ORPHAN BLACK Gets Twisted, Sister

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Episode 2.02 “Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion”

 [photos: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA]

Now, that’s an interesting couple of twists. And a dangling thread that shouldn’t be there…

Some interesting byplay between Allison and Felix this week (“You have a history of jumping to monitor conclusions,” he tells her), as they connive to figure out whether or not Donnie is Allison’s monitor. She’s now convinced of it after reading strange text messages on his phone at Aynsley’s funeral. At said funeral, by the way, the Stepford Wives are all looking daggers at Allison for seducing Aynsley’s husband, and how dare she show her face? The only friend is Sarah Stubbs, Allison’s co-star from the murder musical.

And I still want to see this murder musical, Orphan Black. Oh, yes, I do.

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Sara proves instrumental in the scheme to confirm Donnie’s status, as Allison and Felix set a trap that involves meeting up with Sara. Of course, Donnie takes the bait, having been instructed by Leekie to report anything that involves someone named “Sarah”. Naturally, when a show introduces a second character with the same name as the lead, it’s almost like something has to be done with that character that involves misdirection, and that’s the case her.

So, now everyone but Donnie knows that Donnie is about to meet a terrible accident, then?

OB2_201_202_D8_SW_0049.JPGIn this episode, we finally see what happened with Mrs. S and Kira, and the truth isn’t exactly what we were thinking. Turns out that it’s neither option A or option B. Something Sarah finds out when she and Art track down the hotel from which Kira makes a phone call.

And that prompts me to interrupt myself for this brief “Hand of the Writer” moment, about which Mr. Harvey and I frequently complain when we notice it. In this particular case, Art has gone out to the motel parking lot to confront Rachel’s bulldog Daniel, and Sarah follows the trail of Kira’s clothes to a garage where she gets nabbed and taken away in the trunk of a car. So why, then, does Art go back to his apartment to have a drink with Angie while waiting to see if he’s going to be suspended or not? Didn’t he notice Sarah was missing? Did he look for her? Do any kind of search around the premises? Did all of that happen off-camera and we just don’t see it?

It’s a big gaping hole in an otherwise tightly-written episode, and it bugs me.

Meantime, Cosima gets taken to the super-secret section of the Dyad facility, where Leekie and Delphine do their song-and-dance to convince her to sign up. She’s going to be studying her own biology, and Leekie makes the case that she’s personally invested in figuring out everything they can about the DNA and why some clones are getting sick. Delphine, of course, is playing both sides of this, appealing to Cosima on a more personal level, but I still think the little French minx has more going on than we’ve been led to believe so far.

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Cosima warms to the idea of her own lab, but that’s marred by Rachel’s appearance. Rachel, it seems, has both the DNA sequence for Cosima and for Sarah. And the big question is how Sarah is different enough to be fertile and have a child. Cosima and Rachel don’t hit it off very well…

Sarah, meanwhile, has been taken out to the woods, where she learns that not only was Dyad not involved in the snatching of Kira, but the Proletheans were also not involved. Turns out Mrs. S tossed her own place and took Kira to the old homestead where she fostered Sarah and Felix, enlisting the help of her old network, the Bird Watchers. She’s got a plan to use the network to get herself and Kira back to London, where Mrs. S can keep the child safe. Sarah isn’t too keen on this, as it means another separation from her daughter. Kira, being the odd little girl with Wolverine’s healing factor, also may have a bit of Jedi in her, as she senses that something’s not quite right in the house.

Mrs. S proves her mettle when it all goes south. Brenda and Barry, the Bird Watchers at the house, act just wonky enough to set off red flags for Mrs. S, and as Sarah tries to escape with Kira, it comes down to a pretty heavy bit of back-stabbing and betrayal. Brenda and Barry have been compromised by the Proletheans, who had paid them off in exchange for Kira. Mrs. S isn’t having any, though, shooting both of them to make Sarah’s escape possible.

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Siobhan Sadler gets more than her share of layers in this episode, as we learn more about her past and see more of what makes her tick. Namely, her sole purpose is to protect the children in her charge. And she apparently knew more about these refugee orphans than we originally thought. But she doesn’t know anything about Project LEDA (she says), and is obviously going to put Kira’s welfare ahead of Sarah’s.

In the smaller thread involving Helena, she gets taken out of the hospital by Mark, who spirits her away to the Prolethean farm. There, Tomas and Henrik have disagreements about the usefulness of science. Tomas still thinks Helena is an abomination, while Henrik appreciates the science of the divine. Since he’s had schooling at places like MIT, he can recognize the science behind what appears to be a miracle. Helena, being shot in the chest, should be dead, only her heart is on the opposite side of her body, a condition called “situs inversus” — which is sometimes found among identical twins. Everything’s backwards, making Tomas even more certain Helena is an abomination, something he believes right up to the point where Mark puts a nail through his head with a nail gun.

[Show web site on BBC]     [Previous recap: “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed”]

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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