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
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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3 thoughts on “Orphan Black 2×3 Review: Mingling Its Own Nature With It”
Hey there…I’m back to write another novel length comment!! 😀 What can I say? This show generates a lot of thoughts and feelings for me.
As you pointed out, each of our girls are on separate journeys right now and, while I understand the need for this, I feel they will all find they can and will be stronger if they unite against the forces going against them as opposed to trying to navigate them on their own.
Let’s start with Sarah. I’ve said a few times, and I’ll repeat it here…that she and Helena are my favorites. They are also the characters that have seen the sharpest changes that have served to deconstruct each (or at least begin that process) and have inevitably put them on new paths. Sarah partially fulfilled her promise to take Felix and Kira and get out of dodge but almost immediately came to the realization that this was not all that good for Kira. It wasn’t good for her to sleep in a truck or be forced to participate in a con just to get fed. She needed a healthy, safe environment. Enter Cal.
Her history with him is mixed at best but we learn that he did and still does have feelings for her and he has a very big heart. And we learn that she also did have feelings for him (and more than likely still does)…and that, unlike her other marks from way back when, this one got to her. He made it hard for her to take him to the cleaners like she had originally planned. And of course from that past connection came Kira.
Her moments with Felix were pure gold…from the comedic moments at the first of the episode to their eventual split halfway through the story. The touching scenes between her and Felix are heart rending and as much as people fawn over Tatiana’s mad skills as an actress (and rightly so because she’s bloody brilliant), Jordan Gavaris shined in his righteous indignation toward his sister. How could she not tell him about Kira’s father? How could she take him there without letting him know? And then he made the gut wrenching realization that Sarah needed something that didn’t include him and chose to leave her, probably for the first time btw (usually she’s the one who leaves) and decides to go where he can do some good presumably.
I found the interactions between Cal, Sarah and Kira endearing, though shortlived; and I was pleased that Cal and Sarah both responded in the exact right way when threatened with Daniel. Sarah lunged at him and kept Cal from getting shot, providing a distraction so that Kira could get away from him and to her dad. Cal held his daughter protectively, got her out of the way, then made it clear to Daniel that he would not be getting his hands on his daughter any time soon.
As terrifying and jarring as Sarah’s end sequence was, it just proves yet again that she has and endless font of resources and creative thinking skills when it comes to getting away from a dangerous or scary scenario, including driving into the path of a truck (which I believe may be Cal trying to save her, btw).
Let’s switch over to her sestra, Helena, who shares the same kind of rapid healing her plemyannica has. She is awake, aware and in fantastic condition given the fact that she was practically dead a few days ago. But her situation is terribly volatile and by the end of the episode, she knows she’s in terrible danger.
And that’t the thing that really kills me. Henrik says he believes she has a soul and yet he proves by his actions that he views her as less than human by the way her food is drugged and she’s forced into a marriage with this man, unable to fight back or resist while still fully aware, which is why there’s a tear in her eye as she’s being carted away.
They had better hope they keep her completely drugged for her stay there.
As for Gracie, at least she’s honest. She sees Helena as a devil spawn and has no problem saying it to her face if need be. But I do think that will lead to the confrontation we saw in the preview, and I suspect that Helena will kill Gracie in self defense and use that as a means to escape.
On to Alison. Can this girl catch a break? No, I guess not because on top of knowing her husband is her monitor, she now finds herself in the virtual crosshairs of a rogue cop who wants answers and seems to be fixated on Beth. Alison isn’t fooled by Angie for a moment but it’s yet another thing that’s screwing with her mind.
And the play she’s in. Could there be a greater meta for her? This is where she is, wracked with guilt over Aynsley, feeling alone, paranoid and depressed. If you notice visual cues, you’ll see that on the garment rack back stage, Aynsley’s name has been crossed out and Alison’s name written under it. That’s cold. lol Also, the blonde cast mate is wearing a blue striped shirt that is identical to one that Aynsley wore last year. So Alison is surrounded, desperate and panicked. That makes for a perfect storm of horribleness…and that’s what we got with her debut in the play. Kristian Brunn commented that he thought it was incredible that the best actor he’s ever worked with succeeded in doing the worst acting ever as Alison butchered her performance and became more and more frenetic and off key, screeching as she plummeted off stage. No, even seeing that Felix was in the audience wasn’t enough to stabilize her. She was far too gone by that point having drunk herself into a stupor. And who knows how many pills she had ingested by that point.
