Monday, June 23, 2014

Orphan Black - To The Point

The Hidden Pencil Trick

Did anyone feel badly for Rachel when she was delivered the business end of the pencil in the Orphan Black finale?

I have to admit, I didn't really.

I had some sympathy for her earlier in the season and even harbored the theory she may be the "inside" person the clones badly needed in order to free and cure Cosima.  She also pulled a few heartstrings when Duncan had his tea bag moment.

Alas, when Sarah called her a psychopath I'm afraid she was right.  She is definitely unhinged.

I'm not the only one who thought  Rachel had her "Joker" moment when she laughed deliriously at her home movies during the previous episode. "Love that Smylex!" came to mind from the Tim Burton "Batman" movie and so did the Joker's hidden pencil trick from "The Dark Knight."  See below.

Ta da!

It seems we have some Joker fans on the writing staff of Orphan Black.

The only thing that was out of the ordinary about this whole sequence is that it came about from the most innocent of clones, Cosima.

 There's nothing a little science can't fix.

Crackpot Theory

During Sarah's "unconditional surrender" moment she admitted to having an abortion under interrogation.  I see this as pretty significant.

How ironic and painful to see the one clone (ok, two) that can actually give birth, choose to terminate a pregnancy.  Sarah seemed especially saddened to divulge this truth.  Imagine how the other clones would feel if they were ever to learn this.

It reminded me of the poignant reunion scene between Kira and Helena.  Once again, Helena displays a deeper attachment to Kira than the other clones.

What is with these two?

Remember the drawing from the episode, "Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things" that appeared in Helena's lair?  To me, it showed an unhealthy obsession between Helena and Kira.  I even thought Helena had once given birth to a child.

Okay I'll just say it, is Kira actually Helena's child?

I know there are a lot of gaps to fill but this is science fiction.  The child Sarah thought she had was really the abortion she experienced.  And for what ever reason, Helena has no memory of the child she brought to term and gave birth to.

Call it induced amnesia or perhaps some sort of shared trauma between Sarah and Helena that wiped their memories clean from that period.  Whatever it was, that is my crackpot theory, Kira belongs to Helena.

St. Mark

There was some more religious allegory delivered in this episode and this time it was in the person of Mark.  Or St. Mark as I call him.  (Castor, if anyone still has faith in Greek mythology.)

So we learned Mark is a clone.  In Christianity, St. Mark was known as the "Evangelist."  He traveled far and wide delivering the word of Christ as told to him by St. Peter.  St. Mark eventually landed in Alexandria and founded the Church of Alexandria.

Like his saintly namesake, our Mark has traveled far and wide, including going AWOL from the Army (I guess that was a clue, thanks Henrik).  Mark's travels continue as he is now on the run with Gracie.

No worries, there seems to be plenty of Marks around in this man's Army.

Here's a thought, if the female clones are rendered infertile do you suppose the curse of the male clones is eventual insanity?

The "Mark" immediately above looks a little off his rocker.  He is deeply scarred across the face and there seemed to be several bullet exit wounds across his back.  He could be exhibiting some sort of PTSD.  Maybe our Mark escaped this fate by going AWOL.   Perhaps any sort of combat situation drives the male clones insane.  Imagine the Army wanting to fill Divisions with cloned male combat troops only to be thwarted by their aversion to war.

Man, this show is getting a little scary.

Lost and Fringe Moments

Anyone that had read my musing on Fringe knows about my obsession with geodesic domes.  The domes were liberally sprinkled amongst the episodes of Fringe and they were the invention of Buckminster Fuller.  So good to see them paid homage to here.

Oh, we're not done with Fringe yet, the Golden Ratio!

One of the holy grails of Fringe.  So obvious and so amazing.  Fringe will always be with us.

Speaking of TV obsessions of mine, how about Lost?

It got a nod also with Cosima's "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" reference.  The mythology of Lost and Alice were nearly inseperable during it's hayday.

