Orphan Black Review by Henry Tran

Orphan Black 2.07: Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things

Orphan Black 2.07: Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things

Written By:
Aubrey Nealon
Directed By:
Ken Girotti

This show thrives on the subtle impression that nearly all of its female characters struggle for power over the males. There is this need for power and domination over women that is fascinating to watch. I think it's no coincidence that this episode had Helena absent. She's arguably the one character no one can really have control over, even though Henrik and the Proletheans are certainly trying with their twisted pregnancy plot. Her absence opens up the plots for the other clones, namely Alison.

It's Alison who has the most enjoyable subplot in the episode, not only because it has the most comedic material in the season to date, but that it intertwines itself with Sarah. Cosima continues to struggle with her search for a cure to her advancing illness. It's a static plot simply because Cosima is stuck in the lab with Delphine, but there's a big development there with the notion that they have to use stem cells from Kira as the possible key to getting her healthy. Safe to say that Sarah is being pulled in multiple directions by her fellow clones, still proving that she's the central crux to the overall plot.

Looking at everything that's happening in Cosima's case, it could be assumed that it drags down the episode. Cosima hasn't been anywhere but the lab and interacted with few other characters besides Delphine. One might wonder if she even has a home life anymore. When Delphine suggests to someone else that they should tell Cosima about the use of Kira's stem cells, there might be more sinister implications involved. Cosima was the one who discovered that the clones were intellectual property after all. That would suggest that the clones are less than human. So there could still be a hidden effort to stall the development of the cure for whatever is afflicting Cosima.

Like Helena, she is being experimented on by forces out of her control. The difference is that Cosima is fighting those efforts of experimentation. It's a dicey issue in using Kira's stem cells, which gnaws at the scientist in Cosima. Kira does willingly give up a piece of herself for the science in the end, yet that doesn't make things any less palatable. There's also a growing sense, at least to me, that this might be all for naught. The previous sick clones didn't survive (Cosima is keenly aware of this fact) and so it's really questionable whether Cosima will survive this.

The immediate issue surrounds Alison and "Family Day" in the rehab facility. There are staples of Alison's uptight housewife personality all over this situation. The elaborately-designed name tags, pulling out all the stops to welcome her family to a place that would seem rather scary to outsiders. This is all to see her kids. Everything is thrown into chaos when she finds out that Vic has been feeding information to Angie. I thought the show would play this pairing out a little more, but Alison's discovery unexpectedly reaps comedic gold when Felix and Sarah get roped into things. It would make total sense that Alison contact Felix first to deal with Vic, and then for Felix to call Sarah. Sarah's presence allows for Vic to issue his weak apology, then get knocked unconscious by Felix's tea laced with drugs. What follows is really funny, sustained comedy that has been in short supply this season.

Sarah has to assume role-playing duties for a conveniently-absent Alison with Donnie while Felix and Alison lug unconscious Vic around the rehab facility to avoid his meeting with Angie. Sarah has to completely fake her way through the role playing with Donnie because she hasn't been aware of what Alison has been going through lately.  Felix smartly improvises at a desperate point to temporarily deal with Angie. When Donnie discovers both Alison and Sarah in the same room, it's really awkward and played for laughs very well. Donnie's confusion is designed to keep everyone in his life off his scent, which makes him a much more capable and cunning liar than it initially seems. He is still Alison's monitor, yet he gets himself into a heap of trouble when he accidentally kills Dr. Leekie at the end of the episode.

Leekie's story dovetails quite nicely with Donnie in the end, though there are scenes that underplay his ouster from the Dyad Institute. More power plays are at work with the introduction of Marian (genre favorite Michelle Forbes), who is apparently Leekie's boss and mentor. It turns out that Leekie is caught in the middle of two powerful women, each of whom is responsible for determining his fate within the company. When it's determined that Leekie's experiment has gone wildly out of his own grip, Marian makes the draconian decision to end his life. Rachel decides the opposite, sparing his life despite knowing now that Leekie killed her mother.

It's interesting that the power dynamics in this business is in the hands of women. Rachel has known for a long time that she's a clone, which makes her Dyad's property, yet she has more power under her circumstances than the other clones do. Marian is sure to have a much larger role within the series now that Leekie is unexpectedly taken off the board by Donnie. There is also the question of how Mrs. S and her knowledge of the past fits within the framework of the series going forward. It's all in the hands of women, which isn't something many other television series can claim. It should be interesting to see how it unfolds as the season draws to a close.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Alison's comedic storyline adds some fresh air
  • Leekie's final fate
  • Women continue to be at the center of it all
The Bad:
  • Cosima's situation drags on the episode a bit

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 - 6/3/2014 8:19 AM178 views

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