Monday, June 9, 2014

Orphan Black - And the Tony Award Goes to......



Tatiana Maslany!

Oh, wait a minute, she's only eligible for an Emmy for her TV work.

My bad.

And so was the stunt casting for Tatiana as another new clone.

That's right, I didn't like it.  To me it was a stunt and a self congratulatory one at that.  One only has to read the interview with EW to get a whiff of the hushed reverence that existed on the set that day when Tatiana came out as Tony.  (Read it here.)

Believe me, I don't blame Tatiana for this.  It's just another role to explore.  Another challenge.  To tell you the truth, I don't think it was one of her better efforts.  You want to know what she is good at?

This is what she is good at....






My goodness she is a treasure. Yes, I can complain about Orphan Black and gush over Tatiana Maslany in the same blog post.

Geek Queen, Lesbian Warrior and Scientific Wizard all rolled into one.  That's what Tatiana gives us.

I'm sure I'm going to catch Hell for this post.  All I've read is the amazing and historical precedence the show took by casting Tatiana as Tony.  Let's not forget how courageous they were too.





They certainly were topical.  A week after Time magazine comes out with their "Transgender Tipping Point" issue Orphan Black strikes gold with their own transgender episode.

I can hear the backslapping all the way to the Quiet Corner.  (That's where I live.)

Am I against Transgender issues?  Please, and hell no.  If there is one thing that fires up this Northeast liberal it's the Conservative backlash against Gay marriage, Immigration reform, Pay equality, voter rights and, oh God I can feel my teeth grinding right now.

(For you Conservatives, more reason to hate on this Blog.)


But for me this just didn't work.  I'd rather see Tatiana as a full on male clone.  One that was a worse failure than the clone Sarah turned out to be.  (She can conceive, boy, did that set Rachel off.)  I can picture the male clone version as a true horror.  (Something akin to Ripley from either Aliens Four or Five. Terrible to look at.)  Something pathetic and closer to the Elephant Man.  That would have set the viewing off.  See Game of Thrones for that sort of revolting plot development.

You can call me weird if you want but a little horror mixed in with your sci-fi can go a long way.

What else ticked me off about this episode?


"Sister Kisser?"

Doesn't Felix deserve better than this?  Yes, we know Felix can be weak of the flesh and with a few pharmaceuticals or so.

But this?

To say he can't resist kissing his own sister just because she looks a bit like a man? 

C'mon.  Felix deserves better.  For all he's done as Alison's wingman, Helana's baby sitter and Sarah's go to guy you'd think they'd give him a smidgen of a back bone.

Alas, no.

What else got my goat?


With just three episodes left in the season everything is derailed just so OB can garner a few headlines.

Yes, we're hot.  Groan.

What about the show's integrity?  Isn't there a mythology to pursue?  Aren't we getting closer to certain truths?  Isn't this a show about female empowerment?  Let's not muddle that please.


The Good.


Take for example the new Ethan Duncan.  Not quite as simple minded as we first thought is he?  Perhaps my theory about him kick starting Dyad and the Proletheans isn't that far off.  

I love how Ethan took young Kira under his wing.  This is what I mean about mixing horror with sci-fi.  Not only did Duncan read passages of "The Island of Doctor Moreau" to the child but she has taken to reading his scientific musings in the margins of the book.

We all know Kira is special and she has a fecund mind.  Imagine what she will do with the Gothic horror of Moreau and the ravings of a cloning geneticist.

Now that is gold.


I'll you what else I dug, we are inching closer to the mystery behind Paul.  If there is one thing the whole Tony line was good for it was finding out from Tony's ex-military monitor that Paul is a "Ghost."

Yowsah!

This connects several threads.  It weaves in the whole military angle that started out the Clone funding.  It leads to the leverage that the Dyad Institute and Rachel has over Paul.  It may explain why Siobhan characterized Paul's work in Afghanistan as being "for naught" if the truth comes out.  It also explains Paul's acumen for picking out Mark as ex-military.

