Monday, May 26, 2014

Orphan Black, Season 2, Episode 6: To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings

Sarah and Helena are having a sister camping trip! Such fun! Helena may be very much leaping on the “I have a sister! YAY!” train but she’s not a fool and keeps her clues to finding “Swan Man” (Rachel’s dad, Ethan Duncan, quite possibly the guy behind the clones) cryptic so Sarah doesn’t leave her behind. Also she likes Cryptic. She also wants to have kids (and says that Sarah is a good mother which, given that she’s dumped Kira on a guy she hasn’t known for years and who has convenient getaway stuff stashed, I’m going to put a big question mark over that) – which leads to Sarah asking about what the Proletheans did to her and Helena changing the topic and being super cute with shadow puppets.

And creepy. Because she’s Helena. They’re also being followed and their car searched – by Paul.

Helena is even cuter (still creepy) on the road trip, singing along to the radio and Sarah trying really hard not to smile. Helena leads Sarah to the church where Maggie Chen tracked Ethan and she leaves Helena in the car (without the radio – awwww that’s just mean) while she goes and checks out the trail. Inside she finds a picture of the Cold River institute (Helena mentioned “Cold River”) and she learn’s Ethan’s new name – Mr. Peckham and that he’s been rooting around in the Institute’s archives which are stored in the church. Helpful lady shows them to Sarah while warning her that the contents are very very disturbing – and they are, Eugenics experiments from the early 20th century.

Sarah calls Cosima to check in and notices Cosima is definitely worried and bother. Sarah tells her hoe important she is, seeing through Cosima’s quiet reassurance. They plan to spring Allison when Sarah returns to town – they’re much better together.

Some files are missing though, Helpful lady says they’ve probably been stolen by Maggie Chen.

Helena, meanwhile, does not stay in the car (did anyone expect her too?) She sees a bar and is interested in exploring the many types of alcohol inside. Some guy makes a nuisance of himself so she sprains his finger (“don’t be baby, only sprain. Next one I break”.) Another guy wins her other with pork rinds, a food suitably awful enough to appeal to Helena. While that’s going on, Mark from the Proletheans appears in the doorway AND Paul is still following them (they both size each other up and make a deal that Mark gets Helena, Paul gets Sarah. Sensible Paul, very very sensible). Guy with pork rinds (who is definitely nefarious) flirts heavily with Helena while she tells some outrageous lies about her past before she beats him at arm wrestling (hey he got to keep his arm, step up!). He even manages to get Helena on the dance floor where they dance and kiss and are getting into it – when sprained finger guy decides to get involved.

Oh this will not end well. Helena does terrible things to him, leaving Pork Rinds guy kind of shocked. Paul decides to leave – Helena is Mark’s problem. She ends up getting arrested even while Pork Rinds guy tries to intervene with the police for her.

Which is when Sarah leaves the church to see Helena being put in a police car. At the police station, the guys she beat up aren’t pressing charges so she’s free to go – with her sister. Not Sarah – Prolethean Grace with the healing mouth. Something that was done to Helena once as well. Grace tells Helena about the eggs they took from her and Helena tells them to take her to her babies.

Back at Dyad, Delphine and Cosima are playing doctor (c’mon you know I’d have to go there sooner or later, right?), Delphine is all positive but Cosima is not thrilled both because she gets to be the bringer of bad potentially-deadly news to all the stressed out clones and because the cure isn’t exactly going to be pleasant. And for some more creepy news, Leekie has hired Cosima’s old uni buddy Scott; though Delphine holds up her hand to this one because Scott is apparently just that good. Cosima tries to get rid of him but he blurts out that he’s in on the big clone secret.

Or rather, he knows they’re dealing with clones as he’s worked it out from the DNA. He has no idea who the clones are and is quite eager to see one. But one thing he does find in his research is the stem cells they’re using for Cosima’s cure come from a female relative – a niece or daughter (Kira?). Delphine looks stunned and tells him not to tell Cosima.

Time to catch up with Allison since we missed her last episode. She’s still in rehab and she’s still not happy or co-operative which Yvonne is more than aware of but the confrontation is derailed by the arrival of Vic (that would be Sarah’s unfortunate and unpleasant ex from season 1) who is also in rehab and much more enthusiastically than Allison.

Allison tries to avoid him but Vic catches up with her because he’s decided she is there because of deity to test his resolve. Allison has exactly as much patience for that as you can imagine. She’s in a wonderful mood when Donny arrives for his visit - without the kids as she asked. Allison starts passive aggressive, works up to aggressive and then Vic inserts himself where he is about as wanted as a rabies

Anyway, his intervention seems to get through to Allison and she seeks him out later to talk – or not talk. She starts reaching out to him, to trust him and ask him to help her with things. Which is when he leaves rehab to talk to Angie (that would be Art’s police partner, Angie) who has her own little deal with Vic – he gets her dirt on Allison and she makes some charges against him disappear.  He feels guilty about it though.

