Orphan Black: S3 E5 Scarred by Many Past Frustrations

“Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” is the title of season 3, episode 5 of Orphan Black. Most of the episode deals with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) and Helena in the Castor prison.

To recap this episode, I’ll start with the shorter bits about everyone else including Cosima, Felix (Jordan Gavaris), Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison), Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) and the arrival of Shay (Ksenia Solo). Alison and Rachel do not appear in this episode.

Everyone Outside of Prison

Everyone is worried about what’s become of Sarah. Art is trying to call her, Mrs. S and Felix are stewing.

Shay comes into the room

Cosima is waiting for her first internet date, Shay. When she comes into the room, she’s stunning. Cosima is reduced to babbling.

Shay and Cosima talk in the bar

Shay is charming, gentle, lovely – she touches Cosima frequently and pretty much wraps her around her little finger. Shay tells her that holistic healing involves nutrition, body work and spiritual counseling. Shay leans close to Cosima and says, “Plus, I can see inside your soul.” As they talk, they are photographed by an unknown watcher.

Cosima suggests they leave. They go to Felix’s apartment. They make sexy eyes at each other and act like they are ready to jump each other’s bones. After a while Shay offers to go, because Cosima seems a bit conflicted about Delphine. Cosima agrees Shay should go, but she doesn’t look like she believes what she’s saying.

Shay and Cosima kiss

Then Shay kisses her instead of going. They end up getting more lesbian germs in Felix’s apartment.

Gracie shows up at Art’s. He learns that she lost the baby. He takes her to Mrs. S and Felix. Mrs. S is healing nicely; she’s not so beat up as she was the last few episodes.

Mrs. S and Felix

There’s a bit of discussion, but eventually they give Gracie a place to stay, shower, eat, and also some of Sarah’s old clothes. Gracie now wants to experience life – the restrictions of her father’s religion need to be cast off.

Gracie dressed like a hooker

Gracie comes downstairs looking like a hooker. She wants to go to a bar. They keep her in the house, but give her alcohol and teach her to dance. She exclaims, “I love alcohol,” and falls on the floor in agony. When the paramedics come, they see her eyes are very bloodshot.

Art meets with Patty (Natalie Krill). We met her in episode 2 after her strange sexual encounter with Rudy and Seth. She’s wearing sunglasses at night because there’s something bloody wrong with her eyes, just like Gracie.

Helena and Sarah in Prison

Helena, who says she once survived 4 months in a broom closet, is back in her cell after killing Parsons (Ari Millen, an army). She has cuffs on her ankles with a bar between them. She examines everything she sees as a potential tool or weapon. Sarah’s in the next cell.

Sarah can talk to Helena in the next cell

Sarah and Helena talk through a grate between their cells. Helena thinks Sarah sent her there and is not friendly. Sarah tries to convince her that Mrs. S did it to protect Kira, but Helena is guarded. She tries to unlock her ankle cuffs with a tiny nail, she talks to her scorpion friend about butter, and she doesn’t trust Sarah. The conversation with her imaginary friend about butter is actually relevant, because Helena is stashing pats of butter from her meals behind a loose block in her cell wall.

Sarah sees where she is

The clone Miller drags Sarah off. As he does, Sarah yells to Helena that the Castor clones are their brothers. While Sarah is gone, Helena notices that one of the bars in the window of her cell door is loose.

Sarah meets Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper), who takes blood from her.

The Castor doctors have the Johanssen baby, which they think will give them genetic material to develop a cure for the male clones. Dr. Coady patches up Mark and tells him to make sure his first ever journal of intimate contacts begins with Gracie. She takes away his wedding ring, which bothers him. Mark may actually care about Gracie.

Paul (Dylan Bruce) shows up at the prison after convincing someone higher up to keep funding the Castor program. He’s not happy to see Sarah there. He wants to be her friend. Sarah tells Helena that Paul is the one who turned her in. He says it was either Helena or Sarah. Helena finally believes Sarah isn’t the one who turned her in.

Paul yells at Dr. Coady about Sarah’s imprisonment. Paul then also goes into the room where Parsons is stored and looks at his journal of intimate contacts. It’s a list of names of women, with a lock of hair from each one.

Sarah in her cell, seated by the grate

Sarah knows Helena must have an escape plan. She wants in on it. Helena says Sarah can be her sandwich. A sandwich is a weak person you take with you because you eat them! Sarah softens Helena up by talking about what a bad mother she is and crying as she explains why she left Kira with Mrs. S so often.

Helena is compassionate and soothing when Sarah cries. The crying apparently works, however, and Helena tells Sarah how she can help with the escape plan.

Sarah starts a fight with Miller and another guard. They knock her out. She is taken to the infirmary, where she steals a pair of tweezers.

Helena unlocks the cuffs on her feet with the tweezers. She uses the bar between the cuffs to pry the loose bar from her cell window. Then she slathers herself with butter and slides out the tiny opening she created. She leaves Sarah behind, saying they are now even.

Helena gets out of her cell

Helena is the master of parkour. She scampers around, jumps from cars to rooftops, climbs straight up a wall and reaches the highest parapet of the razor wire encrusted prison wall. She hesitates there because her heart moves for her seestra. We don’t know if she jumps down to freedom or goes back for Sarah. She is perched there at the end of the episode. The whole camp below her is on high alert, looking for her.

Some Thoughts

The idea that having sex with one of the Castor clones causes sickness is an interesting turn of events. Can’t wait to see where that goes.

Something is going on with Shay. Something mysterious.

The set they are using for the prison looks like an old mission. Adobe walls, vigas, rounded parapets. It’s shot in yellow light and everything outside the walls is dark and invisible. I love that set.

Speaking of sets, what happened to Cosima’s apartment? Why is she always in Felix’s apartment – she even takes dates there.

The way we hear backstory is fascinating. In this episode we heard about Mrs. S’s husband dying in a drunken brawl and we heard about why Sarah ran off with Vic, leaving Kira behind. These tales are revealed in natural ways to enhance character development.

Helena uses the tiny nail she finds to cut her back. She feels a great release from doing it – the scene is framed and shot like sexual ecstasy. I hope at some point Helena’s cutting becomes a bigger topic of conversation.

The Title Quotation

We’re sticking with Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation in 1961. If only we had paid this much attention at the time. Here’s the location of this episode’s title. Our moral strength, in particular, seems to have been purchased by the 1%.

“Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.”

Orphan Black: S3 E3 Formalized, Complex, and Costly

“Formalized, Complex, and Costly” is episode 3 of Orphan Black season 3. There’s a big reveal in this episode about the cloned boys and girls.

Let’s start with Seth (Ari Millen, an army), cooling downstairs in Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment building. For some reason Rudy just leaves him lying there, so Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) and Felix drag him upstairs so he can bleed out in Felix’s tub.

Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) shows up and sees the body. Sarah immediately tells him, “First off, it wasn’t us.”

Sarah Skypes Cosima and shows her and Scott (Josh Vokey) the body. Cosima wants the brain. She’s coming to get it.

Art, who should be doing real cop stuff now, wants to help Sarah find Mark. Off they go. Later, he reveals to Sarah that he was in love with Beth Childs. This explains a lot about why he’s so involved in solving all the mysteries the clones bring him.

