Orphan Black: Mingling its Own Nature With It review

Veteran of the myriad Stargate series, Alex Levine writes this week’s road trip episode of Orphan Black, and it's all about family.

Felix, Sarah, and Kira, are on the run, but finally together. After last season’s constant search for Kira, Sarah is enjoying the getaway as much as one can while being chased by law enforcement and a psychotic religious cult.  Sarah and Felix are no strangers to survival and run a con using Kira as a distraction that allows Felix’s to shop lift food. Even after all the madness Sarah has endured, she is able to slip right back into the role of a thief, not a far cry from the woman who masqueraded as Beth last season as part of the long con that put Sarah into the position she is in now.

This modern Sarah, though, has a moral compass and teaches Kira a bit of right and wrong, and that cons are immoral unless one is on the run from either super secret religious killers or science cults. On the road with Kira, Sarah appears to be happy for the first time. It’s as if these moments are a reward for what Sarah endured in the first season.

Acting as a counterpoint to Sarah’s happiness is Helena who has become nothing more than breeding stock to the Prometheans. If the theme of this episode is family, than Helena has a profaned version of this family. She is cared for by a sweet little girl named Gracie on the Promethean farm, but Helena is nothing more than a prisoner whose womb is the only thing the twisted cult values. Sarah is enjoying her family while Helena could be forced into creating one of her own, one that will be controlled by a cult not afraid to shed blood to insure their family grows.

On the road, Sarah is discovering it’s hard to be a mom, but super mom clone Alison must vacuum while fending off the clumsy sexual advances of her just about estranged husband Donnie. He’s about at competent at romance as he is at espionage. From Alison avoiding romance to Cosima embracing it, the sexiest science clone in creation is still trying to find a cure to whatever disease is killing her. Girlfriend Delphine gifts Cosima with a video diary and through this diary, a new clone enters the fray, Jennifer, a teacher, who is documenting her battle with lung polyps.

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Cosima is trying to build a family unit with Delphine while Sarah searches for a dwelling of her own. The house Sarah and her fam are crashing in belongs to one of Sarah’s former marks. Sarah’s past is a constant story engine, a place for writers like Mr. Stargate Alex Levine to visit and find story elements for Sarah’s present drama. Well, this week Levine pulls out a doozy as we meet Cal, a man who had been caught up in Sarah’s drama once and does not want to be conned again. Sarah is willing to leave the justifiably angry Cal, but Kira shows her innate perception by figuring out that Cal is, wait for it now, her father.

Let’s take a moment to absorb this. Sarah has run into the arms of a man who she knows to be the father of Kira. A man she has denied existed till this point. Sarah must really feel the urge to stop running and provide Kira a life where she doesn’t have to steal and lie to survive. Cal seems to be a good guy and lets Sarah stay for Kira’s sake. Felix plays the role of concerned uncle and says he has no place with this new dynamic and leaves to join Alison. Ah, the clarion lore of the theatre.

Familial drama too intense? Well (say it with us) it’s community theatre time! After her (ahem) rather brilliant performance, Alison runs into Art’s partner. Angie disguised herself as a fellow pony tailed ‘burb bubblehead who tricks Alison into letting her use her phone. The always cunning Alison sees through the ruse, but now thinks Angie is a new watcher. Angie did have the suburban bubble head thing down, we’ll give her that, but our little brilliant thespian Alison saw right through it. Armed with her new erroneous knowledge, Alison reports there are new monitors about to Cosima and that Cosima shouldn’t trust Delphine. Cosima is almost drowning in the drama, clone cancer and her lover may be totally false, but Alison has a play, dammit, and that takes precedence!

Cosima must absorb all this while searching for answers to her own health dilemma in the video diary. Somehow, Tatiana Maslany finds fresh nuances to play yet another clone, In the few glimpses of Jennifer, we see a woman rapidly dying, and the scenes, brief as they are, have a powerful impact as Maslany allows Jennifer a vulnerability that the other clones haven’t displayed thus far. The whole thing is heartbreaking and really well done as somehow the episode makes us care about Jennifer in just two small scenes. The diary isn’t the only part of poor Jennifer that Delphine possesses, she also has the dead teacher’s cadaver and, this can’t be good for the mental health, Cosima must essentially autopsy herself.

Finally, it’s curtain time, as Alison’s play Blood Ties opens. Sadly, the guilt over Aynsley’s death causes poor Alison to go on stage drunk as a skunk and plunge right off the boards at Donne’s feet. Boy, Alison’s show ended with a bigger disastrous thud than Almost Human (oh, stop). At least Felix is there to pick up the pieces. It’s funny how something as meaningless as bad community theatre can take on such a central role in the show because, really, it’s the only thing that the unraveling Alison has, and now she has made it a mockery.

Sarah is nominated for the Laurie Grimes memorial negligent mom of the year award as she allows Kira to wander the grounds by herself. Yeah, half the world is hunting you, a religious cult and a crazed research company is dogging your every step, so yeah, honey, go feed the chickens. Not a very Sarah moment, maybe she was mesmerized by Cal’s beard, it is pretty epic, but this moment does not ring true for the pragmatic Sarah…she pays for it, as Kira and Sarah are forcibely taken by the Dyad security head.

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Things end all freaky as the as head Promethean zealot Henry marries a drugged and bed ridden Helena with his congregation watching. With Helena drugged, in a wedding gown, Henry carries her over the threshold, into a laboratory to engage in ushering the next evolution of Prometheans into the world through…Helena’s enhanced and now violated womb? Excuse me, I need to shower. Sarah sought comfort in the arms of a would-be father to her offspring while poor Helena is being forced to procreated in a twisted wedding ceremony that will result in a laboratory consummation while Cosima is literally tearing herself apart and Alison has laid a musical egg.

The episode ends with Sara and her kidnapper being plowed by a speeding car, so things don’t seem to be getting better for anyone.

The good:

– Felix’s loyalty to Alison

– Tatiana Maslany’s constant range, particularly her brief outing as Jennifer

– The surprising introduction of Cal.

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The bad:

– The plot conveyance of all of a sudden having Sarah suck as a mom so Kira could be almost kidnapped.

The ugly:

– Drunken musicals.

– Forced marriage and procreation. Helena needs to start tearing shit up, and soon.

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3.5 out of 5