Orphan Black: Governed By Sound Reason And True Religion

Posted on April 27, 2014

Orphan-Black-Season2-Episode-2-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLOJordan Gavaris in BBC America’s series “Orphan Black”

 

When a simple homespun meal with aging radicals turned on a dime into a bloody (in both senses of the word) free-for-all, complete with shotguns and meat carving utensils, Tom turned to Lorenzo and said, “Oh GOD. I love this show so much.” But that’s not the first thing he uttered at the sight of Mrs. S.’s facility with a knife and fork. He blurted out the same thing he did last season when Kira bounced off a car’s bumper and he’s not embarrassed at all to repeat it: “Fuck ME.” This is not something we normally yell at our TV. In fact, we can’t ever recall yelling at our TV that way except when we were watching the very best episodes of Lost. And yes, we do consider that very high praise. We’re going to start applying the Fuck Me Test to all our TV reviews from now on.

As we noted in last week’s review, another way the show is like Lost is in its highly entertaining videogame/Choose Your Own Adventure-style plotting, where things routinely take a hard left turn and the setting and situation vary wildly from moment to moment . You’re in the jungle on a deserted island! Find the secret hatch! Achievement unlocked! Figure out how to open the hatch! Achievement unlocked! There’s a crazy Scottish man with a gun! Disarm him! Achievement unlocked! The world is going to be destroyed unless you push this button! Achievement unlocked! And so on. In this episode, Sarah goes from the balcony of a motel to the creepiest laundromat in the history of garment-washing to an even creepier garage to being kidnapped to hiking through the woods with her foster mother, all in the space of about a minute. And what makes this so interesting is that Sarah’s the only character this kind of rapid scene-shifting ever happens to. Alison and Cosima’s stories and settings are largely straightforward because that’s largely how they live their lives, but Sarah’s is literally all over the place. Like Tatiana Maslany’s astonishing performance, the storytelling actually changes its style based on the clone currently being featured.

Speaking of Tatiana’s acting, we have our first real bit of criticism: Rachel has not fully established herself as a character and you can feel that lack of assurance in the performance and presentation. The accent’s just slightly off, the wig looks really wiggy, and Tatiana’s just not nailing her the way she nailed all the other characters instantly. She comes off like a million other B-grade villains/villainesses of countless genre tales; all Received Pronunciation and arched eyebrows. Since the actress has more than established herself as up to the task of creating distinct characters, we supposed it’s more accurate to call this a criticism of the writing and directing. All the other clones are so distinct and well drawn that that the creative team might want to turn their energies toward figuring out how they want this one played.

Having said that, we enjoyed her scene with Cosima. One of the things we loved – and the show’s very good at showing these little moments and reactions – was the utter shock on Cosima’s face when Rachel walked into the lab. Even someone who knows she’s a clone and has met at least 3 other people wearing her face can be shocked when she encounters another one unexpectedly. You’d figure something like that never stops being unnerving. And for all our complaints about the Rachel performance (which are relatively minor and vague), she did give the second best line delivery of the episode: “So. You’re gay.” Number one is, of course, Alison’s “That’s my sacrum!” Best chest-thumping comeback came from Cosima:  “I was clever when I was like six.”

There does appear to be the hint of a backstory with Rachel’s intense interest as to how Sarah got pregnant. As in so many really good sci-fi stories, motherhood seems to be one of the major themes, along with a certain underlying tone regarding society’s need to own women’s bodies. It’s not a coincidence (nor was it subtle) that we get our first extended introduction of Henrik, the cowboy Prolethean leader with his arm buried up to the elbow in a cow’s nethers as he artificially inseminates her. Multiple deaths and conflicts played out this episode and they all had to do with people arguing over their right to own and control a female character, whether it was Cowboy Henrik and Tomas debating Helena’s importance or Mrs. S and her “bird watcher” friends, having it out over ownership of Kira. Everyone wanted a piece of some female this episode ( in Rachel’s case, she literally handed over a piece of Sarah to Cosima) and in every case, it came down to an issue of motherhood, with science and religion facing off against each other over the central question of the story right now:  How did Sarah manage to become a mother and just what does that mean about Kira in this war of ownership?

