Orphan Black: Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion

“The rest is up to the Lord.”

Orphan Black is my drug of choice. I watch every new episode on the craziest high. After the episode is over, I’m left on my couch, shaking slightly, jonesing for more.

This week’s episode was different than any we’d seen before. Our three main clones did not interact with each other at all. Nothing. Not even a phone call. Rachel/Cosima was the only clone on clone action (more on that later). Part of what made the first season so beyond adverbs amazing was the confluence of these four (yes, I’m including Beth) separate lives. The best scenes from the first season saw three Tatiana Maslanies in one room together. It was a bold choice to split up Cosima, Sarah, and Alison this season. Each is headed in a radically different direction. I miss seeing the characters together, but their individual stories are so compelling, I didn’t even realize they hadn’t been together until my second time through the episode.


As is her wont, Sarah gets the action-packed, high-octane stuff this week. Once again, Orphan Black does in one episode what some series take an entire season to do. Sarah looks for Kira! Sarah finds Kira! Sarah discovers the people who have Kira are not warm and fuzzy people! Mrs. S brutally murders them! The whole thing seemed rather fairy tale to me. Sarah follows a trail of laundry shaped breadcrumbs and ends up finding her daughter in what looks to be a safe, caring gingerbread house, but is actually owned by a witch intent on eating Kira. Or, you know, selling her to the Proleatheans. I don’t even want to think about the plans they have for the daughter of a clone.

Should we trust Mrs. S? Along with ‘Should we trust Delphine?’ that’s proving to be one of the season’s biggest questions. As some commenters here on Doux had guessed, Mrs. S ran off with Kira on her accord in order to keep the artist formerly known as Monkey Bum Face safe. That would’ve been boring if she’d holed up in a motel room somewhere instead of absconding to her old friends’ weirdly remote halfway house. As with most people who seem too trustworthy, Brenda and her son ended up being in league with a hyper religious domestic terrorist outfit. To Mrs. S’s credit, the second she found out that the gingerbread house was a trap she blew her former friends away. Brutally. The bit with the knife and fork? Yikes. The fact that Mrs. S had to ask who Brenda worked for gives me hope that she may in fact be on Sarah’s side. If Mrs. S was with the Proleatheans, she would’ve been in on Brenda and Barry’s plan. If she was working with the Neolutionists, she would’ve known Brenda and Barry were working for the Proleatheans by process of elimination. So unless there’s a third group after Clone Club, Mrs. S may be a white hat. Still, she knew what Project Leda was and lied to Sarah about it.


In what could not have been an accident, Alison was dressed just like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s at Aynsley’s funeral. Black and pearls are a common enough combination, but the hair? That’s no way that wasn’t deliberate. What is the wardrobe department trying to say about Alison? That she finds comfort in characters, in being someone else? If so, Alison made an odd choice. Holly Golightly wasn’t exactly known for being one to hold it together or one to teetotal.

Alison and Felix’s plan to fake out Donnie by ostentatiously making plans with Sarah was smart. I wondered when they introduced non-clone Sarah why in the world they would give a minor character the same name as a main one. Alison’s just lucky there’s a clone with a common name. Not sure the same plan would’ve worked if it had been Cosima or Katja.

Although she started off the series as my least favorite Clone Club member, Alison made me cry this week and I haven’t stopped worrying about her since the episode ended. Is worrying about a fictional character normal? No, but then I’m not particularly normal either. All she’s going through, she’s going through alone. Totally alone. Cosima is also isolated, but she has Delphine. Delphine’s allegiance is questionable, but she loves her geek monkey. Alison has no one. When Felix left her to run off with Sarah and Kira, I lost it. I don’t blame Felix for leaving. Alison is not his responsibility and Sarah needs him too. But: Alison now knows her husband is her monitor, she feels responsible for Aynsley’s death and now she knows that Aynsley was innocent (besides the typical suburban drama), all of her former friends hate her, her director is sexually harassing her, and she is alone. All alone. We left her drinking and swallowing pills at the rate chocolate addicts eat M’n’Ms. Will she try to kill herself? Will she succeed?