Paul is a "Ghost" as in the most secretive form of a modern day military special ops warrior.  The best of the best.  Both the good and bad.

More of this please.  If we find out what Paul was originally up to it may explain a lot of things.  Surely Dylan Bruce gets second billing in the credits of this show for a good reason.




Oh well, there is an angry mob at my door.  I dissed Orphan Black and their "courage."  Sorry Tony, no hard feelings.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Ouch!  Was that a pitchfork in my back?






15 comments:

  1. Dylan Bruce is second in the opening credits because the supporting actors are listed alphabetically (excluding Maria Doyle Kennedy who is listed last, I am assuming because she was the most famous previous to the airing of the show). I hope Paul gets a great story, otherwise it's time to get rid of him as DB's acting is pretty weak. I have hopes that Tony will be more fleshed out as a character next season (not necessarily as a main clone, but popping in from time-to-time). Just look at Donnie, he was pretty much a non-important, one-dimensional character all of season 1, but his character has become much more well-rounded in season 2.

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    1. Good points "Anonymous." Kudos to Dylan's agent for getting his last name to begin with a B then. (I'm kidding.) I hope Paul gets a good story too. Maybe it is the military geek in me but I like the angle. You don't like "DB's" acting? It must be tough to have abs like that, snarl a lot and act opposite Tatiana. Poor dude.

      As far as Donnie is concerned, damn, I just had a thought, what if Donnie cuts into Felix's time with Ali. Now I'm really ticked. I love Alison and Felix together. Yes, Donnie has filled out as a character. The dynamic now that both are them are killers is irresistible. You're converting me.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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  2. Agree with you 100% on Kira... now THAT'S a potential game changer. Maybe Ethan has designs on creating a third entity to go against Dyad and the Prolethians. (That sounds like a vocal group.)

    Donnie is ... Donnie. In more ways than one. Donnie the dork, I believe, isn't the be-all-end-all of the character.

    Dylan Bruce is fine is his role of Paul, but he does come off a little flat at times. Not as flat as Megan Boone as Liz in The Blacklist, mind you. Still, I have been dying to know more, much more, about what all went down in Afghanistan. That photo of Rachel's parents with the armed military man in the background should be a hint. If Paul is a "ghost", could it be he was a military ghost operative?

    Now, on to Tony. As I said on the podcast (The C Word), I didn't like the character at first. My attention was pulled toward Tony, but not in a good way. Visually, it didn't work. However, when it was revealed that Tony was a "transclone", it made more sense. (Think Chaz Bono early on ... a female trying to appear male.) Not sure I want to see Tony pop up again, at least not any more than once (maybe twice) a season.

    Finally, THAT kiss... AWKWARD! An afterthought, to address your "Felix deserves better" comment: Yes, Felix deserves better, but what about this. As annoyed as Felix was with Tony, I think the kiss first happened because of a curiosity on Felix's part. He is gay, after all, and even though Tony was a pain in his backside, he may have wondered, "Well . . ."

    I don't see it as necessarily a lessening of the character, but rather an exploration in how sexuality and attraction are "fluid"...sometimes even within an individual. If the scene had eventually morphed into full-blown sex, I could still see the same thing, but would be more inclined to see it as a lessening of the character.

    Felix's pulling away shows that morality trumped curiosity, which shows Felix as anything but just a sex addict. (Also, it was a slight flipping of the bird to the b.s. notion that gays are all about sex and nothing much else.) And as a companion (or a clone) to that, the writers have Tony make his "sister kisser" comment to Felix, as if to say, yeah, you're right, creepy, we know, we hear ya.

    Terry (co-host of The C Word - An Orphan Black Podcast)

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    1. Terry! Is this the first time you've written to my blog? Welcome!

      I was thinking of "Kira and the Game Changers" as a vocal group. Yes?

      I'm totally thinking of Paul as a military Ghost operative. That is why he comes off so flat. As I told Ingrid below, he is more Peter Weller than Cary Grant and I think that is deliberate.

      BTW, what if Kira solves one of Duncan's exercises? Boom, a breakthrough by a four year old and perhaps a quantum leap in her intelligence. Now my mind is reeling!

      I'm still angry for Felix. He is the testbed for all sorts of plot machinations. Take for example him having to thumb home as the third wheel when Sarah hooks up with Cal. Not nice. Or the follow up where Felix had his frolic only to be assaulted by Paul and kidnapped.

      What is he a football?

      He can be so heroic yet they still find reason to knock him back. Tony came on to him and Felix should have held up a finger and said, "Ah ah ah, no you don't."

      Instead he was portrayed as weak. So disappointing.

      I see the "sister kisser" as a jab. Tony is a bit of a jerk and I think he wanted to assert his "Alpha" status and put Felix in his place.

      My teeth are starting to grind again.

      I'm going to write your podcast and reiterate my position if that is all right? Plus, let's expand on the Kira having an intellectual awakening ala 2001 and the monoliths.

      Sound good?

      Don't be a stranger here Terry and thanks!

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    2. Of course you can write in to the show, David!

      I see your point about Felix, David, but I saw him as course correcting, albeit a little late. Just because he didn't halt Tony in his tracks isn't necessarily a detriment. Weak? Yeah, but for a matter of mere seconds. I don't see that as an ultimate, absolute character flaw. And as far as all the crap the writers have put Felix through ... it's setting up a within-the-circle conflict.

      Kira having an intellectual awakening ... now THAT is something I'd like to se (and something I think the writers will explore this season and/or next). And will she have it in accordance with anyone's wishes, or will she go rogue?

      Kira and the Game Changers ... I like it!

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    3. A "within the circle conflict?" Don't they have one of those every episode? Poor Felix, I don't think it was an ultimate, absolute character flaw. It is one of many. Maybe he should team up with Alison more often but alas she has Donnie now. Blood is thicker than water, especially the type that soaks the carpet or stains the car trunk!

      Go rogue for Kira? How about choosing to stay with Duncan or at the very least being kidnapped by the Dyads. I'm sure Auntie Rachel can be very sweet.

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  3. Curses... I should be working. lol. Up to a point, I really agree with you Dave, I hope the door doesn't hurt Tony on the way out either. I completely support the fact that they tossed in a transgender character, and actually like the idea, and as I mentioned on Facebook, Tony kind of settled in a bit by the end of the episode.

    But, and this (or these) are what I really, really didn't like.

    It was just a bit too "in your face". This clone is quite a departure and a fabulous challenge, but it might have gone over a bit better if the audience hadn't been bitch-slapped into it. I mean, the balls in the wind, the f*** you attitude, and the sleaze - while great for the character, it's a bit like too much sugar in a sugar pie. There is a point where it is wonderfully sweet and then the point where it makes you never want to eat sugar pie again. Felix and Tony kissing just went too far for me. Even though they aren't related, it was too... incestuous.

    Unfortunately, I may not mind not seeing Tony again. However, I have undeniable faith in this show, and trust it to somehow dig itself out of this conundrum. They are one hell of a creative and brave bunch, and I still take my hat off to Tatiana.

    As for Paul, well Terr- um sorry, Anonymous, might he not be another wildcard? Along with all the others? I also liked the ghost aspect tossed in. It was hinted at since the beginning, if I'm not mistaken. I cannot wait to know more. He may well play a bigger role in next season... There are SO many characters, it would be like swimming through soup in every episode if all of them had a part in each episode.

    Dave, I agree 100% about the horror/scifi goodness and is one reason why I like Helix as well. Such a great pair. Like you, hope they strengthen it, or at least keep what they have going.

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    1. Hello Ingrid, thanks for the feedback as always.

