All posts by Eleni Armenakis

Eleni Armenakis is a die-hard fan of all things Canadian, including television. She spent almost two years as a critic for TV Guide Canada covering some of her favourite CanCon, including Republic of Doyle, Orphan Black and Rookie Blue (plus guilty pleasure Bitten). When not hooked up to the little black box, she can be found freelancing, growing her collection of Canadian music or snacking.

Review: A Helix of legacies

I doubt “Densho,” the title of this week’s Helix, was referring only to Hatake passing on his legacy via the katana to Julia. As Sarah lay bleeding and gasping about her baby and Peter and Alan continued to feel the aftershocks of their troubled childhood, that Julia’s last resort when confronted with her imminent death was to sing Hatake’s song was just the final scene of an episode that really delved into what it meant to pass something on to the next generation.

And while Hatake’s dreamy break with reality got played up more for the twisted humour of the show—through an amazing, revert-to-childhood fishing trip—it also showed how Hatake was still trying to sort out his ties to his children: one of his flesh, as the series put it, and the one he’d raised and who died for a sister he didn’t even like. Considering everything about Hatake in Season 1 revolved around revealing himself to Julia and making her immortal, it’s fitting that his final preoccupation was whether or not what he’d passed on was actually as lucky as he thought it was. And that despite this—and the troubled times the father and daughter alluded to while sparring in the woods—Hatake’s last breaths were spent getting himself back to the table so he, Jane and Daniel could be together forever.

That same paternal discord could be felt between Peter and Alan as they struggled to work together despite years of mistrust. Except this time around, Alan’s only playing the trusting brother to Peter’s lies, knowing full well that it wasn’t a random blow to the head that brought him to that field. Although I doubt even this new, killer Alan could have expected Balleseros to be the person on the other end of that phone exchange.

As Hatake weighed his legacy—and then passed it onto Julia—it doesn’t entirely feel like a coincidence that Balleseros is involved with the island too. It’s another community where parental ties are dissolved at a young age and smacks of Hatake’s own kidnappings. Is Balleseros still on the hunt for Anana’s orphans, or is he back in Ilaria’s pocket? Either way, he’s looking less like the organization’s Doberman and more like a man in charge—though who between he and Peter is the least trustworthy one is still a hard call. But for all the answers that were dished out tonight, the pull the island has for immortals remains a mystery.

One thing that is starting to come together are Michael’s “girls,” as mother, daughter and grandmother faced a grilling over Soren’s fate. Michael seems to be just as in the dark as the CDC when it comes to the generations of women who have clearly been involved in protecting him and the island. If nothing else, it dropped a couple of hints about what Michael’s actual secret might be—and I don’t think it’s the one Kyle was alluding to when the doting cult leader stopped by to check on his bruises.

Still, whatever legacy the women are passing on, it’s growing more corrupt with each generation as Amy took matters into her own hands last week, leaving Anne and Agnes to try to reign her in this week. Despite appearances, Anne seems to be weakest of the three—making me slightly nervous about Michael’s habit of resting his hands tightly around her throat. But while she’s still trying to maintain the isolation of their colony in a way that’s putting her at odds with Michael, I suspect she just might be the only one in that family that’s still playing by the same rules he is. Whatever Amy is trying to accomplish with Landry’s help seems darker than anything her mother could dream of cooking up.

For a man who clearly can’t handle losing a smidge of power, Michael seems oblivious to the fact that he’s already lost control of the situation. And I’ve got a feeling that while Michael and the CDC play their little games with each other the real danger was standing right beneath him in that hall, awaiting her own legacy.

Other goo-dness:

  • Between Michael’s comments about grafting and humans and Mischa’s remark about her pregnancy, does anyone else suspect the cult of practicing eugenics?
  • Do Sarah and Kyle know Peter has a working phone? Because when your vectors go murder-y on each other being able to call for backup might be a good option to have.
  • The fact that Jordan Hayes is only listed as a guest star might make it a bit of a giveaway, but Sarah’s behaviour this season has me thinking she’s not going to immortal her way out of this one.
  • Again, that fishing montage was the series’ sick humour at its best. They need to find a way to keep Meegwun Fairbrother around again (like putting Tulok with Balleseros).

Helix airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.


