Wednesday, December 31, 2014

RECAP: Orphan Black 2x10 - Complete and Unconditional Surrender


I had a lot of thoughts about the most appropriate way to finish off my year on this blog. Should I do a best of? Should I talk about my favorites and least favorites from the year and ponder the future of media? Or should I just freaking finish recapping season two of Orphan Black once and for all?

In case you couldn't tell, I went with the last one.

Orphan Black is one of my absolute favorite shows to watch, but it's a pain in the butt to recap. Not because there's anything bad in here, but because there's so much good stuff that it takes me absolutely forever to get through it all. That's why it's been so long for me to get to recapping this final episode. Not because I was dreading it, but because I didn't feel like I had enough time to really do it justice. And now I have run out of time, so we're just gonna go with it.

But also, I have to admit, Orphan Black really is emblematic of the year for me. It's a show that's not without its flaws, but that tackles incredibly hard questions about life and consent and who owns your body. It tries. And whether or not the science or patent law is always accurate is much less the point than that this show tries to tell a story about the people who don't have the power, the people who get stomped on, fighting back.

What's more symbolic of this year than that?

When we last watched the show, back in September (ugh), we were on episode nine, and stuff was going down. Donnie and Alison were united in getting rid of Aldous Leekie's body, and discovered that hiding a body was exactly the spark their marriage needed in order to rekindle. 

Sarah made the tough decision to take Kira in to the hospital and allow the DYAD Institute to harvest some of her stem cells in order to create a cure to save Cosima. But of course Rachel took advantage and used it as a distraction to snatch Kira and hide her away in one of DYAD's weird little rooms.

And up in the frozen north, Helen decided she was done being the Proletheans' brood mare and took her bloody revenge on Henrik, while giving Mark and Gracie time to escape. So, you know, nothing much happened.

We come in for the season finale on Sarah being interrogated while doctors poke and prod her and take vials of blood and hair samples. In the flashes back to right after Kira was kidnapped we find Sarah and Mrs. S freaking out at each other while they realize that DYAD has Kira, but Felix has also been poisoned with something. Sarah takes off and decides to give herself up unconditionally to DYAD in order to bargain for Kira's life.

Sarah's interrogation also includes incredibly probing questions about her sexual history and reproductive capabilities, questions that remind us very starkly of the power differential at play here. Sarah's life is laid bare before her captors, because she has nothing else to bargain. It's honestly terrifying.

In another part of the facility, Kira submits sullenly to a DNA test via cotton swab, and takes the opportunity to pinch the doctor's phone. It's unclear who she calls with it, but we know that a man answers - so, Paul or Cal?

And Cosima and Scott rage as their lab materials are systematically taken away. Including, as it seems, Delphine, who Rachel is having transferred to Germany immediately. She is to have no more contact with Cosima or any of the clones, probably on threat of being killed. Delphine barely has time to send Cosima a goodbye text before she's hustled onto the plane.

The goodbye text contains a lot more than platitudes, though. It has a copy of Rachel's itinerary attached to it, and that means that Cosima and Scott know exactly where Rachel is going to be, and where Sarah will be. Plus, they don't have access to Sarah, but they can talk to Kira. A plan is starting to come together.

For Sarah the stakes are finally becoming clear. It's always been unusual that she was the only one of the clones able to reproduce (except, as we now know, Helena), but now it becomes clear that Sarah's reproductive capabilities have been the aim all along. If she wants to see Kira again, she will have to agree to let DYAD harvest her eggs when she next ovulates. And, presumably, if she wants to keep seeing Kira she's going to have to keep letting them harvest from her.

The scene is starkly reminiscent of the stories we hear bout sterilization programs in prisons across the US, where doctors targeted low income women of color and women with mental disabilities for forced sterilization without their consent or even knowledge. 

