Thursday, May 29, 2014

RECAP: Orphan Black 2x06 - You Are My Candy Girl

I don't know if any of you have ever gone camping with your siblings, but I have to say that someone who writes for Orphan Black has. The show opens on Sarah and Helena settling in for the night in their tent, eating cold beans and being a bit silly. There are some serious notes, though. Sarah wants to know where Cold River is, but Helena points out that if she tells, then Sarah will just ditch her. Which is true and they both know it.

Sarah tries to ask what happened to Helena with the Proletheans, but Helena isn't ready to talk about it, and I don't blame her. All of this is so intense and sad and hard. Fortunately, there are silly moments with shadow puppets to break up the misery. And Helena tells Sarah she's a good mom, which is just cute.

Also, Paul, that creepity creeper, is definitely following them. He's lurking in the campsite and going through their stuff while they're asleep. He finds the photo of Swan Man. That's probably not a good thing, is it?

In the morning, Sarah and Helena continue their epic road trip across Canada with a singalong! To Candy Girl! Which Helena inexplicably knows all the words to, apparently because the nuns in Ukraine really liked it. It's little moments like this that make the show really work. Not just because it's Tatiana Maslany acting against Tatiana Maslany or because it's some serious sister bonding and silliness, but because these are little character details that make the show worth watching.

Cosima and Delphine examine Cosima's arm to see if the stem cell treatment is working. Cosima is weirdly not super enthusiastic. She's bummed out that Sarah knows about her illness now. She didn't want to tell Sarah or worry her. Which is charming and sweet and silly. Of course Sarah wanted to know! At any rate, it's a moot point. She's getting better now, thanks to some stem cells that came from...ground up baby teeth? Well that's disturbing. Cosima's a little curious about how the heck they managed to find a match for her cell type so quickly, but Delphine reminds her that they're not on the outside anymore. The DYAD Group is a multinational corporation, and there are perks.

And then Delphine gets a call from...Scott! That nerdy weirdo that Cosima was having help her on the research. Apparently Dr. Leeky hired him. And Delphine helped. Cosima doesn't want Scott involved, but he is one of the only experts they can trust. 

Finally, finally we get to check back in on Allison. She's in group therapy, still in rehab, and she's been called on to share. For some reason, Allison does not want to share. Wonder why? It's not like she can tell them that she was driven to substance abuse by finding out she was a clone and then being chased by a scary corporation and kind of murdering someone... Yeah, I don't think Allison's going to be sharing and caring anytime soon.

There's another hiccup too - Vic, Sarah's ex-boyfriend who was driven into sobriety by a very confusing experience with Allison (as in, thinking that she and Sarah were the same person and perhaps not being disabused of that notion) shows up to group and he definitely recognizes Allison. Well, this will be interesting.

Felix is not having a good day, and it seems that he's drinking all the booze that Allison wishes she had access to right now. Also painting. Angrily. But that's brought to a halt when Art walks in. Sarah wanted Art to check on him. As Felix puts it, "Oh that is so sweet! It totally takes the sting off of being framed for murder."

Then Felix hits on Art and falls asleep. Ah Felix. I want you to have a good life, but you are way too entertaining not to be on the show.

Vic corners Allison after group, and it seems that he is actually rather clear on how not Sarah she is. Well that's good. He remembers her macing him in the parking lot. He asks if they're twins, and she tells him they're clones. Yay! Allison has finally learned that a strong offense is the best defense: Victor will never believe that they're clones, because she gave the information up too easily. And he doesn't.

But he does think that Allison's appearance at his rehab is a signal from the "Godhead". She's there to test him. Allison is understandably dubious of this claim. Apparently Vic found religion! Yay?

Helena has directed Sarah to the church where Duncan (Swan Man) was last seen. Maggie Chen, the queen of offscreen exposition because she's been dead since before the show started, tracked him here. Sarah goes to check it out, but she leaves Helena in the car. And she takes the keys. I'm sure this will be fine.