Review: Reason and purpose on Helix

After last week’s creepy opener, Helix moved past teasing us with another, nastier virus and really started getting into the inner workings of Brother Michael’s compound on St. Germain. I’m guessing the science geeks behind the series (and those among the fans watching it) were more than a little tickled by Michael’s response that all things have a reason, not a purpose.

Applied more broadly to the season, right now it seems like each of our CDC members—past, future and present—have a reason for being on the island if not necessarily a purpose. With the lone exception of Alan, who might have a bigger scheme in the works since he’s leaving hipbone clues buried at his gravesite for Julia and telling Sarah to take his brother and get out of his way.

Since Alan has come to St. Germain by way of a long list of immortal murders, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to question whether the island is just the unfortunate starting point of a particularly gross infection, or whether this all has something to do with Ilaria. And since the immortals were the group responsible for the last outbreak, it also doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to suggest this is their doing too. But what their reason is and what their purpose might be are still yet to be revealed. Hatake may have wanted the chance to activate Julia’s immortal genes, but I doubt we’re going to hit any secret child beats this time around—and that line of reasoning doesn’t explain why the organization ordered a virus and a cure the first time, let alone a second.

There’s still also the tricky issue of how Michael and his followers fit into that design (or lack thereof if we’re taking our cues from Darwin). There seems to be a strong thread of individualism to his teachings, along with the notion of abandoning your ties to others to freely be yourself—the kind of mentality that just might encourage a psychopath to unleash a virus on the world in order to gain just a touch more freedom. But Michael almost seems too benevolent to be the kind of leader keeping his followers around for gratification before ultimately reigning as one of a few kings over a devastated planet.

Despite objections from the downright creepy Anne, Michael was strangely and calmly welcoming of the CDC—willing to break the rules to look after the health of his followers when he didn’t have the resources, but at the same time pointing out just how isolated the scientists were. There’s something rotten in the state of St. Germain, but I’m not sure world annihilation is the goal. And bearing in mind the pathogen’s similarities to Narvik—the kind that had Peter freezing with flashbacks—I think there’s something to the superhuman strength and violent frenzy the diseases cause that might be the real “reason” behind their appearance.

But there’s also the problem that the virus is slowly leaking pustules all over Julia’s body 30 years down the road, which means something either went very, very wrong with its creation, or that the person responsible for this goo—looking at the people pumping it into unsuspecting followers last week and their leader—weren’t just interested in infecting mortals. Begging the question, as you’d expect, of who Michael is and whose side he’s really on.

Goo-ey goodness:

  • The title, “Réunion,” is a nice little nod to the filming location.
  • If I were the guy eating breakfast next to Alan, I would be very, very worried.
  • Watching Sarah throw caution to the wind and work in the lab without protective gear has me calling her death sometime this season.
  • “I’d be surprised if he’s here for the food.” Sarah’s getting sassy.
  • Did Julia stumble across Soren’s skeleton? I’m not sure what I’d do if it turns out there’s a Minotaur in the woods. Or a wisp of smoke.
  • Let it be known that I asked Jordan Hayes about Sarah’s pregnancy while on set and used the words “It’s been 15 months, so I’m assuming she’s no longer pregnant.” How very silly of me.

Helix airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showcase.


Review: Lost Girl’s daddy issues

Oh my, daddy dearest. Going into the midseason break of its final season, Lost Girl was pulling no punches when it came to surprises, revealing Eric Roberts as Bo’s much-dreaded and quite secretive papa. And Tamsin just might be dead, thanks to yet another godly lightning bolt—and right after mentioning she was onto her last life, too.

That is without mentioning the end of days, or “End of Faes” that’s now underway, and the god of the underworld about to walk the earth again thanks to Bo’s magic box. Or the fact that nothing itself, born out of chaos, is walking the earth in the body of an emotional dead six-year old who thinks crushing people’s hearts is how you put them to sleep.

I suppose packing all these moments into a single, cliffhanger-filled episode is why the series was so slow off the start when it came to revealing the ancients and their plans. It’s going to be quite hard to take a step back from the family drama now, and knocking out a couple of final cases of the week as an ode to the series’ roots could, in hindsight, be a nice touch. It’s not like things are going to get as light as Bo and Kenzi eating ice cream in a tricked-out hotel room anytime soon—not with Hades on his way up the elevator and into the apocalypse.