Thank God we have Alison and Felix to lighten the load a little, so to speak. We weren’t quite sure how to take Aynsley’s death and Alison’s involvement in it last season, but it looks to us like the writers chose the best way to follow it up. Having her find out almost immediately after the funeral (in which she HILARIOUSLY showed up in Holly Golightly drag, complete with the world’s worst Bump-It) that Donnie is her monitor gives her character so much more direction than simply whining and crying about Aynsley. Although to be fair, the scene where she confessed to Felix may be one of the funniest the two every played together. “Are you joking? No?” “I think I need to keep drinking for a while and then I’ll have an idea.” It broke our hearts to see him ditch her like that, but he’s got a fierce devotion to Sarah that overrides any budding fruit fly friendship, even if said fruit fly did commit an entertaining sort of murder. (“AYNSLEY WORE A SCARF! IN THE KITCHEN!” ) We look forward to Alison turning her tight-assed fury on poor Donnie. We suspect glue gun torture just isn’t going to cut it now.

As for Mrs. S, we tend to believe the response she gave Sarah when she point-blank asked her whose side she’s on. “Yours, love. It’s always been yours.” Granted, the lying about Project Leda (Very “DHARMA Initiative,” yes?) doesn’t cast her intentions in the best light, but she had a shotgun in her hand and she could’ve taken Kira from Sarah by force but chose not to. The look of sadness on her face when she saw the look of fear and mistrust on her daughter’s was enough to tell us that whatever else her intentions may be, she doesn’t seek to harm Kira or Sarah. Well; that, and crucifying an old hippy on a table with a carving fork and knife to keep her from hurting them. Oh, and the shotgun blasts to the heads. That kinda sold the point too.

Our point, if we can be said to have one, is that this show is crazy fun, zipping around in a million directions, featuring a whole buttload (important TV critic word) of secret agendas and groups pulling strings, headed by a wholly entertaining cast, half of whom are played by the same actress. They’ve taken the core concept of the show and really run with it. So far, the second season is shaping up to be even better than the first.

Oh, one more thing:

“Who are these cursed children you brought into our lives?”

“They’re Project Leda.”

Was Old Crucified Hippy asking about Sarah and Kira or Sarah and Felix? After all, why would she refer to a mother and daughter as “children?” Is Felix a more central member of Clone Club than he realizes?

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA]

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    • FunButNutz

      The prospect of Felix clones leaves me all tingly!

      • TropiCarla

        I am SO down with that. There should be one for each of the Sarah clones. Best Friends Forever!!!

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        Clone Felixs would be too fabulous for this earth to handle

    • GeoDiva

      I love it when Felix paints in the nude.

    • Glam Dixie

      Yes! What you said! I have no words of my own, just sheer pleasure in going along for the clone club ride. Oh, Felix in the apron, almost as good as the chaps! My husbands first episode of Orphan Black and that made his eyes bulge a bit, lol.

    • heybethpdx

      The prospect of BONUS Felix (Felixii?) fills me with delight! It seems a lot to track but I’d be willing. I read the comment as meaning Sarah & Kira, though.

      It seems weird to me that all these women in their mid-twenties are aware of their inability to have kids – how/why do they know this?? Unless they never hit their periods, it seems odd to me.

      I though Donnie was a little bit dumber this ep than he was last season – he held up to interrogation, but gets caught running around the graveyard? I love Alison so much, I can’t wait to see her destroy him.

      • lrober03

        Maybe after the clones found each other, Alison brought up the fact that she adopted her kids and that spurred a conversation about fertility or some testing?

        • Rottenwood

          Yeah, that’s the most likely scenario. Alison’s infertility is a huge deal to her and I’m sure she had it investigated ASAP to see if it was part of her hated heritage, or a personal curse on her part. And, of course, to see if there was a workaround.

      • Karen Miller

        I was thinking of that, too. Cosima especially would probably not have wondered if she was fertile yet or not. But there’s Allison who obviously pursued parenthood, and there were those other eight or nine women that she and Cosima were in touch with early in season 1 (like Katja). How many clones in a group of nine have to admit to infertility before the others start wondering if it’s a pattern and investigating further?

      • rivula

        The plural of Felix is Felices. :)

      • http://wetpaint.com/author/amber-garrett Amber Garrett

        In Donnie’s defense, it is a lot easier to tail someone who isn’t expecting to find you tailing them.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Got caught up with the show in time to watch this episode’s premiere. I kept meaning to see it given the buzz, but your initial post pushed me into binge watching. So, THANKS for that.

      My theory (until it becomes disproven in a week or two and I need a new one) is that Sarah is different because she’s the original. Maybe even Siobahn’s real daughter. They’ve examined her blood but could someone could be covering it up / swapping in someone else’s. I guess that would mean she and screechy Helena are not clones at all. And then where is the father? Dun dun dun. (DISCLAIMER: Pulling all of this out of my arse, based on flimsy evidence, and will not fly into a fansite rage when it turns out to be wrong. But it sure is fun to speculate!)