Mark and Gracie kiss
Mark and Gracie are honeymooning

Mark and Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) are holed up in a motel, being honeymooners between making sure they aren’t followed. Mark confesses he’s still in the Army and wants to find Willard Finch (Nicholas Campbell) because he knows that Henrik Johanssen, Gracie’s father, stored something at Finch’s.

Finch talks to Gracie
Gracie gets the goods from Finch. He’s a horrid old lech.

Gracie goes to Finch’s and returns with a locked strongbox.

The inside of the strong box
Just useless paper?

The box contains notebooks and paper, which Mark dismisses as useless. Probably a big mistake there, buddy. Mark wants something cold, like a tank. (I keep yapping about cold tanks that are as yet undiscovered by anyone, but where is it getting me?)

Paul (Dylan Bruce) delivers Rudy to the military camp. Rudy apologizes to Mother Coady (Kyra Harper) who chews him out for killing Seth. He says, “I had to put him down – protocol.”

Rudy sucks his thumb
Rudy cuddles up to Mother

Later she hugs him and we discovered how fond he is of his thumb.

Dr. Coady tells Paul he has to delay the folks in Washington who want to shut them down because their weapon is defective. She tells him she can cure the soldier boys if she has more time.

Helena
Helena in a cell

Helena is locked in a cell. So much for Dr. Coady being all warm and friendly. Helena tells Rudy he’s the ugliest Mark yet. Helena tells Paul she’s going to machine gun him down one day. She seems calmer and her friend the scorpion isn’t in this episode. She’s keeping a sharp eye on everything going on around her.

soap with pills hidden underneath
We’re selling soap now

Allison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) are manufacturing soap in the garage, which they use to disguise the pills they are selling all over the neighborhood. Donnie thinks they should have become drug dealers long ago, they are making so much money. But – you want drugs from the Hendrix machine, you gotta vote right in the school trustee election.

Marci
Marci stops by the garage for a face off with her opponent

Alison’s election rival Marci (Amanda Brugel) stops by the garage to attempt a bribe. She offers the Hendrix family a great deal on a piece of real estate. Alison tosses the deal back at her. It’s in another school district. Devious, Marci, but Alison is twice as devious.

Rachel in a big bandage
Rachel is in the hospital

Rachel is in therapy for her aphasia. She’s a bit limp and passive, but when she realizes Delphine is now in charge of Dyad, we see a spark of the old Rachel.

Alexis, the midwife
Call the midwife

Alexis the midwife (Kathryn Alexandre) gets another turn in front of the camera (she’s also the mostly unseen clone double) when Sarah and Art find her as part of their search for Mark.

Alexis tells Sarah that both Helena and Gracie are carrying Henrik’s miraculous babies. Alas, she’s still a true believer. When Sarah and Art are gone, Alexis runs to Bonnie Johanssen (Kristin Booth) and rats them out.

Cosima, Scott and Felix work on Seth's corpse.
Debraining Seth

Cosima and her minion have increased the mess in Felix’s bathroom by removing Seth’s brain from his body.

Sarah finds Gracie in a cafe where she and Art stopped while searching for Mark. She tells Gracie that the baby she’s carrying will be Kira’s cousin. Then she shows Gracie a photo of the other boy clones. Gracie freaks out because she thinks the clones are abominations.

The strong box under a bed
The box is hidden by Gracie

Gracie heads back to the motel, hides the strongbox under the bed, and packs to run. The honeymoon is so over. She looks up to see her mother at the door. Momma Johanssen wants to find Mark, and Gracie tells her where to look.

Cosima looks at lab results
Cosima in the lab

Back in the lab Cosima – who is coughing again – realizes from the genetic markers in Seth’s brain that the boy and girl clones are sisters and brothers. Holy DNA, Batman. They are family!

Sarah gets the big news bulletin from Cosima just as she sneaking into Willard Finch’s barn. Mark is already there. He’s managed to scare Finch into having a heart attack while trying to get him to talk.

Sarah tells Mark they are brother and sister. He has to care about Helena now, because she is his sister.

Bonnie with a rifle
Don’t argue with the lady with the gun

Mark runs to find Gracie. He’s almost to his truck when he’s shot in the leg by Mrs. Johanssen. He crawls into a corn field. She follows. Sarah, hiding in the barn, hears another gun shot.

Some Thoughts

Nicholas Campbell
Nicholas Campbell

One of the advantages of being old is you remember how actors looked long ago. Like tonight’s bad guy Willard Finch. He used to be scorching hot, as I recall.

Felix has a lot of cleaning to do. His apartment is a bloody mess. Kira’s blanket fort is still intact. What is he going to do with the majority of Seth still ensconced in his bathtub? Much of the plot hangs on when Felix cleans.

Much of the plot also hangs on what’s in the undiscovered tank of liquid nitrogen, the strongbox under a motel bed that nobody in the cast will stay in again, and the still unread “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Now that the clones know the original genomes came from a sister and brother, are they going to be united in the search for an answer to their defects?

The cliffhanger of the final gunshot was somewhat ruined by a preview of next week showing a live but bloody Mark.

The Title Quotation

From Dwight Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation in 1961.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Orphan Black S3 E2: Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis

Orphan Black’s “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” begins where the last episode left off, with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) still looking for Helena and the male clone Rudy, AKA Scarface, (Ari Mullen, an army) freed from his basement prison and on the loose with Seth, AKA Mr. Moustache. The time between episodes appears to be just a few hours.

Rudy and the Boys

Ari Millen as Rudy and the other soldier boys gets all the wow scenes with multiple clones in this episode. There are several.

Rudy and Seth think they should share sex.
Both Rudy and Seth think they should share sex with the lovely Patty.

Rudy picks up a willing young woman named Patty (Natalie Krill) for sex, but she nixes the idea when Seth shows up and wants to join in. Later Patty reports the incident to Detective Bell (Kevin Hanchard) – yeah, he’s back on duty. Bell informs Sarah that the boys are loose and on the prowl and they both have a double headed horse tattoo on their left forearms.

Paul (Dylan Bruce) shows up and tells Rudy and Seth to report to base. Rudy asks if the orders come from “Mother.” I’m thinking mother is Dr. Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper). We glimpsed her last week and see more of her this week. She seems to be in charge of the military side of the clone experiments.

Rudy is the rebel. He’s a lot like Sarah in that way. He decides not to follow orders, but to finish the job and get the original genome from Sarah.

Rudy holds Kira and points a gun at Sarah
Rudy tries to get the genome info from Sarah by threatening Kyra.

Rudy hides in Kyra’s (Skyler Wexler) blanket fort in Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment. He grabs Kyra and tries for force Sarah to talk. She knows nothing. When he realizes that Seth, who is waiting downstairs, is fritzing out like a bad transister, Rudy leaves and releases Kyra. Downstairs he sees that Seth is suffering a hopeless glitch and shoots him. Then he leans down and says, “I love you, brother.”

While we are on the subject of Felix’s apartment, it looks like the tank of liquid nitrogen is inside the blanket fort and has not come to the attention of any of the adults yet.

