Orphan Black: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

“And we will wipe, wipe, wipe away the plasma! Scrub off every stain. Since I cannot control my asthma, I’ll stand by to entertain.”

I’ve been waiting for the episode for nine months. I was terrified that it would disappoint. Thankfully, my fears were completely unfounded.

Sarah spent the episode being the innovative and brilliant badass we all fell in love with. She used a fire extinguisher to break out of a diner bathroom; she pick-pocketed Leekie; she faked out the Neolutionists with a double; she sent Rachel’s men after Alison. That was a great move. Alison is the clone most able to take care of herself and she’s the one who’s signed Leekie’s contract. The Neolutionists have no quarrel with her and abducting her would seriously undermine the inroads they’ve made with her. Sarah knew they’d have to let her go. And can we talk about that fight scene? I love how Alison’s ability to defend herself is displayed realistically. She doesn’t transform into Buffy Summers or Sydney Bristow when threatened, instead she arms herself with things normal women often arm themselves with: mace and a rape whistle. She didn’t defeat the huge thugs after her (that would have been absurd), but she put up a great fight.

I really like how the ‘should Sarah infiltrate Dyad’ conversation illustrated the differences in our main characters. Cosima wanted to think it out. She needs to process things (except when those things are pretty French girls with impossible hair). She wanted everyone to stop and think about what the smartest play would be. Alison was all for Sarah heading into Dyad guns ablazin’. Don’t let her flawlessly perfect lipstick and obsessively organized craft room fool you: Alison, like Sarah, is a mother. I get the feeling that if it had been the Hendrix children in the crosshairs, Alison would’ve already stormed the Dyad Institute, macing security people as she went. Rachel, like Cosima, underestimates Sarah’s Mama Bear instinct. ‘You’ll never shoot me’ she says cockily. Her face after Sarah shot out the glass thing behind her was priceless. I think this picture sums it up best (nsfw language, via my tumblr).

Let’s talk about Tatiana Maslany for a while, shall we? The little distinctions she makes between clones are always on point. I loved her Sarah as Cosima performance. The way she was constantly lowering her glasses because she couldn’t see with them made me laugh. And Sarah’s slouch has never been more obvious. Cosima is much shorter than Delphine but Sarah looked even smaller.

Sarah as Cosima was great. Although I definitely think she could’ve faked the dreadlocks better. I love that Delphine knew almost instantly that Sarah was not her boo. I don’t know how that speaks of their relationship. I’d like to think Delphine knew because she and Cosima are so close, but I’m worried it might just be Delphine’s hyper attentiveness to 324B21’s mannerisms.

Which side is Delphine on? I didn’t imagine we’d get a definite answer in the season premiere, but it’s stressing me out. She seemed very cosy with Cos, but she gave Leekie the blood sample when Cosima specifically asked her not to. Did Delphine do it to help Cosima and try to figure out the cause of her mystery illness? Is Delphine totally on Leekie’s side, and just playing her dreadlocked geek monkey? Or is Delphine lulling Leekie into believing he can trust her to obtain more information from Dyad? I want answers, but I’m not naïve enough to expect them soon. What’s more, the dynamic between Delphine and Cosima is one of the show’s most interesting elements at the moment and I think the story would suffer if they resolved it too quickly.

I’d like to reiterate for possibly the fifty thousandth time that I don’t trust Angie. I can’t explain why. She’s always just struck me as wrong. I can totally excuse her wanting to arrest Sarah. She spent weeks impersonating her friend Beth, that’s not something to be easily forgiven. Still, I think there’s more going on here than we know about. Like Sarah, I almost trust Art. I really want to trust Art. Right now, the show feels like Sarah against the world and I’d love her to have at least one truly steadfast ally. His last scene worried me, though. He told Sarah the Proleatheans have Kira and Mrs. S. How did he know the term Proleathean? How did he know Maggie Chen was one of them? I'm relatively sure we never saw him get that information. I’d like to attribute this to sloppy writing, but Orphan Black has never been guilty of that before. Did they slip up for the first time or is Art deeper in this than we've been led to believe?

Also I’m not entirely sure why Art feels like they can’t arrest Sarah. She spent a large amount of time impersonating a police officer, which I’m pretty sure is a crime. Any legal eagles care to weigh in on the issue? She also shot Helena and disposed of Katja’s body, but Art and Angie have no knowledge of that...yet.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Helena is alive. There have been some suggestions from the writers and producers that Helena could’ve survived, but I didn’t allow myself to get my hopes up. Hopefully, this season will see her incarcerated in a mental hospital with an endless supply of Jello. She’ll learn to love and unlearn her serial killer tendencies and all will be well. (Allow me my denial, would you please?)

