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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Orphan Black S2E9: Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done.

Orphan Black.
S2E9: Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done.

Penultimate episode! Someone made a remark – on tumblr, I believe – that pretty much perfectly sums up why I find these recaps so exhausting to write. Every Orphan Black episode is like a series finale from any other series. There's a density of plot which makes every episode stunning to watch, but makes recapping it in one and a half thousand words surprisingly difficult.

When we left off last episode, Alison and Donnie were working together to deal with Leekie's body, Ethan Duncan had returned to Dyad and was endeavouring to save Cosima's life (whose condition had drastically worsened), Rachel was in charge of Dyad, and Helena hadn't been seen for an episode or two. A lot of the viewpoints overlap in this episode – Cosima, Sarah, and Rachel are essentially all sharing a storyline that makes up the main thrust of the episode, so I'll get to their stuff last.

Alison and Donnie are still dealing with Leekie's body, which, to be honest, I probably should find more interesting than I do. Alison has always been a little detached from the main plot of Orphan Black, which I'm not sure works in her favour – and this particular storyline isn't helped by the fact that I don't like Donnie, and I don't like Vic, both of whom feature heavily in her storyline in this episode. 

Anyway, they decide to bury him in the garage, and set about clearing a grave for him. Before long, Vic arrives, snooping around for information on behalf of Angela, who remains the worst detective on the Toronto Police Force. Vic eventually finds himself held at gunpoint by Donnie, who then takes him back to Angela's van, warns them that he will bury them if they keep pushing (not an idle threat, as if they did keep pushing, Dyad would probably quickly step in), takes a picture of them, and then leaves.

It's supposed to show Donnie's evolution into a more competent husband who is, in a way, a better match for Alison and fits better into her absurdist black comedy life, and it works. They finish up burying Leekie and sealing him beneath concrete, seal the deal by having sex on a freezer, in the second most disturbing moment of this episode, because Donnie's naked rear end flailing in the wind like the neck of a giraffe mid-battle was not on my list of things to see that day.

Although apparently it was on Alison's.

While this is going on, Helena has arrived back at the Prolethean commune, where she has her fertilised eggs implanted back into her. Things swiftly start to go – wronger, I suppose, since she's in a tremendously creepy situation at the moment anyway, when she's taken to the daycare they have. 'Come stay here and look around any time!' Midwife/Daycare Lady tells her. 'We will raise your Pokemon's level for you!'

Helena gets along well with the children, because children adore her, but as she's leaving she sees the Midwife/Daycare Lady slap one of the children, scolding her harshly for not immediately obeying her and going to nap. Once the child (although not Gracie, who is rather shocked) is out of sight, Helena pushes the Midwife/Daycare Lady up against the wall and threatens her – and as we know, idle threats aren't really Helena's thing. She's a Murder Wizard. She will kill you until you are dead if you give her reason to.

Things take an even more sour turn later, when Helena and Gracie are in their – room? Ward? It seems to be a kind of holding pen/surgical ward for the women that Creepy Prolethean Dude is implanting with his and Helena's children. Helena apparently hasn't realised that Gracie is pregnant with her own father's children, or that said father is, genetically speaking, the father of the children Helena is pregnant with.

Other Creepy Prolethean Dude – I need better names for these people. Prolethean Steve, who is apparently the Prolethean version of Paul, arrives and tries to placate Gracie. She's not having any of it. Later, her and Helena try to escape, only to be caught by Creepy Prolethean Dude, who apparently hasn't gotten the memo about Helena. He knocks her down, apparently not realising that she has Wolverine's healing factor, and locks Gracie up. Prolethean Steve interrupts them, and as Helena arises and starts choking Creepy Prolethean Dude into unconsciousness, she tells Steve and Gracie to flee, which they do.

When Creepy Prolethean Dude awakens, he's in the stirrups that Helena was in earlier, with her preparing the massive doom syringe he's used on her a few times now. There are shots of a cannister of liquid nitrogen, which suggests this may end even more poorly for him than one might originally suspect. He demands she lets him go, saying her children will need their father, because apparently he hasn't realised that he's talking to Helena the Murder Wizard. This is her thing. You are not going to get out of this alive, man.

