Orphan Black made its long awaited return this past Saturday and as usual the best thing about it was Tatiana Maslany.
Yes, we have the conspiracy theories, the dueling forces of evil, the high drama of child kidnapping and of course, clones, clones, clones.
All of which was made all the more meaningful due to the exceptional work of Maslany.
Let's take a look at our favorite ladies and how they were reintroduced for the season 2 opener.
The episode picks up right where we left off and as usual Sarah is getting her a** in and out of trouble. (Yes, that was a salute to Felix and his striking after hours wear.) Everything revolves around Sarah and as always her world is turned upside down. Sarah is either running to or from something. I find this a bit tiresome and really think she was more interesting when she had to share her identity with the deceased Beth. Having Sarah constantly chasing about makes her character one dimensional and less interesting. I think the writers sensed the same and added a little twist to her fate as the episode drew to a close.
That being said, Sarah is looking for her daughter Kira who has been snatched away along with Mrs. S. Kira's fate is important in that she is important to Sarah (naturally) and her recovery will lead to more answers to the competing forces of evil that constantly pull at Sarah's world. In finding more about this plot thread we'll learn why Sarah is so important to the Dyad Institute.
Tatiana plays Sarah with reckless abandon as this character always seems to be running downhill. Tatiana excels at this as she always captures Sarah's breathless exasperation. Thankfully, we get those precious moments where Sarah gets to outwit her opponents but as I noted earlier, her character's constant running about makes Sarah literally tiresome to follow. That will change.
My personal favorite. We find Alison free to carry about her normal like courtesy of the Dyad Institute. Thankfully Alison hasn't changed at all. She still that tightly wrapped porcelain doll of a soccer mom that is right on the edge of hysteria.
Tatiana is so great with Alison. She nails Alison's cool veneer as she goes about her daily rituals whether it's shopping outside the local market for recreational drugs or her weapons of choice. We get to see Alison as comes to grips with a midnight visit from Felix and coolly dismisses her tubby husband (the nauseating Donnie and his black briefs) and we later see her fight for her life when Daniel and his Dyad thugs mistakenly make a play for her. Tatiana totally gets Alison's comedic side as she is at once panicked but also capable of defending herself. She kicks and screams and voices her outrage as she is thrown inside the van. Naturally, as she is released she straitens herself out and goes on as if nothing happened. Don't ever change Alison.
Delphine is her love. Yes there are questions of trust but that only seems to bring the two closer together. Cosima physically softens when she is around Delphine. Her eyes widen when she looks at Delphine as if searching for answers. It's also as if she is opening a door to Delphine to walk through but only if she can trust her. It's similar to the dynamic between Sarah and Paul but with considerably more soul. Someone please give Tatiana an Emmy.
The newest addition to the clone club. Tatiana sells Rachel through her cool superior and executive exterior. I'd love to see what is going on inside and perhaps someday soon we will. The only hint to Rachel's inner personality was when Sarah smacks her to the floor of the Dyad Institute and she tells Sarah, "Nobody touches me."
Good to know. Rachel is a bit robotic and I loved how she called Leekie to heel. But there is something ticking deep down there and it could be a bomb. It's pretty obvious Rachel has to be in control but she knows what is going on. She has answers that even the viewing audience doesn't know what the question is. No doubt her main concern is the genetic defect that plagues the clones. More to follow.
I have to confess I was not happy to see her back. Dead is dead except in the comic books (or Continuum) and this device has been done to death. (Bad pun.) But this is where I think the writers are making their play to make Sarah a more interesting character. Sarah has Art and Paul to bounce off of (eek, another bad pun when Paul is taken into account) and Tatiana's portrayal of Sarah becomes more complex with both gentlemen. But it pales in comparison with her relationship with Helena.
Helena is the enemy. She represents the Prolethean faction and is responsible for killing Sarah's mother. Their shared mother that is!
How is that for conflict?!!!
Tatiana should absolutely kill this. I expect Sarah to go after Helena with a nightmarish vengeance. In return, the off the wall Helena will probably turn Sarah's world upside down. Especially, as we learned, the Prolethean's are probably responsible for Kira's kidnapping. I'm not digging Helena's new found recuperative powers but to paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Crazy is as crazy does."
Get that Emmy statue warmed up.
Odds and Ends
One of the great things that Orphan Black does is have Tatiana portray characters portraying another character. When Sarah walked into the Dyad event she shudders and whispers an accented, "Oh shite." Shen then slips into her American accent and has everyone fooled with a slightly stiff Cosima. Everyone except Delphine that is. Those lips will tell! True to her relationship with Cosima, Delphine does not expose Sarah but acts to protect her. Now there is trust. If only Cosima was there to see it.
Another great tell into Tatiana's take on her Cosima/Sarah crossover is the subtle cues she employs. Seen above, Sarah peers over Cosima's glasses in order to see into the distance. Pure gold. A nuisance to Sarah a necessity to Cosima.
The Inter-clone sequence
I was going to complain over the weak inter-clone sequence where Tatiana brings Sarah together with Cosima in the loft. Pfft, they've done better than that I thought.
Geeez, the Dyad office sequence was so great I totally forgot it was the same actress playing the same clone! How utterly seamless! Sarah pins Rachel down, sticks a gun in her face and totally bitch slaps her.
Get the Emmy ready for special effects and editing too.
It wasn't the greatest of episodes to start the season but great things happened and I'm sure there will be more to follow.
The greatest of which is Tatiana Maslany