Orphan Black: Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner

“Oh. There’s an ‘ism.’”

Yes, Felix, there is an ism. Despite a somewhat rocky start, “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner” ends up being a more than decent episode chockfull of information, danger, and...tails.

This episode contains one of the few story mistakes I can attribute to the show. We open with Paul already M.I.A. The first time I saw this episode, I seriously thought I’d missed something in between. It’s a weird and sort of jarring choice, as if it’s resolving a cliffhanger in the previous episode. One throwaway line explains that Alison is off with Donnie at some therapy retreat, trying to fix their marriage after last week’s crafty torture fiasco. I’m guessing the episode ran majorly long and they had to do some serious cutting off the top.

This episode was also odd because of its flow. Even though I’d seen it before, I kept thinking every big scene was the episode’s climax. It sort of reminded me of early Alias. It started dramatic, got quieter in the middle, and revved up for a big dramatic conclusion. Also like Alias, the bad guys in Orphan Black own a club, “Which officially begs the question, what is up with these guys and night clubs?”

This is the episode where I really start to like Paul. It’s not just that he doesn’t sell her out when Olivier gives him the chance and it’s not just the fantastic chemistry between him and Sarah. He warns her that they’re onto her (in the most melodramatic way possible; I’m sure she had already ascertained something was wrong when he called her ‘Beth’) and his apparently overpowering desire to be as close to her as possible is incredibly romantic major league hot. The way he buries his head in her side, despite being tied up? Swoon. I do hope he really cares for her and isn’t just conning her for some reason.

For Sarah’s part, the attraction is there; but she still doesn’t seem to trust Paul. Her first impulse is still to lie to him. She only tells him about one clone (the one he already knows about) and denies any knowledge of Helena or her wacky murder spree. Will his sacrifice at the end of the episode change things for our lovers? Tune in next week!

Helena’s back and there’s nothing bad about this. Tatiana Maslany’s performance as Helena is the sort of thing you can’t tear your eyes away from. The way she eats in the restaurant, the way she interacts with everything she finds at Paul and Beth’s, it’s all so fresh. She’s like a child, seeing perfectly ordinary objects like spoons and pillows and shoes for the first time.

Making his first appearance is Tomas, her...I don’t even know what you could call him. Boss? Father figure? Torturer? One thing I don’t understand about Tomas and Helena is that, according to Cosima a few episodes back, they think of clones as perversions of God’s work. Following that train of thought, shouldn’t they be opposed to the body modifications the Neolutionists are so fond of? And yet Maggie Chen had the fish knife branded into her neck, Helena has those creepy wing scars, and her hair is dyed blonde. The cutting is clearly some kind of pseudo-religious medieval penance ritual, but, seriously, why dye her hair? It actually really bugs me.

The Cosima/Delphine/Leekie thing also makes progress. I love Cosima, but her scenes are rarely my favorites. She’s so removed from the main action. She has Leekie and Delphine to interact with, but, while away at school, she doesn’t personally interact with her clones and having multiple Tatiana Maslanys in a scene is pretty much what makes this show so amazing. Despite knowing better, Cosima’s clearly fallen for Delphine. Great judgment there, Cos. I love the scene of her trying on different outfits. It’s a great shortcut to explain how crazy she is for her French girl.

In what is definitely the best Cosima scene so far, she faces off with Dr. Leekie, who she strongly suspects of being her creator. She works him for information in a none too polite way. She knows. He knows she knows. She knows he knows she knows. He...wait, where was I again? Leekie’s manner with Cosima is almost paternal. He’s clearly proud of her intellect and what she’s achieved thus far. But he also has the look on his face that little kids get watching animals perform incredibly clever tricks.

Bits and Pieces:

What is up with Angie’s obsession with death and morgues? Am I the only one seriously unsettled by this character?

To continue the fangirling, I love that you can tell the difference between the clones just by their voices. You never wonder if it’s Alison or Cosima talking.

Cosima did her undergrad at Berkeley. Not shocking.

Neolution really needs to upgrade its security.

Olivier’s tail is one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen; even before it got cut off. Helena dancing with the tail is even grosser. Ew.


Paul: “There’s nine of you.”
Sarah: “No! There’s only one of me.”

Helena: “I dreamed that we were friends.”
Sarah: “We’re not friends.”
Helena: “We will be. I’ve seen it.”

Sarah: “Bitch.”
Cosima: “Bitch.”

Kira: “Uncle Felix wasn’t bad.”
Mrs. S: “He was a different kind of bad.”

Delphine: “I am the cold turkey asshole.”

Leekie: “Please. You could be on the cover of Scientific American.”
Cosima: “Scientific American doesn’t put scientists on the cover.”
The first time I saw this, it gave me the chills.

Paul: “Hi Beth...I need you to do something for me...They know you’re not Beth. Run!”
I have never loved Paul more.

Felix: “Sarah...just don’t die. ‘Cause your first funeral was agonizing enough.”

Olivier: “Then why protect her? I told you she was a killer. Was she that good?”

Sarah: “I don’t do run.”
Excellent illustration of how much Sarah has changed in just a few episodes. Cut and run used to be her signature move.

Olivier: “You’ve created a whole new brand of fratricide.”

Olivier: “Now I know why you did this. If I was in your position, I’d fall in love with her too.”

three out of four bloody tails
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany


Mark Greig said...

Helena dancing with Olivier’s tail is even grosser. But also pretty goddamn awesome. One of the many reason by the poor broken angel is tie with Alison for my favourite clone.

Josie Kafka said...

OMG, the tail. The tail!

My first reaction to the bad guy owning a club was the same as yours, Sunbunny. But then I started to wonder if that's a bit of a dig at the bad guy, with his silly penis-tail and sillier fake name. Maybe he owns a club because all the bad guys on Alias own clubs. He's just a bad-guy wannabe. :-)

Morgan India said...

I LOVED the scene where Paul is tied up and he just leans into Sarah's side.

Helena is just so completely bonkers, that I love her a lot.

Whoever does the split-screen stuff is doing such a bang up job, it really makes you forget that it's all the same actress.

How dare they snob Tatiana in the Emmy nominations!

M said...

Good point about Cosima's wardrobe changes! Another good "shortcut" takes place in the scene where Paul is tied up in the chair, when Olivier takes off his coat and drapes it over Paul's knee like he is a coat rack. It is just such an insulting gesture. Apparently, it bothered Sarah, too, because the moment Olivier turns his back, she grabs the coat off of Paul's leg and flings it aside. I think she loves him.

I missed Alison, but they made up for it with lots of Helena. I actually felt pretty bad for her when she was wandering around Beth's apartment touching things and pretending to have a "normal" conversation with Paul about her day. Although, I felt even worse imagining Sarah and Paul sleeping in their bed after filthy Helena had rolled around in it!

I didn't even notice Helena dancing with the tail. I agree, Morgan, she is so bonkers, I love her!

Jess Lynde said...

Great, great Helena episode. Even binge-watching the whole season in one day, both the diner scene and the club dancing scene really stuck in my mind. She is fantastically creepy, and yet still a bit sympathetic. It's an interesting combination.

ChrisB said...

How do I not love a show that makes me both cringe (the tail, especially the dancing) and melt (Paul and Sarah) all in the space of 45 minutes.

I find myself constantly going back to watch scenes again. So much happens in so many of them, it is easy to lose track of who is where and what is what.

Not that I'm complaining.