Orphan Black Review by Henry Tran

Orphan Black 2.06: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings

Orphan Black 2.06: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings

Written By:
Chris Roberts
Directed By:
Brett Sullivan

I can't decide if it's tragic or disappointing, or even a little of both, that Helena just gives up and goes with Gracie and the Proletheans to be impregnated. She has surprisingly morphed into the show's endlessly watchable character, and it continues here. Her story is deliberately set up so that there is the brief thought that she could find some form of freedom or redemption. Only to have that squashed in the end by her being taken away to "meet her destiny" according to the Proletheans.

She enjoys bonding with her twin sister Sarah over road trip sing-alongs of silly pop songs ("Sugar Sugar" being the only song the Ukrainian nuns played suggests either a lighter past life before all of this clone business or a subtle form of mental torture); Shadow puppets in a camp out sleepover; Chance meeting a stranger at a bar and getting to down shots as well as arm wrestle and dance. It would make for a twisted horror/John Hughes flick if the show didn't have to move on to other things.

It's those other subplots that are becoming a concern. The show has to fill in a backstory that involves decades of time, with mysterious characters coming out of the shadows mostly to function as exposition devices. There is the worry that the show's past will make the entire plot so convoluted that it will invite confusion. But Sarah is determined to find out more about the origins of the Dyad Institute. More than any other clone, she needs to know what her place is in this whole scheme. Judging by her reaction to Andrew Duncan, a man who has become recluse after engaging in identity theft, she's not going to like the answers she gets.

The clones are caught in the middle of a war between various parties that has been raging for a long time now. Leekie has portrayed himself as a victim to Cosima by revealing the fire that destroyed the early version of the Dyad Institute. Duncan claims now that Leekie set the fire himself. The fire killed Duncan's wife, Rachel's mother. It creates the question of whether Rachel knows this fact (and that her father is still alive) or has been kept in the dark so that Leekie can control her somehow.

It would have been better for Sarah to focus on watching Helena wherever they go. Though it would deprive us of viewing the budding romance between Helena and her "boyfriend," Sarah's caution would have prevented her from going back to her default feral killer mode and pouncing on an attacker. If that doesn't happen, she isn't taken to the police station where Gracie and the Prolethean bodyguard can take her back to Henrik's farm to be impregnated.

There's a sense that the clones just aren't in control of their circumstances. The Dyad and Prolethean factions are constantly trying to acquire or observe what the clones are doing. Paul has a pointed conversation with the Prolethean who is stalking Helena in the bar. The content of the conversation indicates that they still regard the clones as objects instead of people. Even as Alison is in rehab, she isn't all that safe. Donnie visits without the kids, and she predictably freaks out. It seems that she can handle Donnie very well, probably because she has the upper hand on him by knowing that he's her monitor as he continues to deny it. What she didn't count on was the surprise presence of Victor. Here's a character that I thought the show had disposed of by the end of last season. That only makes his return all the more effective.

It would make absolute sense that Sarah's addict ex-boyfriend try to reform himself in rehab. There's initial friction because of the clashing personalities (uptight Alison versus crazy junkie Victor), but all that melts away in the delightful scene in the basketball court. Alison doesn't let her guard down very easily so it's assumed that Victor has his work cut out for him. He did get Donnie out of the room quickly so that buys him points with Alison. The rug is then pulled out from under us. The audience is just getting comfortable with this budding friendship, only to find that it's all a ruse. Victor is working with Angie to make sense of the entire situation. It makes perfect sense in the overall picture. Angie lost her connection with Alison when she was put in rehab. Victor already has snippets of information that would hurt Alison as well as the other clones. Alison is unwittingly giving it to him, and he's the outlet to Angie, which means that Alison is effectively telling secrets to Angie.

The episode is full of odd couplings that are being experimented on to find out their effectiveness. Angie and Victor, Art and Felix (who are now forced to be together because it looks like Art is moving in with Felix), even Mrs. S threatening Paul. I would have loved more development between Sarah and Helena because it's now become the best pairing on the show, but they have to return to the creepiness of the Prolethean pregnancy as well as the historical background of the clones now. They better have an effective payoff by the end of the season. Otherwise, this wastes some interesting potential.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Helena's character turns
  • More is revealed about the cloning project
The Bad:
  • The subplots are still very messy

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 - 5/30/2014 6:00 AM236 views

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