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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Orphan Black S2E3: Mingling Its Own Nature With It.

Orphan Black
S2E3: Mingling Its Own Nature With It.

So, you know who I wasn't expecting to see in this episode?

Daario Naharis.

We'll get to him.

Anyway, so we left off our second episode with Sarah, Felix and Kira on their way to Costa-Rica-I-thought-but-then-today-they-seem-to-just-be-in-the-Canadian-countryside; Alison slowly having a mental breakdown while gearing up for her musical; Cosima slowly having a much more physical breakdown while gearing up for flirting with her girlfriend; and Helena in the rather suspect care of religious extremists who want to impregnate her.

I think that just about covers everything.

This episode feels much less evenly spread than the two that preceded it. That might all be in my imagination: Certainly each of the clones get scenes, and they all get plot movement, which is important for a serialised story and which several of the serialised stories I'm watching right now seem to have forgotten about. But it feels like this episode was very focused on Sarah: Which is no bad thing, she is the main character, after all.

Sarah, Felix and Kira enjoy a spot of rather poorly executed shoplifting (Jesus, people, you're professional criminals and you call that shoplifting? I am ashamed. Dishonour on you, Sarah Manning. Dishonour on your cow) before making their way to a charming, deserted log cabin. Seems like a reasonable enough plan: After all, if it's a holiday cabin, then the owners might not be back for months and you can get a good night's sleep.

I mean, that's reasonable, right? Nothing's going to go wrong there.

Damn you, Benedick.
It doesn't work out that way, partly because this is Orphan Black and partly by design. It isn't long before they realise that this log cabin isn't deserted, as its owner, a man Sarah conned in the past, returns home and is less than pleased to see them. He softens up a little when he realises that Kira is his daughter, and reluctantly agrees to let them stay one more day. Sarah is quick to reveal to Felix, when questioned, that she planned this: After the amateurish shoplifting incident, she wanted Kira to have something 'nourishing'.

I would have just gone with some kind of chicken and chorizo sandwich personally, but I … er … Actually, I'm really hungry now.

Anyway. The father and log cabin owner is, as you may have guessed, Michiel Huisman, who also plays Daario Naharis in the other series I have ongoing reviews for, Game of Thrones. Despite the fact that I just saw the man on Monday, it actually took me a moment to recognise him: In fairness, Huisman is not the most distinctive looking man, instead appearing very much like somebody bred James McAvoy and Eoin Macken.

The two fathers and their son. Don't ask me why they all look so miserable.
He is a good actor, though, I'll definitely grant him that, and he does an excellent job as a slightly gruff, very suspicious, but also generally good and upstanding guy here.

Maslany and Huisman have the unenviable task of acting out a believable re-kindling of a romance in less than thirty minutes, but both of them rise to the challenge remarkably well. When their romance eventually culminated towards the three-quarters mark of the episode, it felt quick, but believably so. Some Sarah/Paul shippers will doubtless be unhappy now, but hell, I'm all for Sarah/Daario of the Second Sons. Daenerys can come too. It's all fine.

Sarah observes the mating dance of
Cal's - er, Daario's - people.

Jordan Gavaris also puts in an excellent performance as an angry and bereft Felix who, feeling he has no place in this idyllic Canadian family life, opts instead to leave and return to Toronto to rejoin Alison.

He leaves just in time (relatively speaking) to miss Rachel's goon Daniel arriving, having tracked them through their earlier shoplifting. His attempt to kidnap Kira results in a gunfight in which a police officer is killed, and Cal – sorry, Daario – is left with Kira, while Sarah is abducted instead. It occurs to me that despite Daniel apparently being a hyper-competent Dyad minion, we've never seen him not screw something up. There has been no situation in which he has been given an objective and not in some fashion failed to properly fulfil it. Given how merciless Rachel is, I'm surprised she hasn't fired him or had him killed yet.

Ah, well. Give it an episode or two. She'll get around to it, she's just a busy woman.

But not that busy, Daniel.

Speaking of the Dyad Institute, Cosima and Delphine sneak into Leekie's office, apparently mostly for kicks, in what might be the funniest scene in the episode, involving Cosima doing a frankly excellent Leekie impression. It turns out Delphine wants to show Cosima a set of vlogs by another clone, the first one to be diagnosed with the Mysterious Clone Respiratory Illness, who it is revealed died a few days earlier.

It isn't long until Cosima and Delphine are doing an autopsy on the poor woman – er, in a separate scene, they're not cutting her up on Leekie's desk or anything – where it is revealed that the Mysterious Clone Respiratory Illness may start in the uterus, which Cosima speculates is why all of them bar Sarah (and possibly Helena) are infertile. Given that we know for a fact that Alison is infertile, this doesn't bode well for her not shortly contracting the illness.

I don't really know what to think of Delphine right now. While she seems to genuinely care about Cosima, there are moments of sharpness that suggest that it may all be an act – and she is, after all, employed by the Dyad Institute, who are not the most trustworthy people to ever live by a long shot.

During the autopsy, Cosima does get a call from Alison, though, who attempts to convince her with very little success that Delphine isn't trustworthy. How does she know this? Well, the Dyad Institute has just assigned her a second monitor.

They haven't, though. In Alison's storyline, we see a dress rehearsal of Dramatic Irony: The Musical, in which Alison is slowly starting to crack under the pressure. As she leaves, she's approached by Angie, who acts in the most suspicious way possible around her. Naturally, Angie isn't a Dyad monitor – as we know, because we've seen her before being omnidirectionally angry, she's a police detective. Not, it would seem from this scene, a very good one, because I don't think approaching the woman you want to give you information and behaving like a serial killer is taught at any police academy in the world.

Angie apparently graduated from the same police academy
as Jack Crawford, Terui Ryu, and Dirty Harry.

We finally get to see Alison's musical, and to be fair, it doesn't go as badly as we might have thought. I mean, she overdoses on drugs and alcohol and collapses, but given everything that's been going on, there were far worse options: Suicide on stage, possibly. Confessing that she's guilty of manslaughter to an auditorium full of people. Attacking her husband/monitor. Alison's behaviour has been so volatile, and her storyline such a self-destructive spiral leading to this point that frankly, I was relieved that she 'only' overdosed, as awful as that sounds.

That might change next episode when we discover the extent of the damage.

Helena, meanwhile, continues to be the captive of the Creepy Farmhouse Proletheans. Creepy Redhead Prolethean doesn't seem to like her much, for reasons to do with her possibly not having a soul, while Goggle-Eyed Young Prolethean and Elderly Cowboy Prolethean are both quite enamoured with her.

There's not a gigantic amount to say about Helena's section in the story. She spends most of it unconscious, and it comprises both the least meaty and the least important part of the episode. It ends on a very creepy note, as an obviously-in-pain and only half conscious Helena is symbolically wed to Elderly Cowboy Prolethean, who then carries her to a room we don't see for – well, I shudder to think what nefarious purposes, given that he's expressed an interest in her fertility before this.

If this picture doesn't make you squirm, then you've more
fortitude than I.

Throughout the entire, rather uncomfortable scene, during which he repeatedly leans close to and touches Helena, I was deeply hoping she would just tear out his throat with her teeth or something equally violent. It's not as if she doesn't have form for it.

Alas, no such luck.

I'm looking forward to the next episode, though, when Art the Chronically Underused Detective This Series will be tangling with the Creepy Farmhouse Proletheans, and Sarah and Daniel will be – I don't know, actually. 

Nothing happy and joyous, that's for sure. 

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