We also see another male clone at the military base where Helena is held. His name is Miller. More on Miller later.

Mark holds a blow torch to his tattoo
Mark removes his tattoo with a blow torch.

Mark makes a brief appearance in this episode. He removes the horse tattoo from his arm in the most painful way possible.

Sarah and the Girls

Sarah and Cal in the new apartment
Our little family pad

Cal (Michiel Huisman) rents an apartment where he and Sarah and Kyra can play house. Sarah and Kyra love the idea, but it isn’t meant to be. Paul comes by to tell Cal that Sarah better get outta Dodge. Cal goes to Felix’s to warn her and sees Rudy shoot Seth.

Mrs. S has a black eye
Poor Mrs. S is bashed up

Sarah sort of forgives Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) for giving up Helena, but only if she will use her contacts to find Paul and get info on where Helena is. Sarah also wants to go after Mark in hopes he knows where Helena is hidden.

I think Mrs. S is the one who inspired the “transitory sacrifices of crisis” choice for the episode title.

Felix
Felix takes great care of Mrs. S

Felix is taking care of Mrs. S, but he joins Sarah in urging her to do something about Helena.

Kira looks at her mom.
Kyra says goodbye to everyone

Sarah decides to send Kyra to safety with Cal. They will go to Iceland.

Alison and Ramon
Alison sees Ramon at a soccer match.

When Ramone (Alex Ozerov) tells Alison that he’s closing down his business to go off to college, Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) buy him out. They buy almost $80,000 worth of pills from him. Alison sees it as a way to make money now that Donnie is out of a job, but also a way to defeat Marci (Amanda Brugel) in the school trustee race. Seems most of Ramone’s clients are soccer moms like Alison. Her new voter base awaits drug delivery, yes indeed.

Cosima in the lab
Cosima is well enough to work

Cosima is feeling much better. She makes reference to some sort of spiritual effect in her recovery. She says as a scientist she needs to be open to everything, which I see as foreshadowing the arrival of Ksenia Solo as a guest. Neither Scott (Josh Vokey) or anyone else can quite explain her rapid recovery. She’s back in the lab looking for answers, and giving Sarah info on the two-headed horse mythology about Castor.

Helena with an eye tracking device over her right eye
Scorpions like mangos, too

Helena is in a military compound. The male clone, Miller, is torturing her as part of a stress test. Helena is given the same strange eye test that earlier cause Seth to glitch out in a minor way. It drives Helena have a conversation with her spirit animal, the scorpion, about wanting to see the mango mentioned in the test.

Dr. Virginia Coady talks to Helena
Have something to eat, my dear.

Dr. Coady stops all the testing because she’s learned that Helena is pregnant. She’s warm and friendly to Helena, gives her food, treats her with respect. Look out for that one, Helena.

In Summary

At the end of the episode, Sarah is no closer to finding Helena. Cal and Kyra are doing a geographical in hopes of keeping Kyra safe. Cosima and Josh haven’t yet started in on decoding “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” We’ve learned that the male clones have some sort of mental connection – Rudy knew what Seth was feeling & Mark decided the tattoo had to go.

I’m eager to see Alison interact with Marci. Amanda Brugel has had fleeting scenes so far, but I think the time is coming when we’ll see more of her and Alison together. I’m also eager to see Ksenia Solo appear.

The Title Quote

The title again comes from Dwight Eisenhower. In his farewell to the nation speech in 1961, there was this paragraph.

“Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment”

Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried

It’s the finale of season 2! Orphan Black will surprise and confound you with “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” and it sets up some powerful incentives to wish for a speedy return of a season 3.

Rachel (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) has Kira (Skyler Wexler) installed somewhere at Dyad. Sarah is also in the hands of Dyad.

Sarah is a prisoner of Dyad
Sarah is a prisoner of Dyad

Men ask Sarah all sorts of invasive questions about her sex life. She’s handcuffed and a Dr. Nealon (Tim McCamus) comes in. He gets her to sign away the rights to her eggs in return for getting to see Kira.

A woman takes a DNA swab from Kira. She steals the woman’s phone and calls a number she has memorized. (Cal made her memorize his number a few episodes back.)

Rachel takes Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) off Cosima’s case. Rachel forces Delphine to go to Germany, but tells Delphine it isn’t personal. Delphine counters with, “I love her. If you let her die without me, that’s personal.” Delphine sends Cosima a message that alerts her to the fact that she’s on her own now. When Cosima sees the message, she asks very nicely if she can see Kira.

Now that she’s signed away her eggs, Sarah gets to see Kira, but it’s through a 2-way mirror. Kira, however, seems aware of Sarah’s presence on the other side of the glass. Sarah sees Duncan (Andrew Gillies) in the hallway. He tells her not to despair.

I brought my own tea, thanks.
I brought my own tea, thanks.

Duncan is on his way to the video room where Rachel watches videos of her younger self. Rachel wants him to turn over the keys to the codes for all the clones, not just the ones that will save Cosima. He refuses, saying that her attempts to create more clones should fail. Then he dips a teabag he brought himself in a cup of hot water and poisons himself. Duncan dies.

Cal (Michiel Huisman) shows up at Mrs. S’s place, thanks to Kira’s memorization skills. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) leaves Cal there and goes to Art Bell’s (Kevin Hanchard) to rescue him once again from Helena eating him out of house and home. Felix will take Helena back to his place.

Felix to the rescue
Felix to the rescue.

Felix asks Helena if she burned down the fish people’s ranch last night. She grins and says no. She says she fell in love and her boyfriend had to go work at Jesse’s Towing. Felix doesn’t quite click to this, but perhaps he will remember it later.

Cal shows Mrs. S his research into Dyad. He formed a connection to someone with similar interests on “the dark net.” He thinks it’s someone on the inside because they know a lot about Dyad. With Mrs. S there, he types “Can you help.”

Mrs. S tells him to type, “I’m with Siobhan Sadler.”

The response is “Ask her about Castor.”

In the episode where Cosima first explained the Greek myth about Leda, I mentioned that Castor and Pollux were twin brothers. Their mother was Leda. In some versions of the myth, they are supposed to have twin sisters Helen (of Troy) and Clytemnestra. Castor has now become a plot point in the clone mystery.

Mrs. S., Paul (Dylan Bruce), and Cal all arrive in different vehicles at an empty warehouse. Cal steps out of a limo. Paul is in uniform, a major now. Cal and Paul size each other up as if they are in a competition to win Sarah. (Points for Cal: he gets in the last kiss of the season with Sarah when she kisses him goodbye later at Felix’s place.) When Paul gets into the limo that Cal came in, he finds Dr. Marian Bowles (Michelle Forbes).

Cal asks Mrs. S what they are doing and she answers, “Hoping that there are still good people in the most corrupt places.”

In exchange for some files from Paul, Dr. Bowles promises to get Sarah and Kira out of Dyad.

In the meantime, Cosima has been allowed to see Kira. She plays a science game with her involving sharp pencils, mass, force, and acceleration. Then she has Kira draw a picture for her mom about what she learned.

When Cosima leaves Kira, she and Scott (Josh Vokey) rig up a fire extinguisher with some tubing and a very sharp pencil. Scott figures out a way to get the device into the operating room where the evil Dr. Nealon is about to remove one of Sarah’s ovaries. She’ll still have one, and who needs more than one, right?

