Warning: Spoilers Ahead
I have to give the Helix writers credit — there have been some amazing story lines this season. From the Alan vs. Peter Farragut rivalry and showdown to Brother Michael’s incestuous fertility project to the Sister Anne/Amy dungeon freakshow. Yet even with all of these fantastic arcs, the one that continues to intrigue and fascinate me the most is the Caleb mystery. And, one of the primary reasons for that is even though we see Caleb for the first time in that memorable scene in the season premiere, we still know very little about him. The writers have thrown us a few breadcrumbs but nothing definitive, and most of what they have revealed just raises more questions.
Even with the small amount of information we do have, there are no shortage of theories out there from Caleb being Sarah’s baby-in-jar to his being Soren all grown-up. All good guesses, but I personally believe it’s going to end up being much bigger than any of them, something that will shock the crap out of us come Friday. I was fortunate enough to be able to talk with actor Jim Thorburn last week to get a few hints of what to expect in this highly-anticipated finale. Of course, he couldn’t reveal much, but I was able to get a few details and plenty of great stories on the fun he had playing this part.
TV GEEK TALK: I think one of the most intriguing parts of Season 2 of “Helix” is your character, Caleb, primarily because he’s still very much a mystery and has been since the season premiere. Can you talk a little bit about how you were cast for the role?
Jim Thorburn: “Definitely. You know, initially I had auditioned for the role of Brother Michael.”
TV GEEK TALK: Oh, wow. Really?
Jim Thorburn: “[Laughs] Yes, I know. It’s crazy. So, there was some interest there, and then, that sort of went away. Then, I got a call saying, ‘Would you be interested in reading for this character called Caleb.’ The next thing you know I was very fortunate enough to get the part.”
TV GEEK TALK: How much did they tell you about the character, Caleb, when you were initially cast? Did you know that the character was going to be more than a one-off in the season premiere?
Jim Thorburn: “Well, I was told basically it was going to be for 6-7 episodes, that much was revealed to me. But I didn’t know how in depth the character was going to be or any idea of the arc for the character. When I did get the part, I was given only 2 scripts., episodes 1 and 2. Then, I really knew nothing as the show progressed and was slowly leaked more and more information.”
TV GEEK TALK: At what point did you find out where the character was ultimately going, as we were heading towards the end of the season?
Jim Thorburn: “[Laughs] This is a very good question. Well, I can’t reveal entirely all that, but I can say it was right down to the wire, right around the last 2 episodes where I found out what may happen. There were some basic story notes that they were giving me. So, yeah, they kind of left it a little foggy.”
TV GEEK TALK: Can you talk a little bit about how the futuristic scenes/episodes were filmed? Were they filmed in the same order as the episodes were filmed, or where the scenes filmed all at once? I definitely could see how those scenes could be filmed in one big swoop, if they wanted to, since they are isolated from the rest of the storylines.
Jim Thorburn: “Well, that depended on the availability of the scripts. My stuff, like you said because I was isolated, was quite heavy in terms of shooting scenes, and I would do a lot of my scenes in just one day. It still stayed in sequence, though, because we weren’t getting my whole true arc yet. ”
TV GEEK TALK: As I said, Caleb has turned out to be the big question mark going into the last 2 episodes of the season, and we know very little about him. Let’s see if I can remember the few things that have been revealed. I think Caleb said that his mother brought him to the island at the beginning of the Narvik outbreak because she thought it was safe there. I think he said he remembered his mother cooking for him? He seems to be at least familiar with Alan Farragut due to his reaction when Julia mentioned his name in the season premiere. These are the things I remember right off the top of my head. Are there any other particular details that have been revealed that turn out to be important in figuring out who Caleb is or that would help fans in understanding him?
Jim Thorburn: “One thing I think I can say without being too revealing is that he’s a survivor. Obviously, he was given some knowledge and some skills to take care of himself and survive. With that character, Caleb, he holds a lot of secrets, he’s guarding them, and as the show’s progressing, he’s starting to open up. In terms of answering your question, we are given some information in the episode “Reunion” where [we learn] he has information about some supply ships that had come from inland. I really can’t tell you exactly because that will reveal but as a survivor, he has some good skills and acquires some knowledge, but from whom I can’t really say at this point.”
TV GEEK TALK: Caleb’s interactions with Julia are particularly interesting as well as confusing. When he first meets her, he clubs her over the head and ties her up. Then, later on, he saves her after she had been injured in the big fight with her father. And, then, he once again saves her when she is about to be killed by Michael. How can you describe Caleb’s relationship with Dr. Walker? Why does he seem so interested in her?
Jim Thorburn: “Well, I think he is sort of leading her. It’s a test. And, slowly he is starting to open up, but he is told by his mother and warned that someone would come. He didn’t know who or what, so that’s why he has this test. He’s very guarded, and he begins to test her and also trust her. That’s kind of how he proceeds, and that’s because he’s a survivor. He’s got this set of rules, and she’s starting to pass a few tests.”
TV GEEK TALK: Now, you said at the beginning of your answer that Caleb’s mother warned him that someone would come. I do remember that scene, and the question is was his mother warning him about the Silver Eyes? That is, was she warning him that the Immortals would eventually show up?
Jim Thorburn: “Exactly. I say that in the first episode as I’m acting as the interrogator. That was the warning, that they would come. The Immortals, that is.”
