The villains’ plans are laid out in Orphan Black‘s second episode of the season: they want clone children.
Let’s bitch it out…Last week’s premiere was a bit of a rollercoaster – an adrenaline-fueled reintroduction to the crazy world of the Clone Club. Episode two is a more subdued mix as we settle back in, spreading the clones out across their own storylines and offering insight into the villains: the science-y Dyad Group and the religious-y Proletheans.
By mid-way through ‘Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion’, I was convinced that Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) had been playing Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) all along and she was a secret member of the Proletheans. After all, early in the episode it’s established that the group is working out of a farm in the country and there’s a clear sense of malice in the home Sarah is taken to after she’s abducted from the motel and Art (Kevin Hanchard). Even after Sarah is reunited with Kira (Skyler Wexler) and Mrs. S something isn’t quite right, especially when Mrs. S suggests that she alone will travel back to the UK with Kira. Separating a child from their parent = all kinds of alarm bells.
Despite this, it turns out Mrs. S isn’t lying when she tells Sarah that she was always on her team. Mrs. S proves that emphatically when she lays waste to her friend and her friend’s son when she realizes that they’re misleading her and attempting to stop Sarah and Kira from escaping. It’s a shocking bout of violence after a relatively quiet episode, and all the more impressive because we’ve never seen this side of Mrs. S (aka the totally badass side). I mean, it’s hard not to be impressed watching Maria Conan Doyle stab someone’s hands to a table. Well done, Mrs. S!
It’s sad that Sarah elects to leave Mrs. S behind despite this, but it’s hard to argue with her desire to take control of the situation. It’s not clear where she, Kira and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) will go, though I do feel that they would have been safer with Mrs. S by their side.
By the end of the episode I felt even more certain of that because we have a clearer sense of the size and power of our two groups of villains. If ‘Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion’ tells us anything, it is that the Dyad and the Proletheans are far more powerful and dangerous than we previously knew. Let’s tackle the Proletheans first:
Previously we’ve only really seen Tomas (Daniel Kash), but now it’s clear that the Proletheans are much more than his particular brand of crazy. The scenes at the Prolethean farm are very deliberately set-up: early on we’re introduced to new Big Bad Henrik Johanssen (Peter Outerbridge) and he seems scarily competent and almost a little normal. We meet him as he’s working with Mark (Ari Millen) to help a distressed cow. His actions in this seemingly ordinary scene tell us two things: 1) Johanssen is a man who’s unafraid to get his hands dirty and 2) he knows his way around biology.
There’s a very deliberate effort to ensure that we see Johanssen as a man who is distinct from Tomas, despite their shared faith. Johanssen sees the role of religion and science as complimentary, unlike Tomas, who is a religious caricature. Tomas believed that Helena was an abomination who needed to be kept imprisoned during their twelve years together; he was blinded by his faith. Johanssen, on the other, immediately distinguishes himself as a different kind of man: he’s interested in Helena because of her relationship with Sarah, which – interestingly – aligns him more with the Dyad group. He values Helena for her reproductive potential (this offers a brand new perspective on his introductory scene with the cow).
This focus on reproduction is also at the heart of the Dyad: Cosima spends the entire episode being wooed by Leekie (Matt Frewer) and Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) at they tour her around her lab (Side Note: I love that Cosima refuses to admit that the lab is anything other than extremely underwhelming. If the Dyad group is going to talk the talk about how valuable Cosima is as a scientist, they should be able to deliver). It’s not until Rachel turns up that these scenes really pop, however.
Rachel is clearly an intimidating figure, but Cosima (bless her beautiful brainy heart) is unafraid to go toe to toe with her. As we saw last week, Rachel likes to be in charge and she doesn’t react well when that position is challenged. In fact Leekie scolds Cosima for Sarah’s actions in the premiere, admitting that Rachel “takes these things very personally.” That much is evident when Rachel dangles her knowledge of Cosima’s illness mere minutes into their first conversation. Cosima is clearly rattled, but she gets even when she mentions Sarah’s ability to have children. We don’t know much about Rachel yet, but my impression is that she doesn’t seen herself being in the same league as the other clones. Cosima’s comment refuses to let Rachel distinguish herself as any different than Cosima (or Katya for that matter). It’s a daring move, though I worry that Cosima may have made an enemy because of it.
- Acting on Felix’s advice, Alison sets a “Sarah” trap to see if Donnie (Kristian Bruun) is her monitor, which he immediately falls into. Unfortunately the confirmation drives Alison back into the bottle (I love that her sobriety lasted about five seconds) and Felix abandons her to go on the lam with Kira and Sarah. Alison has the least interesting of all the Clone Club storylines, but because she’s so delightfully unhinged, it makes this development really upsetting. I was genuinely mad that Felix doesn’t realize how vulnerable Alison is and invite her to leave town with them.
- Mrs. S denies any knowledge of Project Leda when Sarah confronts her about it, but it seems pretty clear that she’s lying. This is confirmed before Mrs. S kills her friend, but I’ll admit that I’m still not entirely certain why this matters. Have I forgotten something about Project Leda? Isn’t it just the original trials that produced Sara and Helena?
- I’m intrigued that Rachel seemingly hands over all of the Dyad’s information about Sarah’s DNA and background. And by intrigued, I mean suspicious. Surely Leekie and Rachel don’t trust Cosima, or believe that she’s not aligned with Sarah. Does this mean that everything Cosima works on inside Dyad will be a lie?
- No Hot Paul this week. That’s disappointing…
- Finally, for an interesting think piece on Helena’s return and why the show should kill Sarah (!), check out this controversial piece from Entertainment Weekly‘s Jeff Jensen (who loves nothing more than to stir the pot).
- Felix (to Sarah, discussing Art): “I can’t believe you let a cop into Clone Club”
- Allison (when director Alexander gets handsy): “Not sure that’s my secrum”
- Felix (refusing to shake Alexander’s hand): “Yes, I’ve seen where that hand’s been”
- Cosima (when Rachel introduces herself): “You sure are”
- Cosima (challenging Rachel’s gay comment): “My sexuality is not the most interesting thing about me” Can we just take a moment to celebrate how awesome Cosima (and this show) is for its GLBT depiction? F*ck yeah, Cosima!
- Felix (abandoning Alison when she declares she killed Aynsley): “Aynsley wore a scarf in the kitchen!”
What are your thoughts on the second episode? Are you intrigued by Johanssen and this “new” version of the Proletheans? Do you think Sarah was wise to leave Mrs. S behind? Are you mad that Felix abandoned Alison? Can Cosima trust anything the Dyad gives her? And do you care about anything Detective Deangelis (Inga Cadranel) gets up to? Sound off below.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on BBC America