Quick shot of a lurking Paul.

Sarah goes inside the church, which looks suspiciously exactly like a normal church. It does have some photos, though, that are of big buildings, one of which is the Cold River Institute. Huh. It was shut down in the 1970s. A lady at the church recognizes Duncan from the picture Sarah has, and calls him Mr. Peckham. Apparently he's come in a few times to look at the "archives". When Sarah asks to see them, she gets the runaround. She claims she's a student of Duncan's and that this is for her thesis.

Meanwhile, outside, Helena has found a bar. Yes. This will be epic. Also Paul is still lurking.

Scott has figured out that the DNA comes from clones. He hasn't figured out that Cosima is one of the clones yet. He's all, "Can I see one?" And Cosima is all, "How about never?"

FInally, the part of the show I've been waiting for: Helena in the bar. She's downing shots and mouthing off to truckers. I mean, to be fair, it's not like Helena has anything to fear from big angry truckers. The first one who mouths off to her gets a sprained finger for his trouble. And I'm totally sitting here expecting a smackdown (go Helena!) when another trucker comes to her rescue.

Interestingly, this trucker is played by Patrick J. Adams, who you might know as Mike from Suits, and who also appeared recently in the Rosemary's Baby miniseries with Zoe Saldana. I'm just saying. Dude is having a good spring. Also was very weirdly cast, since I absolutely cannot see him as a trucker. But whatever.

Helena has some game, it seems. She offers the trucker a White Russian, and he offers her a pork rind. She eats about ten. Then, in the background, Prolethean Mark comes into the bar. Drama!

Sarah has managed to sweettalk her way into the archives. The woman helpfully shows her what Duncan was looking into - records from the early 1900s. Records of the Cold River Institute, that is. The woman is worried, because as she says, "What you see here won't leave you."

Allison and Donny continue to have marital troubles. He was supposed to bring the kids, but he didn't (because the show doesn't want to have to pay for the kid actors, I assume). He doesn't think that Allison is taking rehab seriously enough, and he's holding the kids over her head. Which is a dick move, Donny the Monitor. I mean, yeah, Allison is clearly unstable, but Donny is a manipulative, spying jerkface, so... I'm saying that I hope these kids have stable grandparents.

Also Vic clearly overhears Allison and Donny fighting. He gives Allison some "words of wisdom" and Donny promises to bring the kids on "Family Day".

Sarah looks through the Cold River archives. It appears to be some kind of eugenics experimentation thing. Nothing overtly creepy, but definitely not normal.

Back in Toronto, Felix is just waking up while Art puts up some crime scene photographs and demands Felix's help to go through the stuff they found in Maggie Chen's locker. 

Allison finds Vic meditating in the gym, and decides to be super nice by disrupting his meditation and reminding Vic that she hates him. He abused Sarah. He attacked her in a parking lot. But it seems Allison is starting to understand why she's in rehab - she is actually an alcoholic. And Vic offers to listen to her problems. Aww, now they're friends.

Helena tells the trucker that she was a detective in Ukraine, "Where I shot many criminals," she feels the need to specify. Then she became a scientist, but she quit to be with her family. It's kind of sad and touching that Helena's invented history for herself is an amalgamation of her sisters' lives. Also the trucker can clearly tell she's full of it, but I mean, if you were sitting with Helena in a bar, wouldn't you be listening intently too? 

He thinks she's pretty. And then they arm-wrestle. Helena wins, because she is a terrifying human being. Over that bar, Paul and Mark have a quick chat. You know, stalker to stalker. Paul wants to know who Mark is working for. Mark won't say, but he does admit that he's letting Helena enjoy herself a little before he brings her in. "She's a miracle, I'm told." And Paul admits that he's really here for Sarah.