TV GEEK TALK: What about the ‘San Jose’ reference in the season premiere? I tell you, that was one weird scene. Caleb wearing this patched-together hazmat suit and repeating over and over again, ‘Do you know the way to San Jose?’ Very strange. Can you offer any hints on what San Jose may mean to Caleb or to this particular story line?
Jim Thorburn: “Well, that ‘San Jose’ track was back from season 1, so there’s definitely a connection. I guess I should go back, I can’t really say if there will be a big reveal but it goes back to that connection to survival and testing and finding good and finding evil. It’s another one of those pieces of knowledge that Caleb acquired, another kind of test. I don’t know if I can elaborate on that, I wish I could, but I can tell you a neat little story though. When I first went in for the wardrobe fitting and they showed me that mask, it was supposed to just be this kind of burlap bag over my head, just something [Caleb] had acquired on the island. But, then when I saw the way they had designed it, the story they had constructed behind the mask that he uses to hide and protect himself.”
TV GEEK TALK: Now, you said it was used to protect himself. When I initially saw that mask, it immediately made me think of a kind of make-shift hazmat suit. So, was it used to protect himself from something like a virus or to protect himself physically?
Jim Thorburn: “You know, that’s a great question. And, yes, the way it’s designed, it does have a rustic, sort of hazmat sense to it. So, yeah, I would definitely answer ‘Yes’ to that.”
TV GEEK TALK: I interviewed Kyra Zagorsky last week, and I asked her about the Caleb character and what we should expect going into the final episodes of the season, in particular the season finale. She said that Caleb’s “true colors” would be revealed, and she goes on to describe it as a “beautiful storyline.” Now, Kyra did use the words “true colors,” and most of the time when I hear those 2 words used together, I usually think, “Oh, Lord, this person is bad underneath it all.” Without giving any details, of course, is that going to be turn out to be true with Caleb? Good guy? Bad guy? Something in between?
Jim Thorburn: “First, I want to say what a pleasure it was working with Kyra. I was so happy to have this arc with her character being in the future. As you can see during the show, there are moments of likeness between him and her. I can’t elaborate, but I can tell you there will be some scenes with a big reveal, which will answer your question in full. This will happen in [Friday’s] finale, and I’m pretty happy with that. It will definitely answer a lot of questions.”
TV GEEK TALK: I’ve seen you a few times on Twitter, and given that Caleb will have such a big presence in the season finale, do you plan on live-tweeting like some of the other cast members often do?
Jim Thorburn: “Oh, I will for sure. I’m in Vancouver, Canada, and unfortunately, I can’t get Syfy..”
TV GEEK TALK: Oh, until Monday?
Jim Thorburn: “Yes! [Laughs] I try to connect as much as possible, and I’m going to try and work something up so that I can be a part of that episode.”
TV GEEK TALK: I think that would be great. Kyra had said you were going to have a big part in the finale, and now, I see that you will. I do know the fans would love it.
Jim Thorburn: “[Laughs] Well, I’m definitely going to try and work up a plan to do it and make it happen.”
TV GEEK TALK: Now, just a few fun questions. First, do you have a favorite scene that you filmed this season?
Jim Thorburn: “Well, one of my favorites is just that opening scene when [Julia] arrives on the dock. I was delighted to see right there on page 2 or 3, we’re there, you don’t know who I am, and I swing this club at this woman. [Laughs] I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go.’ [Laughs] That was really cool, and I really like that scene. I also really like the scene with Kyra in the cave. I just felt there was more of a connection, and Caleb was starting to open up a little more. I like those, and of course, the Brother Michael scene. You know, I didn’t even know how it was going to look because it was shot using green screen. The whole cliff thing was quite elaborate, with a fake cliff, and working with Steven Weber was great. All I can say is you have more to come, and I’m really happy with what hasn’t aired and what you will see.”
TV GEEK TALK: What about any scenes that turned out to be funny or that may end up being extras on the DVD?
Jim Thorburn: “Well, the scenes where I was extracting the contacts, those were pretty funny. They were like, ‘Here are the tweezers you’re going to use,’ and I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me!’ [Laughs] I mean how close was I to her, and she could end up partially blind, poor girl. [Laughs] So, there were some tense moments there when I was sweating.”
TV GEEK TALK: Now, were those real contacts that you had to extract, or were they CGI’ed?
Jim Thorburn: “There were a few tricks, but yes, they were CGI. At the same time, there were moments where I had to go in and pull out this contact that they had created. But, yeah, it was a touch-and-go scene at times, and it was also very, very hot in those scenes during summer and in that shack.”
TV GEEK TALK: One final question. No spoilers of course, but is there anything you can say about the finale about what to expect to get the fans excited? Will there be a big moment when everything will start to come together, and all the fans will say at once ‘Ah ha!!’
Jim Thorburn: “I didn’t find out what was going to happen to me until a week before I had to leave to go back to Montreal, and I was blown away. There’s 2 things that happen.”
TV GEEK TALK: Oh God, you don’t die, do you!
Jim Thorburn: “[Laughs] Just watch, and you’ll see that there will be 2 things that will leave people with that ‘Ah ha!’ feeling. Your jaws will definitely drop a bit.”
TV GEEK TALK: Well, I can almost guess what one of them will be because nearly every fan has been asking the question, “Who’s your Daddy?”
Jim Thorburn: “[Laughs] That’s funny! I can’t really say, but there will be some cool stuff that will be revealed, and I think you’ll really like it.”
The season 2 finale of Helix airs this Friday at 10/9c on Syfy.
You can also check out our preview of the finale, which includes an EXCLUSIVE sneak peek, by clicking here.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com