      • ShaoLinKitten

        I wondered if Sarah was the original too, though Amelia did say she was Sarah’s birth mother, which could mean only that Sarah was in vitro and not necessarily a clone.

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        It is certainly implied, but I do not think they would make it so simple. I do believe Mrs. S is biologically involved. Maybe using her eggs/DNA for the “first” clone?

    • Rottenwood

      I get the feeling poor Donnie is being phased out as Alison’s monitor, now that the job is a bit more complex than simply taking readings and making sure she’s not COMPLETELY stoned. New Sarah might be the new watcher.

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        Good thought. New Sarah is awfully intense about some Alison. Crush or Monitor??
        Also they must realize how useless Donny is.

      • mmebam

        I had the same thought. But that wouldn’t make sense since she signed the nondisclosure thing last season.

        • marlie

          That’s assuming that Leekie and the Dyad Institute are playing by the rules, which I don’t believe for a millisecond.

    • CPT_Doom

      “Was Old Crucified Hippy asking about Sarah and Kira or Sarah and Felix? ”

      That question popped right into my head when she said that, and, at least in the world of this show, it would make sense. If you’re going to try cloning humans, would you try only one? The spread of the clones geographically appears to be some plan to have as many different women gestating the clones and then raising them in as many different environments as possible to see what works best. I could see a similar pattern with other clones.

      And certainly given Mrs. S. manner of travelling with children, it’s not like you’re going to just have another one along for the ride. She’s described as Sarah and Felix’ foster mother, but it’s pretty clear that there was no child protective services checking up on these kids (although, when you’ve got the kind of cutlery skills Mrs. S. demonstrated in this episode, you sort of are you’re own child protective services). I certainly wouldn’t be surprised at a deeper reason that Felix is in Sarah’s life. A second-season ending with Felix walking into his own clone would pretty much destroy the Twitterverse, though.

      • AnaRoW

        She was their foster mother. She adopted them before moving to the US. She left her other foster children behind in the UK.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Loved the meat fork! It’s amazing how this show can play violent scenes for laughs. Or at least not deadly serious.

    • Shoelover1512

      Thank you for getting me into this show! As with Mad Men it was the best decision to listen to you guys. I am completely caught up since your post last week. And I got my boss hooked too :)

      It was sad to see Allison dejected about Felix leaving. She values their friendship in a way she probably hasn’t had before :(

      And Felix as a more integrated part of the clone club is something I would have never considered but that’s an interesting theory….

    • M_E_S

      I watch this show and feel so, so grateful that lessons have been learned from BSG and Heroes. This show feels like it knows that it has a plan, that there’s an arc that it’s following and that things make sense. They aren’t throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks (with the possible exception of upping the amount of time that Felix and Alison spend together once they saw how hilarious they were together).

      My personal theory: Felix is a XY member of Clone Club. IT’S MY FAVORITE THEORY AND I’M STICKING TO IT.

      • zky

        My theory, too. Is there such a thing as fraternal clones? Oh wait, this is sci-fi. Surely I can suspend my disbelief that much further.

      • TropiCarla

        Oooh … nice intel about the Project Leda greek myth.

      • Rottenwood

        The show is also excellent at cleaning house and cutting weak links. Vic has been put on the bus, Paul’s time is getting reduced, and Tomas is getting replaced by vastly more complex foes.

      • spititout

        Project Leda: Helen-a and Pollux/Felix? oooh, that’s tricky, I like it.

      • heybethpdx

        TWO SETS OF TWINS! You blew my mind. I saw or read a brief interview with the show runners, and they hinted that those who knew their mythology might find the name Leda interesting. I’m SO intrigued!

      • decormaven

        Brilliant theory!

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        That makes sense, projects are name for a reason, and usually the names have clues about the nature of the project.

        Also that would imply there is at least one more Felix- or a twin of him!!

      • http://cheekypinky.wordpress.com cheekypinky

        OHMIGOD, I so hope you’re right–I so hope the show is actually going to be that clever.

    • christy in nyc

      You know, I hadn’t really thought about it until this moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out at some point that the reason Rachel looks/acts so much less naturally than the others is because she will turn out to be yet another clone pretending to be Rachel.

      • AnaRoW

        That’s a possibility but I think it’s because, unlike all the other clones we’ve met so far, she was raised in a controlled environment by a corporation. The way she talks to and about the other clones, it’s like she’s trying to figure out what makes them human. She doesn’t seem to have a personality of her own.

    • Eva_baby

      First, I LOVE that pic of Felix. I think I gasped when I saw his travelling wear. The glasses, the turtleneck, the black jacket…so stylish!

      Also, I loved Allison’s funeral LBD and proper pearls. Very mourning chic!