Speaking of whom, she's managed to call Cosima while she goes through the archives. Cosima sounds like she's having a bad day. And she's perfectly happy lying to Sarah about how well she's doing. But she's not okay. Not even a little bit. The bond between these two is super cute. Sarah finds proof that Duncan was at Cold River. So there's the link.

The trucker and Helena are still arm-wrestling. He tries to disarm her by complimenting her eyes, but it doesn't work, because Helena. They're tied. But instead of the tie-breaker, the trucker decides he wants to dance with Helena. It is clearly the first time anyone has wanted to dance with her, and it is both sweet and sad. Also, I ship it. I ship Helena and the twinky trucker.

In the background, Paul and Mark try to decide the fate of their girls. You know, in a patriarchal way. Dicks. Helena and the trucker kiss, and it gets pretty hot and heavy. On the dance floor in a bar. Then they start pretty much having sex on a pool table. But when another guy interrupts them, Helena reacts in a very typically her way. She beats the ever loving crap out of the interloper with a pool ball.

Loverboy isn't feeling so turned on anymore. Maybe. It's hard to tell.

Sarah comes upstairs and asks the church lady why some of the files are missing - she says that another woman came in and looked at the files. It was...Maggie Chen! It's becoming a bit hilarious how much this show uses Maggie Chen as their excuse for everything.

Helena's gotten arrested, and her trucker boyfriend is sad about it. But, you know, Helena. Helena and Sarah see each other across the street, and it's this poignant moment. Will Sarah come and get her out?

At the police station, the cop reveals that the truckers aren't pressing charges (I mean, it would damage their egos to admit this on a public record). Helena's sister is here to bail her out. Except it's not Sarah. It's Gracie of all people. She doesn't actually apologize for trying to kill Helena, but Helena's cool with it anyway. I mean, it's pretty much a qualification for her to be a sister, right? 

They bond. It's cute, I think. I really do want Gracie to end up as Clone Club's crazy little sister, sort of like how Mrs. S is their frightening mom, and Felix is their brother. Ah, family.

Gracie wants Helena to come back to the farm, and she tells Helena that Sarah left her there. Abandoned her. Gracie will take Helena to her "children". Helena's still pissed, but she wants those eggs back. Especially now that they're apparently fertilized and growing. They're hers. Helena is free to go, and she's going with Gracie. Mark gives her the trucker's hat, and Helena demands to be taken to her babies.

Sarah really did abandon Helena. She asks Art to check up on her, but it's clearly too late. Anyway, she asks them to look for the files Maggie stole, and Felix finds them. He finds a patient record for Andrew Peckham - they can see how Duncan stole Peckham's identity. Sarah is pretty sure he lives in the area too. The key will be finding him.

Back at the lab, Scott wants to be let in on all the secrets now. He signed his confidentiality agreement, and he wants to be taken seriously. Hahahano. Still, Scott is useful. He checked the stem cells to see if they were from a clone, but they're not. They're from a relative. Which is confusing. I mean, how many relatives do the clones have?

One. They have one. Kira.

Well, that does explain why the DYAD wants Kira so damn badly. But it also raises a lot more questions: where the heckity heck did DYAD get Kira's baby teeth. From Mrs. S? That's just not good. 

Allison and Vic have a moment by the doors. She clearly likes having at least one person to talk to. And Vic dispenses a little bit of wisdom, and agrees to make doilies with her later. But he's acting shifty, and for good reason. Vic goes straight outside and reports to Angie, who is waiting for him in a car. Oh Angie. She's agreed to lift Vic's charges in exchange for dirt on Allison. Yuck.

Art found Andrew Peckham. Sarah pulls up outside the house. She goes up, knocks on the door and finds...Mrs. S?


Well, Mrs. S knows about Duncan, clearly, but she says that the reason he changed his name is because he came over to "our side", whatever that means, twenty years ago. They (the Birdwatchers?) hid him in exchange for information on the clones, including information on a surrogate who ran away: Amelia. They used that to track down Sarah in the foster system, and bring her into Mrs. S' care. DYAD has been after them ever since.

