Orphan Black "Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" Review: The One Where Donnie Grew a Pair
After last week's episode of Orphan Black took a detour into waters that some would argue were unnecessary at this point in the season (I was not one of those people), this week's "Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" saw nearly every storyline converge into a single thread. The hour nicely set things in motion for the Season 2 finale, as Kira bravely agreed to donate her bone marrow to save Cosima, Rachel artfully exploited Delphine's allegiance to Cosima and the Clone Club in order to kidnap Kira, and Helena was artificially inseminated by Henrik.
In fact, everything came together so well that I hardly noticed it was happening. Both Alison and Helena had their own side stories, and I'll get to those later on, but I think we can all agree that Orphan Black's writers deserve major props for their meticulous planning.
For most of the season, Sarah tried to shield Kira from the dangerous reality of the clones, but Kira willingly and bravely joined the fray when she yanked out her own tooth and again this week when she agreed to donate bone marrow. Sarah recently told Felix that he's the "best" of their circle of confidants, but I think Kira has a legitimate claim to that title. Even if she doesn't fully realize the danger she's in with Rachel, she's an incredibly intuitive and exceptionally bright child, and I look forward to seeing how she reacts to her new situation and that girly pink bedroom that would probably cause Laura Ashley to spontaneously vomit. Orphan Black has somehow preserved Kira's innocence even though she's playing a major role—albeit sometimes indirectly—in at least three storylines. That's no easy task when there's a new threat everywhere you turn.
And even though Felix is hip-deep in clone bullshit on any given day of the week, he's remained true to himself and loyal to both Sarah and Kira. No one would've faulted him if he'd decided to pack his stuff and escape, but familial bonds are strong. Season 2 has seen Sarah start referring to Cosima and Alison as her sisters, and she's always referred to Felix as her brother, so if Orphan Black is remembered for nothing else (highly unlikely), it'll at least have made a fine argument in support of unconventional families. However, if anyone deserves to come out the other side of this a winner, it's Kira and Felix. The only thing they're guilty of is loving Sarah (and in Kira's case, being her daughter).
That's why I was so upset when I realized Rachel was masquerading as Sarah in the hospital. The two characters who don't deserve to be harmed by this situation were put in harm's way because of Rachel's desire to have a family of her own. It was so easy for Rachel to fool Mrs. S and Benjamin, drug Felix, and kidnap Kira that I was personally offended when she succeeded. I felt as if I was the one she'd drugged. I felt responsible for allowing this to happen, like I should have known better. I've spent the last 19 episodes watching Sarah; how could I have mistaken Rachel for her? After re-watching that scene a few times, however, I've decided to let myself—and all viewers—off the hook. Tatiana Maslany has been teaching a master class in acting ever since Orphan Black premiered, but this week she played Rachel-as-Sarah a bit too well.
When Maslany played Sarah-as-Cosima in the Season 2 premiere, you could see both characters in the performance. You knew it was Sarah immediately, but you could see how the character was trying to work in Cosima's ticks and movements. When Helena impersonated Sarah in the penultimate episode of Season 1, I think it was also fairly clear that we were dealing with an "impostor" (though without going back and re-watching, I can't say that for sure). However, when Rachel's impersonation of Sarah was a bit too smooth. The audience was not supposed to be in on the ruse, but even now, I can't see anyone other than Sarah in that hospital hallway. After the jig was up, Maslany did her best to mix in some of Rachel's more refined mannerisms, but I don't think it was enough to really register.
Meanwhile, after taking a few episodes off, Helena finally returned to our screens... and was artificially inseminated by Henrik and the Proletheans. On a related note, for the first time since this wacky storyline took shape, I actually felt bad for Gracie. On some level I always knew what Orphan Black was trying to do with the introduction of these Bible-banging scientist whackjobs, but I was too busy being angry at Gracie for her initial treatment of Helena to consider her position in Henrik's family or how she was affected by Helena's presence. There's no beating around the bush: Henrik is a grade-A asshole, and he may or may not have deserved what Helena did to him (I can't talk about it without getting the shivers), but Gracie didn't deserve what happened to her. Being forced to carry your father's child is sickening, but being forced to carry his child with another woman is even worse.
