Monday, April 21, 2014

Orphan Black, Season 2, Episode 1: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

Sarah is on the run – the clone masters have taken Mrs. S and Kira. Sarah runs into a diner and starts to call people – but Allison and Cosima’s numbers have both been disconnected. With few other options she calls Paul – his phone is working but he’s not answering. What she does have from her various adventures is an old photograph of 2 professors who worked on “Project Leda.”

Her phone rings from Paul – but it’s Rachel on the other end (that would be Evil Corporate Clone) who will give up Mrs. S and Kira – but only if Sarah gives herself up. And two goons enter the diner to campaign for free ranged eggs and try to make Sarah leave. Awesome Diner guy isn’t best pleased with someone kidnapping poor Sarah in his own diner – and he has a shotgun to express his displeasure with. There’s a firefight, goon 1 dies and goon 2 loses Sarah when she manages to batter her way through a wall to escape

She’s determined when she wants to be.

She makes her way to a gay fetish rave (because this is Orphan Black) where Felix is wearing arseless chaps, preparing for a 5 way (but not very preparing because while sex may be his major obsession after serving clones, he doesn’t get to actually have any) and high on something. Sarah chews him out for not being on call when she needed him. So, after Felix points out they’re probably tracking her phone she gets one more call from Paul (who is not exactly with the bad guys willingly) where she agrees to meet him, alone once she calls him on another phone. To that end, she steals one.

Delphine and Cosima are staying at Felix’s place because he’s now running Hotel des Clones, apparently. Delphine takes some of Cosima’s blood to help treat her ailment and she’s still trying to get Cosima on Team Dyad with Dr. Leekie the very-creepy as well as to convince Cosima Delphine is on her side (together that makes for a hard sell). Cosima isn’t sold yet and makes it clear that news of her and her blood samples do not reach Dyad – she gets to make the choice.

Sarah dispatches Felix to see Allison to both fill her in on what happened and to borrow a gun. Because suburban housewife Allison can get guns? If your answer to that is to scoff then you have Not Been Paying Attention. But Allison is trying to live a nice, stable life now, her guns (note the plural) at the range, her pills and booze put away. She’s even doing a play. And yes she does know a gun dealer – sorry “enthusiast”. Because she’s Allison.

After a few crafty switches Sarah manages to speak privately to Paul – learning that Rachel intends to take Kira out of the country and that she’s going to a big Dyad event that evening. Also bad guy Daniel (Rachel’s chief goon) is after Sarah – but Sarah’s a few steps ahead. A quick phone call to confirm that Cosima is still a little naive and it’s on to Allison buying that gun from her very enterprising contact.

Sadly Delphine puts some doubt on that trust as she meets with Leekie – who is not happy that Cosima isn’t with them full time and gives Delphine a dead line on that. Delphine reveals Cosima’s illness – and hands over a blood sample.

Far more importantly, Allison gets the lead part in the play (after killing Aynsley. But that totally wasn’t why she did it. Honest). And she’s been watched by a very very bemused Detective Art and his partner Detective Angela who are frustrated by numerous dead and missing clones leaving them only Allison to follow. Which is when Sarah shows up – Angela rushes out to arrest her (thankfully Allison notices before she walks over with the gun). Sarah throws out some info about the murders in the diner but Angela believes nothing.

They go to the diner to confirm elements of her story and while they get confirmation, they also learn that random ill-defined federal people have taken over the murder scene. In the car Sarah tells Art about her daughter being kidnapped and that it’s all too powerful for him. Much to Angie’s disgust, Art let’s her go – there’s too much going on to even hold her.

To Rachel who is talking about dragging Paul to Taiwan and Dr. Leekie apparently has found a conscience and isn’t thrilled that Rachel has kidnapped Sarah’s family. Rachel goes with the whole “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” line to avoid answering those pesky little questions.