The real Cosima finally makes it to Dyad to retrieve her red coat and visit her less than spectacular new lab. I mean, I’m not a scientist, but even I could tell that place was a dump. You’d think Leekie would want to impress Cosima a little more than that.

Delphine is clearly trying to pressure Cosima into accepting a position at Dyad. The look Cosima gave her after her “crazy science” line was telling. Cosima is in total puppy love with her French honey, but she knows she’s being manipulated and rushed into something. Cosima’s smart, but she’s not quite as smart as she thinks she is. Will she be able to outwit Rachel and Leekie? The Rachel/Cosima scene was a real highlight of the episode. The tension was very real. Both women were challenging each other. Both believe they have the upper hand in the situation. Rachel opened the interaction with the less than diplomatic “So, you’re gay?” line. Instantly, she wants to categorize and label Cosima. She wants to remind Cosima she’s an experiment, something to be observed and commented on by others. In Rachel’s mind, she is the only clone with agency.

Once again, I spent the majority of Delphine’s screen time squinting at my television demanding to know whose side she was on. She’s trying to pressure Cosima into being at Dyad and loving it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s not on Cosima’s side. Dyad is a well respected company with incredible opportunities for a young scientist. I loved her use of Cosima’s “make crazy science with you” line. It doubled as a sweet reminder of where they started and a sexual innuendo. The thing I find most interesting about the line is when Cosima used it originally, she was lying. She didn’t just want to make crazy science with Delphine. She was interested in her romantically. Does Delphine want more from Cosima than she’s letting on?

Rachel gets a weird look on her face anytime she or others mention Kira. Last season it was “Motherhood is wonderful,” this week, she looked extremely uncomfortable when Cosima brought up Kira. Is Rachel jealous of Sarah’s ability to reproduce? It sure seems that way. Maybe that answer’s too easy. Any other theories?


Helena didn’t have much to do this week besides be busted out of the hospital by Mark (the guy in the bolo tie) and be discussed by the increasingly creepy Proleatheans. One of them mentioned that she might be “fertile,” at which point I started screaming “No no no no no” at my screen. Please don’t sexually assault Helena. Please.

The idea of Helena as a mirror twin was planted from her first appearance. She is the only left-handed clone. Plus, her organs being flipped easily explains how she was able to survive the shooting. Sarah didn’t shoot her in the heart, she shot her where most people’s hearts are. Helena’s condition is called situs inversus. People with situs inversus have a slightly higher risk of congenital heart disease, but other than that, are completely healthy. Mirror twins occur when the fertilized egg splits later than is usual for other twins, about 9-12 days after fertilization. If the split occurs after that, the result is often conjoined twins. Thematically, this suggests quite a lot. Although the easy interpretation of this new information is that one is good, the other is evil, one is sane the other is insane, I’m not so quick to write Helena off. I mean, yes, she’s insane. Yes, she’s killed a lot of people, but is she so beyond hope? I find myself uncontrollably sympathetic to the little girl who was so abused and brainwashed. The way Tomas talked about her reminded me strongly of the way Frollo talks about Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He thinks of her as disgusting and perverted, barely human, yet is perfectly willing to use her to do his bidding. I loved the line “Her heart is on the wrong side.” Obviously, Henrik meant it physiologically, but it’s not a stretch to extend the metaphor. Helena’s heart is on the wrong side from whose perspective? Clone Club’s? The Proleatheans’? Helena definitely has a connection to Sarah. She wouldn’t kill her or harm a hair on Kira’s head. I’m entirely hopefully redemption is possible for our angry angel. If only they’d kept her in the hospital. All she needed was some lithium and some Jello and she would’ve been fine. Instead, she’s languishing away at a really creepy farm where no one gives a damn about her. They didn’t even bother to put her in other clothes; she’s still wearing her hospital gown.