I do have one complaint about the episode, however. The show was supposed to pick up mere minutes after the last season ended. Yet somehow, Cosima has gotten over the fact that she and her sisters were patented. She was really upset about that last season. My bigger issue with the timing is that in mere hours Alison has stopped drinking, stopped popping pills, and, most annoyingly, has joined a musical? What? When did she have time to do that?

Also, a word about Felix. He was just jaw-droppingly irresponsible this week. He didn’t know Kira had been kidnapped, but Sarah has some pretty serious stuff going on and is in frequent need of his help. Does he really think this is the best time for assless chaps and ecstasy? In season one, he was always there for his sister. Always. It made for a funny bit, but it was a little out of character. Plus, he and Cosima apparently thought nothing of blazing up even after he knew his niece and foster mother were missing.

Neolutionist Bits and Proleathean Pieces

RIP really nice guy from the diner who gave Sarah free tea and was willing to defend her from two apparently random creepsters.

Said creepsters were obviously Proleatheans. The clothes...the hair...the Neoloutionists are much more posh and polished.

Proleatheans prefer their eggs free range and their kidnapping victims’ hair neat. (I have that exact same brush that they were using on Kira. Except mine is pink.)

At the end of last season’s finale, Paul seemed to have escaped with Sarah. Why did he go back? How did he go back after helping Sarah escape through the elevator shaft?

Did Delphine’s accent seem less French than last season or am I imagining things? If it is less French, is that a mistake by the actress or a hint that maybe Delphine is even more of a liar than we thought?

Alison sent Sarah the gun in a flower arrangement with a handmade card. That is unbelievably Alison. The card read: “Wishing you great strength in your time of trouble. Love, Alison.” Seriously.

Is Rachel in charge of Leekie? Is Leekie in charge of Rachel? Is someone we haven’t yet met in charge of them both?

I hope “the Koreas, both of them” will play a part in the mythology later in the season. Orphan Black isn’t a show to drop random plot points, so I expect this to addressed at some point. Rachel also made two mentions of the Supreme Court.

Major props to every member of the Clone Club (including yours truly, she adds humbly) who figured out that the clone on top of Rachel in this promo pic was Sarah dressed as Cosima based solely on the eyeliner. If that makes us seem insanely obsessed, it’s because we are.

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that the Alison’s musical is a REAL musical called “Blood Ties.” Thanks, Mark!

Clone Quotes

Sarah: “Get your shit together, you silly tit.”

Alison: “What the dickens?”

Felix: “Holy shit what’s with the balls of your thumbs? They’re so bouncy.”

Alison: “I’m not in control of the muse.”

Sarah: “Can I borrow your phone?”
Kid: “Can I touch your boob?”
Sarah: “Cheeky!”
Someone needs to tell that kid not to talk to strangers. Someone needs to tell Sarah not to hit random children.

Felix: “I smell lesbians in my bed last night.”

Leekie: “Beware playing for the other team, Delphine.”

Art: “Which Feds?”
Angie: “I didn’t get an acronym.”

Paul: “In the face? Really?”
Oh, grow up, Paul.

three and a half out of four blood samples



Mark Greig said...

So happy that to have this show back. I'm overjoyed that Helena is a alive. Now we just need lots of scenes of her interacting with the other clones. Also, an entire episode that is just Alison's musical.

Panda said...

Great review, sunbunny.

I didn't think Felix wanting to do his own thing was irresponsible at first. Who wouldn't need a break from all this. But like you said the timing of this premiere was all off, as were a number of pieces of continuity. But that's just a small gripe.

The episode was fantastic. I agree with all the parts you liked, particularly Allison defending herself in such a believable way.

I'm so happy this is back, and even happier that Helena survived. Only 9 episodes left though, feels like nothing :(

Heather said...

Also giddy this show is back. It's really such a treasure. There was this moment Sarah says something like: we'll give them what they want just not how they expect they're gonna get it.That's the mantra of the most rad of all the shows, imo.
Finally 'Blood Ties' is a terrible musical therefore perfect for this show's tone.

Really fun review to read, Sunbunny!

Jess Lynde said...

Definitely a lot of hinky things with the timeline, and perhaps a bit of retconning. They did try to make it seem like Allison was in the musical already (with Ainsley!), but we just never heard about it last season.

