ORPHAN BLACK: Season 2 Wrap-Up

If all the sharks are jumped, what is Fonzie to do?

Oh, the tangled web you weave Orphan Black, with your intricate plots, a new villain behind every strand, a new “gotcha” moment, another clone, another set of clones, where are you leading us? Always a new boy to be bedded, a body to be buried, a situation-of-the-week to be handled. And here we are, at the end of a season full of promise, no more the wiser — though answers have been doled out – with losses to add to the ledger, additions to list, and praises to be showered on the indelible, unmatched goddess that is Tatiana Maslany. Let’s break down what we’ve learned, what has annoyed, and what was best about Season 2 by checking up with all…all those characters.

 

THE CLONES:

Sarah – After discovering Kira was not captured by Dyad, Sarah’s world is turned upside down. Can she trust the real captor Mrs. S, who purportedly secreted Kira away for her own safety? The short answer, no. No, she can’t. But we’ll get to Siobhan.

After “rescuing Kira” for Siobhan and some of her “Birdwatching” friends, we meet Cal, a striking Mountain Man with some high-tech skills who happens to be Kira’s father. Even Siobhan remarks what all viewers are thinking, “How does she do it?” Getting all these men to fawn all over her while she’s stealing from them, maiming them, or altogether ruining their lives. She immediately makes mortal enemies with Rachel, who seems to be envious of Sarah’s free-wheeling lifestyle, makes up with Helena, and eventually gives herself up to save Cosima’s life. The season ends with Sarah discovering yet another enemy to hide from: the Military, who created male clones out of Project Castor. Male. F’-ing Clones.

orphan-black-season-2-finale3It could work out…right?

The protagonist and audience proxy still has the ability to move the story forward, and we care whether or not she succeeds, but her continual boneheaded trusting of those around her after constant disappointment continues to astound. Adding more people from her past, including the delightfully gorgeous Daario Naharis Cal (Michiel Huisman), without answering questions or resolving any kind of current conflict with the likes of Mrs. S, Felix, Vic, or Paul, seems the wrong move. Let’s stay the current course, maybe?

 

Cosima – A full-fledged, key-card-carrying employee of the DYAD institute, Cosima works alongside Delphine to heal her illness and discover the truth of the clones’ origins. When she becomes too ill to continue, Rachel offers Sarah a deal to get Kira’s bone marrow – the only thing that can prolong Cosima’s life until they can hack the genome and cure the disease.

 

tumblr_mok3297xqK1sqve17o2_500Cough, Cough…I’m totes dead, right? But this eyeliner is still stylin’!

The chemistry between Cosima and Evelyne Brochu’s Delphine still resonates; however, the couple is right in the center of the hornet’s nest, and this should add for interesting moments or (you would think) some suspense, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…nothing. Save for a cute moment where Cosima owns a board game that rivals the Cones of Dunshire against some lab nerds (is that redundant?), there was very little to care about here this season.

Almost at death’s door, now Kira has given her exactly the key she needs to unlock the genome and save her life. But is it too— Sorry, I just really don’t care.

 

Alison – Everyone’s favorite clone gave us the most fascinating and surprisingly heartfelt story arc of the season. After collapsing onstage during the hilarious small-town musical rendition of “Blood Ties” – where she secured the lead from dead Aynsley – Alison was forced into rehab by Donnie (Kristian Bruun), finally showing some backbone. It turns out Donnie is not just her monitor but truly the husband she’s always craved, one who worships her completely and has a slight maniacal side.

During rehab, Alison is sold out to Detective DeAngelis (Inga Cadranel) by Vic (Michael Mando), who just happens to be cleaning his life up right alongside one of Sarah’s clones. Alison does not find this odd and strikes up a friendship with Sarah’s former lover, nearly ruining it for everyone until she discovers the truth. Felix and Sarah help take him down. While at the rehab, Tatiana Maslany has a scene where she must act as Sarah pretending to be Alison. It. Is. Genius! I sincerely hope the powers that be sent that tape straight to The Academy of Television…or Television Academy…whatever they’re calling themselves these days. Girl was ROBBED last year. Let’s not let that happen again, ‘kay?

In the couple’s darkest moment, Donnie accidently kills Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer) who, in a “strange” coincidence, was just ordered to be executed by DYAD. But no one will be looking for the man whom Donnie and Alison bury in their basement, where they reconnect (literally) in the afterglow of covering up the murder. Kristian Bruun showed his deep range this season, matching Maslany (okay, that’s not really a thing) – getting close to matching Maslany – in nearly every scene they shared.