From what I can figure out, there are two divisions of Proleatheans. Tomas’s super religious freak version and Henrik’s version which seems to be a little more progressive in their acceptance of science, although they’re still super sinister. Now that Tomas has joined Maggie Chen in religious creepster heaven, is the old guard gone or are there others? Is Henrik in charge?

Neolutionist Bits and Proleathean Pieces

All Helena had in her pockets when she was admitted into the hospital were sugar packets and lollipops. If that doesn’t break your heart...

New clone phones. Green is the new pink.

Twice in two episodes, the Proleatheans have made inferred comparisons between livestock and clones. Last week it was the whole “are your eggs free range” thing at the diner and this week it was artificially inseminating a cow.

Mrs. S’s friend Ben is better known as Supernatural’s Death.

Who in the world was in charge of hiring monitors? They’re all really terrible. There’s Paul, who didn’t notice his charge committed suicide and was being impersonated by a double. Delphine, who ostensibly fell in love with Cosima mere days after meeting her and Donnie whose acrobatics in the graveyard were beyond embarrassing.

Not for the first time, Kira shows herself to be weirdly intuitive. Is she psychic? Is it a clone kid thing? Does she receive messages from the future through her bizarrely well-formed curls?

At the end of the episode, Felix was wearing the same sunglasses Sarah wore when pretending to be Katja last season.

Paul was not in this episode at all.

Clone Quotes

Felix: “I can’t believe you let a cop into clone club.”

Delphine: “I just want to make crazy science with you in our new lab.”

Sarah: “Whose side are you on, S?”
Mrs. S: “Yours, love. It’s always been yours.”

Delphine: “She’s being cheeky again.”

Alison: “Fiddlesticks!”

Alison: “I’m not sure that’s my sacrum.”

Felix: “Okay, okay. Are you joking?”

Alison: “He is very good at being evil.”
Tellingly, this line was delivered before the graveyard scene.

Felix: “Okay. Got any ideas or do you just want to keep drinking?”
Alison: “I think I need to keep drinking for a while and then I’ll have an idea.”
This entire scene was gold.

Tomas: “Abominations have no soul.”
That’s too bad for you, dude.

Rachel: “I hear you’re very clever.”
Cosima: “Yeah, I was clever when I was like, six.”

Mrs. S: “They’re Project Leda.”
Brenda: “I don’t know what that is.”
Mrs. S: “Good.”

Felix: “Aynsley wore a scarf in the kitchen.”

three out of four tiny bottles of vodka


morticiachair said...

I have been refreshing the page since Sunday evening waiting for your review and it suddenly hit me, this website has become to me as important as the episodes themselves!

I'm sorry sunbunny, I know you have a life but we need you!

This was another amazing episode for me and 2 days later I still burst into laughter on my own thinking Felix's: “Aynsley wore a scarf in the kitchen.”

Billie Doux said...

morticiachair, I loved loved loved your comment.

Definitely another excellent episode. I think Alison's "sacrum" line was my favorite -- Alison is *so* my favorite clone. And sunbunny, you made me laugh out loud four times. :) I think that's a new record.

sunbunny said...

morticiachair - you just made my day!

Billie - four, huh? I'll aim for five next time. :)

Mark Greig said...

I don't know what I'm more worried about - Alison's impending mental breakdown or Helena being used as a baby factory by those Proleatheans? Probably Alison's breakdown. I expect Helena will escape and leave a trail of bodies and lollipop wrappers in her wake.

morticiachair said...

Billy, I have to reply to you as well! I have been reading you for the past year, discovered you through Buffy and I am proudly another one of your readers that started watching supernatural because of you! Needless to say, I watched 9 seasons in two months, always reading your reviews right after the episode.

Thank you thank you thank you for!

Billie Doux said...

morticiachair, I love hearing that I got someone to watch one of my faves. Nine seasons in two months? That's awesome.

milostanfield said...
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milostanfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
milostanfield said...

