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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Orphan Black S2E4: Governed as It Were by Chance.

Orphan Black
S2E4: Governed as It Were by Chance.

You know, I thought it might be Cal driving the Massive Truck of Death at the end of the last episode, but I dismissed it because I thought 'no, how would he even get to them from that angle, he'd have to get into his truck after they were out of sight, start it up, circle around back roads and predict where they were going to be, and then attack them from the side, and I can't even chase somebody in a straight line on LA Noire'.

The first thing we learn in this episode is that, no, it really was him driving that truck, which makes me instantly not trust him. The man clearly has mystical powers of autovehicular teleportation.

I don't trust your foul sorcery, Cal. 

Throughout Sarah's storyline this episode (which is the main storyline, with Cosima having almost no scenes that don't tie into it, Rachel having no scenes at all, and Helena's storyline eventually converging with it at the end of the episode), Cal keeps dropping hints that he's not trustworthy. He seems abnormally adept at evading the law, and oddly interested in who's hunting Sarah – the last time we saw somebody with an unusual skill set for who she claimed she was, it was Mrs. S, and she definitely turned out not to be trustworthy.

So Sarah, Cal and Kira are on the run from the police, their domestic bliss having been shattered by Daniel and his no-good murderin' ways. Luckily, they have access to a caravan with an internet connection, so as they travel they can stop and Sarah can contact Cosima to ask her about Project Leda. It leads into the discussion on Leda and the swan I've been waiting for, although Cosima actually gets the story wrong, saying that Leda gives birth to demigod twins – Leda actually gives birth to two eggs, from which hatch two sets of twins, two of which are demigods and two of which are human, two of which are the children of Zeus and two of which are the children of her husband Tyndareus. It's never made clear which of the children are Zeus', which are Tyndareus', which are human, and which are demigods, save that Helen – best known as Helen of Troy – is one of the demigods.

Cosima: Great at science, less great at mythology.

No, I still won't show That Painting on this blog. Watch Hannibal if you want to see it.

Cosima does point out that the only people who tend to go for ridiculous overblown mythology references for their projects are the military, though, and that was pretty nice.

It isn't long until Sarah decides that she has to find Mrs. S, and that means going back to Toronto. The geography of this episode is really confusing, as Sarah and Cal seem to be able to get back from wherever in Canada they are back to Toronto in a matter of mere hours, whereas it seemed to take Sarah and Felix at least twenty-four hours, maybe more, to make the same journey the other way around. More evidence of Cal having autovehicular teleportation powers, I suppose.

Upon her return to Toronto, Sarah leaves Kira with Cal (which seems like a poor idea, the man is pretty but clearly evil) and goes to talk to Felix. While Cosima took the award for best line of the episode last week (“Great scott, I've created life itself!”), Felix takes it here, describing Cosima and Delphine's relationship as a 'transgressive lesbian geekspiral that will only end in tears.' It's funny and accurate.

You know it's true, too, Delphine, you - you rake.

While all of this is going on, we see that Alison has woken up in rehab, which she at first confuses for the Dyad Institute, because Alison seems a bit preoccupied with the idea that this shadowy omnipresent organisation of evil being shadowy and omnipresent. At Felix's suggestion, she agrees to stay for a week, but a meeting with Donnie later – which the woman who runs the rehab doesn't seem to have any problem with despite Alison saying that she doesn't want to talk to him, which seems like a shoddy way to run your rehab centre, lady – reveals that if she doesn't stay for the full course of treatment, he's legally entitled to take her kids away.

Which – okay, what's your game, Donnie? You're her monitor, sure, but you can't monitor her in rehab. She is unmonitorable by you. If you take her children away, then she has no reason to stay with you, and you still won't be able to monitor her. Alison surely holds all of the cards in this situation, because you need her, and she doesn't need you. It's not as if you're a master strategist, Donnie, I'm pretty confident she could outsmart you if she tried.

It's a really confusing move for him to make, is what I'm saying.

Mrs. S, meanwhile, is going on a superspy trip, prying the location of a former associate out of her lackey and then meeting said associate in a bar. The associate is a rather well-preserved fellow named Carlton, and after a passionate just-outside-the-loos dalliance, they settle down to talk business: The business in question being cryptic remarks, apparently. We don't really learn anything new here, just that Mrs. S feels compelled to speak in ominous, cryptic statements even when she's talking to people who already know plenty about what's going on.

It's a nice set of scenes, though, if only because Mrs. S as a femme fatale superspy is awesome, and Kennedy puts on an excellent performance.

Mrs. S are you drinking Guinness? Have you no taste?

Helena, meanwhile, escapes the Creepy Farmhouse Proletheans, in part due to Gracie acting like a fool (she describes Ukrainian as 'gibberish', were you raised in a barn, girl?) and partly due to Art, who has been hanging around taking photographs, stalling for her using the awesome power of gun control laws, prompting about forty-five percent of the audience watching in the US to scream at their televisions for about ten minutes and then cry for another thirty.

An artistic representation of the beneath-Mason-Dixon Line

It was a dark time.

If you're wondering why I briefly broke away from talking about Sarah's story to go over every other story, this is why – because Helena's story directly intersects with Sarah's in this episode, which after four episodes of each character having mostly separate storylines (although the show hasn't suffered for it at all), is rather nice.

Leaving Felix, Sarah heads to Rachel's hotel suite, using an excellent impression of her – and I've mentioned before my great love of the clones doing impersonations of each other in this show, so it should come as no surprise that I adored that – to gain access and search around. It's a really interesting scene, as Cosima's psychological profile of Rachel and her speculations as to her childhood are contrasted with a very warm, very normal family video that Sarah is watching.

The arrival of a not-as-dead-as-previously-expected Daniel interrupts that, and Sarah realises that he's Rachel's monitor, which I thought was a pretty big plot twist, personally. The show has been priming us to see Rachel as an arch-manipulator calling all of the shots, but the revelation that she has a monitor as well places her squarely in the category of being just as much a victim of the Dyad Institute's mad science as any of the other clones.

Since Rachel has very quickly become my favourite character, I like the character development she was given in this episode. I'm impressed by it, too – it's not necessarily easy to give character development to a character while having them never actually physically appear, but the show handles it masterfully, using people's reactions to her and her belongings and living conditions to display truths about who she is as a person.

Gratifyingly, Daniel's flirtation with life doesn't last long, as he knocks Sarah out and ties her up, intending to torture her with a razor – only to be murdered by Helena. I was pleased. It's been far too long since Helena's brutally killed someone.

Sarah reacts much like you would upon seeing your psychopathic assassin sister who you thought was dead show up in a bloody wedding dress while you're tied up. She asks if Helena is reminded of a Marvel character.

Actually, Sarah was thinking of Sabretooth,
but nice try, me.

Actually, she screams and cries, which I'd say is a pretty normal reaction. Helena doesn't seem to have any desire to hurt Sarah, although it's always a toss-up with her, and instead asks for her help, as the Proletheans have taken something from her. Cutting back to the Proletheans, we get to see what that was: Gametes, or at least a gamete, which is now growing into a whole new child.

Creepy gits. 

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