Orphan Black 2×01 Review: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

OB2The season two premiere of Orphan Black started off with a bang. Literally. Several of them. There were guns aplenty in the season opener as Sarah frantically searches for her daughter and evades the formidable DYAD institute. The other two protagonist clones, Cosima and Alison, may have their own personal drama occurring, but the nature of their shared genetics makes their plots permanently intertwined and their unexpected sisterhood dynamic incredibly interesting to observe. Their budding friendship with Sarah’s brother Felix also keeps the group together, making them an unlikely makeshift family. Their individuality but shared genetics makes their goals similar, but highly personal. This means that all the separate plot threads may get tangled together, but still remain separate entities.

OB4Season two picks up shortly after the shocking finale. I’d been under the assumption that Mrs. S took Kira and escaped for their own safety, but that’s quickly revealed to not be the case. Pro-clone Rachel Duncan implies that they’ve taken her, but later denies this and claims that it was a ruse to get Sarah to DYAD. Sarah proves her continued ingenuity, bravery, and intelligence as she fights to find her daughter. The fact that a large secretive institute that specializes in covert ops is having difficulty catching her really speaks volumes to how skilled she really is. While most of her efforts during this episode seemed to be in vain, her evasion tactics are something to be admired. I’m eager to see how her skills unravel this other organization that appears to have actually taken Kira. Who are they? What are their motives? How do they work?

The relationship between Cosima and Delphine is complex and causes me a great amount of intense shipper pain. Delphine is still an employee of the DYAD Institute and her loyalty seems to be in question, but I don’t at all doubt her love for Cosima. Even her apparent betrayal by informing Doctor Leekie about Cosima’s illness feels like it’s coming from a place of concern. She doesn’t want Cosima to die so she breaks her promise and passes the blood sample along to DYAD. My interpretation of this course of events could be wrong, but I have an unwavering faith in their romance making it hard for me to see her working against Cosima. If she turns out to be playing with Cosima’s heart, I will probably cry. They are one of my favorite couples on TV right now.

OB3Alison and Felix’s relationship has become one of my favorites on the show. It’s an unlikely pair, but it’s entirely sweet and surprisingly trusting. While Alison is the “soccer mom” clone and Felix is the rowdy drug-using party boy, they’ve found a sort of balance with one another. Alison is also a surprising character in her own right. Ingenuity and intelligence seems to be a genetic trait shared by all three of our main clones. Her delivery of the gun in the flower bouquet was smart, unexpected, and had a the sweet soccer mom flavor that is entirely Alison. It also proves that even though she’s signed a contract with DYAD, she hasn’t entirely left her clones behind to fend for themselves. She wants her own suburban life back, but she isn’t completely uncaring towards Clone Club.

The biggest shocker of the episode was the reveal that Helena is alive. I have a sneaking suspicion that Helena was intended to die last season, but the overwhelming fan reaction to her may have brought her back. I have no solid information to back up this claim, but her injuries last season were pretty intense. I don’t see a character having those sort of injuries inflicted on them if they were truly meant to survive. Then again, Helena has proven to have an abnormally high pain tolerance, so maybe this is just a continuation of that theme. Either way, I’m pretty happy to see her. For an antagonist, she’s surprisingly likable in her unusual, quirky way. She’ll probably be out of commission for a while, though, because that was a pretty severe amount of blood loss all over that hospital floor.

OB1The plot during this episode was fast, intricate, and loaded with developments. With Orphan Black there is simply no such thing as a “filler” episode and I suspect that I’ll be holding my breath for the next several weeks as the mysteries unfold. I’ll be rooting for Sarah and Kira to be reunited, for Cosima and Delphine’s relationship to survive, and for the sweet friendship between Felix and Alison to strengthen. I’m not sure how many of these wishes will happen this season, but I’ll be excited to see how it all unfolds.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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8 thoughts on “Orphan Black 2×01 Review: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

  1. Hi Angel… I really enjoyed your review.

    A couple of points. The showrunners and Tatiana Maslany have said that they were lying through their teeth about Helena being dead and that it was their intent to bring her back all along. So, in this instance, it was not fan pressure. TMas even joked that pretending she was gone really taxed her reserves as an actress! 🙂

    I’d also like to add to your point about ingenuity and intelligence and add Helena to the list of clones showing this trait. If you’ll note, when she’s in the hospital, she has duct tape and a belt wrapped around her chest. That was quick thinking and it probably served to help keep her alive long enough to get professional care.

