This was one of those rare episodes that made me laugh (so hard I got a headache), made me tear up, and, at the end, made me literally scream out loud in surprise.
Sarah and Alison go to rehab seemed to me to be a follow up to last season’s hilarious “Variations Under Domestication.” It was all the same characters: Sarah, Alison, Sarah as Alison, Felix, Vic, and Donnie (Nail Gun Ken was off on a separate adventure with Rachel). It was also a mirror in that, in both situations, Clone Club was trying to hide someone who had been incapacitated (i.e. tied to a chair or drugged and dipped and glitter). “Variations Under Domestication” was all about Alison losing control of the potluck and, let’s face it, her life. Similarly, “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” showed that now it is Donnie who is no longer able to control anything.
In a matter of forty minutes, he learns that his wife is a clone, he’s been spying on her for a shadowy corporation, said shadowy corporation did some reasonably invasive testing on her, and that she blames him for all of it. Oh and he accidentally killed a guy. Alison and Donnie: the inadvertent murderers. Now Donnie is faced with a bloody body in his car the way Sarah was in “Natural Selection”/“Instinct.” What are all the parallels trying to communicate? Is Donnie destined to be the latest entrant to Clone Club [Non-Clone Division]? Somehow, I don’t think so, but I’m not entirely sure why they’d use so many parallels if they weren’t trying to say something about Donnie, his wife, and his sort of sisters-in-law. Any thoughts?
Sarah’s presence this week was in a largely ancillary. The only stuff that felt really her own was her scenes with Cal and Kira. I felt like something was missing from the Cal scenes. They made sense, but I usually get much more satisfaction out of seeing Cal, Sarah, and Kira operate as a family than I did this week. Plus we didn’t really engage with what Cal was doing, how Dyad found him, or how he was able to escape their notice after he’d been discovered. And they still haven’t explained Cal’s previous anti-corporate activities to my satisfaction. A case of the story being stretched too thin perhaps?
Also, the whole overthrow of Leekie thing didn’t totally work for me. It seemed really abrupt and wasn’t overly well defined in the episode. Plus, it made a bizarre and somewhat boring counterpoint to the Alison and Sarah do rehab shtick. His death at the end was shocking, though. I definitely didn’t see that coming. Poor Donnie just can’t do anything right, can he?
After a quarter of an hour with her not dead father, Rachel goes behind Leekie’s back to the mysterious Marian, played by nerd goddess Michelle Forbes. We know next to nothing about Marian. She’s not a science person (she refers to Leekie as “a lab coat” in a derogatory manner) and she seems to have a problem with Sarah.
We didn’t see much of Rachel’s scene with her father. Tatiana gives a brilliant performance as Rachel in what we do see. She had literal tears in her eyes when she first looked at Duncan. In her only display of real emotion thus far, Rachel looked much more like her sisters than she ever has before.
As worlds begin to collide, Cosima’s is the one that stays most above it all. She only talked to Sarah on the phone but that promises to change next week with Sarah and possibly Kira headed into Dyad to help a sister out. The Kira/Sarah/Cosima interactions were really touching. Steely, tough Sarah breaks down talking about Cosima’s illness, while Kira, in a Cosima-esque act of autonomy takes matters into her own hands. Even at six or seven, Kira has the understanding and the compassion to put herself through a little pain to save someone she’s never even met significantly worse pain.
The scene where Cosima got her first treatment was highly reminiscent of Helena’s flashbacks to what the Proleatheans put her through on the farm. The differences are heartbreaking. Unlike Helena, Cosima has control over her situation. She knows what is being done to her (both in theory and in practice; Delphine describes exactly what is happening as it happens). Cosima is anesthetized but awake. Cosima has a loved one at her side, literally holding her hand. Poor Helena, drugged out of her mind and all alone, had none of that.
Neolutionist Bits and Proleathean Pieces
Absent this week: Helena and the Proleatheans. That sounds like a terrible doo-wop band.
Sarah calls Cosima “Cos” again.
Vic calls Alison “Ali.”
Vic also gets a last name: Schmidt.
At family day, Gemma and Oscar’s name tags were lovingly decorated. Donnie’s was not.
The confetti when Vic fell was priceless.
Sarah slipped into character as Alison quickly enough but she sure didn’t stay there. Sarah seems to have left her ability to impersonate her sisters back in season one.
Sarah’s Alison accent slipped more often than not and she referred to Alison in the third person.
The show has always used mirrors to great thematic effect, but technically, they really outdid themselves in “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things.” Alison and Sarah had a scene together, with touching and everything, in front of a freaking mirror. This show is a miracle.
Alison: “I can’t go to jail, Felix. I don’t have the temperament. In the shower, if they touch me, I will cut them.”
Felix: “You selfish manure bag of a man!”
Sarah: “Oh you want me to apologize to you?”
Felix: “Which of the twelve steps is that?”
Vic: “I want you back.”
Felix: “Oh dear God.”
Vic: “Don’t tell me that nail gun Ken is still in the picture.”
Felix: “No, but you should see the new one.”
Felix: “He looks like he was molested by elves.”
Sarah as Alison: “Oh he’s being Alison. And I’m being Alison as being Donnie?”
Sarah did you even try?
Donnie as Alison: “I, as Alison, need supervision.”
Sarah as Alison: “Yeah that sounds about right.”
Felix: “Sweet Jesus, I am done with glitter.”
Paul: “I can see where Sarah gets it, her knack for burning things down.”
three out of four selfish bags of manure
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany