Orphan Black 2×3 Review: Mingling Its Own Nature With It
It’s getting hard out there for the clones. There are no less than three distinct groups after them at the moment. You have the usual law enforcement, which is oddly the least threatening group of them all. Then you have the freakish cult that is far too obsessed with fertility and biology that’s sending Helena’s story into extraordinarily bleak territory. Then lastly you have DYAD, which is frightening for both their power and how they are constantly stressing to the clones that they’re the good guys. To me DYAD is the most threatening, but no matter how you look at it the number of allies for the clones is shockingly small. All they want is their families and lives back. They want to reclaim their personhood and continue existing without feeling like a constant science experiment. The odds are stacked against him, but their shared genetic trait of ingenuity, bravery, and determination give them a much needed boost. The families and friendships that they’ve carved out for themselves in the world also provide comfort for them when it seems like everyone else is against them.
One of the most surprising things for me was when found at that Kira’s father is Daario Naharis. Wait, sorry, no, it’s actually a man named Cal played by the ever charming Michiel Huisman. I love it when my fandoms cross like this. Huisman just has a laid back, but casually focused air about him that makes me love him in any role he plays. He effortlessly conveys that his characters will take what life throws at them, but won’t let it stop them from getting what they want. I loved him as Sonny on Treme for that very reason. My opinion of Daario Naharis sky rocketed when he was recast in the part on Game of Thrones because it felt like his attitude and motivations changed with just a simple recasting. Now here he is popping up in Orphan Black and I find myself instantly liking his character right off the bat for similar reasoning.
Though he was Sarah’s mark many years ago and could have turned her away, he shows just how much heart he has by taking sympathy on her and their daughter. He’s not heartless even though he could have been given his history with Sarah. He was even willing to shelter Felix, but he bounced before really taking him up on that opportunity. He pulls out his gun to defend the daughter he only just learned about and the former lover who had betrayed him so many years before. He’s seemingly chosen a side already and he’s sticking to it. I truly feel like Kira is safe with him and he’ll protect her with his life, even though he’s only known about her for less than a day. I hope I’m not proven wrong here. When it seems like everyone else is out to get the clones, it’s always a good thing to have another potential ally.
Speaking of a lack of support, Alison’s use of substance has spiraled out of control so much I feel bad for finding drunk Alison so adorable last season. When she passed out after drinking so much wine at her party I laughed at all the gifsets on Tumblr and found it sort of cute. Now it’s hard to find a scene where Alison isn’t popping pills or drinking or already heavily intoxicated so it’s not so cute anymore. It’s tragic and depressing. The only saving grace of Alison’s storyline is that Felix seems to have returned to her to offer support. While him leaving Sarah and Kira was extremely heartbreaking, Sarah seems much more capable of functioning without his help than Alison is. Alison needs somebody right now. She’s alone with her monitor and a cop on her tail and her world is crashing down around her. All she wants is her soccer mom life back and the more she realizes that’s practically impossible, the more she drinks and drugs herself to complete numbness in order to cope.
As a side note, that play she’s in looks like the most awkward play ever. I… don’t even have words for how bizarre that whole thing is.
On the topic of really bizarre things, Cosima having to dissect her own clone was extremely unsettling. It did give us some insight into the odd medical condition that’s affecting them, though. Whatever it is seems to be hitting them at different times. One clone has been dead for three months, Katja was showing advanced symptoms, Cosima is showing some early symptoms, and if it’s related to their infertility, Alison and Rachel are showing only the very earliest signs of the condition. Meanwhile Sarah hasn’t shown anything whatsoever and Helena’s fertility is heavily implied, but not yet confirmed so her status is up in the air. So while these genetic differences could be linked, there are still the differences not related that have yet to be explained – mainly Cosima’s glasses and sexuality. Whether either of these topics will be explored in the narrative or not is still a mystery, but it’s certainly a fun topic to mull over in the sphere of fandom. Honestly Cosima’s sexuality and how it relates to genetics or her upbringing is something I can ramble on about for many many paragraphs, but there’s so much more happening in this episode I’m going to force myself to cut it short here. Perhaps I’ll dissect it further at a later time. Keep an eye out.
Helena’s storyline has been getting more and more disturbing this season, which almost didn’t seem possible. I already felt sorry for her due to her upbringing. The awkward way she deals with the world and eats her meals shows that she wasn’t raised in an even remotely normal environment. But now things are getting even more bizarre and extremely creepy. I’m beginning to fear that my future reviews may have to come with heavy trigger warnings due to her storyline, which I always hate doing. Forced pregnancy and the method of forcing it on someone aren’t fun topics to discuss, but if it gets brought into the narrative it’s not something I can easily ignore. I only hope that Helena gets enough strength back to fight off her assailants (maim them? kill them? Anything really). While everyone’s story on this show has some level of tragedy, hers stands out to me as the bleakest of them all. She doesn’t deserve her fate.
The new character Gracie is pinging my radar as a potentially important character in upcoming episodes. I’m not exactly sure what to make of her just yet. On the one hand she disrespects Helena by belittling her personhood, but the awkward exchange with her ‘father’ (I’m questioning the biology of this entire cult, so I feel like quotes here are justified) makes me think she’s having doubts about the entire system. How those doubts will manifest isn’t quite clear. With the way she clearly thinks so little of Helena I’m not sure if she’ll flip to her side, but she’s clearly showing so resentment with her ‘father’s’ decisions. I’m going to be very eager to see how she develops.
This show has a habit of giving me what I want, then taking it away from me, then giving it to me again, then taking it away from me again. Instead of being angry at the show for playing with my emotions, I’m impressed at the writers for moving me with their story and with the actors for selling their acting. Tatiana Maslany has been praised by just about everyone for playing so many different roles so flawlessly, but often I don’t think it gets mentioned that if given even one of these roles, she’s be receiving high praise for that alone. This week it was the heartfelt goodbye with Felix that destroyed me emotionally, but she sells every single emotional cue with all of them. It must be an incredibly draining experience. This is truly one of the best shows on TV and I’m looking forward to what next week brings. I’m dying to know where this is all headed.
Author: Angel Wilson
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson 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 has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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