Though it’s a bit hard to suss out who the real “good” ancients are—with Zee’s parting tip to Tamsin being a mild suggestion that the top god of religions past has, true to mythology at least, played a somewhat dubious game when it comes to saving the planet. It was certainly obvious that Zee’s terrified of the prospect of her brother surfacing—but how much of that is some kind of benevolent desire to stop the apocalypse and save Bo, and how much of that is saving her own skin given what sounds like a difficult relationship (to say the least) will have to remain a reveal for the next half.

But given how Zee was relishing the prospect of slicing a glowing umbilical-cord-cum-handprint off Bo with a rusty blade, her interests are coming across as mighty suspicious, while Bo’s so-called “evil” father emerged as the fairy godmother of the catfight between the two fashion-forward ladies. Of course, playing the good god/bad god game is probably naïve in a series that has touted its lead as unaligned—it’s just as likely both Hades and Zeus have skeletons in their closet and shining moments of altruism too, but it would be a nifty twist if Bo’s father wasn’t the demon the series has made him out to be.

It might go some way to ending Bo’s introspective self-loathing, and hopefully help her start to build constructive relationships with the people around her. It says something when the love of your life assumes your latest tryst talk is intended to reinforce a status quo where Bo plays the field and Lauren acts super-chill with her syringes. Bo may have been coming to the conclusion that it’s time to boldly step into commitment—even without the knowledge that a heartbroken Tamsin was potentially killed mid-Valkyrie tears—but there was a certain satisfaction to seeing Lauren leave Bo hanging for a bit. If meeting Hades is what it takes to get Bo to finally grow up and treat the people who love her with a degree more respect, then hey, I’m all for the god of the underworld joining the above-ground party. You can only blame daddy issues for so long, and the clock is officially ticking on the fate of the world.

Lost Girl returns later this year on Showcase.


Jordan Hayes gets put in a Helix hot zone

It’s been 15 months since Arctic Biosystems blew up in Helix’s Season 1 finale and, as you might expect given that final epilogue, they haven’t been quiet ones for the CDC members. But even with the mysteries of Ilaria—and Julia’s disappearance—lingering over what’s left of the team, it’s still time for another case and, more importantly for Helix faithfuls, another disgusting virus.

The series set in motion its plan to revamp the show each season, taking us from the soundstages of downtown Montreal to the Abbey of Notre-Dame-du-Lac in Oka, Quebec. One chilly, wet weekend this past summer, the cast and crew are in the midst of filming the fourth episode of the season and Canadian Jordan Hayes—last year’s CDC rookie—is nursing a tea and analyzing how becoming immortal has turned Dr. Sarah Jordan into an up-and-coming name at the organization.

“She’s much more reckless this year,” Hayes tells TV, Eh? inside the former monastery. “Last year she was terminally ill and this year she’s basically invincible, and not really vulnerable to any kind of disease or anything. So she’s able to put herself into critical situations, hot zone areas where she can really be effective.”

Hayes chalks it up to an urge to boost her reputation—mixed in, of course, with her character’s desire to help people. “That’s why she got into this field in the first place,” she explains. “Along with a love and passion for science—but I think that she’s also very ambitious and wants her name to be recognized amongst the greatest scientists of her generation.”

That certainly seems to be the path she’s on when Season 2 of Helix opens. Sarah’s now a no-nonsense expert capable of throwing a decent punch and having nothing to do with newcomer Dr. Kyle Sommers (Matt Long, Mad Men) or his jokes. Then again, Sarah doesn’t seem to be too thrilled about much now that she’s on a team being led by Peter Farragut (Neil Napier, Bullet in the Face), dubious brother of Season 1’s hero, Alan (Billy Campbell, The Killing).

“A bit of it is because of the competitive nature,” Hayes says. “Maybe Sarah feels like she’s proved herself and she should be team captain—but I think it’s more that she sees that Peter isn’t Alan, and he’s not the same leader that Alan was. She really got spoiled in her first expedition, where she had Alan as a leader, and now she’s stuck with Peter, who she thinks isn’t as good.”

Of course, Sarah’s relationship with her former team leader is a bit more complicated than whether Alan was simply better at the job than Peter. Right before Arctic Biosystems lit up the Arctic in a final, desperate attempt to contain the Narvik virus, Sarah found out from one of the doctors at the base that she was pregnant and Alan—at that point in the arms of his ex-wife—was the father. Hayes couldn’t say much about how that played out for Sarah on the super-secret set, but she did confirm it’s “still a plot point in the second season.”

