[This is a review of the season 2 premiere of Helix. There will be SPOILERS.]
The lyrics to "Do you know the way to San Jose" will no doubt be ringing in your ears after the season 2 premiere of SyFy's Helix. While many of the faces we saw were familiar, the setting and floral-like virus spreading throughout the remote island are much different than the claustrophobic cold sterile halls of the Arctic base from last year.
It was a bold, but welcomed move from series creator Cameron Porsandeh to shift gears so drastically. While Helix is not an anthology in the true sense of the word, like HBO's True Detective, or the popular FX series American Horror Story, the changes do in a way hit the reset button, giving it a whole new feel.
Going back to the setting, one of the aspects from season 1 that made it so unique was its sense of space. The research base surrounded by nothing but snow and ice was the perfect location for this sci-fi horror series to take place. Now, removed from the confines of Arctic, part of the original team joined by Dr. Kyle Sommer (Matt Long), find themselves in search of a new outbreak of unknown origin created by a different group of crazies trying to play God.
Long (Mad Men) is a welcomed addition to the group, bringing with him a sense of humor that was sorely missing from season 1. With its goofy elevator music during the intro, Helix is best served when it mixes the crazy with the humorous. The series struggled during its first run when it was trying to be too much like The Walking Dead. With Sommer on the team, it appears that the writers aren't afraid of being a little silly this time around. Only time will tell.
Speaking of time, the use of each episode as a single day is still being used - well, with a few alterations. Dr Julia Walker (Kyra Zagorsky) is on the island as well, only her story takes place thirty-years in the future when the virus has already spread to the mainland. Since she is immortal, Walker looks as lovely as ever walking around the island with the mysterious Caleb (Jim Thorburn). Her captor's relationship to all of this is still a mystery, but a good guess might lead one to believe that he is the son of Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell) and Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes). We never see or hear of Jordan's baby, so do you think the child was even born?
Back to the "present day," Alan Farragut is waging his own private war against the Ilaria Corporation and this new cult lead by the charismatic Brother Michael (Steven Weber). Michael's motivations for creating this virus are still unclear, but surely there is more to it than him just being a psychopath. In the future, we learn from Julia that this virus is killing the immortals too. Perhaps Michael has a personal vendetta against them? Either way, there is no doubt that this group is a new kind of crazy, with the final scene of the patient getting their teach ripped out only to have some kind of sludge forced down their throat is an image you'll not soon forget.
Presumably, the question lingering on most minds is what happened to the rest of the cast from season 1? After the explosion that crippled the Arctic base, we know there were survivors. Major Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanime) and Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) are the most likely to have an impact on the series. Balleseros was working for the Ilaria corporation at one time, so it will be interesting to see if he's still working for them, or maybe he'll be on his own. Who do you think will reemerge from under the rubble of last year's finale?
If the season 2 premiere is any indication, then Helix should be a fun, exciting, and horrific adventure this time around. What did you think of the changes from last year? Keep watching to see what happens next.
Helix continues with 'Reunion' next Friday @10pm on SyFy. Check out a preview below: