Orphan Black: “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” Season 2 Episode 3 Reivew

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The Clone Club gains some new members as Sarah, Cosima, Allison, and Helena are each pushed to their limits.

This season of Orphan Black is shaping up to be a runaway train, and I mean that in the best way possible. “Mingling Its Own Nature With It” was easily one of the series’ most intense episodes, with each clone being put through the wringer. Yet, a show like Orphan Black is smart enough to reign in its craziness so that things don’t get out of hand. There’s a very grounded sense of reality throughout so that when the shit really hits the fan, we believe every moment. The show might be a runaway train, but I doubt it will get derailed anytime soon.

The episode opens on Sarah, Felix, and Kira on the run. While we don’t know too much about Sarah’s life before her initiation into the Clone Club, it’s clear how far she’s come since her “dirty little grifter” days. The old Sarah probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelash at using her daughter as bait to rob a convenience store, but the new Sarah constantly worries about the impression she’s leaving on Kira.

This becomes especially significant when the three runaways camp out at the home of–surprise!–Kira’s father. Cal (Michiel Huisman, who seems to literally be on every TV show) is just as shocked as we are to learn the news. Apparently Sarah’s been keeping this a secret for quite some time. The thing is, now that she’s putting Kira first, she wants more than anything to give her some semblance of a normal family life. In a brief, but incredibly poignant, scene, Sarah explains to her daughter how angry she felt not knowing who her parents were as a child. Maslany nails the emotions perfectly, making the bond between mother and daughter even stronger.

Equally as impressive in this episode is Jordan Gavaris, who gives Felix some dramatic potency when he realizes there’s no room for him in Sarah’s new family portrait. It’s a nice change of pace considering Felix is usually resided to the role of comic relief–not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Of course, Sarah can’t stay out of trouble for long. It was no surprise when Daniel, who’s officially my least favorite character, decided to break up family fun time by first putting a gun to Kira and then to Sarah. The real twist, however, came when a truck rammed into them on their way back to the Dyad. While I’m more than willing to bet that Sarah walks out of this one relatively unscathed, I’m not so sure about the fate of Daniel. Better luck next time, buddy.

Speaking of the Dyad, Cosima’s plot sees her entrenched in some truly murky business while trying to find answers about her disease. Delphine shows her videos of Jennifer, a new clone who ended up dying of the same illness. The videos are heartbreaking as we see Jennifer–a young teacher and swim coach– go from being optimistic about her treatments, to resentful about her inevitable death.

Cosima pretends to be clinical about the whole situation, but it’s clear from her reactions to the videos, and her autopsy of Jennifer’s body, that she is most definitely not okay. This is, after all, a woman who looks just like her and went through the same thing she’s experiencing now. Cosima never really talks about the possibility that she won’t find a cure in time, but from the slight looks of worry she has, you can tell that death is on her mind.

Then there’s Allison. With the news that Donny is her monitor, the fact that she let Aynsley die for no reason, and no Felix there to offer support, her supposedly normal world comes crashing down. She tries to be strong at first, giving Donny the cold shoulder and rebuffing Angie’s undercover cop attempts to get to know her, but eventually she succumbs to the idea that her life is in shambles. This, of course, does not bode well for the fate of her musical.

Before she’s supposed to go onstage, we see her chase some pills with several bottles of vodka. Allison has been so fractured by the events of the previous two weeks, that she can’t even stand to be on a normal plane of consciousness anymore. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the musical, with it’s blood-splattered set and songs about scrubbing brains off the walls, seemed to be mimicking the trauma going on inside her head. At a certain point, it all got to be too much. It’s a cruel bit of irony that Cosima told her to break a leg, because there’s a very good chance she literally did just that after taking a serious tumble off the stage.

Finally, we get to Helena, who has probably the saddest plotline out of all the clones this week. As she continues to heal on Henrik’s farm, his plans for her become ultimately clear. In a truly disturbing sequence, she is wed to him against her will while on copious amounts of drugs. After the ceremony, Henrik carries her practically limp body over the threshold into another part of the compound. Though we don’t see what happens next, there’s no doubt in my mind that I had just witnessed the prelude to a rape. The fact that we’re left to ponder what atrocities occurred offscreen almost makes it even more unpleasant.

Henrik is perhaps the show’s most terrifying villain to date. Not only does he know exactly what he’s doing, but he revels in it with a smile on his face. The fact that he’s able to label such a cruel act as “making Helena part of our family” is sickening. I will, however, give a lot of credit to the writers. It isn’t easy to make me sympathize with a homicidal maniac, and yet I’ve never felt worse for Helena.

Despite this episode’s raised stakes and general excitement, there is a small downside to having each of the clones deal with their own personal hell. There was little to no interaction between any of them, something that is one of the show’s best tactics.

Additionally, as the Clone Club expands, I worry there’s a chance for overcrowding. This is the second episode in a row where Paul hasn’t made an appearance, something I didn’t even realize till the end credits. Though he does have some good chemistry with Maslany, I’m starting to wonder if his presence is all that needed. It might be time for some downsizing.

Other than that, I’m eagerly awaiting next weekend to discover the outcome of all the climactic happenings of this episode. This train is moving full speed ahead with no signs of slowing down. Grade: A-

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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