ORPHAN BLACK: “Governed As It Were By Chance”

This week in Clone Club, Sarah gets a bit “banged” up, Alison wrestles with demons, Helena might as well have her own show on TLC, and Cosima plays in the lion’s den…

The episode begins minutes after last week’s cliffhanger that found Daniel and Sarah in an auto accident — orchestrated by Cal, it turns out. Daniel appears DOA but a little trickle of blood on #1 clone’s head’s no big matter, as she and Cal hide the car and rush away from the scene. Sarah is quickly reunited with Kira while Cal offers up a camper for escape – road trip! Once on the road, Sarah tries to explain the situation the best she can to Cal, who assumes she’s just on another long con. Figuring she can buy some time, Sarah uses Daniel’s phone to communicate with Rachel, assuring the latter all is well. The trio stop in a corn field so that Sarah can Skype with Cosima, who has been using her new lab at the Dyad Institute to investigate the swim teacher’s death: one that might be her own future. The two discuss “Project LEDA” theorizing that the military may have created them. Sarah decides to head back to the city to have it out with Mrs. S, hoping to finally get some answers. Sarah leaves Kira in Cal’s charge – um, what? Look, he seems like a guy on the up and up, but you’ve got to stop trusting people, Lady! Even the woman you considered Mum lied to you…and Cal’s face when Sarah mentioned the Dyad Institute? Not exactly the stuff Popes are made of…Anywho, Sarah heads to Mrs. S’s house and runs into Felix; the two covertly inspect the house. They find photos of Carlton, and shocker upon shocker, Mrs. S was kind enough to keep clippings – of Rachel’s parents involved in project Leda. Sarah sends Felix to Cosima with the clippings and heads to Rachel’s apartment. On the phone, Cosima informs Sarah that Rachel’s parents were biologists, working out of Cambridge until they died in a lab explosion. And if Sarah had stayed with them, she could have been Rachel. As if! While going through “Cold Bitch’s” apartment – like Mrs. S., she also likes to leave clues for unwanted guests like video tapes of her as a child — Sarah discovers men’s clothes. On cue, Daniel shows up to clean himself after the car accident and knocks her to the floor, eventually slicing behind her ear with a straight razor. After threatening to inflict a lot more fun, it doesn’t turn out too well for him in the end – more on that in a moment.

As for Mrs. S, she dons some boots and heads out on the prowl for answers of her own, meeting up with old flame Carlton in a bar. She tries to enlist his help in getting the whole story and keeping it away from Sarah…I’m inclined to believe that she has her adoptive daughter’s best interests at heart, though I do not agree on the methods.

Over in Cultville, Henrik von Weirdo insists to bewildered daughter Gracie that Helena is part of the family now, so the little redhead needs to get used to the gibberish and homicidal mania emanating from the frizzy blonde. When Helena wakes from sedation – that must have been some wedding night – the Proletheans’ true motives begin to take shape for her. Art is noticed by the clan, not exactly being discreet taking photos in the woods, but Henrik tells the others not to worry; he should have been looking closer to home, as Gracie tries to smother Helena with a pillow. Oh, Red, you should have picked a kitten with less lives, as Helena bursts from the bed and chokes out Gracie, getting away. During her escape, she stumbles upon a room with medical instruments and remembers glimpses of the night before, detailing what appears to be the Prolethean men attempting to inseminate Sarah’s twin. I don’t think this is going to work out for you guys…you do know this woman likes to cut people up, right? (Later it is revealed that they might have just taken some clone cells to grown their own Sarah-Cosima-Rachel-Katya-Helena-Alison…or whatever) Helena runs right past Art, who holds the hunting party up, allowing her to get away. And where does she go? Straight to Mrs. S’s house, where she tails Sarah to Rachel’s apartment and ends up killing Daniel and begging a terrified Sarah for help.

Finally, Alison suffers the consequences of self-medication when she finds herself – complete with arm sling – in rehab. How suburban! Felix comes to visit, and Alison begs him to help her get away. Once he reveals how at least a week in the serenity of a place without drugs, alcohol, or monitors might be beneficial, Alison embraces the idea of sobriety. Somehow, I don’t think that one is going to stick…but nice try Uncle F! Alison steadies into urinating in front of the other kind of “monitor,” the rehab kind. When Donnie comes to see her, he drops the bomb that if she ever wants to see her kids again, she’ll cooperate with the program. Is this another move to throw her off the monitor-scent, or is it a true ultimatum? Time will tell, but as for now, Alison is staying put.

Bravo to the writers for addressing life outside the high concept clone business to highlight Alison’s spiral and the real solutions Middle America might thrust upon her. My fear about the “cracks” in the storytelling seemed a bit premature as Orphan Black continues to add layers to its deep plot and characters. Although not highly interested in the Proletheans or their tired clichés, I am so drawn to all the other stories and mysteries that I will give the show a pass for now, expecting another twist to make the Others click. Further information on the Dyad Institute, Mrs. S’s motives, and this terrible clone sickness keeps me completely dialed in. And can we all agree that once Cal and Paul get into a room together, magic just might occur? Hopefully, there will be oil of some kind.

Grade: B+…It’s just getting better and better!

One thought on “ORPHAN BLACK: “Governed As It Were By Chance””

  1. I can’t say enough about Tatiana Maslany’s performance(s) in the bathroom scene. Just incredible.

    This was the first episode this season that had me thinking “ORPHAN BLACK!” instead of “Orphan Black?”, though I’m with you in having no use for the heavy-handed creepiness of the Prolethians. Though I suppose that’s the point.

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