Rachel comes in to the operating room and sends everyone away. She conveniently gives Sarah the picture Kira drew. As Rachel marches around the room talking about Duncan being dead and destroying what she claims is Kira’s stem cell sample right in front of Sarah, Sarah figures out the secret message in Kira’s art. She uses the fire extinguisher to launch the pencil right into Rachel’s eye. Rachel falls, pencil to the brain. One can only hope she dies, but you can never tell with Orphan Black.

Sarah runs to Kira’s room. She finds Dr. Bowles getting Kira ready. Dr. Bowles tells her she’s free to go and Cal is waiting downstairs. Bowles tells Sarah she’s from Topside and promises Sarah the truth if she’ll meet her the next day.

4 clone dance party
4 clone dance party

Sarah, Cosima, Allison and Helena are at Felix’s. A big wow for the dance scene with all 4 clones and Felix dancing together. They wisely didn’t include Kira – she danced up by Felix’s bed. It was a bit jerky getting Felix in and out to dance with the different women, I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to add Kira. As it was, the scene took 2 days to film.

Cosima took off her oxygen to dance but struggled to breathe. She’s a wonderful dancer. Helena went all head banger hilarious. Allison was suitably reserved. Sarah’s dancing was enthusiastic but untrained.

One of the reasons Tatiana Maslany gives for being able to make such clear distinctions between each of these characters is her extensive dance background. In essence, she dances each character’s physicality. It must have been interesting for her to actually dance in character instead of walk and talk in character.

That night, Felix and Kira sleep on the couch. Cosima and Sarah sleep in Felix’s bed. They wake in the night to talk about the golden ratio, DNA, and hold hands. Sarah said, “I can’t do this without you.” Cosima answers, “You’ll be fine,” with an expression that implies she’s accepted the inevitability of her own death – very soon. Helena wakes up in the middle of the night and leaves a tank of liquid nitrogen out in plain sight. We’ll have to learn why in season 3, but I’m guessing it contains frozen eggs or embryos. When she leaves the apartment, she’s snatched by military types and taken to a plane. The Jesse’s Towing cap falls on the floor behind her for someone to find in season 3.

In the early morning, Kira climbs into bed with Cosima. Cosima doesn’t respond to Kira’s repeated calls. Everything fades to white as if Cosima is going into the light. Cosima sees Delphine in the light. Delphine touches Cosima in her vision, just as Kira touches her in real life. The touch brings Cosima back to Kira. Kira asks her to read to her and Cosima finally sees the annotations in The Island of Doctor Moreau. Cosima doesn’t leap from the bed, shout EUREKA and announce she has the key to save herself and everyone else, but I’m assuming that’s what’s in the book. Another plot point tempting us into season 3.

Sarah’s morning is spent going to meet Dr. Bowles. She’s dropped off at an enormous house. No one is there to greet her.

Hello. Anybody home.
Hello. Anybody home?

Sarah sees a child. A child who looks just like the young Rachel we’ve seen so often in video. A child who looks just like the young Sarah. Dr. Bowles finally appears and introduces her as Charlotte (Cynthia Galant). Eight-year-old Charlotte greets Sarah as her sister and says that Kira is her cousin (she’s actually Kira’s aunt).

Bowles adopted Charlotte. She’s the only survivor of over 400 attempted clones. Bowles tells Sarah that Topside steers Dyad and many other groups. They support genetic engineering projects.

I love me some genetic engineering
I love me some genetic engineering

Bowles leads Sarah down some hallways in what looks like the basement of the big house. She explains as they walk that Project Castor was the military side of Topside and that the clones in Castor are male.

They look through a window at the back of a man doing chin ups and Sarah says, “I know him.”

Cut away to Mark (Ari Millen) and Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) getting married in front of a big stained glass window as “Nearer My God to Thee” plays loudly in the background. The song plays as the following things happen and continues throughout the final credits.

The guy doing chin ups turns around. He looks like Mark, only crazy and all beat up.

Helena is marched onto a plane surrounded by soldiers, one of whom looks like Mark. Paul and Mrs. S watch.

Mark is a clone, y’all! Ari Millen must be dancing with joy over the acting opportunity he’s going to have in season 3.

I’m talking about season 3 like it’s all set, but it hasn’t been announced yet. I can’t imagine this show not getting another season.

The quote from Francis Bacon for this episode is from The New Organon or True Directions Concerning the Interpretation of Nature. It’s a different part of the quote used in episode nine’s title:

It would be an unsound fancy and self-contradictory to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which have never yet been tried.

Orphan Black: Variable and Full of Perturbation

Only two episodes of Orphan Black remain in season 2 after this week’s “Variable and Full of Perturbation.” This episode introduced quite a lot of variation and perturbation to resolve in that time, especially with a new clone Tony (Tatiana Maslany) showing up.

Yep, Tony. Formerly Antoinette Zwicky, now a trans man named Tony. He’s a bit of a thug with too much long hair and sparse, wispy facial hair. (I can’t believe I once complained about Cal’s hair and beard.)

The introduction of a trans clone ties a blue ribbon and big bow on the nurture position in the nature vs. nurture debate that has been ongoing since this show began. Rachel even said, “nurture prevails” last week. I’m not saying your upbringing makes you trans. I’m saying your biology doesn’t determine your individuality.

Tony’s buddy Sammy is killed by “suits.” His dying words are for Tony to find Beth Childs. Since suspended cop Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) still has Beth’s phone, Tony reaches Art. Art takes him to Felix (Jordan Gavaris) who quips, “Holy Tilda Swinton” at the sight of Tony. Felix and Art want to hear the message for Beth, Tony wants to know what’s going on, and nobody trusts anybody.

Holy Tilda Swinton, what have we got here?
Holy Tilda Swinton, what have we got here?

While at a standoff over who will give who what information first, Tony takes a bath at Felix’s place, first showing off his monster package bulging in a pair of tight shorts. Felix definitely notices. There’s a bit of sizzle between them.

Oh, weird alert.
Oh, weird alert.

Tony tries getting information out of Felix with sex. It’s a little strange with Tony looking so much like Felix’s favorite sister and all. Felix pulls back.

Who is this person with my face?
Who is this person with my face?

Tony finds paintings of the clones in the apartment. Felix still won’t reveal anything to Tony. Tony still won’t reveal anything to Felix. Tony’s about to give up and leave when Sarah arrives.

Sarah, meet Tony. Tony, meet Sarah.
Sarah, meet Tony. Tony, meet Sarah.

With Sarah there, we finally get the message from Sammy (who Felix and Sarah assume was Tony’s monitor) to Beth Childs. Sammy was ex-military like Paul. The message is, “Tell Beth, keep the faith. Paul’s like me. He’s on it. He’s a ghost.”

Speaking of Paul, Rachel spends the whole episode trying to find him. He’s disappeared.

Allison

Allison goes home from rehab to find Donnie (Kristian Bruun) drunk in bed. Later that night she finds him in the basement, packing to leave.

