Major Balleseros has tampered with the Arctic Biosystems security tapes to cover his murder of one of our favorite characters, Dr. Doreen Boyle. Seeking out Dr. Duchamp, Balleseros ask him who and just where in the hell Dr. Hvit is?
Major Balleseros is informed that Dr. Hvit is in “The White Room”. Asking where that is; Dr. Duchamp “We’re all in the white room,” Duchamp also advises the major in a rather nonchalant manner!
Our erstwhile hero, Daniel Aerov enters the room in a physical scene with Balleseros throwing him into the wall, demanding to know what happened with Dr. Boyle and whether Hatake knew and approved the assassination of the doctor?
Major Balleseros plans to throw Daniel Aerov “under the bus” about being out of the decision making loop! Aerov is clearly angry, but bites his tongue. This reviewer enjoys the banter and fights between the two gifted actors, it is clear they will become enemies in the arctic as a scene reveals in a few minutes!
Dr. Sarah Jordan returns with more morphine she has liberated from the medical lockup only to find that Dr. Van Eigem has escaped. A quick search finds Van Eigem in a nearby hallway dancing and singing to herself.
Van Eigem, now suffering from hallucinations, attacks Sarah, then regains her consciousness and allows Sarah to take her back to her room, where soon a Kevorkian event will take place.
Sergio Balleseros decides to track down Alan Farragut to ascertain how far along the good CDC doctor is in determining the cause of Doreen Boyle’s death.
Alan confirms what Ballerseros the murderer already knows, Doreen died of a brain embolism. Although such things can be caused by natural circumstances, Alan wonders why someone erased the security footage when he suddenly observes a hypodermic puncture in Doreen’s neck.
Induced by the injection mark on her neck, Alan now realizes that Doreen was murdered for what she must have known, but does not yet realize Balleseros is the murderer!
Now comes the Kevorkian moment that this reviewer is ambivalent about due to an elderly family member who was provided similar comfort in their last hours of life.
Under the care of Veterans Administration doctors charged with that task, in that case, my relative, also in great pain, and virtually unconscious, the medical means provided represented a final mercy for the patient they had kept alive for thirty-three years with exceptional treatments.
In “The White Room” Sarah apparently has few misgivings while pumping morphine into Van Eigem to alleviate her pain and suffering. Being a sufferer of pain herself, Sarah agrees to inject a lethal dose into to put her out of her misery. Sarah is more than dismayed, she is higher than a kite, as Alan knocks on her door.
Under a wave of mind altering morphine induced by the morphine drug, Alan informs Sarah that Doreen was murdered. In a moment of emotional weakness produced by fear of ever leaving the Arctic Biosystems facility alive, Alan and Sarah embrace and kiss.
Looking in her morphine pupil constricted eyes, Alan realizes Sarah is under the influence of a drug. Sarah lies that she has suffered from severe migraine headaches since college and has taken morphine to alleviate her symptoms. Disappointed Alan tells Sarah he needs her sober and barks at her to sleep it off!
Julia is helping Hatake’s with his temporary bandages, and sees that he is healing more rapidly than normal. She also observes ugly scars on Hatake’s back. As vermin scurry run past them, a hungry vector attacks the group and the imaginary Jaye is taken down. Fortunately, Julia and Hatake find refuge in a nearby storage room.
Major Balleseros, exposing his doubtful agenda, continues his disinformation campaign to cover his murder of Doreen Boyle while Alan is investigating the contents of Doreen’s computer.
Major Balleseros informs Alan of an unauthorized biological cleanup, suggesting Doreen was working with others at Arctic Biosystems, and her death was caused by that association. Dropping Dr. Hvit’s name to see if Alan can lead him to the answer he is seeking, Balleseros determines his cover is safe at that time.
Alan, sufficiently motivated, sets off to locate the mysterious Dr. Hvit and once again confronts Daniel Aerov, who denies knowing the doctor, instead advising Alan that it is Balleseros who Alan should investigate.
Back to Julia and Hatake, she asks him about the scars on his back. Hatake informs her he got the scars while saving his daughter from a fire years ago. Hatake utters what may become fateful words “You…you remind me of her,”. This reviewer believes Julia is Hatake’s daughter, and gthat she was the one he saved for what is now transpiring!
A search is in progress of our former hero Sergio Balleseros’s room at the Arctic Biosystem facility. Daniel Aerov and Alan Farragut find incriminating evidence including explosive components, Balleseros’s miniature portable satellite communication array, Doreen Boyle’s Narvik research; AND recently transmitted messages, including one about Dr. Hvit being located in “The White Room”.