    I agree on your takes on the other characters and relationships as well. I’m finding the Felix/Alison friendship to be especially rewarding and I look forward to seeing more from this unlikely duo! 🙂

    1. Oh and I’d also like to add that, given Helena’s upbringing, I’m amazed she went to a hospital. After all, we know she started off in a convent before Tomas and Maggie Chen took her and trained her to be an assassin. And if I take her attitude about the restaurant with Sarah at face value, she doesn’t seem to have a lot of real world experience. She probably received all her medical care thanks to Tomas or the other Proletheans (I hope I spelled that correctly).

    2. Thanks for the info about Helena. I missed that. Interesting!

      Helena definitely has the clone ingenuity gene. I feel like there might be some sort of physical resilience, too, because that was quite a severe wound she got in the finale. Her constant marking of her back and the stab wound she got last season were also pretty bad. Sarah’s daughter healed pretty quickly too, so if it is genetic it could have been passed down to Kira. We haven’t really seen any of the other clones get severely injured (and this is going to sound terrible), but I kind of want to see that happen just to see if there’s a physical strength shared among the clones too.

      1. No I totally feel you. While they are all genetically identical, somehow it seems specific traits exists in some but not others. For instance, why does Cosima require glasses? Why did Katja and Cosima get sick and not, say, Alison and Beth? Does Sarah have this physical resilience as well?

        Kira’s injuries should have killed her. Sarah was spot on about that. There was no way she should have survived, much less bounced back as quickly as she did. Does this mean that there’s something inside her that they can use to help cure the illness in the others?

        Oh and here’s a randomly geeky thought. So, we know Leekie knew about Helena…but had no knowledge of Sarah because at some point after Amelia escaped (apparently far enough into her pregnancy and tests that she knew things were off but not before the embryo split), one became two and she gave birth to twins and they tracked Helena to the Proletheans but were not aware that Sarah even existed.

        So…my super geeky question is…do Helena and Sarah have the same ID number?

        1. I love your super geeky question <3 I wonder if we'll ever find out the other clones tag numbers?

          On the topic of genetic differences, one thing that bugged me in the beginning was that Cosima was a lesbian and all the other clones were (seemingly) straight. I'm a firm believer that sexuality is something you're born with so that rubbed me the wrong way at first. But there are subtle differences like the glasses thing. I suppose it's also possible that they're all bisexual to some degree and we're only seeing their current relationships so it might be unfair to judge their sexuality based on this short little snippet of their lives. I'm bisexual and I'm dating a man right now and I hate being labeled as straight because it's not accurate, so I'm being a tad hypocritical. But I do find the subtle differences in their genetics interesting. Will they all get sick like Cosima and Katja? Can they all heal like Helena and Kira? So many question. You know it's a damn good show when you spend this much time asking questions and exploring possibilities. 🙂

          1. I have SOOO many thoughts on this for some of the same reasons you do 😉

            I’m not sure whether we should continue this here or when there’s a new post on last night’s episode b/c even MORE questions/thoughts came to mind, not only on this but on Helena and Kira and how and why they’re special. 😀

            1. The new review is written. I’m just waiting on an editor to review it and post it (that’s how our system works here) so it should be up shortly. I went over a lot of the stuff we’re talking about here in the comments actually so yeah PLENTY of thoughts and feelings incoming about the new episode. I just have to wait for an editor to wake up and review the post. 🙂

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