Family therapy
Family therapy

Now that they are finally using the C word together, they have a bit of mutual talk therapy. They both confess their problems with murdering people. Once they are honest with each other, it’s clear that they actually do care about each other. Instead of leaving the family, Donnie shows Allison Leekie’s body in the trunk of the car. And he mentions that he shot Leekie with Allison’s gun. Boy, do they have a lot to do.

Sarah, Cosima, Delphine, Duncan, Mrs. S, Rachel and Kira

Sarah, Kira (Skyler Wexler), Ethan Duncan (Andrew Gillies), and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) are all at Mrs. S’s place, waiting to see if they are going to give Duncan and his floppy disks to Dyad. Duncan is taken with Kira. He reads to her from and old copy of The Island of Doctor Moreau, a copy he used to read to Rachel. He gives Kira the book. Duncan tells Sarah that he can cure Cosima – no question about it.

At Dyad, Rachel tells Dolphine (Evelyne Brochu) that Leekie died of a heart attack and that she, Rachel, is in charge. She dispatches Delphine to get Duncan. Delphine thinks Rachel killed Leekie and the situation for Cosima is more urgent than ever.

Cosima has more or less forgiven Delphine over the Kira stem cell incident. They have a talk in which Delphine assures Cosima that she loves her. Cosima says, “You have to love all of us.” Cure one, cure them all. Delphine says she does love all of them and Cosima finally admits, “I love you, too.”

Delphine convinces Mrs. S and Sarah to let Duncan go into Dyad. When Rachel meets him again, she is cold and professional. He tells her what equipment he needs. Then he tells her that Sarah’s fertility was a failure, not a success. “You were all barren by design.” Rachel is frozen in place on the outside, but inside she cracks. Inside she throws a tantrum, tossing everything on her desk, throwing furniture, and hanging on to her emotions by the thinnest of threads.

Scott is in on the truth.
Scott is in on the truth.

When Delphine shows up at the lab with Duncan in tow, Cosima says it feels strange to meet her “maker.” Scott (Josh Vokey) is there to help. (Cosima told Scott that she is 324B21.) All of them are ready to get to work when Cosima has a seizure. She’s writhing on the floor with blood gushing from her mouth.

At Mrs. S’s, Kira wakes up early. She sneaks out of bed and sits on the floor with the copy of The Island of Doctor Moreau. She smiles as she leafs through the pages, which are filled with hand-written scientific drawings, chemical equations, and annotations in the text.

Helena was only mentioned in passing in this episode. Presumably she is still with the Prolethians, being impregnated with her own eggs fertilized by God’s representative on earth, Henrik.

The quote for the episode title, “Variable and Full of Perturbation,” comes from Francis Bacon’s Novum Organon, and reads:

the spirit of man (according as it is meted out to different individuals) is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance.

Orphan Black: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings

The “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings” episode of Orphan Black brings Sarah some answers, but everyone is still suspect and no one can be trusted.

Sarah and Helena (Tatiana Maslany squared) are in a pickup on their way to Cold River. Helena refuses to tell Sarah where it is, because she knows Sarah won’t need her if she does. The scenes between Sarah and Helena grow more and more charming as Helena is revealed in greater depth. They spend the night in a tent and Helena asks Sarah about Kira – she wonders if she could have children, too. She says, “I am very good with children.”

Sarah wants to know what the Prolethians took from Helena, but Helena claims she doesn’t know. When they turn out the lantern for the night, we see Paul (Dylan Bruce) lurking in the dark outside their camp.

There’s a hilarious scene of Sarah and Helena driving. “Sugar Sugar” comes on the radio. Helena sings along with enthusiasm. Sugar is her thing, indeed.

What Tatiana Maslany does with Helena in this episode is masterful. Her uninhibited off key singing, her playfulness in the tent, her vulnerability when she asks about babies, her growl of a laugh later in a bar scene, her unbridled sexuality when she’s attracted to a man, her brutality when threatened – Tatiana’s bringing Helena into personhood with so much affection and skill. That Tatiana Maslany can do that with Sarah, Allison and Cosima still floating in her head is just amazing.

Inga Cadranel
Allison is stuck in rehab.

Allison is still in rehab. She’s reluctant to participate in group. The door opens and into group walks Victor (Michael Mando). You remember Victor: Sarah’s former boyfriend who got his finger chopped off for a drug debt and who Allison maced in a parking lot. Yeah, that Victor. He’s all Zen now, full of the wisdom of recovery. When Allison threatens Donnie’s (Kristian Bruun) privates because he failed to bring the kids to visit her, Victor steps in to defuse the argument. Later we learn that Victor is actually in cahoots with Detective DeAngelis (Inga Cadranel). She promised he won’t go to jail for his crimes if he rats on Allison.

Allison, incidentally, can handle a basketball with one arm in a sling.

Take your medicine and don't ask where it came from.
Take your medicine and don’t ask where it came from.

Cosima gets injections from Delphine (Evelyne Brochu). The injections may or may not be helping her. Delphine hired Scott (Josh Vokey) to come to Dyad to do gene sequencing. I haven’t previously mentioned Josh Vokey, who is fabulous as a naive geek, because the character wasn’t central, but he takes a central role in this episode. He reveals that he knows the samples he’s been given are clones, but he doesn’t realize that Cosima is a clone. He figures out that the stem cell injections Cosima is getting came not from a clone but a female relative. Perhaps a daughter. Is that daughter spelled K-I-R-A? We don’t know. Dephine makes Scott swear not to tell Cosima this news.

Sarah and Helena arrive in front of a church. It’s the church in the photo of Ethan Duncan, the Swan Man. Sarah instructs Helena to wait in the truck while she goes inside to investigate. Sarah finds photos of a building. The church deacon (Jane Spidell) tells her it was the Cold River Institute. Cold River is closed and all the records are in the church basement. The deacon also identifies the photo of Ethan Duncan as “Mr. Peckham” and mentions that Maggie Chen was also digging about in the old records. Sarah finds lots of info about the clones, but nothing about Andrew Peckham in the records.

Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) emptied Helena’s locker and took all the contents to Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment for help digging through it. A phone call from Sarah gets them looking for someone named Peckham, and they give Sarah an address.

Helena, of course, did not wait obediently in the truck while Sarah was doing this. She goes into a bar, starts drinking, almost breaks the finger of an asshole who thinks he can have her just because he wants her, and takes a liking to Jesse (Patrick J. Adams) who is nice to her. Both Paul and the Prolethian errand boy Mark (Ari Millen) watch her every move in the bar.

Helena's boyfriend
Helena’s boyfriend

When Helena and Jesse start kissing, asshole breaks in and wants a turn. Helena beans Mr. Asshole with a pool ball, tosses him on the pool table and climbs on with the intention of poking out his eyes. Helena gets arrested for smashing heads in the bar. In the police station she asks for her boyfriend. She’s told she’s been released and can leave with her sister.

When Helena looks up to see her sister, it’s Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison), hiding her inflamed suture marks from the police with a hand over her mouth. Gracie and Mark tell Helena they have her babies and she agrees to go with them. Mark gives her Jesse’s baseball cap. I think he gives it to her to try to gain her trust, but it has the name of Jesse’s business on it, which may come in handy later.