Alan, thinking Daniel Aerov is still with him in Balleseros’ room, turns around from reading the material only to find Aerov has vanished! A quick segue to Daniel Aerov; he is heading out into “The White Room” snowstorm, followed a few seconds later by nefarious Sergio Balleseros.
Both Daniel Aerov and Major Balleseros are seeking to locate the missing Dr. Hvit! Viewers, and this editor, were in for quite a surprise about what is revealed in the next few seconds!
Computer controlled cylinders rise from the snow and ice in which they have been buried. We witness that one of the cylinders is marked “HVIT.EIMAR” and shockingly, is found to contain the deep-frozen head of Dr. Hvit is among the specimens (pictured above at the beginning near the White Room song)!
Daniel is about to lift the Hvit head off the pedestal when Balleseros hits him from behind! Sergio sarcastically thanks him for the help in finding the missing Dr. Hvit, leaves him face down in the snow, and moves to retrieve Hvit and be evacuated. The entire sequence is simply FRAKKIN spooky and creepy. Well done Helix creators, well done!
In the meantime, in the level R hallway, a Narvik Zombie vector attacks Julia and Hatake. Fortunately, imaginary Jaye reappears and whaks the vector with a fire extinguisher, cracking the monsters head, joining them in the room, the Jaye hallucination utters “Took you guys long enough”.
Although poor Julia is in the final stages of transformation to becoming a silver eyed beauty, Hatake does finally admit she has been having hallucinations. Julia breathes a sigh of relief as Hatake injects her with a needed substance to complete the transformation.
Dr. Duchamp tries to talk Alan out of going into “The White Room” while Julia stitches up Hatake and imaginary Jaye explains how she survived. Then Jaye makes a comment about Hatake telling more lies about his daughter, a story she could not have heard.
It is only then that Julia realizes it was all an hallucination in her mind! “You saved yourself,” Jaye informs her! Julia flashes back to all the scenes she had with Jaye. In a tizzy, Julia now knows that Jaye was not real, but a construct of her mind to survive!
Alan follows the safety wire in “The White Room” of blinding snow driven by the wind. He confronts Balleseros with the evidence who has found out Dr. Hvit is now a severed head in some sort of computerized life support capsule!
Alan punches Balleseros who referred to Doreen as “collateral damage.” Military trained Balleseros beats Alana to a pulp and retrieves his communications devices to be evacuated.
In a truly evil moment, the malcontent Major Balleseros un-clips Alan from the safety wire, and unceremoniously kicks the semi-conscious CDC doctor deeper into “The White Room” to freeze to death and die.
With a nicely delivered sarcastic line; “Nice knowin’ ya, doc!”, Balleseros heads (pun intended) off with Dr. Hvit’s head! Can you say OMG!?
However, Alan Farragut of the CDC is without a doubt a fighter for life, including his own, which is why he is a leader at the CDC. Able to crawl to the safety wire, Alan makes his way back inside Arctic Biosystems facility.
Alan Farragut is met inside Arctic Biosystems by Dr. Duchamp who berates Alan that he is lucky to be alive. Alan counters that he is determined that they still need to apprehend the murderer of Doreen Boyle, the vile Sergio Balleseros!
As the outstanding episode draws to a satisfying conclusion, Balleseros is observed texting for his evacuation when Aerov shows up, whacks the evil Balleseros, promptly strips him of his clothes, and leaves the military bastard to die! Can you say YAY!? Well, this reviewer certainly did!
Daniel Aerov is witnessed retrieving the computerized life support encapsulated head of Dr. Hvit with him back to the Arctic Biosystems base, leaving this nystery to be addressed in a future episode!
Soon to be one of the main love interest couples in Helix, Sarah and Alan are growing closer as he explains that he choose her over other candidates because she is motivated to do good.
Sarah admits to Alan that she has been taking morphine, but fibs in the process, telling Alan that it is for her migraine headache problem. Alan, a bit blinded by falling in love softly explains that “we’ve all lost ourselves a little bit, here.”
In desperate need of Peter’s inspiration that has been provided in the past, Peter’s brain wave patterns suddenly exhibit levels of activity, proving that Narvik virus variant vector patients have the ability to heal themselves!!
My grade continues to be an “A PLUS” for Helix, clearly one of the most brilliant science fiction horror drama series to come along in years, The Walking Dead or other excellent Zombie shows notwithstanding.
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