Hmmm, on second thought, Henrik definitely deserved everything that happened to him, including, hopefully, death by fire as the Prolethans' compound burnt down around him.
Considering how slowly time moves on Orphan Black, I doubt we'll be seeing a visibly pregnant Helena for quite some time—and the series hasn't been renewed for Season 3 yet, so it's unclear if we ever will—but I'm still not sure how I feel about this particular development. On one hand, I at least understand Helena's willingness to go participate in Henrik's plan. All she's ever wanted was a family, to be wanted and needed. Sarah probably won't ever be enough—she can't look out for Helena when she already has a child to protect—but is Helena actually capable of being a mother? The woman lives on sugar packets, lollipops, and Jell-O. We know she can take care of herself, but she doesn't exactly scream "responsible parent." Barring a time jump, it's going to be awhile before we see her interact with her own offspring, but it's something to think about.
While Rachel was kidnapping Kira and Helena was destroying the Proletheans, Alison and Donnie were busy with their own dead body disposal storyline, which provided some much-needed levity in a pretty dark hour. The episode's opening scene, where Alison and Donnie wrapped Leekie's body in a floral shower curtain and secured it with pink duct tape, had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes; black comedy is what keeps darkness from completely devouring the show. And even though the two characters were part of a serious but laughable storyline as they buried Leekie's body beneath the floor of their garage, this was a big episode for Alison and Donnie's marriage (and Donnie, who finally grew a pair to defend his family). They put aside their issues and, for the first time since the start of the series, they were on the same page. It was nice to see them stop keeping secrets from one another as they formed a unified front against the world. They're basically a Norman Rockwell painting... if Normal Rockwell's subjects were murderous suburbanites.
All season long, Alison was relegated to B and C stories. She even admitted as much during her Skype call with Sarah and Cosima, when she mentioned feeling removed, and although I initially thought that the writers were horribly off-base in sidelining Alison with a drinking problem and sending her to rehab, I now realize it was done purposefully. So much has happened that it's easy to forget what went down three weeks ago on Orphan Black, let alone what transpired in the final moments of Season 1. But if you step into the Wayback Machine, you'll see that what the show did this season wasn't a misstep, but a carefully calculated play.
Alison signing her contract with Dyad at the end of Season 1 allowed her to live her life without fear. Her lack of involvement in Sarah's or Cosima's storylines wasn't because the writers didn't know how to integrate her, it was because that's what she wanted. I've enjoyed watching the separate Alison Hendrix Show these past nine episodes, but I do hope she reunites with the rest of the clones next week to bring Season 2 to a close. She's every bit as integral to this story as anyone of the other clones. Plus, if they end up needing to get rid of a body, she's got some experience.
"Things Which Have Never Yet Been Done" was a set-up episode cleverly disguised as something more, and I'm not mad about that. All of the plots that have been building throughout Season 2 are finally coming together as we head into the finale. Up until now, the Clones have been on their own missions, seeking their own answers. Sarah's been looking for a way out. Cosima's been searching for a cure. Helena and Rachel have been dreaming of some sort of family. And Alison's been trying to achieve happiness. We only have one episode left, and it's going to be so so so so so so so good to see whether everyone finds what they're looking for.
– You would, Vic. You would.
– Poor Delphine. She played right into Rachel's hand. She thought she was doing the right thing, and it turns out she allowed Kira to be kidnapped. S'okay. Happens to the best of us, Delphine!
– Another week without Paul and Cal. If I were the suspicious type, I'd be getting, you know, suspicious.
– "Have you ever seen Dexter?"
– "I'm not as perfectly comfortable with manslaughter as you!"
– "There's eleven, esé!" Donnie won this episode, guys.
What'd you think of this one? What do you think is going to happen in the season finale?
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