I'm still not totally convinced the Prolethians have Kira and Mrs. S. The guy at the diner could have been lying, just like Rachel and Dyad. Were there markings in the "video room" or on the guy behind the camera that confirmed it? I only watched it once, and it has been a good, long while since last season, so I don't remember much about them.

I'm still thinking that Mrs. S took Kira somewhere to keep her safe, and they aren't being held by any third party. Camera guy could be whoever the man is in the Project LEDA photo. A friend or former colleague of Mrs. S? Yes, I'm sticking with my pet theories until they are definitively debunked. :)

Billie Doux said...

Terrific review, sunbunny. I also thought the time lapse thing was off, but it was a great season opener full of confusion. I loved how obvious it was that Sarah was pretending to be Cosima. It's nuts how impossible it is to tell who is on what side. But my favorite thing was Alison fending off her attackers -- it was just a little gem of a scene, too funny.

milostanfield said...

Busy Alison! Not only is she in a play and dealing with gun runner Ramone in a WalMart parking lot, but she found time to paste sequins on her anti rape whistle.

Anonymous said...

I'm not too bummed out by the continuity. As it has been pointed out, it was implied that Alison joined the musical before, and it just wasn't mentioned. (And with everything that was going on, that is not totally unbelievable. Als: community theater like that does 'ramp up' when you get closer to the premier date. In the first weeks, it's just some evening meetings, so... It could be.) And that she stopped popping pills - I guess the death of Ainsley could have shocked her into changing a few things.

Lamounier said...

So, this premiere didn’t entirely work for me. I actually said to a friend who I got into the show just in time for the second season that the episode wasn’t that good and once he watched it he nicely replied “you are an idiot, the episode was great”, hee.

The reason why I didn’t love the episode is that I figured from the very beginning that Rachel was playing Sarah and didn’t have a clue where Kira and Mrs. S were, and voila, that was exactly it. So the whole thing felt like a placeholder to me, a good placeholder, with some great moments and nice set ups for the season, but a placeholder nonetheless.

The continuity bits did bug me. That Alison was on a play and we didn’t know about it, okay... But Ainsley has just died, (I mean, she died like yesterday on the show’s timeline, right?) and they are going with the play anyway with no break whatsoever? No time for her friends to recover? Also, Felix... Sure, that scene with him at the club was fun, but wasn’t he going away with his sister and niece when last season ended? What, did he just decide to take a break from an imminent scape and go high? Finally, there were Cosima and Delphine in a totally romantic vibe, candles included. Didn’t Cosima just discover that she is (1) dying and (2) considered property of some lunatic scientist? She just digested those news and went for a crazy night of love making?

It can sound as if I either didn’t like the episode or was expecting too much of it and got disappointed, but neither is correct. The episode was good overall and there were some really good moments to keep the story exciting.

First, when last season ended I was pretty sure both Paul and Delphine were on the clones’ side, but this episode made a good job to keep their intentions unclear. “Be careful playing for the other team, Delphine”. What a great line, Dr. Leekie.

Then, there was Alison, who made me fall in love all with her over again. That fight scene was hysterical, I laughed so much. “This is unacceptable”, ha! Also great were her scene with Ramon and the way she decided to deliver the gun. Tatiana Maslany deserved many awards for her interpretation of Alison alone. Then, again, she’s due all the awards there are, several of each, in fact, to be symbolic of all the clonage she embodies.

Lamounier said...

Sarah as Cosima was really fun, although I don’t think the show will ever be able to top the tension they had with Sarah as Beth. Speaking of Beth, during the break between the seasons, whenever I thought of the show, I kept going back to Beth’s suicide. Crazy theory, but I don’t think we’ve seen all that’s behind it. Yes, Beth was depressed, but she freaking saw Sarah before jumping and did it anyway. Did she know something else that we still don’t know? Did she discover what Project Leda is? Am I just reading too much into it?

Some bits:

- I don’t care about Paul. The actor simply doesn’t convince me at all.

- Sarah shooting the plant and Rachel panicking was another great moment.

- I liked Ramon. Will he be back? His reaction upon seeing Cosima and Sarah was funny, and another moment that nicely displayed Maslany acting abilities as the two clones’ responses were very telling of how different the characters are.

- Also funny was Sarah as Cosima hugging doctor Leekie and his “what the hell?” reaction.

- Really happy that Sarah found an ally on Art. They made a good duo back on the first half of season one.

- I didn’t like seeing Helena alive. However, having watched the next couple of episodes, all I can say is that I’m a silly, silly person that won’t question this show’s writers anymore.

Lamounier said...

"fall in love all with her over again."

And that's why you must always carefully read before posting.