I am convinced that Siobhan is a white hat although she definitely has something shady in her past. I'm suspecting that she was once a part of the clone project but had a change of conscience. She may even be involved with the clones genetically and thus Sarah's "Mom".

I loved the whole series of scenes at the Birdwatchers. Especially the way it ended with Sarah just driving off with Kira and with the look on Mrs S's face. No exposition needed. We know these characters so well now that the writers just backed off and let the actors tell it with their bodies.

Mrs S has just been betrayed by her old comrades, she put Kira in danger because of that, Sarah was right after all that running away seems the best strategy, she has lost her daughter's trust, lost her granddaughter that she swore to protect, and now she is alone. And all of that showed on her face. And then she walked back into the house to deal with the only witness left that could endanger Sarah and Kira's escape. Damn.

The Sarah-Siobhan scenes are right at the top of my fave list along with the Alison-anybody scenes.

Kennedy has an incredible knack for showing complex emotions on her face. Like the scenes in Season 1 when Sarah introduces her to Alison and Clone Club, or the scene with Amelia. Hopefully she'll get an Emmy nod, as should one other actress in this show whose name escapes me at the moment.

On the color of Delphine's hat, I have no clue.

sunbunny said...

milostanfield - I think you mean Delphine's beret. :) The Mrs. S may be genetically related to the clones theory is a good one. I almost brought it up in the review but it was so long already. Her hair looked exactly like Sarah's this week and she was wearing blue plaid just like Sarah was in the last episode. Are they trying to communicate that she's on Sarah's side or is there something more between them?

milostanfield said...

sunbunny - Wow. I didn't even notice that the clones didn't interact directly at all the whole episode. Thanks. Everyone seems to be unravelling in wild directions except Cosima. And if Cosima finds out about Delphine sharing 324B21 with Leekie she may join them. Is Felix splitting off from Sarah next?

As the story continues they will all eventually get together. Gonna be fun watching how adroitly Manson and Grahame knit it all back.

drnanamom said...

Great review sunbunny. Now that I am totally hooked I was waiting for your review! It helped me work out some things I missed on the first go round. I love all the clones in their own way. They are such individuals to me which says a hell of a lot for Tatiana Maslany's abilities. I love that she is a Canadian mutt. It makes me proud.

Heather said...

(Apologies--my deleted comment was due to an unseen typo which happens to me 9 out of 10 times because my Android.)

Okay finally caught ep 2... In no particular order:
-The actress who plays Kira is just a cherub and all the other words that mean angelic and soft and aesthetically pleasing.
-I was also very touched in the final moments of Alison's. What an poignant symbol of something many women who choose to stay at home w/ family express feeling.
-As much as the sci-fi element is well-done, even cogent, I still find myself drawn most deeply into the moments with how the clones are handling their lives emotionally.
-There's a lot about this show that is fearless and excuse the pun but a real evolution from many of the elements TV has found itself stuck in and I love it for that.
-And finally, Julian Richings (Ben) was also a memorable character in La Femme Nikita!

sunbunny said...

Heather - Sure, blame the smart phone ;)

So am I the only one who has never see La Femme Nikita?

Jess Lynde said...

No, I've never seen it either. Well, except for that one time when my sister and I had our own room on a family trip and we caught an episode on the motel television. I remember almost nothing about it except that Peta Wilson was very sexy and it kept us pretty engaged for the full hour even though we'd never seen it before!

I loved the Mrs. S stuff this week, and not just because it confirmed big chunks of my pet theory. :) Maria Doyle Kennedy is just great, and seeing Mrs. S turn into a Sarah-level badass was delightful. She's probably even a step or two beyond Sarah, because I can't quite see Sarah pulling that move with the carving knife and fork. Not yet anyway. Give her a bit more time to hone her Inner Mama Bear and the claws will probably come out. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of Mrs. S's story and learning more about her role in all this.