20 Years After Buffy, What’s to Watch?

We all celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week. What can you watch now that compares? I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. I’d love to hear about them in the comments. I’ll mention three of my favorites. Continue reading “20 Years After Buffy, What’s to Watch?”

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 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”