Sarah leaves Helena to the cops and goes to Peckham’s house. Who opens the door but Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Good heavens, is there anything Mrs. S doesn’t know? She’s wearing a Pussy Riot shirt. Someone who wants to hurt Sarah wouldn’t wear a Pussy Riot shirt, would she?

Mrs. S knows all
Mrs. S knows all

Mrs. S is trying to get Andrew Peckham (Andrew Gillies)  out of his hoarder’s horror of a house, off to somewhere to do her mysterious bidding. When Peckham sees Sarah he looks her over with great interest, decides she isn’t Rachel, and asks to be taken to Rachel.

Is it Andrew or is it Ethan?
Is it Andrew or is it Ethan?

He cannot be taken to Rachel, however. He’s been hiding from Dyad for 20 years because Aldous Leekie killed his wife Susan and took over the LEDA project for Dyad.

What was LEDA doing?
What was LEDA about?

Sarah wants to know what Project LEDA was all about. Peckham/Duncan tells her it was a proof of concept experiment to see if they could actually clone a human and because they “wanted girl babies.”

While Sarah and Peckham/Duncan are talking, Siobhan goes outside and confronts Paul. Yes, she knows who Paul is. Everything Mrs. S does in this episode is so momentous, we have to go to commercial immediately after. Her every line of dialog is a bomb dropping. She tells Paul that the hoarder inside in his filthy kitchen talking to Sarah is the only hope that any of the clones have and that Paul better back off and let them go.

Kudos to Kathryn Alexandre and the Faces We Never See

Kathryn Alexandre
Kathryn Alexandre

Kathryn Alexandre is Tatiana Maslany’s acting double. She plays whatever clone is opposite Tatiana in a scene. When we see Helena and Sarah in a scene together in a truck or a tent, we have to remember that it was filmed twice. When we see Sarah in the driver’s seat of the truck, the actor beside her doing Helena is Kathryn Alexandre. They film it again with Tatiana in the passenger seat doing Helena while Kathryn Alexandre sits in the driver’s seat and plays Sarah. In the finished version, we never see Kathryn’s face.

It’s time to acknowledge how important Kathryn Alexandre is to Orphan Black. When we see chemistry, warmth, and closeness between Helena and Sarah, it’s actually something happening with Tatiana and Kathryn. Not just the warm fuzzy scenes, but the fight scenes, the dangerous scenes, the funny scenes. If they have to film it 2 times, 3 times, 4 times, to get all the clones in a scene together, Kathryn is there giving Tatiana a partner to act with and react to.

Much of what we see in Orphan Black is illusion, built from brilliant editing, brilliant makeup and brilliant acting. When we see it as a finished piece it is so perfectly executed it’s hard to remember how it was created. Let’s step back from the illusion and look behind the curtain to praise the hidden people who build the show. Here’s to Kathryn Alexandre and everyone else we don’t see in Orphan Black. You are all awesome!

The quote from Francis Bacon for this episode comes from the 1623 De Augmentis Scientiarum:

For you have but to hound nature in her wanderings, and you will be able when you like to lead and drive her afterwards to the same place again.

Some images from IMDB © Jan Thijs 2013. Some screen shots from BBC America.

Orphan Black: Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est

The Orphan Black episode “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” begins in Rachel’s bloody apartment. Daniel’s body litters the floor, Helena’s signature art drawn in blood decorates the walls. Dr. Leakie (Matt Frewer) thinks Rachel (Tatiana Maslany) should take a kinder, gentler approach to the situation. She thinks not.

Paul (Dylan Bruce) will replace Daniel as Rachel’s monitor. Paul is the universal monitor: he’s monitored Beth, Sarah, and now Rachel.

Rachel orders Leekie to shut down the tests until Sarah comes to heel.
Rachel orders Leekie to shut down the tests until Sarah comes to heel.

Sarah takes her super-hugger of a twin sister to Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) place. Helena needs to get out of her bloody wedding dress and clean up. Sarah tells Helena to behave and calls her Meathead. Helena objects with, “Don’t call me this,” but the nickname seems to symbolize the developing bond and affection between them.

Felix wants nothing to do with babysitting Helena – he has a hot date with the morgue boy – and delivers Helena to Detective Bell (Kevin Hanchard) for safekeeping.

Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) learns there is a new stem cell line, compatible with Cosima, that could help her. They go to Dr. Leekie’s office in search of it and he finds them there. Turns out that Leekie is willing to defy Rachel’s directive to shut down the help for Cosima by giving her an injection of the stem cells. He also tells Cosima that the clone’s original genome was destroyed in a fire 20 years ago. We heard about this fire before in relation to Project LEDA.

Paul is now Rachel's henchman.
Paul is now Rachel’s henchman.

Paul’s first job as Rachel’s new monitor is to take the gun that Daniel used to kill the cop at Cal’s house and put Felix’s fingerprints all over it. He manages to do that by interrupting Felix’s love fest. Paul calls Sarah and says Rachel wants them all – Sarah, Helena, and Kira – or Felix goes down for murder. Rachel isn’t asking for Felix, which shoots down my budding theory that he might be a clone, too.

I can ignore you forever, Artie baby.
I can ignore you forever, Artie baby.

At Art Bell’s apartment, Helena is silent. She watches fish while Art asks questions about Maggie Chen and the Prolethians. Finally he feeds her, which loosens her up and she begins to talk. Interestingly, she asks as many questions as she answers, and her questions are intelligent ones. Also, she does love the powdered donuts.

I gave her darkness
I gave her darkness

Helena mimes poking the eyes out of one of her early tormentors. From art works we’ve seen of Helena’s where the eyes were X-ed out of a nun, I’m guessing her tormentor was a nun. She mentions a locker and the Swan Man who played God. Then she uses the lid off a sardine can to open her handcuffs and leaves Art cuffed to the wall. She goes to a storage unit (locker) where she has a motorcycle.

Cal (Michiel Huisman) and Kira (Skyler Wexler) are still playing house in the camper. Cal is being a great dad, Kira is being quick-witted and showing signs of ESP. Cal’s hiding a gun and carrying a fake ID. He assures Sarah when she calls that they are close enough to come get her whenever she’s ready.

At the Prolethian compound, Gracie’s (Zoé De Grand Maison) mouth was sutured shut as punishment for Helena’s escape. Henrik (Peter Outerbridge) and her mother Bonnie (Kristin Booth) tell her that, “She can rot,” if she refuses to talk about what happened. If they don’t find Helena, Gracie will carry the egg currently reproducing itself in a Petri dish.

Yes, Helena can come up with GPS coordinates off the top of her head.
Why, yes, Helena can come up with GPS coordinates off the top of her head.

Sarah and Art are in pursuit of Helena. Helena helped out by leaving some GPS coordinates at Art Bell’s. They find the locker and learn that Ethan Duncan is still alive. On the back of a recent photo of him is says “Swan Man.” Helena has taken off with a sniper rifle.

Guess what Paul’s second job as Rachel’s new monitor is? Sex slave.