      So far I am on team Mrs. S. I think she is being legit in her being on Sarah’s side. Yeah, she’s super shady, but I don’t think she means to harm Sarah or Kira. At least I hope, hope. hope not!

      As far as Felix…hmmm….I wonder. Wouldn’t it be interesting if he was a clone, but not one of his own. That he’s a version of Sarah/Cosima/Allison except maybe they experimented with gender assignment?

      • heybethpdx

        Hmmm it would be interesting if Felix was one of the original Clone Club but I think that would be super hard to do convincingly.

      • Neal Scearce

        Marvel Comics has done a gender reassignment clone with Wolverine, known as X-23. or Laura Kinney. So it could be “possible”. And isn’t there some scientific reason that it would be easier cloning females due to XX chromosomes vs XY in males?

    • twigg

      I’m glad that Art is still around. It would have been easy to ditch him and Angie after last season’s finale but I love that he’s become invested. And his interactions with Sarah and Felix are great.

      • MilaXX

        LOVED Felix being jealous about Art being a part of Clone Club.

    • MilaXX

      It took me 2 viewings to catch that bit about Felix. I think they are somehow connected otherwise why would Mrs. S have moved with both Felix & Sarah? I also feel bad for Cosima. Her heart is going to be broken when she realizes Delphine is no good.

    • http://www.sfairchilddesigns.com Susan Wheeler

      Love this show so much (thanks for the recommendation last year!). It’s almost torture waiting a week in between episodes. LOVE the idea of Felix as an integral part of the clone plot.

    • http://suzannemoorebooks.com Suzanne Moore

      Oh I love all the surprising twists and turns on this show! It’s unpredictable and keeps me guessing. The writing is taut and it seems that they have a real plan for Sara and Felix and the rest of the clone club. I do hope there are multiple Felixii on the horizon. That would thrill me to no end.

    • VioletFem

      Another lovely surprise in this episode, was the return of Teddy!

    • spititout

      As a daily reader of TLo for many years, I rarely comment, but I must express gratitude for a SUNDAY post on Orphan Black. Thank you, TLo! Such an unexpected treat.

    • ShaoLinKitten

      I wondered if Rachel’s interest in Cosima’s orientation went beyond mere titillation. Rachel mentioned the differences between the clones due to errors in replication from the original DNA sequence. Since being gay is genetic, perhaps Cosima’s orientation represents an alteration that Rachel found intersting for that reason.

      • heybethpdx

        Cosima also needs glasses, while the others don’t, and I thought that was a little surprising. Another alteration, I guess? The show-runners seem to be doing a solid job so it seems like they’d have thought of this.

        • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

          It makes sense that each clone would have its own…defects. Like in Star Trek, the more you replicate something/matter the less likely it is to be accurate.

        • Enferdame

          Popular fan theory are that Cosima needs glasses because she’s strained her eyes more than the other clones due to her studies. Also, popular theories say that most of the clones fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum (Alison/Beth aka “SoccerCop” is one of the most rampant ‘ships and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised)

          • heybethpdx

            Oh, of course!! The brainy nerd who reads too much – I should have figured that one out :-)

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        Interesting….

    • malarson2

      What I picked up from this episode – for which I yelled OH MY GAWD so loud and with so much glee at the scene with the knives/guns/bird watchers that two out of three of the children came in to check on me (so now I know how to make THAT happen):
      1. Kira seems to have Sarah’s skills in reading people and situations and knowing when something isn’t right…loved how she was whispering to her Mom about Mrs. S. She seemed so smart and Sarah-like in that moment.
      2. Oh Jeebus does Allison need some direction, or what? And I’m not talking about direction from the director of her play (who’s ass-grabbing and subsequent rejected attempt to shake hands with Felix provided my biggest laugh of the night…’no thanks, I know where that hand’s been’). I’m sincerely worried about her. I’m thinking her salvation will come in the form of bringing the hammer down on Donnie, which will be entertaining, but if you saw the scenes for next week – possible spoiler alert here – you know that Angie inserts herself into Allison’s life as a way, I’m assuming, to get more info on their case. Not good for many reasons, one of which being that Allison’s knocking the booze back and popping those pills like Courtney Love at a pool party.
      3. How was it that I missed what Cosima is really up to? Season 1 ended with she and Delphine making up/out in Felix’s apartment and figuring out The Dyad’s true motivation and now they’ve gotten themselves working there. Did I miss some important conversation about them destroying The Dyad from the inside? I need answers, people. And finally…
      4. Felix in assless/backless anything just makes my heart sing (and it’s usually either a song about it raining men or how fun it is to stay at that ymca place…).

