Orphan Black: Scarred by Many Past Frustrations

“Shut up about the butter.”

Benefiting from a narrower focus than we’ve seen from Orphan Black all season, “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” was, to me at least, an instant classic.

Most of the instant love I had for this episode was down to Sarah and Helena, by far my favorite duo of the show that does not include Felix. I was so emotional seeing them reunited I almost cried. Then I remembered that they’re both the same actress and my brain went to that fuzzy place it does whenever I see Tatiana Maslany in costume but out of character.

Sarah and Helena have such a powerful bond. Sarah’s need to make Helena believe she hadn’t sold her out was so real. Helena doesn’t believe Sarah and I honestly can’t blame her. Sarah did try to kill her just a few weeks ago; Helena has no reason to believe Sarah wouldn’t trade her for her freedom. I was disappointed in Helena when she left Sarah. Disappointed, but not surprised. At least the end of the episode made it look like she’s going back for her. Although how she’ll get through the havoc she’s created is definitely a question. Maybe Paul will help? He’s definitely starting to question his mission after what Helena said about Parsons and, possibly, his discovery about the Castors’ log books.

Sarah’s face after Helena left reminded me so much of the scene last season where Daniel has her handcuffed to a shower and is preparing to torture her. Sarah is claustrophobic in pretty much every way. She doesn’t like being tied down or boxed in figuratively and she certainly doesn’t enjoy the experience literally. It’s interesting to compare her reaction to the situation with Helena’s. Helena’s hellish childhood (four months in a broom closet, are you kidding me?) prepared her for this. At the top of the season, when she wakes up to discover she’s in a wooden box her initial reaction (after a moment of shock and panic) is essentially “crap, I’m in a wooden box.” I’m far from saying Helena likes being locked up, but she’s definitely accustomed to it and far better equipped to deal with it than her comparatively privileged sister. Now Sarah’s isolated from everyone who cares about her (except Paul), in the middle of God knows where, and faced with the repercussions for helping Helena escape. It’s not a good time to be Sarah Manning.

Dr. Coady’s interest in Sarah and Helena and her concern for Helena’s pregnancy has troubling implications. While Dyad looked at Project Leda as a pure research project, Project Castor had a purpose. The Castor clones were designed and raised to be soldiers, to be weapons. And it wouldn’t be a very valuable experiment if they couldn’t keep creating more soldiers. The original genome has been lost and presumably Castor has run into the same problems recreating their original success as Leda has. I just can’t shake the feeling that everything about the Castors is about sex. Why take down the women’s information if you’re not planning on following up at some point? To see if they’ve contracted whatever disease the Castors seem to be carrying? To see if they’re pregnant? Please don’t let me be right about that.

Since the premiere, I’ve been working on theories about what the stolen hair might be about. Turns out the Castors are trained to take it like a trophy, but a trophy full of scientific data. I don’t know what’s going on with Patty or Gracie. Sexually transmitted eye disease? The Ledas don’t have anything like that going on, fortunately for Paul.

Keeping Up with Clone Club

Ksenia Solo makes her much anticipated appearance as Shay, Cosima’s first Sapphire date and probably a plant for Topside or Castor or the Illuminati or something. She was just too perfect to be real. She did look remarkably un-Kenzi. The blonde hair makes her eyes seem less ethereal and playing against someone her own height made her look less like a Polly Pocket doll. I miss Kenzi. Wait, what was I talking about?

Cosima was so adorkable at their date. Still, the preciousness of Tatiana’s smile can’t dull the sensation that Cosima doesn’t have the best sense of timing. Art, Felix, and Mrs. S are buzzing about Sarah possibly being missing, and Cosima is making eyes at Shay and telling her how her ex-girlfriend’s hair was incomparable and angelic.

Alison was totally absent from the episode which was probably a good thing. Alison and Donnie’s hilarious drug dealing operation would have made for a very weird contrast with the intensity of what was going on at the Castor base.

Gracie at Mrs. S’s was…completely amazing. We got really emotional (Mrs. S backstory? pinch me, I’m dreaming) and just wickedly silly. Clone Club dance party part two. Mrs. S and Felix introduced Gracie to alcohol and taught her how to dance and it was all exceedingly adorable. Until the whole collapsing thing. I do think Gracie’s rebellion is a little too sudden and extreme to be fully trusted. She’s earnest enough for now but I get the feeling that if her family was prepared to welcome her back, she would have to think about it. I’m not saying Mrs. S should toss her out in the cold, I’d just be very careful about telling her too much if it was me.

Bits and Pieces

Whoever made the decision to put the sestras in adjoining cells should not be allowed to make any sort of decisions for the foreseeable future. Sarah or Helena each would have a decent chance escaping on their own. Together? I’m a little surprised it took them the entire episode.

The black log books are reminiscent of the little black books people used to keep romantic interests’ contact information in before everyone got smart phones and quit physically writing that stuff down. Or at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe from old sitcoms.

A frequent commenter (hi Morgan) reminded me that way back in season one when Paul and “Beth” were fighting, Paul said he was going to stay with Cody. Could he have meant Coady?

Clone Quotes

Sarah: “Helena, how many men live on this base?”
Helena: “Approximately eleven million.”

Gracie: “I love alcohol!”
Felix: “Yes, we all do.”

four out of four gin and juices

sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany

1 comment:

milostanfield said...

I just can’t shake the feeling that everything about the Castors is about sex. Why take down the women’s information if you’re not planning on following up at some point? To see if they’ve contracted whatever disease the Castors seem to be carrying? To see if they’re pregnant? Please don’t let me be right about that.

Yikes! That whole Castors having sex with non-clones thing, now that you mention it, is starting to make me paranoid. So yeah, don't let you be right (except for the delicious dramatic possibilities!).

So if the Leda Project intentionally made the girlz infertile, then did Castor made the boyz intentionally fertile? We know Leda's reasons. What are Castor's?

Could Castor be possibly trying to cure the boyz by mixing their very special DNA with that of the general populace and hoping for a breakthrough?

The only other instance of an offspring of a clone/nonclone mating that we know about is Kira, who seems to be "somehow special".

Could they be intentionally disseminating Castor DNA into the general population for some purpose to be revealed later? Leekie and Marion alluded to some grand long term scheme in Season Two. Why bother to control a population through repression, religion, and advertising (Nurture) if you could actually control them at the level of genetic expression (Nature)? A Brave New World indeed.


For me as well, Helena deserting Sarah was emotionally disappointing but dramatically perfect. It keeps the whole Helena-as-monster that we saw in Season One still a part of her. We've also seen her come out a bit into a new world of love and friendship in Season Two. Those two parts inside her will still be warring to an eventual resolution. Without the monster a lot of the air would have been let out of her character. I think that some day, after this is all over, we'll be looking back to Helena as the show's greatest creation. In the meantime, does she listen to the scorpion or her heart?