"Who do you trust?" Mrs S asked of both Paul and Sarah in "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings." It's a simple-enough question, but as is usually the case with Orphan Black, there's not a simple answer because every side presents itself as the right one, with varying degrees of moral ambiguity. What started out as a fun road trip movie that I wished would never end—Helena singing "Sugar Sugar" while Sarah laughed and begged her to stop is a memory I'll cherish forever (and one I've .GIF'd for your pleasure in the notes section at the bottom of this review)—evolved into a story about lies and deceit and how everything is both exactly and not at all as it seems. Which is about par for the course for this show.
Sarah was searching for meaning with regard to the original cloning experiment as she tracked down Helena's Swan Man. The guy was once known as Ethan Duncan—a.k.a. Rachel's dad—but he's gone by the assumed name of Andrew Peckham (a name that he stole, coincidentally, from an orphan who died at age 2) ever since he switched allegiances and sold information in return for being hidden away (by a mysterious "we") from the prying eyes of the Dyad Institute 20 years ago. The revelation that Dr. Leekie was behind the lab explosion that killed Rachel's "mother" wasn't nearly as surprising to the audience as it was to Sarah, but that's simply because we have the pleasure of watching this mystery unfold over several weeks, allowing us to dissect the meaning of every line uttered and every new piece of information that comes our way.
Of course, we'd already suspected that Leekie was playing things from all angles, working in the name of both science and his own agenda. No one honestly believed he was a member of Clone Club, right? He has an ulterior motive in treating Cosima's illness, and he has a vested interest in the clones, so of course he's going to strike deals with whomever he can. The knowledge that he killed Susan and the rest of her team, presumably because Susan and Ethan were going to leave and raise Rachel as their daughter and not a lab experiment, makes Leekie both a jerk and a murderer, but it's not as if this new development was mind-blowing.
Now, the events of Orphan Black are happening to Sarah in a more constrained timeframe than the one in which we're experiencing the show—I don't know how long it's been since Sarah witnessed Beth's suicide and discovered she was a clone, but it definitely hasn't been that long—so to Sarah, this news is Shocking Item Number 75 on what's becoming an endless list of revelations and complicated mysteries. There's also the fact that last week, Sarah agreed to find Peckham for Leekie, in exchange for Felix's freedom and Cosima's continued treatments. Can she knowingly hand Peckham over to the man who killed Peckham's wife and keep a clear conscience?
So much of what drives Sarah is her own natural instinct to survive, and her history of putting her own wants and needs above those of everyone else. It's not just because she's a selfish human being (which she totally is, as she takes her relationships with people like Felix and Cal for granted, but that's a problem for another day); it's because she's human. She's on a mission and nothing is going to stop her from achieving her goals. She's been thrown into countless situations where she's been forced to decide whether it's worth sticking her neck out for others at the risk her own plans and desires, or whether she should just keep chugging along on her own. And we saw an example of that this week when Helena was arrested after a bar fight, and Sarah called Art and asked him to deal with the mess while she tracked down her lead on Peckham.
It sure is nice having so many people to rely on to do the things you don't have time to do, though it paints Sarah in a poorer light than perhaps I'd like. However, we now know that Helena has willingly returned to the Proletheans because they promised her children—which we learned early on in the episode was something she wanted—so maybe I'm a bit biased in my opinion of how Sarah dealt with this particular development. I mean, she'd just spent some time bonding (okay, "bonding" might be too strong of a word, but I'm sticking to it) with her twin, and she couldn't even be bothered to help Helena herself?
On the one hand, I like that the series has deviated from the norm here—most shows would've had their heroine take a detour from her original search to rescue her friend, which in this case would've given Peckham and Mrs. S time to flee to parts unknown. But on the other hand, Orphan Black is nothing if not steadfast in Sarah's ability to focus solely on her mission. We've seen her make detours for people she cares about (Felix, and even Paul), but she's not a card-carrying member of Team Helena just yet. Helena knows this: "If you knew where Swan Man was, you'd leave me behind," she told Sarah. So I suppose it's really no surprise that Sarah asked Art to deal with Helena. Sarah sees Helena as a weight that's holding her down, even though she's the reason Sarah was able to track Peckham in the first place. So I have to wonder how long Sarah's going to be able to pretend that Helena isn't useful. How long until Sarah has to treat her like a real human being and not just a half-feral child?
While Sarah was searching for Peckham and Helena was making out with Suits' Patrick J. Adams and getting arrested, Cosima's DNA-sequencing buddy Scott was accepting a job at Dyad in order to better study the clones. Yes, it turns out he knows they exist, but he isn't aware that Cosima is one of them. And he discovered something kind of interesting! I won't even pretend to understand anything having to do with genetics and STR loci, but I
did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night I do know what familiar markers are and I can definitely grasp thee significance of questions like, "Whoever you cloned, do they have a female relative? Like a niece, or even a daughter?"
