Monday, April 21, 2014

Orphan Black - Ladies Night



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.

 Sarah

 
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.

Alison


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.

Cosima

 
Cosima is a crowd favorite.  She is appealing to both men and women alike and Tatiana knows to depict Cosima as an intellectual powerhouse with a softer loving side.  When we left Cosima she was in the throes of the discovery of her illness.  There is no panic here however as this just gives Cosima another reason to pursue her science.  True to her character, Cosima is more concerned with her fellow clones than with herself.  The only time we see her weaken is when she is with Delphine.

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.

Rachel


 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."


Reaaally?

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.

Helena


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

 






3 comments:

  1. I'm planning on watching this episode again tonight as much of it just flew right past me.

    Quick thoughts: Helena almost had to come back. Kira was truly run over by a truck and was up and about in no time flat... The clones are genetically played with, and probably sterile on purpose (you would want your Lego toys to start multiplying on their own, would you?), and perhaps their healing capabilities are not yet steady. Just a guess. So the fact that Sarah even had a kid is unusual, and now because she did, Kira is terribly valuable. Though I had a WTF moment, it wasn't unbelievable to me.

    Oh and who is Kira's dad? He must be important because it is an issue so far ignored, mostly. I don't think he is forgotten, but I can't wait to get some clues. And I don't think we've seen the last of Sarah's ex, the one who has trouble keeping his hands safe. Ouch...

    I agree Sarah's running around is tiresome but this is just the beginning of the season, it will surely change as time goes on.

    I like Cosima a whole lot but she is not my favorite, Allison wins hands down. Soccer Mom has a whole lot of connections........ gads. Much more to her than we thought.

    I was not very intrigued with Rachel at first, but as usual, both the writers and Tatiana are doing great keeping her interesting...

    Where I am completely lost is with Paul. Like, what? Sarah and Paul are enemies now? When did that happen? I hope I can figure it out on my rewatch. I'm not fond of that development, but we'll see I guess.

    But at the bottom of it all, Felix is my top favorite. (didja see what I did there? Eh?) I can't wait to see what happens with him, and his true role in the whole thing.

    What is also great, is that this is the first time we get a show like this that is really asking those questions - who do we belong to? Literally. Clones are already being developed, in animals, so do they have a patent? What is so great is that it is such an ordinary question, but it is at the foundation of the way our society is run. You start changing parts, and maybe a company is going to put an ownership sticker on you.

    Neat thought of the day. Can't wait for more.

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  2. Ingrid!

    Having Helena back is still a little preposterous to me. As of the second episode of the season we've learned of her recuperative powers and their physical nature. Plus a healthy assist from a new figure. Her "physical nature" was a bit of a face palm moment for me. I won't spoil it here in case you haven't seen it yet.

    I'm not so sure how valuable Kira is. But any kid that can "bounce" back from that kind of trauma is worth study. The Dyad Institute continues to believe that Sarah is the more important of the two. It's a weird dichotomy, Kira, Helena and Rachel seem to be able to take quite a beating and be none the worse for wear. Yet Sarah is constantly scarred but she's the one that can have a child. Apparently it is a cloning process problem and not a design one.

    More to learn I'm sure.

    Who's Sarah's dad? Does it matter? They can collect enough anonymous "material" to get the job done so it may be a moot point. Then again, Sarah is going to be reunited in the third episode with an old boyfriend. Let's hope that is not face palm worthy.

    Ha, nice Felix reference and we get to see more of him in the second episode. (See what I did there?) He is such a character and they did well to cast Jordan Gavaris in the role. He has such great comic timing. I hope they don't split him and Alison up. They are quite the team together.

    Your last thought made me think why the Dyad institute let the clones get away in the first place. Were they deliberately seeded into the public? Or did they err in letting the clones have normal birth mothers? You'd think they'd be all under lock and key. Now I'm puzzled. Did I miss something?

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  3. Much as I like to analyze storytelling (to the dismay of my family), I can't forget that this is, after all, fiction and that means "keep stuff happening". Which Orphan Black does tremendously well in my opinion. But the fact that we don't know who Sarah (and all the others') father is means that there is at least fodder for a few episodes just dealing with the daddy issues. And I'd be very curious to know who it is... Matt Frewer perhaps? Oooo... th-th-th-the possibilities.... :-p

    I adore that this show is dealing with the dirty issue of "who do clones belong to - are they unique (very Almost Human) - where is the line drawn on individuality", and those types of questions. And as much as I hate it when religion is thrown in the mix, in this case it really does fit. It is, simply, an inescapable point that will have to be faced, I think, because the answer will have an effect on everything involved.

    It seems (and we'll see if they stick to this) that they are looked at a great point: religious fanatics AND science fanatics. Both sides don't consider clones as humans - religious nuts think they are the work of the devil, and science nuts think they are no more than lab rats. When it comes to fanatics, there is no good side of the fence, and there are members of both in actual society. They always mess things up. Ethical questions are terribly delicate for some people, it will be interesting to see just how far this show goes.

    As long as they keep their sense of humor, I'm in for the ride.

    It would be really neat for Helena to be able to at least somewhat recover from her brainwashing. I can't quite figure out just what she has to do in the story, but again, apart from that WTF moment, I'm fine with her being back, it makes sense to me.

    After seeing the second episode, I'm beginning to think I should keep my hands under wraps... they are getting worried... Orphan Black doesn't like hands.

    It sure does like Felix's bum. It's even in the third ep preview! Oy.

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