      Have you heard of the principle of "Chekov's Gun?'" If you introduce a gun in the first act it better go off by the third.

      This is where OB failed. They should have introduced
      Tony much earlier on in the season. Then if he "went off" near the end of the season it all would have made sense. Now since he was introduced at the end what possible impact will he have?

      Stunt.

      If he returns for the finale he'll have to "go off" and will we care? We don't know him!

      Stunt.

      I've taken some flak at the Clone Club page on Facebook as I imagined I would. It's been a lively discussion and there has been a surprising amount of support for my position also. Give it a look.

      The "in your face" aspect of the Tony introduction seemed way too forced to me. It was if they wanted to shock us. Please, does anything shock us on TV anymore?

      Well, except Helix and Game of Thrones.

      Yes, Helix did very well in the horror/sci-fi crossover. Some of the best sci-fi out there has a monster in it. Is Tony a monster?

      Ha, no.

      Paul got dissed a lot on my Facebook post at the Cone Club. Jeez, isn't that the way he is supposed to be? More Peter Weller than Cary Grant?

      Thanks Ingrid I always enjoy your thoughts!

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    2. I haven't posted in that group, and don't really intend to. Maybe, but I doubt it. With thousands of people in the group, you've got to expect a proper mix of love and hate... lol...! There is a fan and a hater for everything.

      Paul getting dissed? For shame, he is a solid character. He is working with what he is given at the moment, and if the show continues, I have no doubt he will get his chance to show what both he and his character can really do. Your response to Terry is a good one! More Peter Weller than Cary Grant. One could also compare him - to a much lesser degree - to Micheal, in the original Nikita (I mean the series with Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis) Roy played the "on the job" Micheal REALLY low key, and we find out only later the character is not naturally like that. But anyway.

      I'm aware of the gun on the mantlepiece theory, and yes indeed, you are very right. Tony should not have been dropped in cold like that. In the show's defense, references have been made on several occasions that no one knows (at least we THINK no one knows) how many clones there really are, so one COULD say the gun is "perpetually" on the mantlepiece. But that sure wasn't the feel we got with the last episode. There was no warning or hint.

      I agree the whole thing feels "stunt" and was delivered clumsily. Honestly, I think the idea of it is really great, but just not weaved in very well. Surely the team will learn from it. I hope so.

      Concerning Kira... Quote from Terry: "Maybe Ethan has designs on creating a third entity to go against Dyad and the Prolethians" LOVE this theory, and I've been pondering on Kira as been a "third entity", but didn't think of Ethan being the designer. What a great idea and would fit.

      I have a feeling that last episodes are going to make or break the whole thing - win or lose a whole mess of fans.

      How exciting!

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  4. Hi Dave,

    This is one time that Tatiana did not disappear into a character for me. Yes, Tony was meant to be surprising and challenge expectations, and it did. I kind of hope this is not a one-off appearance, because standing alone I’d agree with your stunt assessment. I’m hoping Tony has a purpose to the story beyond being provocative and topical and I’ve been thinking about what that might be.

    Tony delivered news that men had tried to gun he and Sammy (likely his monitor) down and a cryptic message about Paul. Any new clone could have done that. So were the men after the clone or the monitor or both? And where is Paul? Did the men get to him or did he get a message from another military friend to go to ground? Exciting that we are finally getting clues on Paul’s back story.

    Did Tony inform Felix’s character? The whole flirtation thing between Tony and Felix was all kinds of uncomfortable from a quasi-incest perspective. Also Tony seemed to get past the death of Sammy, who Tony implied was his lover and in the least a trusted friend, rather quickly. However, the overt phallic image in the portrait of Sarah was there before Tony appeared and Tony throws a spotlight on it. Why did Felix paint it? Is there something in Felix’s subconscious regarding the clones and gender identity? Could there be a mythology reason for Felix’s behavior? We know very little about his back story and he is very protective and emotionally invested in the clones. We think that is because of his sibling relationship with Sarah, what if there is more to it?