Sarah might not believe Mrs. S, but who does she trust? Anyway, the tea is on, and Andrew Peckham (Duncan) is a daft old man playing with his birds. He thinks that Sarah is Rachel at first, but Mrs. S sets him straight. Sarah is the clone that got away. There's no time, though. Mrs. S is getting ready to move Peckham. The DYAD Group is getting too close again.

Project Leda was supposed to be a proof of concept, and Peckham has no idea how many clones there really are. His was not the only implantation team. The military recruited him and his wife to the project, and they cloned human embryos. Then an oversight committee found out and slashed the program. DYAD stepped in as a contractor after that and persuaded them to push on to full term. They hijacked Project Leda.

As for what this was all about, Peckham is pretty straight forward. It was about babies. Little girls.

Mrs. S is prepping to go when she spots Paul in his car outside. She takes a thermos of tea and a gun and then Irish mothers him into talking to her because Mrs. S is the best person ever. She has cookies. She can figure out that Paul is caught between Rachel and Dr. Leeky. Paul can figure out that Mrs. S, as always, has her own agenda. But as she puts it, "I'm a mum. If you want to take Sarah back, you'll have to kill me." All said completely straight-forward and uncomplicated. Just the truth.

Paul's a little bit terrified of Mrs. S, as he should be. Because she knows all about Afghanistan and what happened. Paul could use a new friend. Mrs. S would like to be that friend.

Sarah confronts Peckham/Duncan about his family and how he raised Rachel as a self-aware clone. Also she blames him for how Rachel is a psychopath now. But Peckham/Duncan denies it. She was a sweet little girl with him. He says it's not even DYAD that made her crazy. It was the neolutionists inside DYAD. Dr. Leeky.

Peckham/Duncan is distraught that DYAD stole his daughter. But Sarah reminds him of who his other daughters are. She talks about her sisters, and tells him that Cosima is sick. They all are. They need him to save them because they are dying. 

But it's more complicated than that. You see, Peckham/Duncan hasn't been hiding from just anyone for twenty years. He's been hiding from Leeky. Leeky killed his wife and stole his daughter because the Duncans were about to reveal the project. Leeky is the real villain here.

End of episode.

Well dang then. As usual it was a great episode, and as usual it hit on a lot of really important and big scary topics. It was also an episode where each clone character had to face what is effectively her biggest fear, even if she didn't know she was facing it. Like, Sarah had to face the truth about her past and where she came from. This is something she's always been afraid of, and that Mrs. S was all tied up in it was all the more frightening for her. Sarah's always been uncomfortable with her origins, even before she knew about the clone stuff. 

Cosima had to deal with fears about her health and about being a burden on someone else. She loves Sarah, but she doesn't want to worry her. She's afraid of being a problem to her family, and I can only assume there's some junk there in her past. I mean, why have we never met Cosima's parents? Or Allison's, for that matter?

Allison is terrified of being monitored, hence why she is now so incredibly cold to Donny (who totally deserves it). But to be stuck in rehab being monitored not just by her husband but also by her newest friend? It's what she fears most, the idea that everyone around her isn't there because they want to be, but because they're watching her and reporting back.

And finally, Helena is afraid of being abandoned by her family, for pretty obvious reasons. She so desperately wants Sarah to love her and value her as a sister, but Sarah has no bandwidth for that right now. All Sarah can see is the path to getting Kira out of harm's way. So Helena is left to founder and fear, unsure who to trust. She wants to be loved. Is that so much to ask?

I appreciated that the show took a moment to really examine how Helena feels about the violation of her body, and I can only assume that this will continue to be explored in the coming episodes. Also, I like the idea of Paul and Mrs. S working together. Though, I do worry a little that we haven't heard anything from Paul about his reaction to the whole Rachel thing at the end of last episode.