In other words, this storyline (intentionally, I think) reminds me of all the ways in which reproductive rights have been controlled by those in power, by the elite, and how those choices affect the bodies and personhood of lower income women. Rachel, as a member of the elite, can choose to have Sarah's eggs harvested because she has the power in this scenario. And it's alarmingly true to life.

Incidentally, Sarah does sign the papers.

They take her to see Kira, and it's not quite what Sarah expected. Because when they say "see Kira" what they actually meant was that Sarah was just allowed to see her. No interaction. She watches Kira from behind a two way mirror, and has no ability to contact her. And all the while she has to watch Rachel swan in and play mommy.

Fortunately, right after this really depressing scene, we get to overhear one of the best conversations Mrs. S has ever had. It's quickly cut off when Felix comes into the room, but S definitely says, "If I say you are making a car bomb, you will bloody well make a car bomb." And that's just awesome.

But before Felix can press her for information, there's a knock on the door, and Mrs. S and her gun go out to greet...Cal! Apparently that's who Kira called, which makes sense. We did see a scene where he made her memorize his cell number. He has a picture Kira drew and it seems that he's the only person in this whole show to have put all the pieces together. Without being told, he knows that Sarah and her "sisters" are genetic identicals, and that Sarah is on the run from some shady science group. Except that she's not on the run anymore.

Oh, and just to make things more complicated and interesting, Felix gets a call from Art - seems Helena's back in town. She broke into Art's apartment, and now she's eating all of his food. She demands to see Sarah, and S sends Felix over there to figure out what's going on. Also to make sure that Helena doesn't find out where Sarah is and therefore prevent a bloody streak of vengeance wreaking through downtown Toronto. Cal's face during this entire exchange is priceless.

A quick peek back to the DYAD prison complex, because of course they have one of those, reveals that Sarah wasn't the only one DYAD took prisoner. They've also got Duncan, Rachel's adoptive father and the creator of the clones. He tells Sarah, "Don't despair, my dear," but things look pretty freaking bleak.

At least Helena's always around to cheer me up. Her version of the events of the last three episodes as explained to Felix and Art make very little sense when compared with what we actually saw her do, but it's certainly entertaining to hear. And at the point Art and Felix have a lot of experience reading through the Helena lines - they can tell what's bullsht and what's true. Like, yes, she did burn down the Proletheans' ranch. No, her boyfriend probably didn't have to go to war.

And, yes, she did room with a good girl who suffered a crisis of faith. Which cuts us to Gracie and Mark, on the run and figuring out what to do with themselves now that their whole lives are gone. But at least they're together - all of them, even the baby.

Back at the house, Cal is explaining what he dug up on DYAD. He managed to hack the hell out of them, discovering how far their tentacles run - influencing senators and judges and everyone who could possibly have a hand in changing biogenetic patenting law. But he also found a source. Someone high up at DYAD, with Project Leda, who can feed him real, concrete information. This person knows that Kira and Sarah are in the Institute and they might be able to help.

Interestingly, Mrs. S tells Cal to mention that he's with her, with "Siobhan Sadler" when he replies to the mystery source, and the mystery source responds by telling him to ask S about "Castor". And then she gives Cal a mythology lesson. 

Which we the viewer get to skip in favor of Mrs. S calling in some favors to reach out to someone or other. They look awfully official, what with the humvees and the military uniforms. Plus, a familiar face - Paul! So this is where Paul disappeared off to a couple of episodes ago. 

From the way that Mrs. S and Paul talk, it's clear that she's known his backstory a lot longer than we have, and that she was completely in earnest about wanting to add him to her collection of sources back when they spoke outside Duncan's house. Something is afoot.

At DYAD, Duncan takes a turn in Rachel's creepy room of screens and watches those old home videos of Rachel as a child. Rachel's using those videos to emotionally manipulate Duncan into giving her what she wants: the keys to the ciphers he wrote, encrypting their genetic sequence. He refuses, unless she cures Cosima, and she counters that if he gives her the codes, she'll think about curing Cosima. 

Also she offers him tea, but he declines because he's just British enough to have brought his own bag from home. Such British.