Felix is in his flat actually doing his own thing when Art interrupts and tries to get him to top drinking and Felix finally – FINALLY – snaps at his shambles of a life and being demoted from “baby sitter” to “bargaining chip” maintaining his anger for exactly 2 seconds before groping Art. Of course.

Felix wakes up to find Art has created a whole investigation wall out of the storage locker Helena found (Felix: “holy shit he’s moved in”. Uh-huh, Felix, your home has become Hotel des Clones) and Art heckles Felix into helping.

Sarah drives off, hoping Art can sort Helena’s law problems but not checking herself; she does find out that the missing files were in the Storage Unit and now in Felix and Art’s hands including evidence pointing to Ethan stealing a real Andrew Peckham’s identity. She sets them to work tracking Peckham/Duncan.

She heads to the address they’ve found – and finds a gun wielding Mrs. S. It’s not a happy reunion, full of accusations and snarling. Ethan – or Peckham as S insists since her group is the one that hid him – has switched sides bringing evidence of experiments on unborn kids and Amelia (Helena and Sarah’s surrogate mother) which prompts Mrs. S’s people (Carlton) to track her down. Mrs. S introduces Sarah to Ethan – or Andrew as she calls him. He seems quite confused, possibly due to his age.

Mrs. S gives Sarah 5 minutes to question him – quick answers: he doesn’t know how many clones there are (his wasn’t the only team implanting them). He and his wife were approached by the military but were shut down when they were considered an “ethical failure” but they succeeded, obviously and Dyad, a contractor, took over the project when the military dumped it. When Sarah asks what he wanted he just says “babies, little girls.”

Sarah tries to express the enormity of what he’s done to Andrew, tries to get him to understand her anger, and tries to tell him what they did to Rachel. Andrew protests it’s not only not him – but not Dyad; it’s the Neolutionists inside Dyad (aiee, more confusion!). Sarah is not letting Andrew duck his responsibility and act like it all happened in the past. She also hooks into the emotion – that Cosima, brilliant, amazing Cosima, is dying because they’re all sick, his “little girls” are sick and dying. But Andrew is afraid – terrified of Leekie; who killed his wife, Susan when they tried to raise Rachel.

So much for Leekie being the good side of Dyad.

Paul arrives outside. Mrs. S goes to speak to him with tea and biscuits and to accurately pinpoint that Paul is caught between Leekie and Rachel (though she doesn’t consider it “caught”). She’s going to stand between Paul and Sarah and Andrew – and she knows about the big dark secrets that Dyad has been using to control him.

I’m not quite sure how Helena manages to be utterly terrifyingly creepy, and completely adorably cute at the same time. But she does. I suspect Tatiana Maslany’s acting super powers. Helena returning to the Proletheans seems odd – but we have to consider Helena’s overarching motivation is finding family, finding a connection. It’s why she latched on to Sarah so hard in the first place – but she’s very aware that Sarah doesn’t have the same strength of affection for her as she does (as evidenced by Sarah leaving – the sister bond that means so much to Helena isn’t so valuable to Sarah). Helena is always looking for someone to see her as lovable and beautiful after her horrendous upbringing – and Mikael is preying on that. Of course, Helena may be going back to reclaim her babies and then make the Proletheans very very very sorry.

Felix is finally pissed at stuff – except it didn’t last. Is this the attempt to address the problems with Felix’s character? Lampshading the problems of a character are not the same as actually fixing them, especially if it’s just a 2 second reference. Especially if you’re going to make, at best, a tiny hint of him actually having a relationship which swiftly crashes and burns then have him molest a straight man. Really? Was there a stereotype Felix wasn’t meeting? Did someone look at him and think “hey, we missed the ‘hitting on/molesting straight men’ trope, damn it, how did we miss that?!” Also the whole “Sarah was worried about you and asked me to check on you” means very little when that translates to “I watch you pass out on the sofa before you wake up and we can work on Sarah’s problems some more.”

Allison is more interesting though. She’s in the centre under duress, for her kids, but it’s also a really subtle nuanced performance. She’s in for her kids – but she does have a problem. She is an addict, she probably does need help and she needs to wake up to that. She has a lot of shame – not wanting to admit she has a problem or wanting to talk about it and she tries to distance herself from the other addicts – she’s not like them, she’s better than them – some really well presented denials and avoidances.

Then to Sarah, obviously Kira is always her priority, but how much does she value the other clones? Her phone call to Cosima was touching and real and deep – but then, her sister bonding with Helena was beautiful too, this episode and last episode. Remember as well that Sarah is a professional con-woman who, from the little we’ve heard of her relationship with Cal, does use emotions and relationships to manipulate people. How many of her feelings are real? Cal? Cosima? Helena? What about Felix and Mrs. S? How much is care and how much is usefulness, given that she does get a lot of help from the people who care for her? And is that something to judge or something to understand given how little Sarah has and what she’s facing?