That's now how you smoke a pipe, Helena.
Helena jams the needle into – well. Um. It's not entirely clear where, but I'm pretty sure 'into his urethra' is a good bet, and turns on the machine. As she leaves the commune, she looks back at it burning to the ground with everyone inside.

This. This is the moment I've been waiting for. Helena turning around, going 'Nah, bored of being taken advantage of now' and demonstrating all the sorcerous murder powers she displayed in the first series, and she did not disappoint. I presume we won't be seeing Creepy Prolethean Dude again, but who knows? When I googled 'Survival rates of having liquid nitrogen pumped into your genitals', everything I got was just weird.

If you're reading this, and you have personal experience of how survivable this is, maybe – maybe don't leave a comment. Maybe don't do that. 

Over with our remaining three intrepid heroes, Delphine, under the urging of the newer and gentler Rachel, appeals to Sarah and Mrs. S to let Kira give a bone marrow transplant to save Cosima. Both are torn on the subject, but as Mrs. S points out, the decision is really Kira's. Kira chooses to do it, and Mrs. S contracts a private paediatrician that she knows to do the surgery. 

Poor Delphine.

Meanwhile, things are heating up at Dyad. A rather vexed Ethan Duncan, who wins this episode's prize for best line when, faced with an irritating Dyad admin who claims he's there to help, snaps 'Really? Where did you get your genetics degree from?' Ethan has swiftly overtaken Rachel as my favourite character, which I think essentially makes me a Duncan Family Fan. Ethan gives them the key to start decrypting the data on the Mysterious Clone Uterine Disease, and explains to Cosima that it had been his wife's idea: They hadn't realised the disease would spread and threaten their lives, and it had seemed at the time to be the least invasive way to ensure the clones were all infertile.

When the Dyad admin asks when the rest of the data can be encoded, Ethan calmly informs him that each separate topic has a different key, and that while he intends to correct his mistake and cure Cosima, he's not going to give them the data to simply perpetuate the experiment. 

Waving my tiny Duncan Family flag.

Rachel, meanwhile – she's not doing great. She has a brief discussion with Evil Team Rocket Boss, who remarks upon how Leekie certainly filled a room, and who again alludes to the fact that Sarah is a problem. She also goes to what can I only describe as an evil home mini-cinema, where she sips an evil martini and has a nervous breakdown while watching home videos of her childhood, alternately laughing and crying.

When she's done, she berates herself for being stupid, and puts on a video of Kira. As she watches, she dons a leather coat identical to Sarah's, and suddenly everyone is moderately terrified of what's going to happen. With good reason, too: This is Orphan Black, after all. Rarely do things ever end well.

Kira has her operation, with a distraught Sarah watching, and Delphine delivers the marrow samples to Rachel. While there, though, she accidentally catches a glimpse of Rachel's computer, and sees that one of Mrs. S's associates, Death from Supernatural, has been turned to Rachel's side, and might be intending to kidnap Kira. 

Aw, look at them all sweet and concerned. Your sorrows have
barely begun.

She rushes to warn Sarah – thus also single-handedly convincing me that Delphine is not, in fact, evil and is just what she appears to be, which is a relief – and a moment later we see Sarah striding through the clinic, telling Mrs. S to seal the elevators, because Dyad is going to make a move. I thought I caught a glimpse of Rachel's accent coming through here, so I was rather gleeful when it turned out to indeed be Rachel in disguise as Sarah, with the original Sarah returning a moment later to find Felix drugged and Kira gone.

(Once again, Tatiana Maslany has to be praised for not only being able to play at least six different characters, but also able to convincingly act those characters pretending to be other characters played by her.)

Kira awakens in an unnervingly bright room – it's all white and pink and soft, pastel shades, and I hadn't realised until this point just how little those colours ever show up in Orphan Black. Rachel attempts, rather stiffly, to comfort her, saying she'll grow used to it there and that, like her, she may even grow to like it.

… Dude.

What on earth did Leekie do to you?

The preview for the next episode shows strife between Sarah and Mrs. S, Delphine butting heads with Rachel, and Sarah's unconditional surrender. I can only presume we'll also see the triumphant return of Helena, Cal, Art, and maybe Tony and Paul. 

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