Anyway, Duncan isn't budging, but neither is Rachel. She's utterly determined, and utterly infuriated when Duncan tells her that he thinks giving her the codes would be unethical because he doesn't know what she'd do with them. And, in a way, I can see her point. Here she is being refused her own medical information by a man with no real vested interest in it "for her own good". On the other hand, Rachel is terrifying and I definitely don't want her to know how to make more clones, so right on Duncan.

And he asks her, heartbreakingly, if she can remember how much they loved her. Her response? "The reason I watch these tapes is because I cannot remember. At all." Which is just devastating, for Duncan and for us. I mean, imagine being Rachel. Imagine having yourself so stripped away that you cannot remember the feeling of having been loved. It's terrifying.

Then Duncan drops his teacup and it becomes clear that his special teabag wasn't tea. It was poison. He's killed himself, and he's taking his cipher code with him. Because, as he tells Rachel, "I'm afraid you don't deserve me anymore." Harsh, but probably true.

Back in that parking garage, Mrs. S and Paul discuss the terms of their deal. He'll help get Sarah out, and in return, Mrs. S will hold up her end of the bargain, whatever it is. It doesn't sound pretty. A limo pulls in and out pops Cal. He's made contact with his mysterious source, and they're willing to talk. Paul gets into the car with said source and the camera turns around to reveal it's...Marion Bowles from a few episodes ago. The woman who ordered Aldous Leekie's firing, and the one who outranks Rachel, working for another company possibly. Curiouser and curiouser.

In return for Marion getting Sarah and Kira out of DYAD, Paul hands over a file full of documents on what must be Castor. We don't yet know what that is, but I have suspicions. None of them nice.

Cosima finally gets her time with Kira, and it's heartbreakingly adorable. Kira's not enthused about her new dolls, but she is happy to have a quick little science class with her favorite aunt. Cosima teaches Kira about force and acceleration by having her push pencils through a piece of paper, and it's all very cute, except it's also intercut with scenes of Cosima and Scott making some kind of ad-hoc machine in the lab. I have no doubt this will come up again later.

And as we go back to Cosima in the lab, it becomes clear that she's only gotten worse as time goes on. She's collapsing now, her lungs not holding enough air to help her stay standing. Scott's worries, as he should be. He wants to take over the rest of the project, but Cosima is determined to see it through. It's personal, whatever it is. But she let's Scott take the last part of the mission, which involves a key card and apparently a lot of personal risk.

Sarah is awoken in her cell to a bunch of medical guards and a gurney, so probably not a good thing. I can only imagine that Rachel's not feeling all that stable right now. Who knows what she has planned. 

What she has planned is terrifying. A procedure to surgically remove one of Sarah's ovaries, for medical research. They're leaving one, of course, because they would hate to render Sarah infertile. And, as the doctor tells Sarah in his most slimy voice, they're looking forward to her next pregnancy with great anticipation. Well that's horrifying.

At least Scott is there. He whispers to Sarah that Cosima says hey and they're going to get her out of there. But he doesn't have much time to chat before Rachel swans in and clears the room so that she can talk to her "sister." Rachel shows Sarah a picture that Kira drew for her - a picture that interestingly includes an image of a fire extinguisher for no reason - and then shows her the bone marrow they took from Kira to cure Cosima.

Rachel is sure that even though Duncan is dead, he left a copy of his cipher somewhere, and she's positive that Sarah has it. Sarah, meanwhile, has no idea what Rachel is talking about. So Rachel smashes Kira's bone marrow samples, thus destroying their best chance to cure Cosima out of petty rage. A temper tantrum. Yikes.

Oh, and out of the corner of Sarah's eye she can see a fire extinguisher that has a note on it saying "SQUEEZE". That's not suspicious at all.

As Rachel storms off to leave Sarah to her fate, Sarah calls her back and pretends she's going to give over the codes. Instead, she squeezes the fire extinguisher handle and a pencil flies out, hitting Rachel directly in the eye. As Rachel writhes on the floor in really gross agony, Scott rushes back in and gives Sarah the keycard, telling her to run. So that's what the plan was. Huh. Weird plan.

Sarah races to Kira's room, only to find Marion Bowles already there, bundling Kira up in a jacket and explaining that she was just about to come get her. Sarah and Kira are free to go, and Cal is waiting downstairs with a car. But. If Sarah wants to know what this is really all about, then she'll meet Marion tomorrow and find out the truth. And we all know that's an offer that Sarah really can't refuse.

At last we've come full circle. Felix's apartment is ground zero for the clone homecoming, it seems, with Sarah, Alison, Cosima, and even Helena converging on it to spend some quality time together. Cal tells Sarah that he's here to stay and help, but then he gets kicked out so that the clones, and Felix, can all get to know each other. For real, this time. So Helena has tearful meetings with Cosima and Alison, and everyone's heart melts when she reunites with Kira.

Then Cosima puts on some music, and they dance. All of them, all in their own ways. All together, all dancing to the same song, and man is the metaphor heavy here. But it's also wonderful to see them all together and happy for once. Even if it is probably Cosima's last dance.

We fade into the morning after, with everyone sleeping scattered throughout Felix's loft. Sarah and Cosima are lying quietly in the bed, knowing that they might be having one of their very last conversations. Sarah is sad, but accepting. Cosima tells her that she's strong, she's the wild type, she propagates against all odds. And while Sarah doesn't want to do this without Cosima, she will and she can. They'll be okay, even if they'll miss each other terribly.

While they talk and cry, Helena slips out (after taking some liquid nitrogen out of her backpack, and isn't that terrifying). She pulls out Jesse's hat, Jesse from the bar and the barfight, the guy that Helena's sure she's in love with and very well might be in love with her too. As she fingers it, we understand implicitly that she's going to track him down now.

But she never gets the chance. Two men in normal street clothes pull a bag over her head and hustle Helena out into a waiting van. All that's left is Jesse's hat, abandoned in the hall.

Another limo takes Sarah to meet with Marion Bowles at an extremely large (presumably hers) mansion. And Kira climbs up to the bed so that Auntie Cosima can read her a story. But Cosima doesn't move when she calls her. Not a whisper of motion, not a breath. And then Cosima's eyes flicker open, but she doesn't see Kira. She sees Delphine, telling her not to be afraid. Her eyes open for real, and it's Kira there. Cosima reads her the story. And I guess Cosima's not going to die after all?

Sarah tentatively enters Marion's opulent yet somehow tasteful home, and finds a little girl is waiting inside. Marion walks in and tells the girl, Charlotte, to stop hiding and come say hello. The girl walks closer, slowly due to the large brace on her leg. Sarah is stricken, and Charlotte asks, sweetly, "You're my big sister?"

Because of course they made more clones.

Charlotte is eight, the same age as Kira (which is what made me feel weird about Kira because she doesn't talk like an eight year old at all), and thinks of Kira as her cousin. Technically, Kira is her niece, but semantics. Sarah's just baffled by it all.

Cosima finishes reading the book Kira brought, and so Kira pulls out another one to read. But this one is different. It's a copy of The Island of Dr. Moreau, which I still maintain is a weird thing to read to a child, and it's the copy Duncan gave to Kira right before he left. What do you know. It's got pages and pages full of the cipher Duncan wrote, keys to their genome, and every piece of information Cosima could hope to know. Naturally Duncan gave it to the little girl.

Sarah wants to know if Marion is Charlotte's monitor, but Marion insists she's something else. "I'm her mother." Like Mrs. S, Marion is deeply invested in the health and safety of the clones, because Charlotte was a miracle, the only survivor of the later trials. Marion is counting on Sarah's fierceness to protect her and her daughter, because what she's got next is even more terrifying.

Marion's company is named Topside, and it's not a company so much as a cabal. They steer and guide multi-nationals like DYAD, hoping to shape the future of bioethics and bioengineering. And not just for profit. They firmly believe that there are other groups seeking the same thing, and they really want to make sure they get there first. 

The evidence Marion has for this was confirmed by Mrs. S, and presumably Paul. It's Project Castor. And it's military.

Project Leda wasn't exactly shut down by the military, it was shunted into two separate programs. DYAD got the female clones and carried them to term, while the military kept the male clones and carried them. Marion takes Sarah down to the basement and shows her Project Castor. And, what's stranger, Sarah knows him.

Then we cut to the military leading Helena onto a plane while Paul and Mrs. S watch. Mrs. S knows that Sarah will never forgive her, but this is the deal she struck in order to save Kira. And she will live with that.

We cut again to Mark and Gracie getting married in an empty sanctuary. And then again to a soldier leading Helena in who has Mark's face. And back to Marion's basement where the man in the cage turns around and it's Mark's face again. 

Male clones. Huh. End of season.

I have to say that this episode, the ending at least, gets me really excited about what's to come in the next season and where the story can go from here. We've spent now two seasons dealing with Sarah and the other female clones' issues of bodily autonomy, but for now that's not our main concern. Or rather, that is our main concern, but it's less immediately threatening for most of them. Alison and Donnie can live their safe suburban life in relative peace. Cosima's probably not going to die, and now she has a code to unlocking their genome. Sarah has her daughter back and a generous patron.

Helena is in a terrible spot, it's true, but compared to the end of last season, everyone's doing pretty well, actually. It's time to widen the world a bit, time to examine other issues and topics and time to expand our issues of identity and consent. Bring in the boys, I say! Mark's been a really fascinating character already this season, and I look forward to how his story will develop, especially in light of him now being married to a woman carrying a clone's child.

This whole season has been about ownership - who owns the clone's bodies, and who controls them. Who controls the rights to their medical care, and who controls the rights to their physical bodies and derivatives. So many of the storylines this season have been about consent, that it's really interesting to now shift to a male perspective. We needed to start with the female side of things, but it's important that we now get to transition to seeing things from the male view. 

Because consent and bodily autonomy aren't just women's issues. They're human rights. And it's good to recognize that.

I'm excited and finally ready for the new season and the new year. Bring it on.

20 comments:

  1. So are these the first comments of the new year to go with your last post of the old? Because I always have a lot to say about Orphan Black...

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    1. Happy New Year! At least we're sticking with what's important.

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  2. And ... this show tries to tell a story about the people who don't have the power, the people who get stomped on, fighting back.

    And it never fails to show how hard that fight is. Such as...

    Sarah's interrogation also includes incredibly probing questions about her sexual history and reproductive capabilities, questions that remind us very starkly of the power differential at play here.

    This scene is one of the most harrowing of the series for me; watching Sarah's body, history, and self reduced to data for the DYAD techs to sift through. On another forum, someone told me an interesting point about this, though, which in itself is emblematic of its theme: Tatiana Maslany was the one who decided what the answers to all those questions should be; in this scene of violation, I really like that the information being gutted out of Sarah is determined by the woman playing her.
    Another part I like is that it focusses on Sarah to an even greater extent than the series normally insists on focussing on the clones - we only vaguely see the techs, the interrogator, and even the room - the *only place to look* is at Sarah.

    Rachel, as a member of the elite, can choose to have Sarah's eggs harvested because she has the power in this scenario. And it's alarmingly true to life.

    And yet Rachel's power is conditional. Her freedom, like that of all the clones, is bounded by what DYAD considers useful. She gets to abuse her monitors if she wants, but she doesn't get to not have one. Which is probably one reason she's so heavy-handed with the power she has.

    Then Cosima puts on some music, and they dance. All of them, all in their own ways. All together, all dancing to the same song, and man is the metaphor heavy here. But it's also wonderful to see them all together and happy for once.

    This scene, though, is a joyous treasure. I love it for being the first time the four of them are all together (and the first time this season the three of them have been); their separation has ached, because their relationships are at the heart of the show. And I love it because they're doing something physical, bodily, for their celebration; they've been fighting for their bodies all season, and they know they'll have to do it again. As I've put it elsewhere, they use their bodies for themselves, revel in them, and in each other.

    I also like it - because I can't comment on the last episode of a season without praising Maslany - because it showcases dancing, which is one of the techniques she uses to shift her headspace between the clones. We see a little of *how* she pulls off what I'd go so far as to call the greatest feat of acting I've ever seen.

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    1. One of the things I found most intriguing about the interrogation scene was, like you said, the fact that Maslany was the one answering each question for Sarah, but also the fact that they did not tell her what questions would be asked. So she was deciding on the spot. And it's that mixture of vulnerability - she didn't know they were going to ask her about abortion - and strength - she is the one who decided how to answer that - that makes it such a compelling scene.

      True point about Rachel. It's probably not much of a stretch to assume that Rachel's psychosis comes in large part from her position as the clone in chief. She has so much power but also so many restrictions and it's eating her away inside. Curious to see where they go with that, and if, like Helena, Rachel is eventually brought into the fold.

      Helena's feral dancing as she pulls her dress up with her teeth is absolutely my favorite part of the scene. Well, one of my favorites. All of the clones dance exactly how you think they should dance, and that seems like a simple statement but man must it have been hard to pull off. Or not. Tatiana Maslany is magic.

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    2. That pencil went pretty deep into Rachel's eye. If she survived at all, I'd be expecting brain damage on top of losing it. Which would leave her unable to fulfill her current role for DYAD (even if she actually could, I could see them deciding they don't want a maimed director or facewoman - one more prejudice to add to the list - and one that's well in keeping with its Cold River roots) - and in such a case, I'd imagine DYAD would treat Rachel every bit as ethically as they did Sarah and Cosima. It would be an interesting turn of events to have the Clone Club turn their all-for-one attitude to rescuing Rachel from DYAD and finding somewhere safe to hide her.

      The dance scene took something on the order of thirty-six hours to film.

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    3. I'm relatively sure that one of the promo photos I saw was a picture of Rachel - her eye was very much destroyed and her hair had grown in, and, most importantly, she was in a cell. So, that's interesting and makes sense. I really do want her to become one with the other clones, because the idea of Sarah AND Rachel AND Helena all being super protective of Kira (not to mention Alison and Cosima), is amazing.

      The dance scene? Totally worth it.

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  3. A procedure to surgically remove one of Sarah's ovaries, for medical research. They're leaving one, of course, because they would hate to render Sarah infertile. And, as the doctor tells Sarah in his most slimy voice, they're looking forward to her next pregnancy with great anticipation.

    Don't forget how he "hopes" she is as well. If and when someone does this guy in, I *really* hope it's one of the clones. More than anything, what makes my skin crawl is how blithe he is. Tomas abuses, Henrik love-bombs and abuses if that fails, Leekie seduces (in a sense), the monitors lie and manipulate even when they love - they all have their ways of breaking down the clones' perspectives into what they want - but with Nealon it's like he can't even conceive of Sarah *having* a perspective.

    At least Scott is there. He whispers to Sarah that Cosima says hey and they're going to get her out of there.

    Scott's really levelled up. And it's interesting that he seems to have made the realisation by himself that it's not enough to be on the side only of the clone he specifically cares about (though he might have been helped by seeing Cosima's reaction to Delphine putting her ahead of the others). Though, to put it melodramatically, I could see him considering people like himself - members of the biotechnology community - to have a particular duty when it comes to setting precedents on how to treat the first human clones (I could even see him putting it that way).

    Mrs. S knows that Sarah will never forgive her, but this is the deal she struck in order to save Kira. And she will live with that.

    But I bet she's not even slightly prepared for how *Kira* will react if she finds out.

    Sarah has her daughter back and a generous patron.

    Maybe, but I'm not sure how much I trust Marion. I believe she cares about Charlotte, sure, but I'm not confident she wouldn't sell out the other clones for Charlotte's sake. (And she ordered Leekie's killing, not just firing).

    Cal is explaining what he dug up on DYAD. He managed to hack the hell out of them, discovering how far their tentacles run - influencing senators and judges and everyone who could possibly have a hand in changing biogenetic patenting law.

    I kind of which most of this had been dug up by Art.

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    1. That's a very interesting point about Nealon. He has no concept of Sarah as being separate from the science. Though, I'm not sure if that's because he's so utterly dehumanized her intentionally or without thinking. Either one is terrifying, but it was hard to tell if he'd made the choice to see her as science and not a person or if he was incapable of seeing her as a person. We'll probably find out more about that in the next season, as he's too interesting a character not to come back up.

      For me the most terrifying thing about Nealon is his certainty. He is so sure that Sarah will be pregnant again, and soon, and somehow that's the most sinister thing about him. He has no doubts or qualms or cracks.

      Scott! I was totally not on board with loving Scott in season one, but I adore how he's grown and matured this season, and I consider him a happy addition to Team Clone, alongside Cal (who I cautiously like) and Art and Felix (who I adore wholeheartedly). Welcome, Scott. You're an adorable puppy and you may stay.

      I also thought it was interesting how he is one of the few people that Cosima is willing to let do something this big. You know? I just feel like if anyone else had told Cosima to let them take care of things, she would bristle, but when it's Scott, it's okay. Food for thought. They have a very interesting relationship.

      They had better freaking start writing Kira with more realistic emotional reactions this season or so help me I am dragging a real life eight year old into their writers room and letting her yell at them for a few hours.

      I trust Marion precisely because I don't trust her, you know? Like, we know already how ruthless she can be, and I find that comforting. It's the people who haven't yet dropped their other shoe that worry me, like Cal.

      Yes, I also wish Art had had more to do this season than babysit Helena, hilarious though those scenes inevitably are.

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    2. Good point about Cosima trusting Scott, and it reminds me of something I've been thinking about. If Sarah's journey is towards trusting and being trusted (imagine the absurdity of early-Sarah's "fierce loyalty" being something Marion might choose to rely on), and Helena's is towards loving and being loved (imagine early-Helena concernedly telling Cosima she shouldn't be up), I wonder if Cosima's is towards needing and being needed. Sarah's twice said she can't keep going without Cosima - the first time, Cosima laughed it off, but this time she offers quiet comfort and an affirmation of Sarah's strength.

      And maybe Scott's part of that too. Cosima fights as hard as she can because Sarah needs her, but in the end, as she can barely stay upright she knows she needs Scott to help her with the last stages. We've talked before about how she doesn't like people knowing she's in trouble (I get the feeling her parents were sort of hippyish - easygoing but unable to handle heavy stuff - great parents to come out to, or tell you want a tattoo, but terrible parents to ask "please help me"). But Scott knows already, and Sarah's need is too great for Cosima's usual denials.

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    3. That's really interesting about their emotional journeys. It makes me want to expand it out. Like, just spitballing, maybe Alison's journey is about being vulnerable and accepting vulnerability from others. But definitely yes about the ridiculous amount of character development we've seen in the past season or so.

      I get the same vibe about her parents. And it explains why Cosima is so fiercely independent at the start, why she is so comfortable dissociating herself and seeing the clone thing as pure science instead of something personal at first.

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    4. Vulnerability is a good one. I'd wondered if it might be respect, something Alison's life hasn't encouraged her to give or receive. But her community is a fishbowl, as she herself put it, where friendships are characterised as much by snooping, competition, and judgment - it's a world of emotional armour-plating - to let hers down, and not see others' being down as a weakness, yeah that certainly fits.