It’s a hit.

 

Helena – Surprise! The frizzy-haired, psychotic, Barbie and Carb-lovin’ clone survived Sarah’s gunshot and was “rescued” from the hospital by the creepy Prolethean cult. After escaping Farmville and reconnecting with Sarah by saving her from a truly creepy and homicidal Daniel, Helena falls in love for the first time – in her own special way – eats all of Art’s Sam’s Club stash, and heads right back to the Proletheans to get impregnated. Maybe it’s something about being raised to believe she was an abomination, but Helena really wants some kiddos of her own. For validity?

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I can see it now…

 

After discovering that her eggs were implanted in Gracie as well, Helena burns the Prolethean camp down, only to be kidnapped by the Army Dudes. Does this have something to do with Project Castor? Are those the male clones she’s carrying? Definitely yes and probably yes.

Rachel – Everytime I think of the uptight Brit, “This is How We Do It” plays in my head. Something about that sex scene, where she directs Paul – basically raping the man – to do her…ahem…bidding. Helena looks on, nearly killing her, but is stopped by Sarah. Rachel turns her back on Leekie, the man who raised her, once she believes he was responsible for her mother’s death, but she cannot quite connect with her “father” Ethan Duncan (Andrew Gillies) when he returns to the scene.

We are privy to Rachel posh apartment, decorated by OCD Monthly, I’m sure. She binge watches episodes from her childhood, home movies where she seemed happy, though when she forces Ethan to watch these same clips, she says she felt nothing. After Ethan commits suicide rather than give over the genome to DYAD, we see real emotion from Rachel. She wants to save him, or maybe she wants him to die by her terms. Rachel also locks Kira up Misery-style and even has Sarah look on as she plays Mummy. And what does she get for it? A pencil in the eye so that Sarah can flee DYAD with Kira in tow. We are left to ponder Rachel’s fate, but I don’t think this look can be resisted next season:

 

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It’s the other eye…but still

 

Tony (formerly Antoinette) – So…turns out…Maslany can also play a man. In a nod of things to come, foreshadowing as the kids call it, Tony the Transgender Clone (like a superhero name!) shows up on the scene looking for Beth Childs after his supposed monitor Sammy bites it. But here’s where it gets interesting: Sammy was not Tony’s monitor. In fact, he was ex-military. When Tony shows up on Art’s doorstep, the suspended cop takes him straight (ha) to Felix – where the two connect. Tony continually flirts with Felix, whose mixed feelings on the subject allow for a quick kiss before he turns the clone down. Sarah and Felix send Tony along his away, with a Clone Phone and some cash. At first, I thought this “B” storyline just an exploitative “Hey! Look at me, LGBT community!” but it serves the story so much more. The Army Dudes have their hands all up Clone Wars’ skirt. Not only do they control Project Castor, but they have been monitoring Project Leda (that is, our clones) through Paul and apparently Sammy.

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“Give us a kiss…”

THE GOOD GUYS:

Felix – One of Rachel’s more threatening actions to get Sarah to fold was to have Felix manhandled and accused of murder via Paul (back when he was playing lap dog). Poor suffering Felix tried the whole “having a backbone” thing, but it did not exactly work out for him when he stood up to Sarah. He still went around doing her bidding, aiding Alison, and it was he who was ultimately responsible for allowing Kira to be captured when he mistook Rachel for Sarah. She did speak with a British accent, after all. Felix is always fun, and his interactions with Tony were both surprising and revealing. Just call him Felix Lannister.

In one of the more annoying scenes this season, Felix and the Clones (another band name) rock out and dance to some of his tunes in his loft after fleeing DYAD. It’s a party! No…no, it’s an excuse to show all the clones together in one room. Look! Technology!

Art – Whether it’s about loyalty to Beth Childs or his thirst for knowledge, Art is so obsessed with learning the truth behind Sarah Manning, he gets suspended, turns his back on Detective Angela DeAngelis, and turns full-fledged member of Clone Club Adjacent. After getting a tip on the Proletheans, he stakes out their farm and headquarters, coming across an escaping Helena. He then turns Tony over to Felix and basically becomes Sarah’s “Paul.” I like Art (Kevin Hanchard) but, now that he is no longer a thorn in Sarah’s side, what exactly is his point, as a character? He seems just another piece of fat to be cut from all the extras.

