Orphan Black: “Knowledge Of Causes, And Secret Motion Of Things” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

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In the same episode, Oprhan Black both succumbs to some unfortunate TV tropes and serves up some sweet poetic justice.

Of all the words to describe a show like Orphan Black, “simple” isn’t one of them. Even during its slowest moments, there are a million moving parts working together to create the complex framework of the plot. “Knowledge Of Causes, And Secret Motion Of Things,” proved this, as the plot subdued itself to a few key moments while still managing to put several things in motion for the weeks to come.

One of the downsides of this type of narrative structure, is that there are often too many conclusions that need to be made, and not enough time to make them all feel authentic. Orphan Black has done an excellent job at avoiding the pratfalls of means-to-and-end plotting, but sometimes even the best of shows can fall victim to the easy way out. In two separate instances, we got the TV cliché of a character lurking behind a corner while another character reveals some important information. First, Allison learns about Vick’s true intentions after eavesdropping on his phone call with Angie. Then, Cosima learns her stem cells came from Kira’s teeth after she overhears Delphine yelling at Scott down the hallway.

Normally, a weak device such as this wouldn’t really bother me, but the fact that it happened twice in the same episode is slightly unnerving. Orphan Black is so meticulously detailed, so wonderfully original, that it’s surprising to see it rely on such simple solutions to its problems. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased with how things have progressed now that Allison and Cosima’s respective truths have been revealed, but process of the revelations seemed to undermine the show’s intellect.

Now that I’ve gotten my grievances out of the way, I can talk about all the good this episode did, and believe me, there’s a lot to talk about. I’ve continually said throughout my reviews that the clones are so much better when they’re together. While we didn’t get a full-on Clone Club reunion this week, we did get the next best thing: Sarah, Allison, and Felix all under the same roof.

One of the best episodes from season 1 was Variations Under Domesticationwhich saw Sarah impersonating Allison during her pot-luck, while Felix tended bar and Allison drunkenly dealt with the fact that she’d submitted her husband to hot glue gun torture. This was essentially the same setup, but with much higher stakes. After Felix spikes Vick’s coffee, he and Allison must drag his unconscious body away from the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, Sarah is tasked with pretending to be Allison—Maslany, of course, nails the impersonation—during a role-playing assembly at the rehab’s Family Day. It’s a brilliant bit of comedy, and a tricky balancing act that the show pulls off flawlessly. It all leads to everything crashing down in spectacular fashion once Donny learns exactly what he’s been monitoring this whole time.

Meanwhile, Cosima continues to have an emotionally resonant narrative, despite being isolated from the rest of her clone sisters. Though I do wish she got to spend more time outside the lab, I appreciate that the writers are giving her something to do besides spout off science and mythology facts at Sarah’s behest. Her rage at Delphine is totally substantiated, and as she yelled, “It’s my body, I’m the science!” I was reminded again of Orphan Black‘s larger thematic purpose. This made it all the more heartbreaking to watch her weakly call Sarah on the phone, asking her to bring Kira to the Dyad. This time, it was her choice, but it’s clearly not one she really wanted to make.

One of the central mysteries of the season has been who is actually the Big Bad at the Dyad. It went back and forth between Rachel and Dr. Leekie, but now it seems a new figure has come into play. Marian Bowles (the deliciously sinister Michelle Forbes) is high-level Dyad member who seems to outrank both Rachel and Leekie. I’m not exactly sure what her motive are, but the fact that she’s got a problem with Sarah means we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of her soon. Forbes played a similarly devilish character on season 2 of True Blood, so I’m expecting great things from the final three episodes.

Marian’s introduction, however, pales in comparison to Rachel’s reunion with her adoptive father, and subsequent dismissal of Leekie. We’ve seen chinks in Rachel’s steely armor before, but this is the first time we really get a sense of her true feelings. Rachel feels betrayed. It turns out, she’s just as much of a pawn as any of her other clone incarnations. At first, I thought it was strange that she chose to let Leekie run away after confronting him, but since Marian gave her the kill order it seemed fitting that she finally made a decision for herself. Rachel’s always kept her cool around her peers, but now that she knows they view her as inferior, there’s no telling what she’ll do next.

This brings us to the final scene of the episode, which is a bit of a doozy. As Leekie tries to flee the Dyad and any hired guns they may have sent after him, he encounters Donny tailing him in his car. Donny forces him in at gunpoint and, after a heated rant about how his marriage is now ruined, accidentally fires off a bullet into Leekie’s head.

It’s shocking for sure, but the more I let the moment sink in, the more brilliant I realize it is. How fitting is it that Leekie, one of the most intelligent minds in the world of the show, is running away from his ultra-powerful corporation, only to be killed by his most bumbling, low-level employee. And by total accident, no less! Though he’s obviously not the evil man we thought his was, his death will certainly have ramifications and, really, I couldn’t think of a better way for him to go.

Despite some stumbles early on, this was still another solid entry in the series. I do worry that the season will end with too many mysteries unexplained—I’m relegating Paul and Mrs. S to their own corner because, seriously, I don’t know what’s going on with either of them—but I’m optimistic that this complex show will work out all its kinks in due time. Grade: B+


By Mike Papirmeister

One Response to Orphan Black: “Knowledge Of Causes, And Secret Motion Of Things” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

  1. Eric Leonardis says:

    In the case of Allison’s reveal, I agree it was abrupt. However, her storyline is much lighter and more humorous in nature than the other narratives in the show. It was not a reveal that was so deeply important to the story that it required a long and elaborate set up. It was probably lazy, but it saved a lot of time making the episode even more face paced.
    In the case of Cosima’s reveal, if I remember correctly, she overhears them talking about a “confidentiality agreement” and Delphine reveals the truth about Kira’s tooth after being confronted (I might be wrong about that). If my memory is true, then it is conceivable that Delphine could have withheld the information after the fact, making this “reveal” nothing more than raising a significant amount of suspicion. It seems highly plausible that this type of thing would actually happen in such a small lab, thus not really being all that bad.
    The ending was just insane, and I couldn’t believe it happened. I say this episode at least deserves an A-. It was just so faced paced and intense, with enough substance to easily excuse them of the lazy trope with Allison’s story. I can honestly say that I really liked Leekie’s character and his character had so much potential for more story lines after leaving Dyad. But I agree that the scene was brilliantly done, and I can’t wait for next Saturday.

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