‘Orphan Black’ recap: Sarah and Mrs. S make a big game move

05.31.14 3 years ago 15 Comments

BBC America

We all knew the discovery of Swan Man would have devastating consequences, though (as usual with “Orphan Black”) I couldn't begin to predict what might come to pass. The construction of this episode never felt cavalier, though — even in one, beautifully random moment that delivered one hell of a shock. 

Leekie's demise, a ham-fisted accident at the hands of that “turnip” Donnie, was gloriously apropos — that a man of science, one who lives for measurable and quantifiable results and who surely felt certain his biggest threat was behind him, would be taken out in such a stupid way was one of the show's darkly funny moments, at least once you got past the gore of it. It may have been a lousy way to go, but I'm not sure Leekie would have lasted long on the outside anyway. He just had too many secrets, and if Rachel couldn't bring herself to pull the trigger, I'm sure someone else would have once he was discovered. 

In Leekie's place we have Marian, played by the always excellent Michelle Forbes. I know a lot of people remember her from her from “Battlestar Galactica” or “Star Trek: TNG” or a host of other places, but I became a fan of hers from “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which is another spectacular show if you haven't seen it. She's a big gun, and I'm sure we're going to be seeing a lot more of her.

Marian changes the game, I think, in that she won't hesitate to play hardball with the clones. Leekie was never eager to destroy his work, but I get the sense Marian wouldn't blink to take out a pain in the ass like Sarah (or do something horrible to Cal or even Kira — she only needs to keep Kira alive, not happy, after all). Even though Leekie raised Rachel (as she notes when she sets him free), Marian seems to be a near doppleganger for Rachel from an emotional perspective — cold, clinical and tough as nails. Of course, Rachel isn't as cold as we thought, so maybe not an exact doppleganger, but we have enough clones on this show anyway. 

When Mrs. S goes to visit Leekie and reveals she has the Snow Man's early work, I wondered if she really was betraying Sarah as she negotiated safe passage for herself and Kira in return for delivering Ethan Duncan. But no, it was just game play — a way to smoke out Leekie and determine whether or not Rachel knew about her father's existence. So Mrs. S is trustworthy? Or was the lie she told Leekie — that she'd easily give up Duncan and sacrifice Sarah to save Kira — closer to the truth than we know? Mrs. S is a big picture kind of person, after all, and there's no doubt that Kira is the big picture, period.

And speaking of that big picture, It was only a matter of time before Cosima found out the genetic material for her treatment came from Kira, and an overheard conversation between Scott and Delphine does the trick. I understand why she's angry with Delphine, but I hope she forgives her. Sure, Cosima “is the science,” and it is her lab, but someone had to make a hard decision to save her life. That is, of course, assuming that the treatment we see at the beginning of the show does her a lick of good. I have a horrible suspicion that Cosima (and the other clones) will only be able to be cured with an ever increasing amount of Kira's DNA, and it's going to be more painful to extract than popping out a baby tooth.

Cosima has the hard task of telling Sarah that Kira is the unwitting donor for her treatments, and as Sarah and Cal argue about parenting Kira does the practical thing and yanks out a tooth. Leave it to the kid to take care of matters. I'm worried about what might happen now that Sarah is running off with Kira, but even more worried about Cal. His suggestion that the little family run off to Iceland together seemed like a good one to me, and now that the Dyad Institute is onto him, he'd better watch his back. He warns Sarah, “Whatever this is, it's gonna swallow you both,” and the truth is, I think he's going down the rabbit hole right along with them. I'm not even sure Iceland is far enough away to slip free of Dyad's claws. The moment when Cal looks at his computer and realize the camera has just clicked off was absolutely chilling. 

This was all of the serious stuff of this episode, while the main storyline was a bit more of a caper. Vic manages to get Alison to “open up” about past mistakes, and she confesses that she “killed” Aynsley. I'm not sure standing by and not helping really constitutes any kind of crime, but Vic sure thinks so, and apparently he's so excited to give Angie the news he doesn't bother to close his door. Alison, who is trying to drop off the ugliest mittens ever (complete with a missing finger) overhears, and it's off to the races.

I love Alison and Felix together, and of course he comes to the rescue of this quirky clone. Though he strikes a deal with Vic — he won't narc to Angie if Felix arranges a meeting with Sarah — the terms of the deal change when Sarah actually shows up. Vic wants forgiveness, yes, but he wants something else, too. He wants a second chance with Sarah. Of course Felix has to drop the bomb that Sarah has a much hotter new someone, but maybe Vic won't remember that when he wakes up from falling through a table while doped up on Felix's benzo-bombed tea. 

The process of getting Vic out of the way and avoiding Angie is the stuff of a “Three Stooges” episode but played so well I didn't mind a bit. Meanwhile, Sarah finds herself stuck impersonating Alison in front of everyone in attendance at the rehab center for family day. “We stand among you today,” she says, before rattling off vivid descriptions of who the “we” are: the booze hounds, the pill poppers, on and on. Oh yes, even in a headband, Sarah is always Sarah. 

Donnie doesn't know what to think when Sarah as Alison completely botches a role playing exercise, barking about being a monitor and finally getting out of the mess she's made with a very Alison “I have to tinkle” request. 

When Donnie sees Alison and Sarah together, we discover he really is in the dark about what he's doing — he thought he was just part of some long term social metrics study, and the clones are a shock to him. Donnie really is a turnip, and when Alison screams at him that he's ruined his family and doesn't even know why, it's a bracing moment. Donnie may be a joke, but his stupidity has cost Alison and his family so much. How he'll ever deal with Leekie's brains being splattered all over his car, and with Alison away in rehab, I have no idea. 

There were so many things to love in this episode. Sarah and Mrs. S slogging through Duncan's gross hoarder stash for a seemingly useless box of junk, only for Duncan to reveal it as the hiding place for all his original research. The final confrontation between Leekie and Rachel. The meeting between Rachel and Ethan Duncan, her eyes welling with tears. Vic waking up in reception covered in glitter and paint. That one brief shot of Sarah and Duncan together at the table, talking through tears. Leekie telling Paul about how creating an artificial womb was “sort of a hobby,” and Paul lobbing back, “I like pottery.” 

Just looking at this list of memorable moments, I'm reminded of how carefully and expertly this series is constructed. Anyone who feared it might all fall apart in season two can rest assured, I think. Seven episodes in, the stakes keep on rising and the twists keep on coming. RIP Dr. Leekie, but if you had to go, you got one hell of an exit.

Do you think Cal is in danger? Are you worried about Marian's next move? What did you think of Vic's play for Sarah? 

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