Helena sets up the rifle in a apartment across from Rachel’s. As she takes aim and prepares to eliminate the problem that is Rachel, we see Rachel and Paul have sex. It’s weird sex. Rachel demands complete control. She orchestrates Paul’s every move and slaps him when he thinks for himself. Rachel demonstrates a kind of ruthless eagerness that is creepy and disturbing. She’s extremely turned on, but it’s the power and control that excite her, not the actual sex.

Helena, watching, says, “Pretty, dirty, sexy Rachel – like my mother.” Is there some woman somewhere that Helena once called mother?

Art and Sarah arrive and want Helena to put the gun down.

Love the light in this scene
Love the light in this scene

Helena wants Sarah to look at what Rachel is doing, at the “unfaithful” Paul. Sarah begs her not to shoot. She explains that Felix will be in trouble if Rachel dies. Sarah walks in front of the rifle and says she doesn’t care about Paul.

Don't shoot
Don’t shoot

Sarah uses tears and some clever talk to convince Helena that they are family now, that they need to care for each other, and that Felix is part of that family. Finally Helena puts down the gun.

Seestra
Seestra

Helena and Sarah join hands. They walk out of the room with arms around each other. Sarah calls Helena Meathead again, and Helena responds, “Don’t call me this.” In the car, Helena tells Sarah that they need to go to Cold River, the place of screams.

Give back Felix
Give back Felix

Sarah meets Dr. Leekie in a bar. She demands Felix in return for Ethan Duncan, who is still alive. Leekie mentions that Cosima is sick – news to Sarah. When Sarah leaves, we realize Paul followed Leekie there. It’s really hard to tell where the real loyalties are with Paul and Leekie. They are ciphers, willing to double-cross anyone, but we aren’t sure why.

This episode was written by Tony Elliott, who is responsible for much of the writing in season 2. It was directed by Helen Shaver. She shared quite a bit about the experience on her Twitter account. Tatiana seemed to enjoy having her as a director.

The quotation from Francis Bacon used in the title, with English translation:

Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge itself is power.”

Some photos from BBC America, some ©Jan Thijs 2013. via IMDB.

Orphan Black: Governed As It Were By Chance

The tension sizzles, everyone is sinister, and we don’t know who to trust in “Governed As It Were By Chance,” episode 4 of season 2 of Orphan Black. Everything ahead is a spoiler, but the story is not described in the order in which it happened.

The episode begins at the car wreck. Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) walks away with Cal (Michiel Huisman), leaving Daniel (Matthew Bennett) behind for dead. She hides the wrecked car under some brush with Daniel still inside.

Sarah and Kira in the camper
Sarah and Kira

Cal, for unexplained reasons (which makes him suspicious as hell), has a camper that isn’t registered in his name. Cal, Sarah, and Kira (Skyler Wexler) head off in it. Sarah trusts him, at least for now.

Sarah stops in at Mrs. S’s place. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) just happens to be there. They dig through old photos and scrapbooks and find clues about Susan and Ethan Duncan – as in Rachel Duncan’s parents – who are the people in the Project Leda photo. They also find photos of Carlton, the man who brought Sarah to Siobhan in the beginning. As they leave, the basement door opens and we realize someone has been listening.

Later, Sarah has a Skype conversation with Cosima. She shares her new intel and Cosima promises to investigate. Before Sarah called, Cosima was rewatching the videos of Jennifer’s slow death. She has to break off the call from Sarah quickly to hide her own tubercular-sounding cough and her own declining health.

Sarah and Cal
Sarah and Cal

Sarah wants to go to Rachel’s place. She gets Cal to agree to watch Kira.

Detective Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) is hanging about outside the Prolethean compound taking photos. He cannot see inside, but we see Helena wake up. She remembers vague snatches of the strange wedding. Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) tries to smother her. Helena overpowers her and runs off. She passes through a lab on her way out and remembers something being “taken out of her.” The look of distaste on her face as she recalls being in the lab suggests sensibilities in Helena that we haven’t seen before. Outside, Helena runs past Art Bell. He realizes who she is and delays the men who chase her, allowing her to get a head start.

Felix wants Allison to get her dignity back.
Felix wants Allison to get her dignity back.

Allison’s story is interspersed with these events. She’s in rehab, where Felix tells her she went voluntarily. Allison remembers nothing. She broke her arm when she fell from the stage; she’s a mess. Felix thinks rehab will be good for her and help her get her dignity back. Plus, dear daddy Donnie  (Kristian Bruun) shows up and threatens to take the kids away if she doesn’t stay. Allison will be peeing a cup for a few days while everyone else is in mortal peril.

Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) searches out Carlton. Carlton is played by Roger Cross, who must be the busiest actor in Canada – he’s in absolutely everything. Carlton just got out of jail for human trafficking. Siobhan is very happy to see him. She looks him over with an expression of pure lust, kisses him, unbuttons his shirt, tugs at his belt, and they get it on standing up in a hallway outside the men’s room where she found him. Why, Mrs. S, we hardly knew you.

So happy to see you, Carlton
So happy to see you, Carlton

Later they sit down for a pint and a talk. We learn that Mrs. S was in the know on Project Leda, that she’s known Sarah was a clone from the start. Makes me wonder if Felix is a clone and we just haven’t been told yet. Carlton mentions someone called The Ferryman, who will no doubt be important later.

Gotta love the double helix stickers on Cosima's computer
Gotta love the double helix stickers on Cosima’s computer

Sarah talks to Cosima and Felix, who have news to share. Rachel’s parents were geneticists doing DNA research. Cosima tells Sarah the Greek myth about Leda. The god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces (or rapes) Leda. According to Greek mythology, Leda bore the half-human, half-gods Helen and the twins Castor and Pollux.

Through some smooth tricks, Sarah gets in Rachel’s empty apartment. She’s watching videos of Rachel with her loving parents when the left-for-dead Daniel walks in. He straps Sarah to the plumbing and is about to cut her throat with a straight razor when Helena comes in and makes a bloody mess of him. He’s really dead this time.

Helena and Sarah
Helena and Sarah

The sight of a not-dead Helena terrifies Sarah more than anything she’s endured up to this point. Helena addresses her as sister, says she followed her there from their mother’s house (meaning Mrs. S’s) and advances toward her.

Love ya, sis. Plus, damn, the editing on this show is brilliant.
Love ya, sis. Plus, damn, the editing on this show is brilliant.

Helena wants not to stab her sister with the huge bloody knife, but to give her a full body hug of hello. Helena is surprising in this episode – smarter than she’s seemed before in ways that show both intelligence and self-awareness. Her willingness to embrace the twin who put a bullet in her just a few days ago is also a surprise.

As the episode ends, we see that Henrik (Peter Outerbridge) took an egg from Helena, which is now fertilized and growing in a Petri dish. Big news: Sarah is not the only fertile clone. I imagine the sperm was Henrik’s, since he pictures himself as the godlike swan in Helena’s story.

The quote from Francis Bacon for this episode:

The spirit of man is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance.

Review: Orphan Black “Mingling Its Own Nature With It”

This episode of Orphan Black, “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” starts with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), Kira (Skyler Wexler), and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) sleeping in the woods in the stolen truck. We see Sarah struggle to find safety for Kira, Allison crack under pressure, Cosima do an autopsy on a new clone, and Helena get married. What an episode!

