It’s one eventful night at the Clone Club as a new family member enters the picture and a deal is struck with Rachel (Tatiana Maslany).
Let’s bitch it out…
I’m a little amiss as to what to talk about in ‘Variable And Full Of Perturbation’. I’m in partial agreement with Caroline Framke at The AV Club that the episode isn’t a great success (though not her assertion that it’s the worst of the series. Why bother with such a qualifier?). It does feel like there are a number of elements going on, but unlike other episodes that manage to bring those diverse pieces together into something whole, this feels more scattershot. So on the whole, ‘Variable And Full Of Perturbation’ doesn’t really work, even though there are distinct moments that make it memorable / enjoyable:
- Trans clone Tony: My only complaint about Tony is that apparently he hits the road by the end of the episode. I’m unsure why this should happen except for the fact that he’s flown under the radar this long and this is a concerted effort to protect him from the evil antics of the Dyad (and the Proletheans). Still, as far as fun characters go, Tony is a definite keeper: he’s deeply reminiscent of the Sarah Manning we met back in the early episodes of the series. He bullish, aggravating and he likes to push the envelope (that kiss with Jordan Gavaris’ Felix made me far too uncomfortable! It’s like incest!). Here’s hoping Tony returns later – with better facial hair (’cause that was some bad prosthetic shit)
- Cosima plays Rune Wars and gets high: Considering the preview completely spoiled Cosima’s collapse, at least we can take solace in the fact that she has a great night before she goes down. Playing games (and kicking ass) with the boys and getting high on helium with Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) proves that all of the clones could do with a bit more fun.
Unfortunately the other storylines are far more mixed. Rachel continues to be one dimensional (defined more by her bob hairstyle more than anything else), Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) are pretty much living in their own wacky suburban sitcom and I’m just not feeling any of the stuff with Ethan (Andrew Gillies). Each time we focus on Ethan, it feels as though creators Fawcett and Manson think that having a mentally unstable scientist mumble his way through scenes is engaging and mysterious. I thought that the introduction of Rachel’s father, the man behind the science, would be a huge asset to the series. Instead Ethan has proven nothing but disappointing.
- I’m glad that Sarah calls Ethan on his inappropriate (and on the nose) reading material for Kira (Skylar Wexler): The Island of Doctor Moreau. Ultimately it’s revealed that the book actually contains his research, although I’m unsure if we’re meant to assume that Kira understands the imagery or not. We’ve had lots of hints that she’s a very special child, but can she decipher genetic materials?
- No Hot Paul this week, but his absence is commented on as both Tony and Rachel reveal that he’s “ghosted” aka disappeared.
- No Helena, either, and I’ll agree with AV Club‘s Framke that it is disappointingly out of character for Sarah and Art (Kevin Hanchard) not to take more interest in her whereabouts.
- Felix (after meeting Tony): “Holy Tilda Swinton, where did he come from?”
- Maria Doyle Kennedy’s Mrs. S (after Delphine explains Rachel claims Leekie died of a heart attack):“I bet she does.”
- Felix (when Tony asks him to run him a bath): “Run it yourself, bitch.”
- Tony (when Felix asks if he’s okay): “Look at us, we’re hot.”
- Tony (looking at Alison’s painting): “The one with the soccer ball looks like a douche.”
Your turn: did the episode fail to come together for you? Do you want to see Tony return? Do you care about Rachel’s interest in having a child? Were you annoyed Cosima’s tumble was spoiled in the previews? Is Ethan an uninteresting character? Is Kira a wunder-kid? Does Alison need to come back into the main storyline? Sound off below.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on BBC America. Next week: Delphine makes a plea to Sarah to help save Cosima’s life.