I'm running out of time today and I have a lot more to write about including thoughts on this young thing....

Did I say Sarah had an abortion?  Then who is this?

Dun, dun duuuuun!!!!

See you soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Orphan Black - Through a Glass Darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."  (King James Version.)

The above phrase was taken from 1 Corinthians 13 and attributed to St. Paul the Apostle.  Many of you that have read this blog may have noticed that I refer to quite a few  biblical passages.  I'm not particularly religious but this particular quote has followed me through the years and haunted ny consciousness.

Where did I first hear this quote?

Star Trek!

Specifically, from the Star Trek movie, "Nemesis."  It was spoken by Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard.  Picard was referring to his nemesis, Shinzon, who was basically a refection of Picard.  I found the quote fascinating.  Maybe it was because of the gravitas that Stewart gave it.  But I think more than that it was the mystery of the phrase itself and how it applied to myself and how I viewed existence.

The biblical phrase itself is open to interpretation.  Some see the "glass" as a mirror and others see it as a window in which one can look upon the world.  A matter of perspective in which you see things in life and how they reflect upon yourself.  Or, perhaps, your own particular window shadowed by your thoughts and feelings.

I've spoken of thematic repetition in Orphan Black and in this particular case it is more than just a clever Easter egg here and there.  In this episode, Director T. J. Scott, has made clever use of light and how it shines, not with brilliance, but with a filtered quality.  This light reveals certain aspects of the plot line and with it how it exposes our favorite characters.  Both in their motives and intentions.

Through a glass darkly.

The topmost picture to this blog post is revelatory to the new mindset between Alison and Donnie.  What were once antagonists we now find allies.  Donnie and his bride are now thick as thieves or should we say murderers.

They now have a common purpose in preserving the secrecy of their evil deeds.  For it not only implicates the both of them in the eyes of the law but it also provides them with preserving their marriage and the family dynamic.

At first, I thought we'd see just a handful of these images but as it turns out there were more than thirty of these such scenes.  I was excited about dissecting all of them until I realized this blog post may well go on until tomorrow!

I'll try to cover the most pertinent ones and I hope you all enjoy and follow them along with me.

As seen above a dim light was cast upon the machinations of Henrik.  As he sees it, it is his duty to perpetuate humanity through his odd mixture of science and faith.  It wasn't until later we all realized how perverse his vision was.

For now, Henrik believes he is doing God's work.  Is he really seeing a reflection of himself in the image of God's face or does the light reveal a more nefarious purpose?

A saintly light is cast upon Cosima as she lays gravely ill but looks upon the reflection of her sisters courtesy of Skype.  She is buoyant and positive as she downplays her condition and apologizes to her friends for the difficult position she has put them all in.

Cosima is vulnerable and delicate yet she exudes courage and compassion.  A saintly light indeed.

Light winnows it way through drawn curtains as the close knit group of Benjamin, Delphine, Sarah and Siobhan.  They are conspiratorial in nature and for their part, thanks to Cosima, have a major decision ahead of them.  Delphine pleads her case as Sarah wrangels over the decision she must make.  Mrs. S is there to lend advice while Benjamin provides silent guardianship.  Four different points of view cast in the same light with different motives.

Our filtered light now descends upon Mark, Gracie and Henrik.  Henrik seeks to prevail upon Mark the sanctity of his efforts.  A shared drink is meant to seal the deal of another conspiracy and bring Mark further into the fold.  Perhaps not only as a successor to Henrik's efforts but as a son also.  A son whose union in the family is meant to bear fruit to humanity.

Unbeknownst to Henrik, our darkened light bears witness to a silent covenant between Mark and Gracie.  It casts a pall over the Henrik's plans but brings a fluorescence to Mark and his Love that will transcend Henrik's perfidy.

This is one of my favorite scenes as the joy of discovery shines brightly for all involved.  The only downer is the Dyad goon that acts both as a watchdog and a bean counter.

