After a first season that was damn near perfect television, Orphan Black’s second season followed with an almost equal awesomeness, suffering at times from a lack of focus and, in later episodes, being weighed down by its own mythology. With the addition of Project Castor to the mix, I was worried that the focus of the show would shift more than I wanted it to, that the heart of the show would become the complex history of Projects Castor and Leda. If this episode is any indication as to how the rest of the season is shaping up, I needn’t have worried.
After a season that saw our main clones driven apart by problems in their separate spheres (Alison’s alcoholism, Cosima’s disease, Helena and the Proleatheans, Sarah and Dyad’s quest for Kira) “The Weight of This Combination” brought us right back to where, in my opinion, the show should always be: the relationship between our three main sisters. They were so isolated last season, but here they were in almost constant contact. More so than ever before, they feel like a sisterhood.
The episode opened with one of the cutest dream sequences I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. Welcome to Helena’s head where everything is surprisingly bright and cheerful and Beach Boys music plays on a loop. Helena’s happy place is being surrounded by her sestras, her brother sestra, and Kira, of course. She’s pregnant, cupcakes cover every surface (thank you, Alison) and Cosima is a Ukrainian folk costume. Because…well, do you really need a justification to see Cosima in a Ukrainian folk costume?
Of course, this is Orphan Black, so anything happy is immediately followed by something dire. In this case, Helena’s actual reality. Trapped in a wooden crate with an imaginary talking scorpion. I should have something profound and insightful to say about the scorpion. I really should. I don’t. It does seem like this isn’t the first encounter Helena’s had with the imaginary talking scorpion. She’s been in situations like her current one far too often and it serves to reason she’d develop a coping mechanism like an imaginary friend. Why she went with a scorpion who calls her “kiddo” is anyone’s guess.
While Helena was physically separated from her sisters, she was the only thing on Sarah’s mind. Sarah was laser focused on finding Helena and getting her back. She stormed out of Mrs. S’s after her confession that it was she who handed Helena over to Castor and put herself and her sisters at grave risk when she pursued the issue with Ferdinand. She may be a slightly psychotic murderer, but Helena is family and there are no lengths Sarah won’t go to to protect her family.
So much happened at Dyad I seriously don’t know where to begin. Delphine has taken over in earnest this time. She’s finally earned my trust and, in a weird way, breaking up with Cosima was how she did it. If she really was out for something sinister from the sisters, wouldn’t she want to keep Cosima close in order to keep manipulating her? Instead she is following Cosima’s direction from last season. To love one of the sisters, she must love them all. And in order to protect them all, Delphine needs to stay focused on the task at hand. I predict that, unless the unthinkable happens (please no), they won’t be apart for long. The puppy followed the explorer the whole way.
Delphine’s first act as the new Rachel was to get Sarah to pretend to be the old, two-eyed Rachel in order to insulate Leda from Topside’s ‘Cleaner’ Ferdinand. As complicated as that sounds (and was), we got to see Sarah pretending to be Rachel and to interrogate Alison pretending to be herself, so it was worth it.
Rachel and Ferdinand clearly have a past filled with not so pleasant things. By which I mean Helsinki. “Helsinki girls were eradicated in twenty-four hours. Six clones, thirty-two collateral.” What the? Apparently, Topside killed six Leda clones in 2006. Rachel’s not supposed to know about it, but does. And now Sarah does too. From what Delphine said, it sounds like the current Helsinki-esque plan to murder our main characters was a side project of Ferdinand and Rachel’s, not sanctioned by Topside. Which means the girls are safe for now. I think. This is getting confusing.
The Castor clones felt like a very minor presence, at least in comparison with where I thought they’d go with the whole thing. Still, season premiere. Plenty of time to focus on them later. Currently, the biggest issue I have with the Castor clones is that the only way we have of telling them apart is their hair and that they don’t have names. With Leda clones, it’s easy to tell who is who. They all dress differently, walk differently, talk differently, and apply their eyeliner differently. There just hasn’t been enough time to differentiate the Castors. So far we have Mark the Proleathean (unseen in this episode), the one in military uniform (presumably the same one we saw in uniform last season), mustache guy, and fauxhawk guy. You see my problem.
Despite my issues with identification, the Castor Clones make extremely effective adversaries. We don’t know what they want, which just makes them scarier. They’ve all had military training and they’re certainly the most physically threatening force the sisterhood has come up against. The Neolutionists and both factions of the Proleatheans were helmed by older men. The Castors are young and strong. Mustache kicked Mrs. S’s ass. Mrs. S! Not to mention Fauxhawk was able to spout out Sarah’s life story. How do they know so much? We have no way of knowing what they want, who (if anyone) they’re working for, or how many of them have teamed up to achieve their unknown purpose. Are Military and Mark in cahoots with Mustache and Fauxhawk? Do they all work for the same entity? How is Paul involved? What did they want with Crystal? Does that have anything to do with them obtaining Helena? Stay tuned.
Bits and Pieces
All season three episode titles come from Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address, famous for warning against the influence of the military-industrial complex. Hmm…
Helena calls the imaginary talking scorpion Pupok, which is Ukrainian for bellybutton.
Delphine has straightened her hair and the world as we know it is ending. Bring back the curls. Do it now.
A new clone? Again? This one is Crystal. At some point we’re going to stop discovering new clones, right? There has to be a finite number of them.
Mrs. S. attacks Mustache with a pen much in the same way Sarah grabs a nail file when dealing with Ferdinand. Nurture prevails.
Imaginary Cosima: “I’m like way better thanks to science.”
Pupok: “No one said it was gonna be easy, kiddo.”
Felix: “It’s Delphine. God, she looks good.”
Fauxhawk: “You’re a legend, Sarah Manning.”
Sarah: “I only trust my sisters.”
Mrs. S: “Don’t let her make it worse.”
Felix: “She’s going to make it worse. She will.”
I love his resignation. Felix knows Sarah.
Sarah: “She wants my help saving Leda and Dyad.”
Felix: “Jesus, don’t these people know you never even finished high school?”
Sarah as Rachel: “Rachel Duncan, über bitch.”
Alison as Sarah: “Oi oi, Rachel.”
Sarah as Rachel: “Shut up.”
three and a half out of four nameless Castor clones
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany