Monday, April 28, 2014

Orphan Black, Season 2, Episode 2: Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion

Helena, who may have been Wolverine in a previous life, wakes up (briefly) in a hospital – much to the shock of the police and medical personnel who can’t even figure out why she’s still alive.

Sarah seems to have finally filled Art in on the big cloney secrets when Felix joins them. They get a phone call from Kira on Felix’s phone – she can’t tell them anything before being cut off other than “there’s a weird man here.”

Art tracks the phone number which is listed and he and Sarah set off – pausing only a second at Felix’s insistence because he’s got a new set of Clone Phones since Sarah had to dump her old one.

Allison attends Aynsley’s funeral and is a little tense and nervous what with the whole almost-murdering-Aynsley but she does just about hold it together. In as much as Allison ever holds it together. She even adamantly refuses to have a drink even with the nasty neighbours gossiping about her (Donny even expects her to). Even her children stealing flowers and extra-huggy supportive friend don’t drive her to the bottle.

But Donny getting a text message on his phone from an unknown someone telling him to “placate her”? Revealing, perhaps, that Aynsley wasn’t her watcher and it was Donny after all? It’s BOOZE O’CLOCK! And determined fierce eyes which means Donny may have a glue gun in his future.

To a rural cattle farm where a man, Henrick in between sticking arms up cow’s backsides (I’m sure there is a farmer reason for getting this intimate with a cow. I’m equally sure I never ever ever ever need or want to know this) congratulates his fellow on keeping Helena, the sister of the mother. These must be the Proletheans – and they want Mark to get Helena out of the hospital as well.

To the Dyad institute where Leakie is unhappily questioning Cosima and Delphine about how Sarah used Cosima’s identity to “shitkick Rachel”. Delphine innocently points out that Sarah’s a con artist and had them all completely fooled, honest – afterall, she tricked Leakie didn’t she? Stealing his passcard and all? I like how Cosima doesn’t even pretend not to be amused by that. Leakie warns them that Rachel is a touchy touchy person.

Leakie takes Cosima on a brief tour of the facilities and to her new lab – while she snarks away, nicely exposing the dubious practices behind the PR. He does manage to break through with grand promises of what their lab can do – and an unlimited budget to equip her own lab.

They play in their lab, discussing the toys they will buy, with Cosima flirting and having great fun, eventually kissing until Rachel interrupts them. Cosima makes a comment about Sarah beating up Rachel, because you have to. Rachel makes a very fascinated statement about Cosima being gay which Cosima shoots down awesomely “my sexuality isn’t the most interesting thing about me.” Rachel does have instructions and limitations for Cosima though – including not letting her see all the info they have on the genome even when examining her own disease (also casually revealing how much Dyad has mined into her medical records). Her primary interest though is why Sarah is different from the other clones – particularly, why she can reproduce.

Sarah and Art arrive at the motel where Kira was being held – but they’ve left. They find a picture drawn by Kira and the clerk is clear that Mrs. S wasn’t with them. While they’re there, Daniel drops in. Rachel’s second/attackdog and Art takes great pleasure in arresting him while Daniel threatens him. Sarah, meanwhile, follows a trail of Kira’s clothes – which isn’t a trap, honest. She follows the trail to a garage where a car is running, boot open – and the “weird man” grabs Sarah and forces her into the boot with promise of seeing Kira

It’s a trap! Who would have guessed?

He takes her to a country lane, lets her out the car and promptly gets booted for it (he should have known better). Sarah is distracted from giving him a good beating when Mrs. S arrives – she apparently knows Benjamin and assures Sarah that Kira is fine. Sarah does not take this calmly, fir good reason. Nor is Sarah particularly eager to be co-operative until she’s seen Kira – though when Sarah demands to know what side Mrs. S is on she replies “yours love, it’s always been yours.” Hmmm we shall see, I have seen a whole lot of crap justified as “for your own good.”

Mrs. S arranged the fake kidnapping because she knew several people were watching her house and she’s smart enough to scarper when the writing’s on the wall. She takes Sarah to Kira and her old network who first helped her disappear when they first arrived in the US and are ready to do so again. Does this mean Mrs. S is completely trustworthy? Amelia didn’t trust her. Sarah remembers this as well, especially since Mrs. S’s plan was apparently to take Kira with her to London and leave Sarah and Felix behind. Sarah confronts her with the Project Leda photograph she got from Amelia – and Mrs. S denies all knowledge.

A nice family dinner where they discuss past glories and Sarah realises that, what with machine guns and all, Mrs. S was involved in far more than Sarah knew. Kira is very crafty indeed, pretending to be sleepy she gets to talk alone with Sarah and reveals that Mrs. S already saw the Project Leda photo – because she’s snooped through Amelia’s things. Together they decide it’s best to leave. While they’re sneaking into a van, inside Mrs. S is arguing with her friends, Brenda and Barry, worried that there have been “delays” with her escape and clearly not trusting them. Sarah tries to start the car and they hear it inside – Barry runs out, Mrs. S tries to follow by Brenda holds her at gun point.

Mrs. S isn’t putting up with that! After saying how special Kira is, she impales Brenda with the cutlery to run outside to shoot Barry – sniper style. Mrs. S stands out the way as Sarah drives off, she doesn’t try to stop them. After a soulful look after them she goes back in the house for Brenda to tell her they sold out to the Proletheans. When Mrs. S confirms that Brenda doesn’t know about Project Leda, she shoots Brenda.

This is all just too sensible – time to go back to Allison and her awful awful awful play (a musical about a murder and clean up, apparently. With songs about cleaning up blood). And the director notices how anxious Allison is and takes the opportunity to tell her to breath from her arse – but then it’s less advice and more using an excuse to grope Allison. Since this is Allison, there’s a reasonable chance this man may withdraw a bloody stump. She is spared having to rip off his arm and beating him to death with the soggy end by Felix arriving. She introduces him as her acting coach and he snarks about his groping

She’s called Felix to confess everything – that Donny’s her real handler, that she watched Aynsley die and she was innocent which isn’t that far from murder… Felix tries to reassure her about jumping to conclusions about a text message and that watching someone be strangled by the garbage disposal isn’t entirely murder. Instead they need a plan to expose Donny as her monitor (but first, the drinking – worry not Allison, your GBF will always be there for snark and encouraging you to keep drinking).

Art is already facing consequences for arresting Daniel, with him using his influence to try and get Art suspended. That was quick. He tries to keep Angie out of the firing line but she’s determined to join in – especially since she’s been sent a picture of Helena in the hospital. Another clone. Art, obviously, tries to stop her going.

So, of course, she goes. But Helena has already vanished by the time she arrives. Helena has already been taken by Mark the-presumably-Prolethian. They’ve set her up with her own hospital bed, medical machines and Tomas (her old handler) whipping himself at her bedside (as you do). There’s some ideological differences between them – Henrick isn’t quite so willing to denounce Helena as an soulless abomination like Henrick. And Helena’s miracle recovery is because her anatomy is reversed – her heart is on the right not the left, so the bullet didn’t hit it. Tomas being Tomas decides this is a sign of evil badness. Of course it is. Despite their differences, apparently they can both agree that Helena is the “war for the future of creation”.

To Allison’s trap, a fake phone call with Felix (who is naked and painting a client. Of course he is) in which Allison pretends Sarah has called her with an utter emergency she must respond to all in Donny’s hearing. Allison goes to Aynsley’s grave – and is followed by Donny trying to be stealthy with a video camera and talking to Leakie. Except Allison’s really thought through this trap – she’s meeting with Sarah – the extra-huggy-friend who is in the play with her Sarah. Not clone Sarah. Crafty Allison – she arranged an excuse in case she was wrong.

Leakie, of course, isn’t very interested in Sarah Stubbs and hangs up. He makes up a pretty decent excuse when Allison confronts him and he leaves – and Allison now has her suspicions confirmed. Is it glue gun time?

She calls Felix to tell her that Donnie is he monitor and she needs Felix to get her out – but Felix is already planning on leaving town with Sarah and Kira. He has to beg off and suggests Allison call Cosima. When he hangs up, Allison reaches for the booze and the pills.

Back at the Prolethean farm, Heinrick suggests that since Helena is Sarah’s twin, she could be fertile. Tomas responds with his usual “soulless abomination” response. It seems the Prolethean farmers are tired of Tomas’s anti-science abomination routine so they kill him with a bolt gun. But they pray over him afterwards, all respectful like.

Mystery in mystery in mystery – I think a good conspiracy show needs layers and, now I’ve had time to keep up, I think this episode is nicely showing them. So we have Dynad, we have the Proletheans and we have Project Leda – which may or may not be Dynad and Mrs. S may or may not be working for or against. That’s clear!

Mrs. S turned out to be a lot more bad ass than I imagined… but she’s also nicely conflicted. She clearly cares about Sarah and Kira and the look on her face when she realises Sarah doesn’t trust her – that Sarah is scared of her, is powerful and heartbreaking. More Mrs. S!

I think the development of the Proletheans is also interesting and necessary. Yes, a religious group who thinks they’re all abominations and need to die could have been an antagonist – but it’s also a little shallow, clichéd and not likely to muster anything like sufficient force to counter the sinister threat of Dynad.

I do love Cosima, Her come back to Rachel was excellent – she’s there because she’s a scientist of great intelligence, knowledge and talent (and, yes, because she’s a clone and because she may be dying of a nasty disease). To draw her sexuality out of all that as the relevant point is demeaning, especially as pretty much one of the first things she discusses; and needs putting in its place. Which she did, perfectly.  She’s also a character with very real and believable motivations – not just her health but the carrot Dynad offers; to direct her own research in her own lab without budget constraints? How many scientists, especially young scientists, would be tempted by that? And Delphine, for all her suspiciousness, seems to share her genuine passions for science as well as a genuine passions for Cosima – I think she’s team Cosima but we have to see exactly where her loyalties will pull her.

And Allison is… Allison. So desperate to hold things together. So utterly incapable of doing so.

I am disappointed with Art. I had hoped that having joined the Clone club he would then be part of the action, instead he ends up tusselling with Daniel and then facing major career issues? Wanting him involved in the plot didn’t mean wanting him sacrificing everything for incidental help.

Felix is new and improved – before he was the stereotypical BFF who existed to be comedy, with sarcastic quips and ready to help any clone that needs him. Now he’s the frequently naked stereotypical BFF who exists to be comedy, making sarcastic quips and ready to help any clone who needs him! Such progress.

And finally I am really really interested in Kira who seems very insightful and intelligent for a child