Orphan Black Review by Henry Tran

Orphan Black 2.01: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

Orphan Black 2.01: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

Written By:
Graeme Manson
Directed By:
John Fawcett

The only thing I remember from last season's finale was the fact that Kira was kidnapped by someone. So it's a testament to this season's premiere ability to jump right back into the story and keep up the intensity and momentum all the way through. That proves crucial to the story conceit, which is that Kira was taken by "pro clone" Rachel for testing by the Dyad Institute.

The majority of the episode plays this out (as it is the logical action in Sarah's mind) until it drops the hammer twist at the end. The world of Orphan Black is proving much more dangerous than previously thought. Although that danger is unlikely to relent, Sarah is more apt to act like an unpredictable variable that will have a big influence on the results of an experiment. If the interested parties can't get her under control, they may be in for a world of hurt later on.

Sarah starts out the episode, naturally, on the run to hunt for her missing daughter. She stumbles into the shadiest-looking diner ever seen to order a cup of tea when two mysterious men enter as well. It's clear they're not to be trusted, yet there's the question as to who they would be working for. Immediate paranoia would suggest the Dyad Institute has sent these men to collect Sarah for questioning and/or testing.

It takes some daring for Sarah to escape, with her improvisation of bashing a hole in the bathroom wall to squeeze through. The whole episode for her is like that. At times, she knows what she wants and what she's doing. Most of that involves trying to get a single gun from Allison to protect herself against Rachel. There are other times where she seems to be making things up on the fly.

There's the real sense that she can pull this off despite overwhelming odds due to the unlikely support system she has. First, it's Felix, whose location in a night club provides her with an untraceable phone that she casually takes from an innocent patron. Felix connects to Allison, who's off doing community theatre in a bit that adds levity to the entire situation, which provides Sarah with a gun source through her "friend" Ramon. Later, when it looks like the men from the diner have a bead on her, she again casually takes a boy's phone to use. She's productive and resilient when the need is there.

However, there are elements of the outside world that are actively working against her. Last season, it seemed like Art and his investigation into the clones dropped from sight at random times. I'm actually interested to see where this is going now, primarily because Art largely looks befuddled that there could be multiple women running around looking like his former partner Beth. That he continues to look into Maggie Chen should factor into future storylines. He could easily end up working with Sarah to figure all of this out.

Sarah will need all the help she can get because this is a puzzle that has a bunch of moving pieces just waiting to show the bigger picture. The Dyad Institute seems to be running with its bluff, which Sarah calls when she faces off with Rachel. Rachel thinks she has control of the situation but Sarah proves her wrong when she shoots one bullet off then knocks out the pro clone. Dyad seems only interested in figuring out how Sarah was able to conceive and Kira is a distant second priority. They want to exert more and more control over the clones, one of which is running out of time with a mysterious illness (Cosima). 

The big plot twist is that Helena is still alive despite being shot by Sarah! The Proletheans turn out to really be the ones who kidnapped Kira and sent the men to collect Sarah at the beginning. This turn of events suggests that the Proletheans will loom largely over the events of this season. The war between the Proletheans and the Dyad Institute continues, with the clones caught in the middle as the prize, and Sarah is leading the way there. It promises to be something much more complicated than initially thought.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The final twist is completely unexpected
  • Jumps back into the story cleanly
  • Tatiana Maslany remains incredible
The Bad:
  • Newcomers should just start at the beginning

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Orphan Black by - 4/21/2014 4:02 PM286 views

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