Whose woods these are I think I know.
Whose woods these are I think I know.

The clones each conducted their own lives without mixing together much in this episode, so I’ll summarize the stories clone by clone.

Sarah

Sarah, Kira, and Felix make the mistake of stealing food from a convenience store in order to feed Kira. This puts a local cop and Rachel’s henchman Daniel (Matthew Bennett) on their trail. Sarah leads Felix to a house in the woods, seemingly empty, where they break in to spend the night. The homeowner shows up and turns out to be Cal (Michiel Huisman), who knows Sarah. Kira, in her prescient way, pegs him immediately with an, “Are you my dad?”

Yes, he is Kira’s dad, and even though Sarah stole $10,000 and his car the last time she was there, Cal lets them stay.

Sarah tries to explain to Kira why she was gone so much, and Kira talks about Mrs. S protecting them and comments that she likes Cal’s beard. Women from Nashville and every other show Michiel Huisman is on fall for his unkempt, bearded look – now even Kira likes it – I guess I should give up wishing he’d get a shave and a haircut.

Felix sees what’s going on and decides there is no place for him there. He leaves to be with Allison at her theater performance.

When the local cop shows up, Sarah is ready to take Kira and go.

Can't you stop running for a minute?
Can’t you stop running for a minute?

Cal says, “Can’t you stop running for a minute?” and the look on Sarah’s face tells a story of wanting to do just that. They end up in bed together. (She must like the beard, too.) Their idyllic morning after is interrupted by the arrival of Daniel who tries to grab Kira, shoots the local cop, and leaves with Sarah driving the car at gunpoint. Kira is with Cal. Daniel making off with Sarah comes at the very end of the episode. The big cliffhanger is that they are t-boned on the road – a hit to the passenger side where Daniel sits – and we don’t know what happens to either of them.

Allison

Allison snipes at Donnie (Kristian Bruun) now that she knows he’s her monitor. The guy will never get any again, I can promise you that. She’s drinking and popping pills. She calls Cosima, but Cosima cannot do much to help her because of her own drama.

Detective Angie Deangelis (Inga Cadranel) simply won’t drop the case, as her partner Art (Kevin Hanchard) keeps telling her to. Angie stalks Allison, trying to befriend her and get information from her. Allison thinks she’s another monitor. Angie admits to being a cop and Allison and tells her to get lost. Detective Deangelis is going to prove to be a wild card in this story, I predict, because she’s relentless in her quest to find out more about Sarah and her former cop friend Beth, and because she’s the mama succubus – oh, wait, wrong show for a succubus.

By the night of the community theater performance of “Blood Ties,” Allison’s spaced out on pills and booze. She can’t remember her lines or sing in tune. (Tatiana Maslany is a pretty good singer if the few notes of real singing we hear are any indication.) Allison falls off the stage at Donnie’s feet and gets taken to the hospital.

Cosima and Jennifer

Cosima follows Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) into Dr. Leekie’s office, where she does a killer imitation of Matt Frewer’s Dr. Leekie by threatening to put an electric eel in a tank so Dr. Leekie will come along and say, “Great Scott! I’ve created life.” A hilarious moment in a very serious episode. The fact that Tatiana Maslany can do a perfect imitation of Matt Frewer reveals something about why she is so masterful at creating so many different women in Orphan Black.

Delphine has other things on her mind. She brought Cosima there to show her videos of another clone, Jennifer Fitzsimmons, teacher and swim coach at Sheldon High, who made a video diary of her illness after polyps were found on her lungs. Delphine says Jennifer was the first clone to show symptoms. When Cosima asks how Jennifer is, Delphine says she died 3 days ago. Cosima is the only clone who knows about Jennifer at this point (unless Rachel does). Cosima watches every video, horrified, seeing Jennifer slowly die of exactly what she herself has.

Delphine and Cosima do an autopsy on Jennifer’s body to try to understand more about the auto-immune disease that apparently killed her. Cosima is partly terrified of cutting into a woman with her face, and partly clear about needing to understand the biology of what’s going on in the clone’s bodies.

Helena

Helena is still in bad shape, but recovered enough to sit up in bed and talk to Gracie Johanssen (Zoé De Grand Maison), Henrik’s (Peter Outerbridge) daughter. Gracie is not with her dad’s program to fertilize and breed Helena. She’s another wild card who may gum up the works later on. Her dad thinks he has Gracie under his control, but he may be in for a surprise.

The ties that bind
The ties that bind

Henrik has Helena dressed in a white wedding dress, even though she lays in bed stupified by drugs, and marries her in a strange ceremony involving tying their hands together with ribbons while talking about God’s will. Then Henrik carries his bride off to begin his fertilization program. Helena is too drugged to fight back. If she ever gets clear headed, Henrik better watch out. At this point, we have no idea what Henrik has in mind as a fertilization technique. We did see him artificially inseminate a cow in the last episode.

The title is another quote from Francis Bacon:

“The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it”

 Francis Bacon, Sr. quotes (English Lawyer and Philosopher. 1561-1626)

All photos by Steve Wilkie via IMDB

Review: Orphan Black: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

Season 2 of Orphan Black begins with “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed.” It’s a rip-roaring beginning to the new season. Every moment of the opening show was exciting, dangerous, tense, high-stakes, fast paced drama.

Watch a preview of the first episode.

I’m not going to recap the episode, just offer a few remarks. Spoilers ahead.

Tatiana Maslany has honed her performance to a more focused and nuanced rendition of each of her characters. Each of them is a distinct and unique woman.  She’s sharpened them and made them more themselves. Tatiana Maslany is amazing as these clones, simply amazing.

Tatiana Maslany and Tatiana Maslany
Tatiana Maslany and Tatiana Maslany

The monitors for the clones, particularly Cosima’s monitor Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and Sarah’s former monitor Paul (Dylan Bruce) are walking double edged swords. Both seem to be cooperating with the enemy while trying to help their clones.

And who is the enemy? Is it Dr. Aldous Leekie (Matt Frewer) and his bioengineering firm? Or is it the clone Rachel Duncan – who gives orders to Dr. Leeki and everyone else? Or is it the religious group of Prolethians behind Helena who may be the ones who stole young Kira (Skyler Wexler) away?

And speaking of Helena, she makes a dramatic entrance in the last few seconds of the episode, trailing blood as she walks into a hospital and announces that her sister shot her. I’m really glad Helena is still around; she is fascinating and feral and vulnerable and terrifying.

Other interesting points in this episode include Sarah giving a measure of trust to Detective Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard), who is trying to help and protect her – maybe. Her decision to be honest with him will have future consequences. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is still Sarah’s mainstay, even when he’s high and dressed in nothing but chaps. Alison is doing community theater and we see her in a song and dance routine. We don’t see anything of Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) in this episode. Too bad, because she adds a degree of mystery to the plot. Making up for the missing Mrs. S, we do get a lot of Detective Angela Deangelis (Inga Cadranel) as compensation.

A powerful start for season 2. Every moment is electric.

Alison and Her Musical Muse

Enjoy this photo from Orphan Black, which refers to Alison’s community theater performance as well as to Felix’s 4 AM visit to Allison’s place in search of a gun for Sarah.