None the less, Cosima, Ethan and Scott are aglow in their shared purpose.  They are on the brink of something wonderful and the shared excitement permeates our living rooms thanks to the radiance of our TV sets.

We return to Donnie and Cosima and our glass is dimmed a bit by the intrusion of their children.  The kids have stumbled upon the final resting place of Aldous Leekie.  It is fresh and mounded and stands beneath the harsh light of guilt.  Can the children be shielded from shady deed of husband and wife?  Or will they be pulled into the Stygian depths of their shared malfeasance?

I might be belaboring the issue but I just can't resist the comic skullduggery of Vic the Dick.  At first he seeks to look through the glass darkly of the secretive garage windows in order to expose the plans of Alison and Donnie.  But when the mirror quality of the camera is cast upon him he can't but help flash a wan smile and a gang symbol.  Don't ever change Vic.

Our dark window now brings luminosity upon Kira, her mother, Fee, Delphine and the Doctor.  It's a bit sad what they put Kira through but the morning light shines with hope upon a new life.  A life that will shine lustrous from the reborn Cosima.  There is both love and guilt here but the greater purpose is the one of the aforementioned hope for Cosima the geek goddess to many an adoring fan.

Even in the subterranean depths of the basement birthing room the soft glow of truth shines forth.  Gracie reveals to Helena the true purpose of Henrik's plans.  Mark adds purpose to this truth and Helena, for her part, decides not to become a brooding mare.   The truth will out!  

Sadly, the self appointed Dr. Frankenstein adds a lurid gloss to what was just a shining moment.  Gracie is hauled off for her traitorous thoughts and Helena is rendered immobile.  The glass of our window is now reflected trough the bars of an ill lit prison.  Hope is at its nadir.

Not for long!  As it has been widely noted on the internet, never turn your back on Helena.

Note the angelic light as it sets Helena's hair ablaze.  Truly she is the avenging angel full of saintlu purpose.  So, um, what is that purpose?

Does it involve where the sun doesn't shine?

Gulp, it does indeed.

Did anyone else explode with shocked laughter at this scene.  Just me?  C'mon, it was funny!  Wow, Henrik, what's it like on the receiving end?

 There's more of course.  Did our avenging angel spare the life of Henrik as Hell's fury descended upon the Prolethean darkness?  I'm trusting the kids made it out all right.  I'm not so sure about their Nanny as Helena didn't seem so forgiving towards her.  Too bad Mommy wasn't home.

How can a look through a glass so dark be so illuminating?

As we near to a close, poor Fee sat alone behind the reflective ambiance of the city lights as it mirrored his solitude.  This was obscenely shattered when Rachel disguised as Sarah burst upon the hospital room.  Excuse the pun but this was pretty brilliant.  I mean I saw it coming when Rachel watched her home movies and pulled  a hood over her head.  But I was still caught off guard.  A great piece of dramatic editing.

We now look through a glass darkly at our final scene.

Is there anything darker than pink?

If Rachel can't be a mother at least she can force her motherhood upon another.  I haven't seen a prison this foreboding and ghastly since the finale of Sleepy Hollow.  Poor Abbie then and poor Kira now!

Everything looks nice in a resplendent rose but our pink prison not only confines Kira but it also hold the ghosts from Rachel's bitter childhood.

As I shut my TV off I almost wish the picture would have dissolved into that single point as it used to do waaay back in the day.  It would have brought a singular finality to this disquieting end.

It'll hard for Orphan Black to top this penultimate episode.  By any means it will have to be by something they've never tried before.

Is it still darkest before the dawn? 

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."


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?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Orphan Black - The Tooth Will Out!

Shakespeare would have been proud of young Kira.  ("but at the length, truth will out."  The Merchant of Venice.Once again, Kira's motives, born of innocence and truth found a solution to everyone's problems which led to unfettered sacrifice and and the gift of compromise.

