Seestras are doing it for themselves as the #CloneClub spends another week separated in their own solo story lines.
Let’s bitch it out…
I could have sworn that I read interviews before the start of the third season that indicated that the girls would be spending more time together. As we approach the half way point of this third season, however, I can barely remember the last time that any of them interacted outside of a brief phone call. I know that multiple clone scenes are tough on star Tatiana Maslany, who is required to pull double-duty when her various characters interact. And yet we haven’t had a week yet when Ari Millen doesn’t interact with at least one – if not two – of his Castor boys.
I raise the point because it feels like Orphan Black is trying to juggle a dozen plotlines, which is about eight more than it can realistically handle. Considering the fixed number of episodes per season, I’m surprised at how little has happened…and how little I care about what has. ‘Newer Elements Of Our Defense’ dedicates a substantial chunk of time to the Proletheans, the crazed religious group that impregnated both Helena (Maslany) and Grace Johanssen (Zoé De Grand Maison). And I honestly don’t understand why.
Last week Grace allowed her mother Bonnie (Kristin Booth) to nearly murder her husband Mark (Millen). I speculated then that it seemed like a natural end point for the Prolethean story line, and yet here we are, seven days later, being introduced to new characters. In addition to meeting blind Jonah (David Fox), who may be the new Prolethean leader (?), Grace loses her child and gets disowned from her terrible family and friends. While I always champion continuity and closure, I’ll freely admit that the Prolethean pieces all feel superfluous to the overall narrative. I’ve begun to live in dread that we’ll spend more time with these people in S3’s remaining episodes.
The best news carrying over from last week’s episode is that Mark survived Bonnie’s close-range assassination attempt. Sarah discovers him bleeding out in the cornfield and rescues him, against his request. Just like that, a new partnership is formed. There’s clearly still a level of mistrust, but as we see in the episode’s final scene, there’s more room to negotiate with Mark than the other Castor boys. Mark is the sanest of the bunch: he had legitimate plans to trade Johanssen’s samples for freedom from the military life in which he was raised. It also doesn’t hurt that Sarah endears herself to Mark by digging a bullet out of his leg (in the episode’s second most stomach churning scene of gore).
It’s not kindness or compassion that allows Mark to save her life when push comes to shove. When Rudy attacks Sarah in (yet another) barn, we learn that the Castor boys have a hierarchical rank, and Mark is able to issue Rudy a command that must be obeyed. He may be desperate to escape from his brothers, but Mark still knows how to use his military upbringing to his benefit. It should be interesting to see what happens when he is forced to return to his “family” after a year undercover with the Proletheans. Despite what the smashcut to credits at the end of the episode would have us think, I don’t for a minute believe that Mark intends on harming Sarah. It seems clear that he’ll save Sarah’s life again by bringing her back to the base; otherwise he would have simply let Rudy kill her in cold blood and be done with it. In an ironic way Sarah is getting exactly what she wants: accompanying Mark and Rudy means that she will be reunited with Helena.
And yet, somehow, I doubt she wanted to see her seestra under these circumstances.
- Alison’s standalone story line continues as she and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) learn the bad news that their drug business was actually on consignment. In true Orphan Black fashion, however, the big bad drug dealer that calls a late night meeting at the local ice rink turns out to be Alison’s old high school crush, Jason Kellerman (Justin Chatwin, sporting truly unfortunate facial/hair). It could be amusing, but this latest development mostly comes off as exceedingly silly and, most frustratingly, continues to ostracize Alison from the other characters.
- Cosima spends the episode “pining” according to Jordan Gavaris’ Felix. In an effort to cheer her up, he takes her to the local bar where they discuss her need to get over Delphine (an absent Evelyn Brochu) and start dating again. Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ve heard of the online dating site Sapphire (and not just because I watched the preview for next week).
- At the military compound, Helena’s unfortunate hallucinatory scorpion is back, but at least it’s getting results. After faking unconsciousness, Helena manages to sneak out of the infirmary and discover that bad mommy Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper) is conducting some pretty disgusting tests on the Castor clones. In the ickiest scene of the night, Helena succumbs to the pleas of the nameless Clone with an exposed brain by stabbing him in the head with a scalpel. The sound effects alone are barf-inducing, never mind the visuals. Thanks Orphan Black – I should have known better than to eat while watching!
- Alison (when Donnie arrives in a panic): “Why are you sweatier than usual?”
- Donnie (after Alison suggests hiding the incriminating evidence): “Right, storage locker – like on Breaking Bad”
- Sarah (after Mark asks her to stick her finger in fast, it’ll hurt less): “God you must be one hell of a first date.”
- Felix (mocking Cosima’s sweater): “It’s like you’ve been mounted by a Llama”
- Felix (advocating for Cosima meeting new ladies): “I’m talking about a scratching post. Someone to rub up against.”
Your turn: are you wishing that the girls were spending more time together? Do you feel like the Castor boys have stolen the show? Are you sick of the Proletheans? Does Alison need to get plugged back into the main story line? Are we excited to see Cosima go online dating? Sound off below.
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on BBC America. Next week we’ll find out if the remains of the Johanssen child holds the keys to curing the Clones.