Back to base to plan. Cosima wants to go to the Dyad event (she’s been invited) and demand Rachel let Sarah’s family go – yes, she’s a little naïve. Which is when Ramon, Allisons drugs/arms dealer arrives, gapes at the clones and has a happy flowery, gun-filled gift basket. Allison even included a gift card. A hand crafted gift-card. Allison scares me, she really does. They skype Allison about this, she looks at the flowers with the gun in them and says “oh they look nice”

Allison scares me.

Now they need a plan.

Back to the evil office, where Rachel wishes she was half as scary as Allison. Sarah calls and arranges to meet with Rachel – she’ll be driving the red mini-van. Cut to the red Mini-van and that looks like Allison delivering costumes for the play, not Sarah… Daniel and goons move in to grab her and manage to get her in their evil van. Eventually. They weren’t ready for Allison’s pepper spray, rape whistle and font of endless rage. Daniel has to make his apologies.

To the big Dyad event and Cosima is attending – except it’s not, it’s Sarah pretending to be Cosima (yes Tatiana Maslany is playing Sarah pretending to be Cosima without just pretending to be Cosima because she is JUST THAT GOOD). And having problems with Cosima’s glasses. There’s an awkward moment when Delphine kisses Cosima and then she’s dragged to meet Leekie (amusingly, Sarah makes much better demands to be brought on board than Cosima would have). Complete with dubious hug that comes with a side-order of pick pocketing

Delphine is not amused and has spotted the clone behind the clone. But Sarah has had her family kidnapped and is waaaaay less amuse and demands to know where Rachel is – Delphine points the way

While Leakie makes his speeches about the future and good of mankind, Rachel has a secret meeting with a number of Asian businessmen to discuss how she’s successfully putting patent claims over “synthetic” living people.

Sarah confronts Rachel – and Rachel claims that Mrs. S and Kira had already been kidnapped before her kidnappers could arrive on scene. Rachel is icy in the face of the gun, Sarah won’t shoot her. Sarah shoots the window next to her and Rachel’s icy-professional exterior collapses completely. Sarah beats her down and presses the gun to her face (“you don’t own us”).

Rachel is a business woman – not a warrior. Paul arrives with another gun though – so Sarah beats Rachel to unconsciousness and points her gun at Paul. Paul confirms that Dyad doesn’t have Kira and Mrs. S – it was a lie to bring Sarah in. She smacks him as well – did he really think she’d just give up? Oh he doesn’t know any of the clones very well. He complains about her hitting his pretty pretty face and he lets her go.

That mission not quite working, Sarah goes to find some new friends – and goes to see Art. And he adds more to add – the people who attacked her at the diner were religious extremists (the feds were… actually feds. And apparently not evil. That’s got to be a first). Prolethians. Helena’s people. And it looks like Sarah is going to tell Art everything.

Blood stained and battered – Helena is not dead! She makes it to the hospital where she finds help – and one of the Prolethian goons arrives

We close with Kira being photographed.

Tatiana Maslany is a freaky acting mutant. No-one can be this good. It’s not possible. The fact she hasn’t won every acting award on the planet is a great injustice. Maybe the world’s greatest injustice. If justice-inclined aliens decide to come down to Earth and wipe out the human species? It will be because Tatiana Maslany did not win all the awards. I’m just saying.

Allison is my favourite clone. And the most terrifying. She’s so wonderfully committed to having a normal life (and she has the most to lose – but it’s interesting to note the many odd things she needed to make it work even before the clone-ness dropped on her) and she is terrifying in her drive to achieve that.

I’m not reassured by Felix by this first episode – more stereotypes, more service, more meant to be the odd, whacky, GBF comic relief.

Cosima is a more rounded character, but I’m worried about her and Delphine. Delphine does seem to genuinely care – just like Paul genuinely cares for Sarah – but Delphine still has at least one foot in Leekie’s camp. We may end up with “betrayal for your own good”.

I’m hopeful with Art in on the big picture we can see him get involved more.