    Something that could be explored - Tony is an individual who is using modern medicine (hormone therapy and perhaps surgery) to alter his biology from what was dictated by his genes. Tony is secure with who he wants to be and has taken steps to create that identity physically. What would he think of the neolutionists? [I wonder if we’ll see them again now that their rock star Leekie is out of the picture…] We all do things to modify our appearance from what is genetically provided to us. We cut or shave our hair, straighten our teeth, wear makeup, etc. Taken further some people pierce their skin, get tattoos, get plastic surgery, or use steroids to build muscle mass. Where is the proverbial line for what is acceptable in terms of using modern medicine or science to alter the human body? Tony sits at the cusp of this debate in current society. The show of course takes things further to neolutionists with tails and designer clones. Clearly there is an ethical distinction between individuals choosing to modify themselves and scientists creating designer people to their own specifications. The Island of Dr. Moreau reference is a bit on the nose, but highlights the slippery slope of redesigning nature just because it is possible to do so. To quote Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.”

    I’m going to sidestep the technical details, but Tony *seems* to have willingly chosen infertility which is a stark contrast to most of our clones. (Granted, he may have been infertile by design like most of the others anyway.) It might be interesting to see this character interact with one of the other clones who resents that choice being made for them, like Rachel.

    If Tony has had sex change surgery is he possibly immune to the afflictions that the other clones suffer? The respiratory symptoms seem secondary to something wrong in the ovaries/uterus. (Side note, was this a consequence of whatever was done to render them barren?) If Tony has had those removed he may be safe. Or perhaps the testosterone shots might even keep whatever is wrong in check?

    OK, that’s all I have on Tony for now. Wonder when we’ll see him again….

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    1. Tony was not Tatiana's finest hour. You're right she didn't disappear into character with him. Which makes the whole Tony thing all the more nettlesome.

      I like your thoughts about Felix. Why did he paint that phallic symbol. (Naturally it wasn't flaccid.) Is it a power thing? Does Felix resent Sarah's take charge capabilities or that she is the leader of "Team Clone" if not their family Dynamic?

      I wonder if Felix resents Sarah removing Mrs. S from her leadership position and the focal point of their familial trust. Are the writers capable of thinking that deeply?

      Does Felix really need a stronger male influence in his life that isn't sexual or romantic? Does he need a Father and he is lashing out?

      Gotta run, but I'll be back to discuss more!

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    2. Part two. I was thinking that Tony had things removed and added. How he afforded that I have no idea. (Unless, of course, he has spent time in the Mass. penal system.)

      You thought Moreau was a bit on the nose? Yeah, perhaps so. Book inclusion is so typical these days. I blame Lost. Or was it the X-Files?

      Will we see Tony again? We have to now. Otherwise it will fall into the category of being a stunt. I don't think they want to see me vindicated.

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  5. Elsewhere. I LOVE Scott! His response to Cosima telling him that she’s a clone was so touching.
    Again with the angel imagery in the mobile. Notice the *yellow* stain on Scott’s lab coat?
    Duncan, how much of his eccentricity has been an act? He certainly seems focused now and did he leave Kira his super secret decoder ring in the form of that book? Does he realize now that the designed infertility was a mistake and that Kira is closer to the goal clone than generation 1.0?
    Donnie and Alison crack me up! Nitpicking body disposal, classic Alison.

    Thanks for being honest about your assessment of the episode - Lynne

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    1. Yeah, Scott was great. Another one of the little things they do quite well. (No more Tony's please.) I didn't pick up on the yellow stain but I got a Helena vibe from the Angels. I should have counted how many there were.

      Out of time again, gotta run.

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  6. Had another thought -

    I always loved this Cosima statement: "my sexuality is not the most interesting thing about me".

    Could the same be said of Tony at this point? In my opinion, no, and I find that disappointing.

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