Thursday, May 8, 2014

RECAP: Orphan Black 2x03 - Trust No One, Especially Not That Guy

After all those Game of Thrones reviews, I almost feel like recapping Orphan Black should be less stressful. More relaxing. Because, I mean, this is a show that's not about the exploitation and denigration of women, right?

Or rather, this is a show that doesn't take the exploitation and denigration of women for granted. Let's go with that. Because there was some skeezy stuff that happened this week, but it was never presented in a way the meant we were supposed to think it's okay. It's always a bad thing. Allison finding out her husband is her monitor? Bad thing. Helena being kidnapped repeatedly? Bad thing. We're never asked to side against our heroines.

And honestly that does make all the difference in the world.

We open on the ever hilarious sight of Sarah and Felix waking up after a night of sleeping in a truck in the middle of nowhere. It's one of those not particularly driven scenes that makes you super happy - Sarah and Felix bicker and wonder about how Mrs. S, their foster mom, got to be so good with a gun. I mean, she's S! She taught Felix piano and drinks tea and is mildly disapproving all the time. And she murders people? 

It's also a scene that highlights exactly how close the two of them are as siblings, what with Sarah going to the bathroom in a bush, and Felix throwing a fit because he stepped in cow dung. Sarah's right - Felix camping is pretty funny.

Then we switch over to the Birdwatcher's safehouse, where the dead bodies are still lying out for anyone to find. Anyone like, say, this super creepy dude with the sunglasses. Ew, and there are flies there already. Blech. Sunglasses dude walks past the corpses and into the office, where he snags a piece of paper that is probably super important, and then hides as a truck drives up. A truck bearing our favorite Proletheans!

For the record, I googled their names, so this week will be easier. 

Mark (the young one) and Henrik/Hank (the older leader guy) drive up to the house and examine the damage. They're frustrated that their plan to get Kira didn't work. I'm still not sure why they want her. Mark is personally upset because it was his observation, and I hate that they're so creepy and probably the bad guys because Mark is really growing on me. Anyway, they light the bodies on fire to cover up what they're doing. And creepy sunglasses dude hides in the bushes and watches.

The piece of paper he stole? It's a picture of Kira. Because of course it is.

Back to the adventures of Sarah, Felix, and Kira, on the run without any money because Sarah threw Felix's credit card out the window. They're reduced to shoplifting, and it's a stark reminder of how none of them, not even Kira, really had a solid upbringing. Also, they're really good at this, because they use Kira as a decoy shoplifter to make sure Felix can get out with a ton of food. Damn I love them.

Art is pissed at Angela because she never ever listens to him, but he'll take her info. Namely, that Helena disappeared from the hospital. Art is frustrated because he wants to keep Angela safe, and Angela continues being a bitch.

Sarah tries to enforce to Kira that stealing is wrong (except when they really need to do it), and Sarah and Felix figure out how they're going to find a place to hole up until they can escape. 

Meanwhile, in Allison land, she is pissed the hell off at Donny. You know, because he's her monitor and has been spying on her for the entirety of their marriage. Allison gets back at him in typical Allison fashion (by passive-aggressively vacuuming next to him while he's napping). Why is it that the scariest character on this show is a Canadian soccer mom? How did that happen? One of the other characters is literally a serial killer for crying out loud! But seriously, Allison is terrifying, and Donny better be very careful. She has a lot of craft scissors and rage.

Sarah, Felix, and Kira break into a cabin that's more serial killer chic than hunter, and I sense that badness will be happening on this front. Because badness always happens on this front.

Delphine and Cosima, epic science girlfriends, break into Dr. Leeky's office while he's gone. Cosima wants to mess with his stuff, but Delphine has something more serious to show her: video diary footage of another of the clones, Jennifer Fitzsimmons, who developed the unidentified lung polyps months before any of the other clones. She died three days ago. They couldn't find a cure.

Kira and Sarah settle into the cabin where they're squatting, and discuss when they'll see Mrs. S again. Sarah's still uncomfortable with the topic, and insists that no matter what, she'll be the one keeping Kira safe from now on. It's a weird reminder that, oh yeah, Kira actually hasn't spent that much time with her mom growing up, and right now is probably super confusing for her.

