Orphan Black: “Governed By Sound Reason And True Religion” Season 2 Episode 2 Review

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As the mystery of the clones deepens, we get some exciting setups to take us through the rest of the season.

After last week’s adrenaline rush of a premiere, it’s understandable that Orphan Black needed to take a breather. “Governed By Sound Reason And True Religion” is a bit of a filler episode, but it’s one that lays the groundwork for what’s to come this season. There’s still so much we don’t know about origins of the clones, and so many forces vying for their fates.

As it turns out, one of the forces happens to be Mrs. S. In the episode’s biggest reveal, we find out that she’s the one who’s had Kira all along. Apparently, Sarah’s foster mother is part of a group of “Birdwatchers” who seem to be evading the government for….something. Right now it’s pretty unclear what their motives are, but they’re definitely related to Sarah and the rest of her clone sisters.

In that respect, this episode posited an interesting question as to whether or not Mrs. S can be trusted. On one hand, she let Sarah and Kira go free after things turned sour with her fellow “Birdwatchers,” and even killed her supposed teammates when they tried to stop her–a smart move since this show already has quite a number of shadowy groups looming around. On the other, she lied about her involvement in the mysterious Project Leda, and clearly has many more secrets to tell. Mrs. S wasn’t exactly a major part of the storyline in season 1, but now that she’s a more prominent fixture, I have a lot of anticipation for where her character could lead us. Sarah has always been the eyes through which we view the world of series, and the idea of discovering her past is very intriguing.

One of the downsides of this more expository episode is that there were few interactions between the clones. Tatiana Maslany is so talented at making each of her roles stand out individually, that it’s always a treat to see several of them in the same room. We did, however, get a great scene between Felix and Allison, which is probably my favorite unexpected pairing of the series.

Allison’s plot dealt mainly with her discovering that Donny is her monitor, and then coping with the fact that she murdered an innocent woman. It’s a very bold move to have her learn this truth so early on in the season, but I’m incredibly excited to watch what happens now that her world of quasi-normalcy has been shattered. In her scene with Felix, she desperately relays her troubles onto him while downing a mini bottle of vodka and then cracking open another. Of course, he doesn’t bat an eyelash. Not to sound like an enabler, but some of Allison’s best moments last season arrived as she spiraled out of control. That’s why, after Felix asked her what her plan was, I was so happy to hear her utter the line, “I think I need to keep drinking, and then I’ll have an idea.”

Meanwhile, Cosima’s plot lead her deeper into the Dyad Institute as she begins to set up her new lab. This ended up bringing her face-to-face with Rachel; a relationship that has a lot of potential going forward. The two characters have a stark contrast with each other–more great work on Maslany’s part–and it’s difficult to decide if they’re going to friends or foes. The most telling moment came when Rachel brought up the fact that Cosima is a lesbian, to which she promptly responded, “My sexuality isn’t the most interesting thing about me.”

Rachel seems to be interested in her sexuality from a genetic standpoint, just as she is interested in the fact that Sarah was able to conceive a child. Still, I think Cosima’s response represents one of the series’ larger themes, which is the ability to have control over yourself. Cosima is fighting to have ownership over her own biology, and as more and more people try to force their plans upon the clones, this fight becomes infinitely more difficult.

This brings me to the final plot of the hour, which revolved around the recovering Helena and the Prolethians. She’s taken to a farm run by a man named Henrik (Nikita‘s Peter Outerbridge), who informs her former handler Tomas that the reason she’s still alive is that the bullet missed her heart, which “is on the wrong side”–a fairly blunt metaphor, but I’ll let it slide.

Henrik represents a new kind of threat, one that’s sinister and more terrifying than what we’ve seen before. Whereas Tomas seemed to simply be guided by some blind, fanatical faith, Henrik studied at MIT and knows how to properly fertilize the cows on his farm. His ideology is a blend of both science and religion, which means he has the smarts of the Dyad and the brute force that the fear of God has put into him. He seems to have some sort of plan to try and impregnate Helena–again, taking the power of control away from her–but I’m sure there’s even more up his sleeve that we’ll soon get to see.

Though this episode didn’t quite pack the punch of its predecessor, a decent episode of Orphan Black is still a damn good hour of television. There’s a lot hanging in the air right now that could make for quite a compelling season going forward. Unfortunately, Cosima still feels miles away from the rest of the clones even though she’s now in the same city as them. I’m hoping that future episodes will bring her closer with her carbon copies, as I’m hoping that Sarah’s sudden departure will be cut short so she has to return home. Each of the clones may be one of a kind, but they’re an unstoppable force when they get together. Grade: B+

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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