The boy clones make an aggressive (unsanctioned) move as Orphan Black continues to lay the foundation for the season ahead.
Let’s bitch it out…
What is Project Castor up to? That’s the big question S3 of Orphan Black is asking since its return and while ‘Transitory Sacrifices Of Crisis’ doesn’t offer any concrete answers, we’re getting a clearer picture of Castor’s interests.
This second episode spends a bit more time with the Castor clones than last week’s premiere. Showrunners Fawcett and Manson are sinking a lot of story time into the battle of the clones, so it’s important that we at least have an idea of who the boys are. Hell, it took me most of the hour just to figure out their names!
It’s clear from the creepy threesome that opens the hour that Rudy (aka Scarface) and Seth (aka Pornstache) – both played by Ari Millen – are…close. Their double act with an unwilling hook-up catches Art (Kevin Hanchard) and Sarah’s (Tatiana Maslany) attention, but apart from creating tension between the former police partners, very little comes out of this event*. In fact the only reason Sarah learns anything is because she has the chance to desperately question Rudy when he breaks into Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment and takes Kira (Skyler Wexler) hostage.
*The opening feels a little over-designed to play on people’s fear of twins posing as each other during sex. Perhaps it’s intended to indicate how different the Castor clones are from the Leda girls in that the girls pose as each other to gain information, not to cause distress or humiliation. Mostly, though, it plays out like something I would expect to see on The Following, which is not a compliment.
If ‘Transitory Sacrifices Of Crisis’ feels at times a little rudderless, Rudy’s B&E snaps everything into place. I didn’t believe for a second that Kira was in any danger, but I fully expected Cal (Michiel Huisman) to end up beaten or killed after getting caught between Seth and Rudy. Cal’s survival enables Orphan Black to do two things: 1) ship Kira and Cal off and 2) dispense with the idea that Sarah can play house with her ex and daughter. Last season, a number of episodes were dedicated to this idea, so I’m happy that we’re not repeating the same storyline in a different location. Clearly this was important for the script to acknowledge this, as well, since both Hot Paul (Dylan Bruce) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) comment on it.
Obviously Sara’s status as a mother is one of her key distinguishing characteristics, but in the history of the series Kira is basically little more than a series of tropes, including the magical-supernatural-healer child and, more problematically, the always-in-danger, always-needs-protection pawn. With Kira safely removed from the plot by Cal, Sara can focus on the task at hand: finding Helena and taking out the Castor threat.
- Rudy’s murder of Seth is immediate and perfunctory – Rudy barely hesitates when he sees his “brother” shaking on the ground – but it is clearly also a mercy killing. The protectiveness between the Castor boys and Seth’s illness draws some fairly clear parallels between the two sets of clones, though as stated the boys seem more unhinged and have fewer distinguishing characteristics besides their (facial) hair.
- Between Rudy’s demands for Duncan’s tissue samples and Dr. Nealon’s (Tom McCamus) exposition about the genetic material of the original Leda and Castor donors disappearing when the Duncans moved to Dyad, it’s clear what the MacGuffin for the early episodes of this season will be.
- Side Bar: Nealon is the new doctor put in place by Delphine (an unseen Evelyne Brochu) to run Dyad. He’s played by a great Canadian actor and in just a few scenes, he’s nearly as shady as every other doctor we’ve seen on the series. Orphan Black has a very clear distrust of doctors. Makes me wonder if someone had a bad incident in their childhood?
- The other new doctor introduced is Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper). She’s first seen saving/befriending Helena at the desert compound where she’s being held. Coady’s interest in the wild Ukranian is the result of Helena’s confirmed pregnancy, which automatically casts Coady in a questionable light.
- Meanwhile, in suburbia, Alison convinces husband Donnie (Kristian Bruun) to enter into a new business venture as drug dealers to the soccer mom set. It has the benefit of simultaneously saving their house and solidifying her voting base for school trustee so it’s an all around pretty shrewd deal for #TeamHendrix. Can’t wait to see how they f*ck this up.
- In the coda, we get our first S3 glimpse of Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) and Mark. In another scene that is clearly intended to generate water cooler discussion, Mark burns off his Castor horse tattoo with a blow-torch. Yum
- Some interesting facts that are revealed about Cal during his clandestine chat with Paul:
- Cal is a war profiteer
- Cal knows more than he’s letting on (Paul clarifies that Sara was meant to take Kira and run following Helena’s abduction as though Cal knows about the deal).
- Finally, I still don’t like Helena’s dumb scorpion. I understand the rationale, but it just isn’t working for me.
Your turn: are you glad to learn more about Rudy and Seth? Do you agree that the clone donors are the new MacGuffin that we’ll chase for the rest of the season? Happy that Sara isn’t playing house with Cal and Kira again? Glad to see Hot Paul and Cal again? And do you like the scorpion? Sound off below.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on BBC America. Please note that next week’s review will be up late Sunday or early Monday.