Orphan Black season 2 episode 9 review: Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done
Consent is a theme in this week's highly disturbing episode of Orphan Black. Here's Kaci's review...
This review contains spoilers.
2.9 Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done
This week’s episode of Orphan Black is probably one of the most chilling things I’ve ever witnessed, balanced out by the absolute perfection that is Mr and Mrs Hendrix’s Dark Comedy Hour. That’s what I’m calling it, and if the writers want to create a spin-off that’s nothing but Donnie and Allison getting into wacky, deeply disturbing hijinks, I will be there with bells on. They can even have the name, royalty free.
Let’s start with Helena. She allows Henrik to inseminate her with the embryos that he fathered, demonstrating just how little she understands about the process by asking what a cervix is and showing only a rudimentary understanding once it’s been explained to her. Her ignorance of the matter would, at the very least, make any consent she gives to this procedure highly suspect, which is important given two other scenes in this episode, which we’ll get to later.
Despite the fact that he should be satisfied with himself after this, Henrik is not yet done — he’s also decided that, and this is a direct quote, “It’s time for Gracie to bear fruit,” which is just about the creepiest thing I’d ever heard a father say about his daughter. And yet somehow, the episode was not yet done showing me how creepy Henrik is. Because, despite having this conversation with Mark and seeming to want Mark to marry Gracie and have babies with her, we soon find Gracie in the implantation room having the same procedure done on her that Helena had. I wanted so badly to believe that this was all just because the Proletheans don’t believe in sex, or something like that, and so IVF would be the only way they’d accept reproduction. I really wanted to believe that because the alternative seemed far too horrifying. But no.
Rather than implant Gracie with embryos belonging to her and Mark, Henrik decided to knock his own daughter up with embryos that he fathered, and against her consent at that. As Helena quickly notes, women at the Prolethean compound seem to be nothing more than brood mares in Henrik’s eyes. That is, his “mission” is so important that impregnating people that don’t particularly want to be pregnant with embryos they didn’t have any hand in creating is worth the degradation it causes those people. Never trust anyone who believes that what they’re doing is worth other people’s sacrifices. That’s some advice from me to you.
And so Helena finally sees the Proletheans for who they are and decides to run with Gracie in tow. Unfortunately, Henrik is hanging around like the creepster he is and he knocks Helena out before locking Gracie up. It’s Mark to the rescue, who loves Gracie more than he believes in Henrik’s religion, and he rightly calls Henrik out on how horrifying it is that he implanted his own daughter with embryos he fathered. It gives Helena time to get Henrik in a choke hold, and she advises Mark and Gracie to run. They don’t need to be told twice.
Henrik awakes, locked into the same stirrups he’s used on Helena and Gracie, and begs Helena to let him go. In light of the fact that neither Helena nor Gracie could consent to what he did to them, this scene becomes even more disturbing as Helena “replicates” the procedures he performed on them. Call it what you want, but I’m here to tell you flat-out that it’s a rape scene. When someone says “don’t violate my body” and you do it anyway, that is rape, and that’s exactly what happens here. I’m sure in Helena’s mind it was justified, but keep it in perspective because it directly contradicts the earlier scene between Helena and Gracie and one yet to come between Sarah and Kira.
With that accomplished, Helena sets the farm on fire and heads off in search of Sarah, presumably still pregnant with Henrik’s child. In light of what happened between them, I’ll be interested to see if she decides to continue the pregnancy, especially since she seemed okay with the idea of Gracie terminating.
Meanwhile, Sarah is dealing with consent issues of her own. Namely, Kira’s consent to harvest some of her bone marrow in the hopes of helping Cosima. It’s this scene that makes Helena’s rape of Henrik disturb me so much: the writers clearly know about consent and the right to control one’s own body. That much is clear given how much importance is placed on sitting Kira down, explaining the details of the procedure to her in language she can understand, and only moving forward with the plan once Kira gives an unqualified “yes.” In a way, Kira is an unintended “saviour sibling” to Cosima. (Saviour siblings, for those who don’t know, are children conceived, usually via IVF in order to select only the most genetically compatible embryos, solely to serve as donors to their older, sick sibling. They have taken their parents to court on multiple occasions to gain the right to say “no” to these medical procedures being done on them against their will and have, almost to a person, won. Again: consent is a really important theme in this episode, particularly Kira’s.)
Mrs S is able to arrange for Kira to have the procedure done securely, but it just wouldn’t be Orphan Black if Rachel weren’t around to mess things up. She purposefully baits Delphine into thinking that Mrs S’s friend is secretly working for Dyad, and because Delphine really is trying to do this thing ethically and compassionately, she calls Sarah out of the doctor’s building in order to privately warn her. Rachel swoops in, dressed as Sarah, and proceeds to drug Felix (karma for him drugging Vic?) before absconding with Kira right out from under their noses. Considering how powerful Dyad is, it’s actually quite impressive that they managed to keep the poor girl safe for this long.
And, of course, there’s Allison and Donnie, who spend the episode trying to hide Leekie’s body under their garage floor after deciding that dumping him in a lake isn’t the best plan, mostly because they don’t own a boat. These two are a comedy duo on par with the greats.
Unfortunately, Vic shows up to be creepy in their general direction yet again, and this time Donnie is having none of it. He pulls a gun on Vic and threatens to shoot him, despite Vic revealing that Angie is in a van right outside waiting on him. He’s actually sort of terrifying, which is a bizarre thing to say about Donnie Hendrix but apparently murder did wonders for his self-esteem. (“You were bluffing?” “I learn from my mistakes, Allison.” I may have actually gotten chills.)
He then proceeds to follow Vic back to the van, where he threatens Angie quite convincingly before cheerfully taking a photo for evidence and strutting back to the garage to draw a heart in the new concrete. And, as I predicted last week, their adventures have drawn them closer together than ever; Allison proclaims that she’s never been more attracted to him than at that moment, and she and Donnie proceed to have sex on the freezer they temporarily stored Leekie’s body in.
Let’s focus on the Hendrix’s newly happy marriage and their comical escapades, rather than Kira’s kidnapping and Helena’s adventures in non-consent. Much more cheerful and much more likely to ease the tension until next week’s finale.
Read Kaci’s review of the previous episode, Variable And Full Of Peturbation, here.
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