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Orphan Black: Conditions of Existence

“God, what a mess.”

Divergent plot threads begin to come together this week, making for an action-packed episode. It’s the sort of episode you typically get at the end of a season, not in the middle. This show just has too much awesome in it to save it all for the season finale.

Oh, Alison. The crazier you are, the more I love you. A passing thought of ‘maybe Donnie is my monitor’ turns into a full blown breakdown, complete with Alison attempting to saw her way through a lockbox. Thankfully for Donnie’s privacy, he manages to get in there and burn whatever he was hiding, replacing it with his already discovered porn collection. So is Donnie Alison’s monitor? There isn’t much evidence either way, but Alison isn’t one to let things go.

I love watching Alison attempt to balance her clone troubles with her real life. She lets her kids buy themselves candy while shopping for surveillance equipment at a strip mall, where, surprise, surprise, she runs into Vic. Vic (already defingered) is maced and tazed by our self-protection guru. He’s just lucky she didn’t have her gun with her.

Yes, Vic is back in our lives, and aren’t we the better for it? He’s not a great guy, but he is hilarious. If only they’d shown less of the finger chopping scene. Vic is now hip to the fact that Sarah lives on and $20,000 richer. Sarah seems genuinely sorry for Vic’s “pain and suffering” as she terms it, giving him more money than he owes (and deserves). Her vain hope is that the cash will keep him away from her increasingly complicated life. I sure hope not.

Alison’s freak out over Donnie nicely balances out the drama developing in the Sarah/“Beth”/Paul/actual, dead Beth relationship. Sarah finally ‘comes out’ as herself to Paul and insists that Beth is dead because of his actions. I don’t know if I believe this or if Sarah even believes this. She certainly hasn’t had a huge problem with Paul in the past (that shower sex scene? hot). It has to be down to the love letters to have convinced Sarah that Paul’s indifference is what drove Beth to the brink. And even if that’s in the letters, how much can you really tell from letters? They would just be from Beth’s perspective and she was on all those meds. I’m inclined to believe Sarah’s just attempting to distract Paul from the knowledge that he’s been sleeping with a stranger for weeks now.

Paul reports to a guy named Olivier (now there’s a sinister sounding name if I ever heard one). Olivier seems to know everything that’s been going on with Beth, except for the fact that she’s actually Sarah. Paul lied to Olivier when he asked if anything was unusual. Why? Who does Olivier report to?

More unanswered questions: if Beth knew Paul was her monitor and that he was performing medical tests on her in her sleep, why not tell her fellow clones? Why didn’t she tell them about Maggie Chen? What else was Beth hiding and why?

Bits and Pieces:

When Sarah is upset or surprised, the British accent is more likely to bleed her Beth accent.

Beth had a scar on her neck. Wasn’t Art wounded in the neck by Helena? Coincidence? (probably...)

I love seeing Sarah smile. It doesn’t happen a lot on the show.

Beth couldn’t have children.

Cosima doesn’t have too much to do this week, besides worry about overly friendly French girl. Thus far, she’s mostly been exposition girl. Don’t worry; this will be changing very soon.


Paul: “I hate my job.”

Cosima: “Dude, that’s complex.”

Sarah: “I’m going to shoot Paul’s balls off.”
Cosima: “Wait. Just squeeze them, okay?”

Felix: “What? I don’t leave prints when I burgle.”

Guy: “What’s in it for me?”
Cosima: “Um how about you get to have sex...with yourself.”

Felix: “Sarah, he’s falling for you.”

Vic: “Stay in school. I mean it, buddy.”
Vic is mostly a villain, but at least he’s hilarious.

Alison: “He was...urban.”
Sarah: “What the hell does that mean?”
Alison: “Not white, okay?”

Felix: “Colin is the first nice boy I’ve met in ages.”
Sarah: “What, like six weeks?”
Felix: “No. At least eight.”

Felix: “Is every man in your life a complete wanker, except me?”

three and a half out of four electrodes
sunbunny, who is probably not played by Tatiana Maslany


  1. I'm so glad you reviewed this show! I started it about a week or two ago when you reviewed the pilot and flew through the first season in a week. Loved it.

    This was a great episode and when Allison became my favorite clone. There's many more great moments with her coming up that only solidified my love for her, but I think this episode is when it started. She's so neurotic and crazy fun to watch.

  2. I am not saying Vic is a great guy, but I seriously think he is the wronged party here! Sarah's actions have caused him some serious pain and suffering, both mental and physical. The moment that really gets me is when he confronts her about how she could just lay there while he cried like a baby over her dead body. Ok, so that wasn't actually Sarah, but from his perspective, that would be unforgivable. Never mind his chopped off finger, which is also her fault. Then Alison goes Alison-crazy on him. You have to feel for the guy! I think he earned his $5000, but I hope he is not satisfied because he is hilarious.

    I was a little disappointed in Cosima for mistreating her awkward lab mate. Up until that moment, I loved her completely, but that was a total mean-girl move.

    I think it was a good move on the part of the writers to have Cosima separated physically from the others...filming a Skype conversation is probably much easier on TM than having the characters in the same room. Yet, it feels so natural, it took a couple of re-watches for it to even occur to me that that was what they were doing.

    Love this show.

  3. Sunbunny, I have things to do! How dare you get me into this show! Thank goodness it isn't a full 22 episodes.

    I'm really impressed with how much ground they've covered in just the first five episodes, especially given the first episode's slow start.

    I understand now why they did that: getting too many clones at once would make it harder to differentiate them and for us to pick one or two as our favorites. But the subtle shift from Sarah to the other clones is really well done.

  4. The scene in the store where Vic tells the kids "Stay in school" made me laugh out loud. I don't like Vic at all; can't stand guys like him. Couldn't watch the finger scene, though.

  5. OK -- I get it now. This is the episode that hooked me but good. I love the fact that now all the secondary characters (usually the men in their lives) have a role to play beyond being someone with whom to sleep.

    I'm beginning to distrust Cosima. I'm not sure why and I may be way off base, but something is not right about how much she knows. Her conversation about all the medical stuff set my spidey sense tingling.

    Felix is just the best and you quoted all my favorite lines from this episode.

    Billie -- I couldn't watch the finger scene either. I literally pulled my quilt over my head and waited for the scream.


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