Mrs. S – I couldn’t exactly follow all the twists and turns that make up the enigma of Mrs. S. Siobhan has a past – yes, we get it – but to whom she reports, if she reports, at all, she claims to have Kira’s best interest at heart. First, she kidnaps the girl from Sarah in order to protect her, but her “friends” the Birdwatchers attempt to turn them over to the Proletheans – getting killed in the process. We discover she knows of Paul, DYAD, the Army Dudes, and has been protecting Ethan Duncan from DYAD.

While in hiding, Ethan has placed a map to the genome in his copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau, which he gifts to Kira (the same book she gives Cosima at the end of the season). Mrs. S wants to use Duncan to pit Rachel against Leekie – who then goes on to get killed by Donnie. Totes accidentally, though. Siobhan’s actions, and all the people she keeps in her world, seem to serve the greater good, but…

THE BAD GUYS:

Mrs. S – …she’s consistently setting up roadblocks and land mines for Sarah to cross. Without being completely open with Sarah, we can never fully trust Siobhan. The showrunners continually use Mrs. S for shock value after little pieces of her past are revealed, but now it is gotten to be more of an annoyance. Why should we care? We get it. She’s an onion with layers.

DYAD – The Institute that spearheaded Project Leda and brought our lovable clones to life is a bit in flux, at the moment. After Leekie is dethroned, Rachel takes the helm and uses the Institute to play out her fantasies of being in control. They capture Ethan Duncan but lose him to his own poison after he attempts to cure Cosima. They have Cosima, Sarah, and Kira, but lose them once Rachel tries to remove one of Sarah’s ovaries. Out of envy? For research? I still do not understand why DYAD cannot be the sole “Big Bad”? Why do we need the Proletheans? The Army Dudes? A Company pulling all the strings?

The Proletheans – Never a fan of the allegory to Warren Jeffs and his followers, I was happy to see them taken down. But can we really believe that the Army Dudes have replaced them fully? Though Helena burnt down the compound and purportedly killed Henrik the main man, Mark – one of the Castor clones – and Gracie – surrogate-ly pregnant with Helena’s babies – got hitched in the finale and are on the run. Or is Mark just returning Gracie to the Army Dudes?

The Army Dudes – We meet these guys, Paul among them, when they show up to help bust Sarah out of DYAD, but there’s a hidden agenda (of course). They want Helena, ‘napping her outside of BrotherSestra’s loft after the dance party. We see one of the Castor Clones in full uniform, leading Helena away as Mrs. S and Paul look on. So…they are next season’s “Big Bad”? Or Anti-DYAD? Yin and Yang? Why do we need them again?

THE “JURY’S STILL OUT” GUYS:

Cal – Though he appears to only have recently discovered DYAD’s motives by asking Google Jesus researching the Deep Web, Cal knows way too much to have once been Sarah’s mark and ultimate sperm donor. He also seems to care about both Kira and her mother. Time will tell…I hope that time involves him walking around in his underwear. If not, why is he here again? We have Paul for that.

Paul – Speaking of Paul, it’s not enough to go all Agent Ward with him. He has to have an agenda that is contrary to DYAD’s so that Sarah can lust after him again. Or at least let him back into Clone Club Adjacent. Does he work solely with the Army Dudes, or is he playing them, too?

orphanblack_2x05_rachel

At least we know he takes orders well.

 

Marion – Basically Mrs. S in Prada shoes, she’s the face of The Company, contracting out to both DYAD and the Army Dudes. After several failed attempts to replicate the clone genome, Charlotte is in batch 400, though she seems to have some sort of deformity. Marion adopted the child, and “just wants what’s best for her,” natch. Sarah does not question the help from the Company to bust her out of DYAD (really?!!), so when she goes all The Bride on everyone next season after discovering Helena missing, don’t be surprised.

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“Mommy?”

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Full disclosure: I have no idea what is going on with this show. Orphan Black has a tendency toward flashy twists, but its real power comes from the personal interactions and relationships. Maslany never breaks form, allowing you to truly believe she is different people, even when she’s speaking to herself. It matters little the overwhelming stories, confusing villains, and the revolving door of suitors – at the heart is Maslany, the titular Orphan. What began as a fascinating pilot became a showcase for one star’s talents. Like Tracey Ullman or Tiny Fey, it’s not the show you’re watching, it’s the star. And, for now, that’s enough for me.

 

MUSINGS FROM “THE HUSBAND”:

Re: the “Castor” reveal, The Husband noted, “I hope [Ari Millen] is as good as [Tatiana Maslany], but I doubt it.”

Agreed, Babe. Agreed.

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