Orphan Black Review by Henry Tran

Orphan Black 2.05: Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est

Orphan Black 2.05: Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est

Written By:
Tony Elliott
Directed By:
Helen Shaver

If it wasn't already apparent by now, it should be reiterated here: Helena is one scary person. She did save Sarah from Daniel in Rachel's apartment suite but that happened so suddenly that it didn't really process. Here, she's proving once again what a force to be reckoned with. She even has a symbol for herself that she regularly draws now. It's made all the more unsettling by the fact that she usually draws it in blood.

Anyway, this episode shows that Helena needs to be creating this chaos to drive the plot. Instead of being stuck on the Prolethean farm to advance their twisted agenda. Though her absence does invite the even more twisted possibility of Gracie carrying the clone child inside her. I really don't know what the Proletheans are going to do. That subplot is sticking with the conviction of being as weird as possible. It's completely separated from what is going on with the clones back in the city.

Following Helena is the one pure joy in this show to me. While Sarah is the "lead" character because she is the hero by default, it becomes somewhat tedious at times to see what kind of dangerous situation she can wring herself out of. Helena is just chaos incarnate. Wherever she goes, she becomes the wild card that is able to do anything. Every other character outright fears her. She doesn't have that one thing that tethers her to the world. Sarah has Kira and Felix. Cosima has Delphine and the promise that she can discover the origins of the clones. Alison has her family. There's always the possibility that Helena will just be used and disposed of once that purpose is complete. 

The Proletheans have already done this, violating her by forcefully creating a child out of her DNA. This is on top of the fact that she spent a whole season being a mysterious serial killer, which Art does remind everyone here. So it would be natural for her to go all in on one purpose: To kill Rachel because she represents a real danger to her "sestras." She started the job by killing Daniel -- who turns out to be Rachel's monitor -- and is about to finish it before Sarah speaks of their connection with each other. I think Sarah does recognize that Helena is an unstable force, but there is a part of her that is genuine about their "connection" to each other. She gets Helena to accept that Felix is important to her. That's key because she uses that familial connection, flimsy as it may be, to talk Helena down from killing Rachel. If Rachel dies, Felix is lost to her.

I did find myself questioning if Rachel should die. I can't recall any of the previous episodes exploring her character so thoroughly as this one, but what is there is telling. She's obviously very particular about her possessions and secrets (her subtle placing of the tape from 1991 is an interesting detail). She is fully aware of her place within the experiment conducted by the Dyad Institute. She went so far as to sleep with her monitor, knowingly in full violation of protocol. She likes power, control, and domination, as evidenced by her long "seduction" of Paul at the end of the episode.

She's a threat to the clones, although it's more indirect as opposed to what Helena represents. Rachel is the representation of the "Big Bad" that needs to be taken down. Yet, it's that self-awareness that makes her key to what the other clones are trying to find out about the experiment and Project Lida and the cure to Cosima's illness. She needs to stay alive because the Dyad Institute wants to find out, like Sarah, what makes her different from the others. That's a question to be answered at a later time.

Here, she's not above disposing with people or objects that serve no purpose. She sics Paul on Felix, framing him for a crime and then kidnapping him. Paul does little to fight back against those orders, furthering the notion that he is Rachel's new lap dog. If I was him, I'd stay away from being Rachel's monitor at all costs. At least Dr. Leekie defies her order to get rid of Cosima. The power structure of the Dyad Corporation is unclear here, but that decision could be crucial going forward. It's not that Leekie cares about Cosima as a person. It's more about the fact that he's a scientist who wants to see what happens when the experiment runs its course.

 When that information comes back to Rachel, her reaction is unlikely to be a good one. That would leave Leekie in danger of incurring her wrath. She's ruthless and without morality, which promises nothing but a bloody end. Unless Helena stops her in some way. We just don't know what will happen when it comes down to a crazy variable like "Meathead."

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Helena's chaos drives the plot forward
  • Rachel gets a solid spotlight
The Bad:
  • Paul's assault on Felix

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 - 5/21/2014 7:31 AM299 views

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