It just so happens that we do know a clone who has a daughter. We also know that said daughter is special, and that she survived being hit by a car with few, if any, injuries, which raises the question: Is Kira the answer to saving the clones? Also: How did Dyad come to be in possession of these stem cells? Also also: Will this new information backfire on Delphine when Cosima inevitably discovers not only the truth, but the fact that Delphine concealed it from her? Like I said above, everybody was lying to everybody in this episode, and it's not as if we should be all that surprised by this newest revelation—Orphan Black is built on lies and characters who only tell you what they want you to hear. But Delphine has to realize that keeping this secret from Cosima is going to end badly, right? Cosima might never fully trust Delphine because of Delphine's association with Dyad, and even if Delphine has good intentions in hiding the truth, Cosima isn't likely to respond kindly once she finds out. She might have feelings for Delphine, but Sarah and Alison are her family; once she knows what's really going on, Sarah's likely going to be her first call. And hell hath no fury like a pissed-off Sarah Manning.
Elsewhere, Vic the Dick made his first Season 2 appearance when he showed up as a patient at Alison's rehab clinic. He had me fooled all episode as he spouted off nonsense about anger being a tool and all that Buddhist mumbo jumbo. There I was, thinking he'd honestly become less of an asshole, but then we learned that he's working for Angie to get dirt on Alison in exchange for having the charges against him dropped. Vic has always been an interesting character, and one that I've certainly enjoyed, but I can't say I've missed him. His purpose in Season 1 was to serve as a physical representation of Sarah's past, as he chased her and threatened to expose who she really was when she was masquerading as Beth. So it makes perfect sense that he's been MIA for awhile, with Sarah running further and further from the life she once knew. But now he's cooperating, albeit begrudgingly, with Angie to expose Alison's—and Sarah's, and Cosima's, and Rachel's—secrets. Of course, little does he realize that he already knows the truth: Alison told him they were clones, but like most people, he didn't believe her. How long until he figures it out? And is this the beginning of Vic's reintroduction to the series? Will he ever become an ally, or will he just be a liability?
We're now more than halfway through Orphan Black's second season, and that sound you hear is me crying as I come to terms with the fact that there are only four more episodes left. It's hard to predict how this season will end, or even to guess what its endgame is, because there are so many variables bouncing around and so many characters following different paths. Outside of the scenes with Sarah and Helena, there haven't been many moments involving two or more clones, and I assume that's at least somewhat intended to take some stress off Tatiana Maslany, but all of these storylines have to converge at some point. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Especially because, while it's darkly funny to see Alison struggle with rehab, Orphan Black needs to break her out ASAP and get her involved in the rest of the ongoing plots, before she languishes too long in a C-story. We've made some progress with regard to Cosima's illness, but she's still in the dark about the most recent discovery, and most of her conversations with Sarah are taking place via Skype or telephone. Now that we're at least over the hump of the season, I'd like to see the show move a little faster in each episode. I want to find out more about Cal, especially since he and Kira were both absent this week. I want Paul to make a decision about who he trusts and whether or not he's willing to choose a side. I want to know more about Mrs. S, because she's still mostly shrouded in mystery.
That's not to say that I don't have complete faith in Orphan Black's writers to follow through on each and every one of these storylines; I just don't want to reach Episode 10 and have every single plot suddenly and magically come together. So far, the series has proven itself to be every bit as exciting and well-thought-out as it was in Season 1, and that makes me confident in its ability to pull off another near-flawless season. But at the moment, I don't have the patience that Orphan Black is demanding of its viewers.
– The way Paul and Mark discussed Sarah and Helena during the bar scene rubbed me the wrong way. A conversation like theirs on any other show wouldn't normally bother me—in fact, it would probably barely register—but the way they discussed the clones made the clones sound like property, and since that's one of the series' biggest questions, I have to think it probably wasn't an accident. Still, Sarah is not Paul's. Helena is not the Proletheans'. No one belongs to anyone and everyone is their own person. OKAY?
– The fact that Gracie had holes bordering her lips as a reminder that her mouth was recently sewn shut didn't raise anyone's eyebrows at the police department? No one was like, "Hmm, this looks suspicious, and kind of like child abuse, maybe I should look into it?" I've seen some shoddy police work on TV, and it's not like I care all that much about Gracie's wellbeing at this point, but when someone's bad at their job, I'm going to point it out.
– Will there be a Rachel and Peckham reunion this season? Would finding her father make Rachel less of a cold-hearted bitch, or do you think she would consider him weak? Also: The Duncans weren't the only implantation team, which means there could still be a lot more clones out there, right? However, if that's the case, I stick by my previous assertions that any non-Tatiana Maslany clones would be a mistake.
– "Just like you, I got caught up in a struggle I didn't ask for. Only I've been at it longer so I'm better at it than you." Ouch, sick burn, Mrs. S!
– "Arthur, you beast!"
– Helena was an emotional roller coaster this week. Her singing made me laugh. "I'm very good with children," had me mocking her. "Take me to my babies," left me feeling very sad.
– Yes, I do take pleasure in knowing that a song titled "Sugar Sugar" is one of Helena's favorites.
What'd you think of "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings"?
AIRED ON 6/21/2014
Season 2 : Episode 10