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Orphan Black: Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things

“Nurture prevails.”

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.

Clone Quotes

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.”

Donnie: “Whaha?”

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


  1. Nice catch on the parallel between this ep and 106. I thought 106 was better as a comedy caper, but 207 was damn funny. In 106 the comedy was more the center point, whereas in 207 the rest was much more heavy and important to the show's future direction, so they kinda interfered with each other.

    They did show how Cal escaped Dyad's surveil of him. They were tracking him through his computer, so he left it behind and running on a car battery's power so Dyad would track "him" there and he was long gone. Shades of Sarah texting as Daniel!

    At the end I thought Donnie should call Sarah for cleanup. She can recommend a good car wash. Donnie, like Leekie, has no street smarts. It will be interesting to see how he deals with this.

    While the parallels you mentioned could be trying to say something ( I dunno), could they also be a way of giving an aura of inevitability to the show? No matter what you do you end up with a dead body in your car and blood on the windshield.

    Thanks again!

  2. I honestly think that the whole Leekie thing had run it's course and that Aldous was becoming a bit one-note with everything. Plus by taking out the "Bad Guy" halfway through the season opens up a whole new set of storylines.

    And I also thing that Cal is a red herring. And because he's developed a relationship with his daughter and everything, he's going to die by the end of the season. With Michiel Huisman being on both GoT and Orphan Black, there must be a limit to what they can do with him and time constraints. Although Sarah's smile was adorable.

    Poor Donnie.

  3. I absolutely loved this whole episode, but I have to give a shout-out to the poor stunt man who had to do Vic's face dive into the glitter table. There was a rumour that the guy had broken his nose doing the stunt, but apparently he went on line later to say it was "just" a cut lip and some bruises. However, he also said that the other stunt he did was much worse (the one where Felix bangs Vic's head on the wall when carrying him), because they had to do 9 takes and his head kept missing the protective padding on the wall, giving him concussion! I don't know his name but I hope he got well paid for those stunts!
    Also, I usually find young children in TV shows to be really annoying, but the girl playing Kira is just so cute. The scene where she yanks out her own tooth so she can help Cosima is adorable.
    My inner unclutterer was screaming at me the whole time in the scene with Rachels father "Look, this is what happens when you don't get rid of stuff - you get rotting piles of god knows what everywhere and dead mice!" (I am moving to another house in a couple of weeks that is a lot smaller than the one I am currently living in, so getting rid of stuff is very much on my mind at the moment)
    So so long Matt Frewer and hello Michelle Forbes, go-to person for when you want a bad woman in Science Fiction.
    I'm really enjoying this season.

  4. This episode was incredibly funny and I absolutely loved it. Vic with the glitter, omg. The two stunts that Otherwyrld described above had me roaring -- poor stunt guy, but wow, they were great.

    Donnie did a Pulp Fiction. Can they bring in Harvey Keitel to do clean-up? :) I was surprised Donnie was an innocent dupe. What a maroon.

  5. Nice review, sunbunny.

    Nailed it again.

    Love this show very much.

    Has all the ingredients I like in a series.

    Storylines that rarely bores me out.

    Hope it continues to shock and surprise us all.

  6. Great review! I like this show more every week. I was glad to have Mrs. S and Sarah sort of on the same page again. She may not be what she claims to be but it is obvious that she cares for Kira and Sarah and she is one kick-ass B*tch. I actually felt a bit sorry for Leaky and very sorry for Donnie who actually has been trying to be a good husband and father even if he is the most gullible human being on the planet. To give Sarah her due, she hasn't had to be Allison in front of such a large group of people and it really is too much to expect her to play Alison as Donnie in front of a crowd after watching Vince take a nose dive (literally) into glitter. Also it wouldn't have been half as funny if she had been spot on.

  7. I have a question regarding this one, that no one talked about. Last week Scot said: "Whoever you cloned, has a sister or a daughter... " In this one we learn it is Kira's DNA. So, does that mean that they cloned Sarah? Does that mean she is not a clone, but an original?

  8. interesting catch, anon. I don't *think* so, but possibly. I'm pretty sure Scott thinks that the clones are much younger than they are so that's probably why he didn't suggest that the DNA could've come from the child of a clone.

  9. What does it say about me that my very first thought after Donnie accidentally killed Leekie was, "Oh, now he and Alison have something in common! This will help save their marriage!"?

    This show... what has it done to me?!! :)

  10. I loved Sarah's "I'm Alison being Donnie" line...a little reminder of how amazing TM is!


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