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        1.) Kira is smart as shit. She obviously picked up some of that street smarts from her mother, or perhaps living with her mother some.
        2.)The thing is Angie really isnt that big of a threat. kind of a straw man as far as I can see. If anything, the Dyad isn’t going to let the police get ahold of the cloning information, but I think that Alison can appeal to her emotions/their friendship when she finds out.
        3.) I think it’s a “save my life” kinda thing. She knows she needs the Dyad to figure out her disease and save herself, and the Dyad knows she is smart as fuck and they can keep a closer eye on her if she is working in their lab.
        4.) Felix is a hottie…. end.

        • malarson2

          1. yes
          2. good point
          3. forgot to put her illness into consideration on her decision (thanks for that)
          3. and TOTALLY

    • SuzBald

      I said something similar – not since Lost have I looked agog at my fellow viewers after crazy events, huge reveals, and daring character interactions. So excited that season 2 is off to such a smashing start.

    • Badriya Al-Badi’a

      Did the group of women doing laundry at the ranch look awfully similar to each other to anybody else? Earlier attempts at cloning, perhaps?

      • heybethpdx

        I didn’t think they looked like the same person, so much as perhaps trying to look like a cult/conservative religion – similar looks, all the women in dresses. I noticed that one woman was very pregnant, and I didn’t see many (any?) men. It left me wondering if we are supposed to think it was some sort of multiple-marriage cult-like religion place. They seemed to play up the daughter a bit, too – will Helena become friends with her? Does the younger man want to marry her? Am I looking for nuance in every shadow?

        • jayKayEss

          IDK why but I got the impression from next week’s trailers that the redhead girl is Helena’s daughter. Just a hunch. I suppose Helena would have had to have been awfully young when she had her…

    • LeelaST

      Rachel seems uncomfortable in her own skin. Whether due to an unsolidified performance by Tatiana or by design, i.e. she’s unnerved that despite her position of authority and power her clone sisters are her equals if not betters. The one element of Tatiana’s performance that bothered me was Rachel punctuating a statement with “yeah?” as Sarah so often does. Why would two characters from different worlds us the same phrase? A very small misstep.

      • http://cheekypinky.wordpress.com cheekypinky

        “Yeah” is a very, very British vocal tic, even among those with Received Pronunciation.

    • Nels P. Highberg

      Felix is Sarah’s monitor.

      • http://killerladyboner.tumblr.com/ LexQuin

        There’s no way, he has helped her get away with so much shit against the dyad. It would be connvienient sure, but it doesn’t make much sense.

      • Joanna

        Sarah doesn’t have a monitor! Her birth mother gave her away to the state/Mrs. S. and Helena to the church, so they’ve been off the Institute’s radar until now. That’s why Dr Leekie was so interested in finding both of them. Also, Felix would never…though I am amused at the thought of Felix (possibly high and wearing backless clothing) interacting with Dr. Leekie and/or Rachel.

      • jayKayEss

        I have also been thinking this.

    • demidaemon

      I do not watch this show, but I am loving the videogame metaphor review! :)

    • http://cheekypinky.wordpress.com cheekypinky

      The Husband and I just finished the episode, and sat on the couch gaping at each other over how GOOD it was. I mean, the first season was amazing, but this one episode might be some of the best writing for television I have ever seen–not to mention the best acting (the lip quiver that Alison did in the graveyard after Donny left? MY GOD.)

      I’m speculating that Mrs. S still isn’t to be trusted–she has her own agenda which strictly involves protecting Kira. Honestly, if Kira hadn’t been in the car, I think she would have had no compunction over shooting Sarah.

      My second running theory is that each clone has a twin: Sarah and Helena, Cosima and Katja, Alison and Beth. Each of these sets shares characteristics–Sarah and Helena recover insanely quickly from injury; Cosima and Katja have a TB-like illness; Alison and Beth have serious struggles with anxiety and depression. I’m curious to see if Rachel has a twin, too. It would make sense that Sarah and Helena were the first clones, since they’re the only ones thus far without debilitating health problems.

      *guh*

      I love this show.

      Also, FELIX CLONES PLEASE FOREVER.

      • marlie

        I agree that Mrs. S has her own agenda, but I don’t think it involves hurting Sarah. I think her ultimate endgame is in Sarah’s best interest, but the steps along the way aren’t necessarily.

        As for the clones all being sets of twins, I think that’s a fascinating hypothesis. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

    • kalisa

      I thought she said, “THAT’S not my sacrum!”

    • GM

      I have to say, rather than Rachel’s “so, you’re gay”, I preferred Cosima’s retort: “My sexuality’s not the most interesting thing about me”. For me, best line of the episode!