It’s plenty for Season 1’s rookie to have to handle, hot zone expert or no. But Hayes seems to be relishing the extra challenges facing her character.

“To add that dynamic on top of everything else that she had gone through—being terminally ill, basically losing her life and then coming back to life and becoming immortal—on top of all of it, now she has to deal with bringing a child into this life that she has … I mean, as an actor it was good because it’s a lot of juicy, complicated things to work with but I mean, as a character she has to deal with a lot, for sure.”

Helix airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Showcase.


Review: Lost Girl goes to the gods

Of course Lost Girl would be the series to give us gender bending Greek gods, Hera and Zeus, with our mysteriously undead Kevin Brown revealing himself/herself as the devious goddess and leaving Zee as the lightning bolt-delivering god. The swap went some way towards explaining my confusion over trying to figure out how Hera was suddenly shooting lightning bolts like Zeus, but I’ll admit I’m slightly disappointed it means we have a dude kicking butt as top god on this lady power loving series.

Instead, Hera-as-Kevin Brown was relegated towards cleaning up the curious Alicia and trying (and failing) to take out Dyson. Though that does make sense if Bo’s guess about why the Ancients have suddenly returned is correct. Hera might be down with sticking up for her team, but not quite to the extent of Zeus—who might technically be Persephone’s father. Though, with the obvious sense that Lost Girl is going way off text when it comes to these fae, there’s no telling what the alliances are or who they’re really looking out for.

It’s a nice idea that the Ancients have returned to rescue Persephone—and maybe that’s why they were so interested in Bo’s “truth,” to find out how she got the candle and where Persephone is. Then again, considering they’ve killed nearly all of Lauren’s employees and devastated the city—along with an elevator of people—and finally, launched Cassie off the balcony of a skyscraper, the Ancients as good guys is a bit of a tough sell.

But if they’re that loyal to Persephone, who’s related to them, maybe they’ll turn out to be as unwilling to harm Bo—assuming they find out she’s one of them as well. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what having Hades as a father should mean. Of course, it’s not really news Bo is bandying about—keeping the list of people in the know about it to the barest of bare minimums—though rightfully opting to let Trick in on the update to what happened to his daughter after he turned her over.

I can’t help but feel like we should be seeing just a little bit more remorse from Trick as the revelations about Aife’s life come out. I understand the need to maintain balance (and that Aife’s a bit scary on a good day), but surely discovering your daughter gave birth in a cage in Tartarus warrants a bit of a pause if you were the one partially responsible. Then again, Trick’s already had to live with that decision for a long time and he did, technically, do what was right. But I’m feeling just a tiny bit of sympathy for Aife as the revelations come tumbling out.

Tamsin was in for her own set of revelations when she got succubumped to the curb by Bo. It was easy enough for us to see—even without the oracles exposing Bo’s heart’s desires—that Tamsin wouldn’t be on that list. But as a Tamsin fan (though not a shipper of the couple) it still hurt to watch her cling to any number of explanations as Bo finally stepped up to tell her the truth. I don’t agree at all with Bo’s assertion that Tamsin is confused just because they’re roommates (having managed to avoid falling in love with any number of my own), but there might be some truth to the fact that Tamsin’s feelings for Bo could be caught up in the complicated history they’ve shared. It doesn’t make breaking her heart hurt any less, though, and I wasn’t too impressed with Bo by the end of that talk.

Maybe giving the oracles one last go around finally gave us a sense of what direction all those “ships” would be “sailing” in before the end, with some kind of Dyson/Lauren/Bo triumvirate being an easy call. But while I doubt Mark’s worthiness in general, even I have to admit watching Vex cope with his attraction to Dyson’s son, of all people, was well worth it. And hey, at least it means we can rest easy in the shipping wars now.

Losing it:

  • Tamsin’s “Shit got real,” is also how I would describe this episode, now that we know what’s going on
  • “No, no, no, but yes.” Was this Vex’s redemption? Because it totally worked for me
  • “You smell good wet.” Was this not meant as an innuendo? Because if we’re talking ships here …
  • “Explains the face.” Evony, upon discovering Mark is Dyson’s son
  • Evony’s big, bad reveal was a big, bad letdown

Lost Girl airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase.