Orphan Black "Mingling Its Own Nature With It" Review: Almost Human
I take more notes during a typical episode of Orphan Black than I took in any of my college courses. Well, except for the one time when a professor discussed the correct way to assemble a Molotov cocktail (it's not as easy as people make it look on TV, and that was a very weird history class). But I digress: So much can happen on this show in the span of 40-something odd minutes that I constantly worry I'll miss something, or that I'll skip something that seems small but is actually very important. The result is usually a lot of confusing commentary scribbled in handwriting that even a chicken would find illegible. And this week, my notes were littered with a lot of question marks, several comments about Orphan Black seemingly taking cues from Hannibal's color-correction team, sad faces regarding Felix, and a big "Where the HELL is Hot Paul?"
"Mingling Its Own Nature With It" picked up the morning after Sarah, Felix, and Kira skipped whatever unnamed Canadian city Orphan Black is set in (the series is filmed in Toronto, but creator Graeme Manson has said that its ambiguous setting is purposeful because the show is a co-production, buuuuuut it's totally Toronto). As you may've guessed, Felix's relationship with the great outdoors is fragile at best, and camping is probably not listed on his OkCupid profile as one of his favorite activities, which is why it was so funny to see him out of his element. We knew going into Season 2 that Felix and Sarah were going to have a falling out—Manson said as much earlier this year—but I still wasn't prepared for it.
It's a testament to Orphan Black's writers that although Sarah and Felix's fracturing happened quickly, it also felt like the natural progression of their relationship (I even wondered about it last week). Felix's line about being "intimately acquainted" with Sarah's bullshit was telling. He's been helping clean up Sarah's messes for so long—since well before the clones and their problems were even on their radar. And her habit of taking advantage of Felix dates all the way back to the series premiere, when she asked him to sell her stolen coke. We bend over backwards for the ones we love, but Felix has bent over so far for Sarah that he's practically lying down. He's always been there for her, he's done everything she's asked, and he's always had her back. But he's not getting much in return, and everyone has a breaking point. It looks like Felix has finally reached his.
Orphan Black often reminds us that Sarah abandoned Kira, and that she's trying to make up for that now, but as Jordan Gavaris pointed out in a recent interview, Sarah didn't just leave Kira, she left Felix too. He's dealing with his own abandonment issues, and he feels like there's no longer a place for him in her life. And that's why he packed his bags and hitchhiked back to civilization. At this point in the episode, my notes were reminiscent of the Sweet Home Alabama scene where Candice Bergen yells, "You go after him, you little bitch!" when Reese Witherspoon lets Patrick Dempsey's character walk away. Sarah and Felix's relationship is right at the core of Orphan Black, and it's going to be interesting to see how this storyline plays out with Sarah not having her number two, and with Felix and Alison growing ever closer. Felix's choice to support Alison's musical was touching, and I look forward to many more Felix/Alison scenes.
Another new development this week was the introduction of Michiel Huisman's Cal. (Huisman has certainly been a busy little bee lately, hasn't he? From Treme to Nashville, then Game of Thrones, now Orphan Black. Did he happen upon some Felix Felicis? Because he's the luckiest man in Hollywood) Seconds before Kira asked whether Cal was her father, I scribbled in my notes, "Is Cal her father?" So kudos to me, I'm smarter than an eight-year-old! But Orphan Black never does anything without purpose, so even though Cal appears to be another innocent bystander who's been pulled into Sarah's ever-growing list of messes, his introduction at this point in the story isn't a coincidence. It's not like the series is lacking for drama, so the writers must have a reason for choosing now to introduce us to Sarah's ex-boyfriend and the father of her child.
What does Cal's presence mean? How does he fit in to this? He's Kira's father, and despite Sarah stealing $10,000 from him and bolting eight years and nine months ago, she obviously felt something for him. But it's more likely that he's now going to fill the void at Sarah's side left by Felix's departure. He has a vested interest in keeping Kira safe, and it's obvious Sarah still makes his pants a bit tight, so yeah, I think we know exactly why Cal's back in the picture. Plus, did you catch his former job? He designed drones that helped pollenate areas where bee populations had died out (before his partners sold the technology to the military). Is everything on this series somehow related to science affecting life and reproduction?
Speaking of, Helena's now wed (I guess that's what that ribbon binding ceremony was?) and ready to be used by Henrik as a baby maker! *gag* Seriously, please excuse me while I vomit up everything I've eaten in the last 12 hours, because this is beyond disgusting and beyond wrong. It was bad enough when it looked like they were going to artificially inseminate Helena, but this is far worse than anything the series has ever done before. Helena can barely take care of herself. She's still recovering from being shot by Sarah. She is in no shape, physically, to be engaging in baby-making activities. Furthermore, there's no reason to believe Helena's even up to speed on what's about to happen to her. She's in no shape, mentally, to be doing much of anything without someone holding her hand. Also, Gracie's going to need to stop referring to Helena as "It" unless she wants my foot up her ass. She's a clone, but she's a human being. I know the standard line of religious thinking is that Helena and the clones are an abomination, and that the series itself is about what constitutes humanity and individuality, but guys, I want Gracie to trip and fall on all the bullshit she's spewing and maybe (hopefully) break her neck.
And according to the previews for next week, it looks like Alison broke her arm when she took that drunken tumble from the stage during her opening performance of Blood Ties: The Musical. I saw someone mention in the comments that this was a real thing and I did a little digging, and now I just want BBC America to release a full performance of this musical. It'd be a brilliant tie-in. (Call me, BBC America. Let's talk about how to make this happen.) Anyway, in the aftermath of discovering Donnie's her real monitor, Alison took revenge on him by vacuuming while he was sleeping, which is so in character, and so brilliant that I'm going to start using it on all my enemies. Nothing is more annoying than someone making noise when you're trying to nap. She also mistakenly thought Angie was another monitor sent to observe her once she'd discovered the truth about Donnie, which I guess makes sense because of where her mind is, but I'm glad the show didn't drag that out and revealed Angie's true interests in the same episode.
Cosima was mostly sidelined again this week as she watched each of Jennifer Fitzsimmons' video diaries chronicling her battle with the mysterious illness plaguing the clones. It was hella depressing watching Cosima realize the same thing will eventually happen to her if she doesn't figure out what it is and how to stop it. Her impression of Dr. Leekie was very good, though, which just goes to show that Tatiana Maslany could probably play every single character on this show if she actually wanted to (although that would be even more time-consuming, and a bit awkward during sex scenes).
With so much going on, it's easy to forget about Dyad, but Rachel's hound Daniel returned this week. He tried to snatch Kira after successfully tracking her from the compound in last week's episode, to the general store, to Cal's cabin. I don't know how he found them, but I hope he was critically injured in the car accident that ended the episode, because he's like a dog with a bone and he's not going to stop hunting Sarah and Kira. But his presence in "Mingling Its Own Nature With It" also just goes to show that no matter how hard she tries, Sarah cannot outrun what is happening. From what we know of her life before the series began—and it's obvious from her relationships with both Felix and Mrs. S—Sarah's a runner. She cuts and runs when things get tough rather than face her problems. She might be a fighter, and she might have told Paul running wasn't really her style when she came to his rescue in Season 1, but everything we've seen so far contradicts that. From the moment we met Sarah, her intent has always been to leave with Felix and Kira. But she'll never be able to escape the drama of the clones, so if she wants the possibility of living a normal life again, the only way to achieve her goals is if she stops running and faces everything head on.
– Orphan Black has always had an interesting color palette, but since most of the action takes place indoors or in the city, I don't think it ever gets its proper due with regard to the series' overall look. This week, though, with the new settings like Cal's cabin and the outdoors, everything looked amazing.
– Where was Mrs. S this week? She obviously cleared out of the compound before Daniel and the Proletheans arrived, but there was no sight of her, which was a bummer because I was looking forward to learning a bit more about her. Of course, it's easy as a viewer to sit back and accept that Mrs. S is a badass, but to Sarah and Felix, she's always just been their foster mother, and this development changes everything for them. I suppose if I saw my father blow a guy's head off like it wasn't the first time he'd done such a thing, I'd probably be a little shocked, too. And then we'd have a serious chat about all those times he was pissed off because I was "lying."
– Serious question: How does Sarah walk around in those leather/pleather pants all the time? Like, doesn't she get hot? How does she not sweat? How are those comfortable to wear?
– Art tracked the Proletheans to their compound this week. He'd be my knight in shining armor if he raced in and saved Helena from the bullshit that's about to rain down upon her just because Henrik thinks he's doing God's work.
– WhereTF is Hot Paul? (Realistically, his lack of screen time makes sense. He was supposed to go to Taiwan or whatever with Rachel, and so far, Season 2's storylines haven't really called for his presence, but still. I am concerned.)
– "I can handle it, don't be a bitch."
– "Felix: Foster brother and avowed pacifist."
– "I like his beard." Me and you both, Kira. Me and you both.
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