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Orphan Black – S4E2 – Transgressive Border Crossing

Previously on Orphan Black, “The Collapse of Nature”

Orphan Black was back for its second episode this week and, as usual, I was thoroughly confused and loving every minute of it (I wrote 352 words in my notes as I watched the episode, and they were accompanied by 36 question marks. For a comparison, when I write my notes for Arrow the only punctuation tends to be a couple of exclamation marks and some frowny face emojis).

After last week’s stellar flashback episode we were (mostly) back in the present day this week. The episode picks up directly from last week, with Sarah receiving a call from the mysterious MK, warning her that she needs to get the hell out of Iceland. S and her mother aren’t too keen to trust the strange Scandinavian on the phone, but are swayed when Kira spots people coming in the distance. They burn the place down and catch a ride back to North America with S’ (apparently very skilled at people smuggling) friends.

In Sarah’s absence Cosima and Scott have set themselves up with a secret lab (and hydroponic weed crop) underneath a comic book shop. They are still searching for a treatment for Cosima using samples from Kendall, which leads Scott to discover that she has Leukemia and is keeping it a secret from S. Cosima is putting on a brave front, but the combination of her weakening health and Delphine’s disappearance has taken its toll on her, and she breaks down with S.

Mrs. S (MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY) and Cosima (TATIANA MASLANY)

Images: BBC America

Tying directly into last week’s flashbacks, Art and Sarah discover the secret camera that Beth put up in her and Paul’s apartment. She received a house call from the neolutionist working for the police union, who is just as creepy and threatening as we saw last week. We also see Beth donning a disguise for some unknown purpose, and returning home with someone else’s blood on her hands, much to the distress of MK. She may be new, but hearing the pain in MK’s voice when she begs Beth not to leave was a real kick in the gut, especially knowing that was the night Beth died.

After seeing the pregnant neolutionist visit Beth in the surveillance tapes, Sarah drags Felix off to hunt for her at a neolutionist club. She runs into a man who conveniently mistakes her for MK, who has coincidently organized to meet him that night so that he can show her a video of another person with a maggot in their cheek. Sarah goes to meet MK at a laundromat, but she will only talk on the phone, and speeds off when Sarah sees that she is in a car outside. Sarah is attacked by the creepy EMTs that we last saw burying a body in the woods, who, upon realizing that she isn’t MK, stick a finger in her mouth to feel inside her cheek, and then run off. After thoroughly scaring Kira trying to feel inside her cheek, Sarah checks her own with a torch and finds that she has been implanted with one of the maggot-bots.

Mrs. S (MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY) and Sarah (TATIANA MASLANY)

The Good

Felix seems to be getting his own storyline this season, after a couple of years of just being involved in clone business. He is pretty done with his life being tied up in his sister’s and has decided to track down his birth parents. Much as I adore the sibling love between Felix and Sarah, it is pretty cathartic to see him finally getting exhausted with the clone drama. Also, we got to see him painting in just an apron again, which is always fun.

Although all of the characters have interesting relationships with one another, there are certain pairing that really work well together, and they were all on show this week. Helena and Donnie in particular is a pairing that works inexplicably well, and seeing them going to an ultrasound together and finding out that she is having twins was both hilarious and heartwarming. It was also great to see Art and Sarah investigating together again, Alison and Felix chatting about art, and Cosima and Scott working together in their nerd haven.

I’m glad that we haven’t seen the last of the Beth flashbacks. Much as I usually view flashbacks as lazy exposition, I will make an exception for Beth. For someone who we’d only seen on tape before last week, Beth has been a huge part of the fabric of this show since day one, and it is great to finally untangle some of the threads left dangling in season 1. With Beth back and the complete absence of the Castor Clones it feels like the show is really going back to the basics.

The Bad

Why on earth was there a kid playing an arcade game alone in a laundromat late at night? What does it say about me that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to robot maggots secretly living in people’s cheeks, but not to that? Also, is it really that easy for Felix to sneak Sarah into a club? To think I’ve been paying entry all this time!

Must I sit through yet another queer woman mourning her girlfriend on TV? Since we don’t officially know that Delphine was killed when she was shot last season I’m giving the show the benefit of the doubt, but this is already a tired storyline. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google LGBT fans deserve better. Shows don’t exist in a vacuum.)

Quotes of the Week:

Felix educating Alison about art –

Alison: “Is that a penis?”

Felix: “In art it’s called a phallus, darling.”

Felix after Sarah barges in on him in the shower –

“Can you hand me the towel, please, so this gets a little less ‘Flowers in the Attic’”

Orphan Black - S4E2
  • 9/10
    Plot - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
9.7/10

Summary

This week was another first-rate return to form from Orphan Black. Although the rehashing of plot lines covered last week meant that it didn’t quite keep up that episode’s fast pace, it was still a classic episode of Orphan Black, with phenomenal performances (as always) from Tatiana Maslany, plenty of questions answered (and just as many raised), and plenty of humour. Here’s hoping season 4 continues to please next week!

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About Alison Millward (103 Articles)
Alison is a big nerd living in Melbourne, Australia. She is a lover of all things television, particularly anything in the "hot young people in depressing sci-fi situations" genre. When not watching tv, Alison enjoys long walks on the beach, corrupting young minds, and actively avoiding thinking about her future.
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