Also, I love that Dr. Leeky is the real villain here. It makes it all so much more sinister and I love it. Now let's get all these sisters together and take the man down!



  1. So Helena is left to founder and fear, unsure who to trust. She wants to be loved. Is that so much to ask?

    It's easy to get lost in the big picture of Tatiana Maslany's talent in how she plays so many different characters, but each clone is so vivid in her own right too. Helena's scary enough to have shown up in my nightmares, but simultaneously - and *seamlessly* - she's so lost that part of me just wants to reach into the screen and hold her and tell her no one's going to hurt her any more. Most of the clones would be the strongest link even if they were the only character Maslany was playing.

    1. Actually, yeah, I think that's a good point that I keep forgetting. It's so easy to just be in awe of the show, but it really needs a minute to sink in that each and every one of her singular performances would be Emmy worthy. And she has like five of them.


  2. Cosima is weirdly not super enthusiastic.

    I'd figure everything she gets from DYAD, even treatment for the disease, is laced with the soiled feeling from every cell in her body being branded with that patent. And probably some amount of shame from having signed up with them in spite of it (and that it means she's going to get treated before any clones on the outside).

    He says it's not even DYAD that made her crazy. It was the neolutionists inside DYAD. Dr. Leeky.

    I can't read your recap of the previous episode, for logistical reasons, so I'm going to feel a bit embarrassed if you already made this point there. But the contrast between Rachel and Helena is fascinating.

    They've both been raised to believe they're above the other clones. But the Proletheans have brutalised Helena all her life - superiority to the clones is all the identity they've allowed her - otherwise she's nothing. Rachel, despite her position and privilege in DYAD, is not free - she's still monitored, still tested, and still patented - her "superiority" is dependent on her complicity in the ongoing violation of the clones, just as Helena's was tied up in killing them.
    (Actually, I wonder if Rachel's abuse of Paul is tied up in this - being able to do this to her monitor is one way she proves to herself that she's better than those other dupes).
    Likewise, the Prolethians' treatment of Helena is purportedly about redeeming her body - while Rachel's ostensible elevation is mental, based on knowing the score (her place?) and ignoring that her body is treated the same as theirs.

    I wonder if that means I should (or shouldn't) want Rachel to somehow find her way over to the side of the angels the way I can't help doing with Helena.

    It's reached the point in the series where I'd rather spoilervoid than read recaps, so if I don't comment on any more of them, it's not because I've lost interest. :)

    1. I didn't realize you weren't caught up on the show! Spoilervoid away!

      Yeah, I agree. Cosima is probably freaking the crap out on the inside all the time right now. I think we got a taste of that in how incredibly snarky and a bit bitchy she was when Leeky was showing her around and moving her into her lab. It makes her deeply uncomfortable to be there, but she knows she has to be. Blech.

      As for Rachel and Helena, that is a really good point that I had not really thought about. It's easy to make Rachel the out and out villain in this (because she is so damn scary), but you bring up a very good point. With the recent revelations, I think it's likely that Rachel will turn to solidarity with the other clones, eventually, but it'll take a while.

      And can I just say that I love that this show is a constantly evolving pursuit of sisterhood? Like that is the core premise? It's wonderful.

    2. It's easy to make Rachel the out and out villain in this

      And it's still my instinct to do so, until I see her do something that's not villainous. But the show is so much *about* these issues that it makes me think of her in relation to hem, and then question that instinct. And I so dig that it does.

      And can I just say that I love that this show is a constantly evolving pursuit of sisterhood?

      And one that treats sisterhood as a proper lens through which to look at sci-fi concepts, conspiracy thrills, and issues like identity and bodily rights.

    3. I love that a science fiction story about bodily autonomy actually has the balls to make the main character a woman.

      I mean, most don't and that seems stupid to me.

  3. Oh, and speaking of sisterhood, there's an article here about Kathryn Alexandre, who is Tatiana Maslany's body double, and about whom Maslany says much the same things the rest of us say about her: