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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Orphan Black S2E2: Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion.

Orphan Black.
S2E2: Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion.

Man, I'm glad the preview refreshed our memory about Mrs. S and the Project Leda photo. I had completely forgotten about that. The Leda the project is referring to is, I assume, Leda of Leda and the Swan, most recently seen as a tasteless painting hanging in Hannibal Lecter's office. There will be no demonstrative picture of that painting in this post. There will never be a demonstrative picture of that painting on this blog. In mythology, Leda was a queen of Sparta, seduced by Zeus in the guise of a swan, who later gave birth to two eggs which hatched into Helen (eheh) of Troy, Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux.

What this has to do with clones, it's – difficult to say, but the Rule of Television Scientific Projects means that there's definitely some connection.

When we left our intrepid heroine, she had just assaulted Rachel and found out that the Proletheans were her daughter's kidnappers, and her evil religious twinclone was demonstrating her not dying skills that she may or may not have cribbed off a comic book character.

I was actually thinking of Wolverine, but nice
try, me.

She should be dead!” One doctor declares, because that's always a comforting thing to hear from your doctor. I myself visited my GP just this morning, and as I opened his door he screamed that in my face and then threw a live cat at me. I was quite alarmed at the time.

The episode is divided up between the four clones, who don't really interact at all in this episode – in fact, the only character who shows up in multiple storylines is Felix, who acts as moral support for both Alison (who has realised at her former best friend's funeral that said best friend was not an evil monitor evilly monitoring her, and that thus letting her die was a poorly calculated decision at best), and Sarah (who is still missing her daughter, and when she last went to rescue her ended up with a brusque police detective instead).

My other ongoing review series is for Game of Thrones right now – also a doozy for multiple viewpoints – and I've groused before about how sometimes a character's storyline in an episode doesn't advance the plot at all. Orphan Black has not yet fallen prey to this: Even Cosima's storyline, which arguably has the least time spent on it, gives us a view into Rachel's character and sets Cosima up as now working reluctantly for one of the many evil factions, having joined the Dyad Institute so that she can study a cure for the Mysterious Clone Respiratory Issues and/or have her own space in which she and Delphine can utilise 'science' as a metaphor for 'sex'.

(Actual, seductively purred line from this episode: 'I just want to make crazy science with you.')

Delphine, you - you cad.

Rachel, incidentally, is rapidly becoming my favourite character. She's so – sharp. She draws your attention in a scene just by being cold, clipped and business-like. She's not a very nice person, that's for sure, but then she wouldn't be as interesting if she was.

Alison, meanwhile, does not seem to realise that her life is becoming steadily more ominous. She's learned that she accidentally permitted the death of the wrong person, sure. What she hasn't noticed yet is that she's in a musical that horribly mirrors her own life, and that that's never a good sign. I groaned out loud when the Friendly Helpful Lady From The Funeral showed up as a Friendly Helpful Lady In The Musical. It's just another layer on the 'terrible things are going to happen to you' cake of darkly comedic foreshadowing.

Alison's antics are again comic relief, including her successful ploy to reveal her husband as her monitor. Once again, though, it's not laugh-out-loud comedy, so much as it is dark, awkward comedy.

Helena's storyline, meanwhile, doesn't really focus on Helena at all. She's asleep for pretty much all of it. Instead, it re-introduces us to her wacky religious fundamentalist handlers, and a commune of Proletheans who live on a farm, raise their own cattle, and live as a wholesome creepy family. I don't know what it is about American (or in this case, Canadian) farmsteads that now make me automatically think 'pure evil'. Possibly it's because they're considered so idyllic in America that every horror director in North America has used them to create scary cognitive dissonance, and now they're not idyllic anymore, they're just terrifying.

The barn is filled with dead bodies, and the guest bedroom
has Cthulhu in it.

This farmstead is no exception, as its Prolethean patriarch casually asks Helena's handler if he's considered trying to impregnate her, and then has the man killed with what I think was a power drill, but could have been a nail gun. There was blood involved. That's really all I need to know for the purposes of this review.

The bulk of the plot, though, is in Sarah's storyline – as well it might be, her being the main character and all. Hot on Kira's trail, a phonecall from the girl takes Sarah to a motel, where Death from Supernatural promptly kidnaps her and delivers her to … Mrs. S, in a plot twist I did not see coming.

As it turns out, neither the Dyad Institute nor the Proletheans were behind the abduction: Mrs. S staged it to get Kira to safety. Having been holed up in an idyllic woodland house (which is very nearly as bad as an idyllic farmstead) with some of her anti-establishment activist friends, she now plans to take Kira back to the UK for safety. Sarah's quick to ask about the Project Leda photograph, and Mrs. S is equally quick to deny everything.

It's about as convincing to Sarah as it is to the audience – and, for that matter, to Kira, who despite being about six years old can figure out in a heartbeat that there is something not right here, and I have no trouble buying that. “Yes, we are anti-establishment activists from the punk rock era,” Mrs. S says, swinging by when we're attempting to eat our morning porridge. “That is why we are heavily armed, own secluded real estate, and have enough connections to organise new identities for two people and their clandestine passage to another country.”

"I didn't really a - ..." "SO UNSUSPICIOUS."

In a twist that will surprise absolutely nobody who has consumed a piece of fiction before in their life, Mrs. S's two friends/colleagues turn out to be evil and allied with the Proletheans, a fact they are forced to reveal when Sarah and Kira attempt to escape. Mrs. S kills the man and lets Sarah go, before returning to the woman.

What are they?” The woman asks.

Mrs. S pauses. “Hang on,” she says slowly. “Did you ask the Proletheans this and they refused to tell you and you just took the money anyway, or did the question genuinely not cross your mind until after you had betrayed me, attempted to sell off an innocent child, and I had pinned both your hands to a table with sharp objects and murdered your son?”

The woman looks shifty. “Well, I … I … um ...”

"Oh good lord, my friends are idiots."

Okay, she actually says that they're Project Leda (no, but seriously, why Leda? I'm dying to know) and kills the woman.

With that done, Sarah, Kira and Felix set off for Costa Rica, abandoning Alison to her impending mental breakdown. I bet they don't even reach the airport. I would place more money on a giant wolf devouring the airport than I would on them reaching a plane that then successfully takes off and lands in Costa Rica.

Or maybe a giant swan?

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