Fellow Liberal Dead-heads, this is Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. I’ve signed on to do a sort of recap/review of each week’s horror hits, so welcome to DEADtime TV.
Each week I’ll cover horror television shows and give you a brief review of what went down, how it worked, and if it was any good. I’m only one man – and I’m also playing catch-up with some of the series currently airing right now – so this is in no way meant to be a definitive compilation of each week’s shows. It’s just what I happened to catch this week.
As we get further into this series of posts, there might be others joining me to help out with compiling shows, and additions will be made when new seasons begin. You can expect to find Bates Motel, Hannibal, The Following, and more when their new episodes begin.
American Horror Story: Coven: “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” – Wednesday, January 8, 10 PM
American Horror Story: Coven has been hinting at a Stevie Nicks cameo throughout the season, and finally that dream comes to fruition in “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” – she shows up to perform a couple tunes, act all white-witchy, and basically give Misty Day a reason to be buried alive by Madison.
If you’ve been watching throughout the season like I have, you might have noticed a lack of plot direction – Coven has alternated between Cordelia and Fiona’s boarding house of up-and-coming witches and the voodoo queen Marie Laveau, each of them taking stabs at the other. But with the previous episode’s mass murder of Marie’s army of voodoo doctors, both sides have formed a truce to overcome a bigger obstacle – Delphi Trust, a shell corporation that doubles as a witch-killing organization.
That last episode set the stage for what’s to come: Marie and Fiona will begrudgingly shake hands and work together to murder any rich white man who attempts to burn a witch at the stake. But “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks,” besides taking a detour to show off just how whirly-twirly Misty Day can be in Stevie’s shawl, mistakenly takes a step back with the coven’s covert operations to focus on Fiona’s selfish attempts to remain immortal.
She calls on Papa Legbas, a mythical voodoo loa that, for Coven purposes, serves as black dreadlocked devil. He’s played by Lance Reddick brilliantly, the best aspect of this episode by far – I could watch a whole season solely about Papa Legbas.
But unless you’re super psyched about seeing Stevie Nicks perform “Rhiannon” with a dusty piano, “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” feels more like a jaunt into even weirder and more jumbled territory for Coven. The show continues to juggle themes and ideas that don’t meld well together – yeah, Axeman, I’m talking about you.
Helix: “Pilot/Vector” – Friday, January 10, 10PM
SyFy has been laying on the television originals pretty thick of late; Bitten and Opposite Worlds will be premiering soon, and Friday the channel released the first two episodes of Helix back-to-back with limited commercial interruption (if you caught the premiere at 10 PM, you might have noticed in the right corner that they spelled it “interuption” – must have been a fucking intern).
In the beginning of Helix‘s pilot, we’re treated to a look at an Arctic researching facility that’s limited from all regulatory contact – that means no CDC, no Department of Health, no corporation that can deny the questionable and ethical experiments that might happen in such a facility that is cut off from the rest of the world. Inside, a containment issue has occurred, leaving two men dead and a third infected with some sort of virus that leaves him panting on the floor. Dr. Hiroshi Hitake, the leader of the facility, is asked what’s happening to the man, and he replies, “Progress.”
It’s the kind of hokey response I’d expect from a series about biochemistry and mutational research, but for some strange reason, Helix‘s pilot works fairly well. For one thing, it gets right into the meat of the action without lingering at the CDC’s center of operations. Leading doctor Alan Farragut is called into investigate the outbreak with his crew, including ex-wife Julia and potential girlfriend Sarah. His brother Peter is the infected man, so Alan has stakes in this containment, and Peter also happens to be Julia’s new lover. Ouch.
So the team heads to the lab to attempt to find out what kind of virus they’re dealing with. It turns out Dr. Hitake is of course hiding whatever it was that the scientists were experimenting on; monkeys were hideously mutated, rats were given a serum that either killed them or made them so enraged they wanted to spread their virus. Peter seems to have been infected with one of the latter, and he’s loose on the base.
Helix falls into some fairly obvious dilemmas; characterization is an issue in these first issues because of the amount of characters dropped on the viewer at the same time. In two separate scenes, Alan delivers a ridiculously over-the-top statement about his father: “He used to do that when our father came home drunk, which was a lot.” Not once, but twice – as though Helix wants to hit us over the head with alcoholism, saying, “YO THIS GUY’S DEALT WITH SOME HEAVY SHIT BEFORE!”
But the amount of characters (and problems within the lab) mean Helix has a lot of content to work with. At the end of the second episode, Alan and his team have still not uncovered much about the virus, which is surprising to me because I thought the show would rush headlong out of the science phase in favor of enraged zombie-like action.
It seems there’s a lot more going on then Helix first lets on, and that’s actually a fairly exciting premise. Couple that with the claustrophobia of having the team locked into a fairly large bio research facility in the middle of nowhere and it seems a lot of fun could be had with the rest of this season.
Helix will receive regular coverage on DEADtime TV.
Catch us next week with another edition of DEADtime TV, with coverage of AHS: Coven, Helix, Bitten, and Grimm if I get caught up.