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    5. It also has big implications for her marriage. Because it seems clear that a big stumbling block between them is Alison's refusal to be vulnerable with Donnie and absolute refusal to let Donnie be vulnerable with her. But we see that start to break down in the end of season two, and hopefully it means that those two crazy kids can make it work.

      All it took was an accidental murder and coverup. Awwww.

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    6. It also has big implications for her marriage. Because it seems clear that a big stumbling block between them is Alison's refusal to be vulnerable with Donnie and absolute refusal to let Donnie be vulnerable with her. But we see that start to break down in the end of season two, and hopefully it means that those two crazy kids can make it work.

      All it took was an accidental murder and coverup. Awwww.

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  4. Bring in the boys, I say!

    That's certainly a changed tune from what you were saying at the start of the season. But of course, Fawcett and Manson have earned a lot more faith; while I remain unenthusiastic about male clones, I'm certainly going to wait and see.

    Particularly given...

    This whole season has been about ownership - who owns the clone's bodies, and who controls them. Who controls the rights to their medical care, and who controls the rights to their physical bodies and derivatives.

    The military as an institution is certainly the place to find these issues affecting men - to see men's bodies being claimed, controlled, exploited, and expended - and Mark's history, that he alludes to with Henrik, suggests that's the direction it'll be going. Well, maybe not the expended part - depending on whether Project Castor knows how to make more of the male clones - though I assume that's part of what they want with Helena (and I doubt Paul's superiors will abide by his deal if they find out about Sarah).

    It interests me that the Castor clones seem to be younger than the Leda ones.

    Also, given that Project Castor has been infiltrating Project Leda, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some intent to take it over. Which means the male clones could also be part of the problem for the female clones.

    However it goes, I'm interested to see it. (Though I don't want a "shift to the male perspective" as you put it - add it, sure, but I want the focus to stay on the Leda clones - and it's a good feeling to be for once confident that it will).

    I don't envy Ari Millen. Playing the other set of clones on Orphan Black has got to be a pretty daunting prospect.

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    1. Yup, it's a very changed tune. But I think that after two seasons of focusing really intently on the bodily rights of the female clones, and the fact that I have no doubt they will remain our focal point going forward, makes me cautiously optimistic about bringing in a male line. And it just makes so much sense for them to do it this way. It explains a lot about why the military was funding the project, and it explains a fair bit of the schism between the two projects.

      The fact that Mark has a military history, and we've already seen one other clone in the military, suggests that this was some kind of supersoldier/disposable soldier program, and that intrigues me. And it makes me really really want to know how much the Proletheans knew about all this. Did they end up with Mark by accident, or did they target him? Are we going to have to dig up Gracie's mom and find out what's going on?

      Mark and Gracie are actually one of my favorite parts of the show, which surprised me, and I'm really excited to explore their relationship more, and also to bring them into the fold of the clones, because Helena and Sarah are already sympathetic towards them, and it's just got so much potential.

      As for the Castor clones being younger, yes, I think they are, by a solid eight years or so. Not sure why. Very curious though.

      You're right, I misspoke. I don't want to shift entirely to Ari Millen's characters. I want to stick close on Sarah, but I want to add in this dimension of life, because it is a topic that's very much worth exploring. I have no idea if Ari Millen can pull this off, but man I hope so!

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    2. I have come across a theory that Henrik used Mark's DNA rather than his own, and Helena and Gracie are carrying the offspring of two clones.

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    3. YES! I was thinking the same thing, actually. Because that would be hella interesting.

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  5. So much to cover here though it already has been. I am very tense about what comes next - there are things I want Orphan Black to do better but it does so much so immensely well (which means there's so many ways they could fall to)

    And seconded Ari Millen having the worst possible shoes to fill!

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    1. I'm tentatively excited for the next season. I'm not one hundred percent sure it's going to work, but I like that they're going to try. And imagine the moment Ari Millen found out he was going to have to run an acting marathon alongside Tatiana Maslany? Just so much joy and terror.

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