Saturday, June 11, 2016

Orphan Black, Season Four, Episode Nine: The Mitigation of Competition

The Mitigation of Competition was the penultimate episode of season four and OMG.  The writers are going to do me in.  I think I need a fan and a moment.  Jeesh. Evil Evie is now playing the role of hometown hero by opening Brightborn headquarters in her her declining hometown.  Things are looking up for her because she now has the approval of Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada for testing.  At this point, she seems unstoppable. Things do not look good for clone club though they have all agreed to work together.  Rachel and Sarah have the whole the enemy of my enemy is my friend thing going on but it's clear that they cannot stand each other.

Rachel absolutely has not forgiven Sarah for putting a pencil in her eye though thanks to that little mishap, Rachel is having visions which she believes are the result of someone trying to tell her something.  Rachel keeps seeing a swan being chased by lumberjack style men.  The swan is then captured and decapitated. At this point, I have to admit that I have no idea what the message means beyond the fact that the Leda clones are in danger but given that they been in a constant danger since the beginning, I'm not sure what the urgency is.

Rachel and Sarah clearly have different styles and this leads them to clash.  Rachel has found out that two mothers left the Brightborn Institute after finding out about genetic manipulation on the children they were carrying. It's never really explained how Rachel learned about this.  With Trina's help, Sarah and Art manage to track down Kendra, whose baby has been born blind.  Kendra is reluctant to trust Art and Sarah at first but then she shows them a video of a baby being euthanized after being born with defects.  Art and Sarah want Kendra to come with them and they argue that the video alone will not be enough to get Evie but Kendra is rightfully worried about her safety.  Rachel, who clearly doesn't believe in the virtue of patience, decides to call Kendra and threaten her using the fact that she knows the location of Kendra's other son against her.  Right on cue, Neolution assassins break in and while Sarah and Art deal with them, Kendra slips out the door right into Ira's car.  Naturally Sarah is pissed when she realises what happened.

A pissed of Rachel confronts Ira about Rachel, sure that Rachel only wants to use Kendra to get her position of power back at Neolution. Rachel actually surprises me by acting like a decent human being for a change and uses the video plus her knowledge of where Kendra is to trick Evie into admitting that Brightborn euthanized infants and then sending the video of Evie's confession and the video Kendra took to the media.  Suddenly, things no longer look good for Evie. Clone powers activate (yeah that's a reference to the Wonder Twins hush).

Donnie is out on remand and the first thing he wants to do is have sex.  I'm not a prude at all but something about Donnie and Allison having sexy times creeps me the hell out.  Allison is not initially interested because she is having a crises of faith. Though Allison is playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar she doesn't feel  able to pray. Allison's religious side is something new but I suppose at some point all of the drug dealing, violence and murder had to catch up to the suburban mom. They end up having sex which really I could have done without, especially given that Donnie wanted to be told that he ran the cell block. With the sex over, Allison wants to run away and so they decide to head to Niagara Falls because Donnie cannot cross the border, having handed over his passport as a part of his bail agreement.

The Hendrixs start packing and who should up but the dude who accosted Donnie while he was in jail. He hold a gun to Donnie's head and Allison immediately starts praying. In Orphan Black's world, the answer to prayers is Helena, who promptly uses a bow and arrow to take out the threat in a moment of absolute awesomeness. God, I've missed the hell out her and I never thought I would say that.

All in all, Orphan Black brought the awesome this week.  Even Susan and Cosima working together was amazing and I loved Cosima pointing out that the founder of Neolution was a racist who thought poverty was some sort of genetic defect. I loved Cosima calling out Susan on continuing this path, even though Susan tried to make excuses for her actions.

The final bit of awesome came with the revelation that Delphine is still alive.  I know right. Delphine is alive.  I couldn't helped but thank back to Tatiana Maslany claiming earlier in the year that Orphan Black shouldn't be counted among the group of shows that cavalierly kill off LGBT characters and me being so pissed at the time given what happened to Delphine.
“She’s so much more than her sexuality and to make it about, ‘well, we killed off a lesbian character,’ that’s really reductive.”
Maslany is certainly sympathetic to the cause, but simply thinks that Orphan Black needed to tell its story without compromise.
“I understand because there’s such a lack of representation and 3D representation and you’re protective of those characters. There’s a trope too, a predictable storyline, which is that the LGBTQ characters get victimized somehow.
“But Delphine is only a victim because she made herself a hero. She was ultimately doing right by people.”
Putting aside the larger issue, the show’s co-creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett have received no end of prickly feedback from fans angry over the loss of a beloved character.
“We knew that it was going to provoke a reaction, for sure. I think it was still a little surprising the intensity of the reaction,” Fawcett said.
“From the very beginning, we said we would constantly pull the rug out from people,” Manson continued. “If there’s a backlash, we earned it.
“If you did everything that the fans wanted, it wouldn’t be a drama anymore,” he added. “There would be no mystery to it. Delphine and Cosima would just be naked in bed and that would be the show. We’d just keep cutting to them over and over and everyone would be happy, right?”
Maslany says the reaction is a “huge testament” to Brochu’s portrayal. And she welcomes the conversations that have ensued.
“It’s really complicated territory but I think that it’s important to talk about it for sure. I’m glad people are talking about it.” (source)
Clearly Maslany missed the entire point of the outrage fans felt at the moment when we all believed that Delphine had died.  Part of me now wonders however if she didn't feel that the issue was important because there was always a plan to bring back Delphine, or if Delphine's return is a result of fan outrage?  Neither Maslany or Brochu may want to acknowledge it but there's a problem in the media when it comes to LGBT portrayals and far too often we've seen that LGBT relationships end in tragedy, more often than not, death.  I am really glad to see the return of Delphine but I cannot help but fear what Orphan Black has in store for her, particularly given that it seems to be that Delphine is the one sending Rachel the visions.

Speaking of LGBT characters, I would be remiss if I didn't touch on Felix.  At the beginning of this series, Felix was very strongly making a statement about his right not to have to jump the moment Sarah called and rejecting his role as all around gay servant.  I actually really enjoyed this because it was a new side of Felix.  Slowly but surely, we've had to watch as Felix, despite his best efforts gets drawn right back into the tumult that is clone club knowing that it wouldn't end well for him.  This week, Orphan Black dropped the final blow with Helena showing up at Felix's home and upsetting his "bio sister".  It quickly became clear to Adele that something was really off.  Felix knew all to well the dangers of being involved in clone club and instead of fighting for his sister chose to let her leave. It was absolutely a crushing moment for him, particularly when Adele said, "genetics doesn't really make a family does it?" It's a particularly telling question because of well, clone club. The writers of Orphan Black need to do something nice for Felix soon.

Okay, so we end this penultimate episode with so many questions.  Has clone club brought down Evie for good or can we expect her to rise from the ashes? Will the fertilized egg be what Cosima and Mommy Dearest need to begin some kind of treatment of the sick Leda clones? Has Rachel actually been turned into a power for good? I doubt it but one still has to question.  Are Rachel's visions in fact coming from Delphine and who put their hand on Delphine's shoulder?  Is the man in question Dr. Cormier?  Finally, what the hell do Rachel's visions mean?

Okay everyone, what do you think?