Local cops find the truck abandoned on a road. Probably not good.

At the Prolethean ranch, Mark and Gracie watch Helena and she watches them. She's not overly upset to find out that Tomas is dead, nor is she thrilled by the information that she's going to be "joining their family". Am I the only one who thinks that Helena and Mark would be adorable together? I mean, I'm starting to think that Mark thinks that too. Creepy religious murder love!

Felix wakes up in the middle of the night to someone coming into the cabin. He's adamant that they have to go, but when the dude comes in, it turns out it's Cal - a friend of Sarah's. Which makes it all a little less sketchy, I guess. Especially since Cal is one of Sarah's old marks. She stole ten grand from him. And Cal is a little surprised to see that Sarah has a daughter. That is also his daughter. Oh dang that's awkward.

Cal is pretty suspicious about his ex suddenly appearing with a child that is apparently his, and he's also waiting for Sarah to rob him. But he's not about to let an adorable child be shunted out into the cold. I guess Cal's a nice guy. Maybe. For now.

And back Allison and her weird murder musical! For the record, I love that they're exploring her issues this way, but are we ever going to address what a freaking insane plot this musical must have? Like seriously. What is it even about? At any rate, the director is a little freaked out by how into it Allison is getting, and decides that they probably shouldn't be rehearsing the songs just now. Not if he wants to avoid a total meltdown of his leading lady.

In the parking lot, Allison meets Angie (aka, Angela in disguise) when she comes up to borrow Allison's phone. Fortunately, our heroine is a busybody and paranoid as all get out, so she pretty immediately figures it's a trap and skedaddles. Go Allison!

Back at the cabin, Kira and Sarah talk about Cal, and how Sarah used to like him a lot. Kira's kind of dubious about the whole having a father thing, which makes sense since she's never had one before, and Sarah's really emotional about wanting to connect Kira with the one stable part of her life.

But downstairs, Felix and Cal have some straighttalk about what Sarah is doing there. They both figure it's for the money, which, to be fair, it probably is. Cal's independently wealthy, because he's the one who invented independent drone piloting technology. Of course, he wanted to use it to help bee populations...

Delphine and Cosima sit in Dr. Leeky's office watching the world's saddest home videos, the ones of Jennifer Fitzsimmons slowly succumbing to her mysterious lung disease. Through the videos, we also see a shot of her monitor, who was apparently very devoted to her, and the implication is that someday soon this could be Delphine and Cosima. But man do we hope not.

Cosima's upset, especially seeing how naive Jennifer was, but she insists that she can really handle it. Of course, then we get an ominous shot of the Jennifer video and her saying, "I'm gonna die here."

Felix is super pissed off that Sarah knew who Kira's dad was and never told him. Because Sarah totally knew that Cal was there, and she definitely wanted Kira to meet him and also for her to have something normal and good in her life. Felix gets that, he does, but he also knows that this means there's really no place for him in their lives right now. He's pretty hurt. And he's leaving.

Cosima and Delphine perform Jennifer's autopsy. That must be a freaking surreal experience. They figure out that the disease must be auto-immune, and that it started in her uterus...which would explain why they're all sterile. Except Sarah, and possibly Helena. Allison calls in the middle of it, convinced that she now has two monitors and is about to get blackbagged into an SUV.

You know, in retrospect, maybe it's wasn't the best idea to have government types near-kidnap the most paranoid clone without telling her why.

Also, Angie keeps approaching Allison, and Allison snaps and tells her she knows what's up and to get the hell away from her. Angie's all, "I'm a police officer and you have to tell me everything right now!" But Allison tells her to stay the hell away from her - the police officer thing isn't exactly helping her paranoia - and continues on to her rehearsal. We are reminded of the fact that the name of the play is Blood Ties and it's about murder.

So, we're definitely figuring something horrible is going to happen on opening night. I mean, Allison is strung as tightly as a guitar string on a teenager's first acoustic. She's about this close to snapping.