Upon hearing the conversation between Sarah and Cal, Kira took it upon herself to bring clarification to the plight of Cosima.  Her selfless act should not have been a surprise to anyone by now.  Well, perhaps Cal and Sarah.  But as we the viewing audience know, Kira possesses faculties beyond her years.

Her act shone a light on various other acts of sacrifice or compromise.  Some of which were also born of a truth that could remain hidden for only so long.

If we call Victor, "Vic the Dick" then shouldn't we call Donnie, "Donnie the Dupe?"  The truth did certainly come out for poor Donnie.  When he learned of his misbegotten treachery he looked absolutely devastated.  Do you suppose he had flashbacks to the wax torture treatment from season one?  Now he knows the reason behind all of Alison's pain and mistrust. Imagine the weight of all his sins rushing at him at once.  All because he thought he was doing the right thing.  Now he must live with his acts.

The man that led Donnie down the path of lies now sits crumpled amidst a blood splattered tableau.  While Kira's moment of truth led to sacrifice, Leekie's truth led to his lies catching up with him.  How ironic that Leekie would die at the hand of the man he led astray for so long!  Donnie's act was typically clumsy.  The poor sod just can't win.  (Who will he call?  Alison?  She's adept at skipping out of bloody messes.)

The connective thread that led to Leekie's flight into the night came from another act of truth when Rachel learned of the circumstances of her youth.  Her father was actually alive and the man who raised her was exposed for the liar he was.

But instead of having Leekie killed, she actually showed mercy upon him.  It was if the few years she spent with the Duncans was enough to overpower the many years of deceit at the hands of Leekie and the repressed, vengeful Rachel was reborn into the calmer loving child she once was.

Maybe the truth does set you free.

Rachel's transformation evolved from a similar act of  faith and truth.  Siobhan stepped into the lion's den armed with the truth behind her knowledge.  She confronted Leekie which eventually led to Rachel meeting her father.  Her knife edged compromise with Paul from the week before led to this peaceful understanding.  Siobhan took a big chance but her willingness to compromise may have set many others free.

Alison also decided to follow the path of truth when she confided in what she thought was a kindred spirit in Vic. 

Much like Leekie, Vic nearly met with a disastrous fate when he face planted himself into Alison's craft kit.  Pity he couldn't handle the truth as Sarah did when she decided to sacrifice a bit of herself and agreed on meeting Vic.  Sarah knew she had to make certain compromises in meeting with Vic if it meant freeing Alison.

Okay, Sarah's act did result in a bit of a lie.  Her hastily improvised impression of Alison was humorous as usual but it was definitely not her best effort.

"....And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."

Odds and ends.

I'm not so sure Marion is a believer in the truth.  And I doubt she is any hurry to set anyone free.  At last Michelle Forbes is on the scene.  It took a while for her to get here but she looks fabulous.  We now have a bigger bad and I wonder what secrets she holds?

Marion definitely outranks Rachel and with Leekie out of the way there is no one to protect Rachel's back save Paul.  (And I am not so sure about that.)  This may give Rachel the opportunity to join Team Clone.  I can definitely see Rachel switching sides although she may want to play it safe at the Dyad institute until she gets the medical results she needs.  A power struggle should ensue with Marion but if Rachel plays her cars right she may get the power to unseat Marian if not provide the other clones with the cure they so desperately want.

BTW, does anyone else sense a biological connection between Marion and the Clones?

Dear sweet Alison how we've missed you.  She can be so tightly wrapped and considerate at the same time.  Nine fingered gloves, how precious!

Repeated themes.

I should have thought to look for more of these but as we can see above, Sarah looks lovingly upon Kira when they were reunited.

Similarly, Delphine shares a tender moment with Cosima just before her procedure.  (We could even throw in Leekie bending towards Rachel when he offered her a goodbye kiss.)

One last pic!  I call this, "The Dynamic Duo cart off the Joker."