Finally, let’s talk about Cosima, Delphine and Jennifer. What a tragedy Jennifer’s story is. She never knew she was a clone or that her perfect boyfriend was a spy. I’m glad they introduced this entire sequence with levity as Cosima and Delphine are playful as they enter Leekie’s office, and Cosima gives us a spot on impersonation of Aldous. This is something I never realized I needed until I saw it and now I want to see “Cosima” do other impersonations as well. 😉
I was a bit disconcerted by Delphine saying that it was a good thing that Cosima kept forgetting Delphine was her monitor. That just felt…off I guess. By Cosima’s expression, she felt that too. I feel that Delphine played an important role though in keeping Cosima focused on the science and the medical issues regarding Jennifer because, as gross as the autopsy was, Cosima needs to be strong. She needs to build up her mental and emotional defenses for what is to come. But I do also hope that, away from the DYAD, they both take time to vent emotionally and that Delphine can allow Cosima the chance to rage and mourn safely with her.
I didn’t understand any of what they were talking about with regard to the medical issues…but…I was completely blown away by the “body” they were working on. That entire thing was a prosthetic! I thought the close up of the head was real until I read The Hive behind the scenes notes on BBC America’s site. How amazing was that?
The last thing I’ll note is that I’m glad that Cosima and Alison spoke to each other though I found the entire exchange maddening. Cosima is belittling Alison for being distressed about a play and Alison is irritated that Cosima is looking down at her interests. Cosima was literally digging in the body of their genetic identical and coughing (driving home that this could be her in a short while) when Alison called so worrying about a silly play seemed ridiculous to her…whereas Alison is drowning in guilt, pills, alcohol and loneliness and sees the play as a lifeline to help her deal with all of her emotions about Aynsley and her life in general and is tired of being treated like poor, stupid suburban Alison.
If only these two actually sat down and opened up with each other, they’d find out why each is behaving the way they are.
According to all the teasers I’ve seen…everyone who’s seen the first four episodes are saying that, if we thought the first 3 were crazy, we haven’t seen nothing yet because the 4th will be off the charts.
With most shows, I’d just consider that typical hype but so far, Orphan Black has not let me down.
Is it Saturday yet?
I’m very impressed with how quickly Cal took to Kira and accepted Alison back into his life. There’s definitely unresolved feelings there on both sides and I’m just glad they were on the same page about getting Kira to safety. For two people who hadn’t really talked in years, they were able to coordinate that save flawlessly.
I’m not sure who’s in the truck, but I definitely think that was intentional. Since I now know Mrs S is coming back, it could be her. But it could be Cal, too, but then where is Kira? Somebody did it very intentionally.
Alison’s story is just killing me. Her play might seem like nothing to others, but she’s in a deeply disturbed emotional state and abusing drugs and pills, so if she wants to vent about a play the poor girl should be able to do so. But like you said, Cosima is overwhelmed with her own stuff too. It’s got to be weird digging around in the body of your own clone and she’s sick with the same thing that took that one’s life. They’re both stressed out and dealing with things the best they can. You’re right. They need to talk to each other and help each other.
I’m very excited for Saturday. This show manages to escalate every single week. I don’t think this show has every once had a “filler” episode like most shows have. Every week is packed with plot and character development. It’s nuts.
Matthew Bennett (Daniel Rosen) repeated what I’ve been seeing others say about the next ep… he said, it’s going to be “off the rails.”
I have my own wish list of what I’d like to see happen and I know a couple of them either will come true or we’ll come close to it. But we shall see on the rest. 🙂
And yeah…this show doesn’t really do filler, does it? lol
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