Cal and Sarah discuss Kira. Cal is pretty hot, I'll admit it. He asks why Sarah didn't rob him more than she did, and she says that she liked him too much to take more than she did. Also she explains that she's changed, but she's still trouble. Which is exactly when the local cops pull up looking for her. Cal is remarkably unsurprised to hear that she knocked over a convenience store and stole a truck. Sarah's spooked and she's going to run.

But he won't let her. Clearly we've still got some feelings in play!

As a sidenote, what happened to Paul? We haven't seen him in a while. Is he dead?

It's opening night of Allison's play, and she is so close to falling apart. The director dedicates the show to the memory of Aynsley. Oh that's gonna help. Plus, Allison is self-medicating like a champ. She can barely remember her lines, and also she's about to freak the hell out. And then, in the middle of her big song, she slips off the stage and hits her head. Sadly, this is better than I was expecting.

Cal and Sarah wake up, and have one of those awkward morning after conversations about not-confusing Kira. In town, creepy sunglasses man shows the picture of Kira to the guy at the convenience store who saw them rob the place. Not good.

Aww crap. Art is investigating the Proletheans. He's on their property. This is just getting better and better, huh? He watches Henrik and Gracie talking about Helena. Gracie's not thrilled about their plans, which apparently take place tomorrow, and will mean making Helena a real part of the family. Is she gonna marry Mark? Henrik also insists that Helena has a soul, which is new for the Proletheans, and that she is necessary. Not sure what that means.

Creepy sunglasses man is pulled over by the local cops. Local cops not friendly. Good.

Sarah, Kira, and Cal play cards and they blatantly let Kira win. She runs off to feed the chickens, and Sarah and Cal revel in the awkwardness. He wants to know what's going on. And then sunglasses man pulls up and grabs Kira. Sarah races outside and confronts him, while screaming for Cal not to get involved. They fight. Sarah grabs at the man's gun, and Kira runs to Cal. But when the local cops pull up, sunglasses man shoots them, kidnaps Sarah, and leaves Kira with Cal. He also finds the picture of Mrs. S in Project Leda.

Literally none of this can possibly be good. And who the hell is sunglasses man working for? At least this guarantees we'll see more of Cal.

Helena wakes up in her room surrounded by a crowd of Proletheans all dressed in white. Not creepy at all, no. She's wearing a wedding dress. Oh! She's not marrying Mark, she's marrying Henrik. Totally without her consent. Eurgh. And they think that by doing this they are saving her from eternal damnation and redeeming her. Uh, they remember that she has a massive gunshot wound in her chest, right?

Sarah and sunglasses man in the car. He's furious she has the photo of Mrs. S and wants to know where it came from, but Sarah's obviously not telling. He calls someone and tells them he got Sarah but not the girl and they'll be "there" in eight hours. Then their car gets hit by a truck.

Well. That was relaxing, huh?

The basic gist of this episode appears to be about who we can trust and what we can trust them with. Allison struggles to keep her crap together in a world where she apparently can't trust anyone (and where her own brain is turning against her), while Cosima watches a firsthand account of how much another clone was lied to. And Sarah, Sarah's always had to deal with who she can trust and why. But getting to see Cal and knowing that she really can trust him, that was kind of a big deal. Not gonna lie, I'm actually rooting for this little family grouping of theirs. Cal is so honest it hurts, and that could be very good for Sarah. And Kira.

But mostly this was just a really good episode of a really good show that is all about the different facets of the female experience. It was tense and suspenseful and gripping and still managed to contain solid character development and moments of humor and tenderness.

Can some of you writers here go and tell the Game of Thrones writers how to do it? That would be great.

And this scene was painfully adorable.


  1. Because, I mean, this is a show that's not about the exploitation and denigration of women, right?

    Or rather, this is a show that doesn't take the exploitation and denigration of women for granted.

    How about... "a show that's about women, who are being exploited and denigrated, and what it means to them and how they react to it"?

    1. I think after this most recent episode we have to revise that to "a show about people who are being exploited and denigrated, and what it means to them and how they react to it". That's a good description. I'm keeping that.