ORPHAN BLACK: “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed”

Tatiana Maslany continues to make mincemeat of other actresses, putting on another master class in the Orphan Black Season Two premiere.

Not content with the slow burn of the pilot, Season Two opens like a rocket, moments after the finale left off; Sarah runs through the rain, calling Felix for help after Kira has been abducted. She ducks into a diner and attempts to phone-tree the Clone Club, but Alison and Cosima have gone dark. She even tries Paul but gets Rachel (the most annoying of all clones…) — who insists that if she wants to see Kira and Mrs. S again, Sarah must surrender herself. Once she hangs up, two well-dressed thugs try to take her down. She is saved, however, by the diner owner, who ends up taking a bullet in the head to allow her to escape. Sarah finds Felix under a pile of men at an S&M club, as Paul contacts her, preying on her weakness to trust him. Paul informs her that if she wants to get Kira back, Rachel will be at a party for Dyad that evening before getting on a plane with Sarah’s daughter…and Daniel, the hired gun, will be all over Sarah’s tracks from now on, tasked with bringing her in. Side Note: Daniel is equal parts Robert Blake and Daniel Craig…a super-creepy Agent Smith type. He gives me the willies!

Delphine urges Cosima to seek out Leekie for aid now that she is experiencing symptoms of the mysterious clone illness, but the latter refuses, preferring to conduct her own research; she does not fully trust any information uncovered through Dyad. Delphine turns over a sample of Cosima’s blood to Leekie, however, in an attempt to help her lover, letting him know that “I am invested. Which is what you wanted, I am sure.” Leekie seems downright shocked and saddened at Cosima’s possible sickness. Poor overly-invested creep!

Alison is attempting to return her life to suburban normalcy after agreeing to terms with Rachel, but Felix interrupts her world on an errand from Sarah. They need a gun. Hilarity ensues, as it always does when Alison is involved, when the housewife meets her dealer – a stock boy named Ramon with a trunk full of goodies. Further injuring my funny bone with overuse, Alison performs in a rehearsal for a community theatre musical. It. Was. Epic. But Art and Detective Deangelis show up just in time to see Sarah arrive to get the gun from Alison. When the detectives take the call about the diner from the top of the episode, Deangelis investigates inside while Art and Sarah talk in the car. The two discuss Sarah’s missing daughter, and she urges Art to drop the case, insisting that it is better for him and Deangelis. Art lets Sarah go over Deangelis’s protests, but he insists it is part of his plan, that Sarah almost trusts him.

Rachel attempts to recruit Paul back to Dyad’s graces, inviting him to travel with her to Taiwan, a prospect Leekie finds amusing. In a scene that evokes the “who’s on top” question, Rachel ties Leekie’s tie as he practices his speech for the night’s Dyad Gala, and she informs him that she will need to use his office for the “Koreas. Both of them.” Highly ironic and playing on the whole Pygmalion vibe, I cannot imagine it will continue to go well for Rachel, who seems to be playing for the wrong team.

Alison sends a care package to the loft delivered by Ramon, along with homemade card. Now armed, Felix and the clones attempt to create a plan for the Dyad party. Sarah sends Daniel on a wild-goose chase, whereas he abducts Alison in Sarah’s place, until he realizes his mistake. Sarah uses the diversion to attend the Dyad party…dressed as Cosima. Let’s just stop right there for a moment: Tatiana Maslany is playing a character Sarah, in this instance, who is pretending to be Cosima, basically imitating a character she already plays…Please give Ms. Maslany all the Emmys. Post haste. Back to our regularly scheduled recap: Sarah…as Cosima… gets an access card off of Leekie and confronts Delphine, who gives her information on how to get to Rachel.

Rachel speaks to the Koreas about synthetic DNA as Sarah hides in the wings with her gun. Rachel informs Sarah that she lied to get her there, that the house was already turned upside down with the company arrived – they do not have Kira. Sarah knocks Rachel out, and Paul enters in time to hold a gun on the pissed-off Brit, but he ultimately lets her go.

Defeated, Sarah meets Art at his apartment. Looks like she trusts him after all. Art informs her that the diner goons were more of Helena’s people, and they might have Kira. Finally, Sarah decides to give Art the full story…

Cut to: Helena showing up in the hospital, covered in blood, dying from the wounds she sustained last season, mere hours for her. Say it with me now: “What in the what now?” I thought the decision to have Helena die for both her “sister” and her “cause” simultaneously last season carried heavy weight. I’ll have to hold my verdict until I see where this goes, but for now, I have to say I am a bit disappointed with this turn of events. I know we are dealing with synthetic DNA and cloning, not exactly current reality, but a bullet is still a bullet, right? How many lives does Helena have?!

The episode ends on: Kira getting her picture taken by the unnamed, unshown kidnapper.

GRADE: B. Like I said, Tatiana Maslany displays her genius, as always, but this premiere left me wanting, and not exactly in a good way. Light on answers, Felix, and story development, heavy on obnoxious Rachel, creepy but somehow still bland Daniel, and Helena not being dead…but elevated by Alison goodness, this show is still better than 95% of other programming. Check back each Sunday morning for my recaps and if you’re not watching, shame on you!!

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