Orphan Black - The Scandal of Altruism
We all know difficult it is to stay away from spoilers on the internet.
When I saw an article recapping this most recent episode of Orphan Black as "playing like a season finale" I was very intrigued. I resisted the temptation to look at the article so as to not prejudice my own opinion. I don't like others influencing my personal take on the episode so my thoughts are my own and thereby keep my opinions as original as possible. If I'm late to the party with some of these thoughts then so be it.
Whatever those reviewer said I bet they were right. This really did play like a season finale!
There are things that were right with this episode and a few things that I didn't like. As usual, OB gets most thing right. The drama, the high stakes, the comedy relief, Orphan Black excels at all of these and these qualities are what makes it better than most shows on TV today.
So I'm going to take a look at what I really liked about the episode and what didn't work for me and go from there.
I was actually a little more emotional upon my re-watch of the episode than seeing it the first time. When Sarah got the phone call from Cosima and then turned to face S, my heart sank. Most of our players have a problem with each other and they are constantly squabbling. But Orphan Black instills a deep sense of family so when Siobhan realized her mother was gone you really felt it.
To add to the emotional depth, Kendal had called Cosima "Chicken" right before she was shot and S had referred to Sarah in the same way in the episode before. You know it is a term of endearment passed on from mother to daughter. And it serves as one of those links that forges the chain of love in a family.
You may bicker from time to time but the chain holds firmly.
Kendal went out with such great courage too. Her appeal to Duko at the end wasn't necessarily out of self preservation either. She knew he was being manipulated because she's been there too and felt a kindred spirit with him at being used and victimized.
Telling Cosima to "turn away" took courage and a good amount of selflessness. Cosima would be traumatized enough from all of this let alone have to watch. Better not to see this final act than to have it seared in your memory.
It was bad enough for Cosima to have the horror of Delphine's final moments burned into her consciousness by Evie Cho. And Cho did it with such blithe indifference.
(Although, Ihave to say, I don't quite believe her. Yes, even after Krystal's confirmation.)
Sarah had to deal with the pain of getting the bad news from Cosima and seeing her plan go sideways. The worst part of which is knowing of Siobhan's reservations with the whole scheme and having to face her knowing she was right. This may further to widen the schism between the two I spoke of in last week's blog post.
Yes, Sarah couldn't have know there was a third player involved, but everything ended so catastrophically that really doesn't matter now.
Scott had to deliver the crushing news that all their work was destroyed too. Well played by Evie Cho. Dracula on Penny Dreadful could learn a thing or two about playing the long game from her.
I have to believe all is not completely lost as they have Leekie's Maggot-bot in their possession as well as Sarah's. They'll have to do some reverse engineering to catch up with Cho's work and they still have Rachel with her work and the poor guinea pig that is Charlotte. Still, major damage was done and they will be virtually starting from scratch.
There was some humor to lighten the mood of this episode. Some. Not a lot. Probably not enough. But when Fee showed up as an Inspector from Scotland Yard and Krystal challenging their story with, hey, I thought you said he was from London, was absolutely precious from Krystal and so on the nose from her.
What Didn't Work
Yes, Evie Cho didn't work for me. Sure, she pulled off the master plan. Yes, she manipulated everyone and even outfoxed Susan Duncan and managed to destroy all the Clone Club worked for.
But ultimately she is a "Retcon" and not organic to the story.
Susan Duncan we can believe. We may have just met her recently but we always knew of the Duncan's work. To find she survived when she was once thought dead was just some narrative sleight of hand. At least her past was always organic to the story. Evie Cho is an add on.
To have Evie Cho come out of the woodwork as a major player is just not true to the story. Yes, you can hate her and her machinations were well played, but she's came out from behind the curtain as someone we never knew.
Sorry, that doesn't work for me.
The Story of Beth's suicide didn't work for me either.
Naturally Evie Cho had a hand in that too. The great unseen player pulling all the strings that we now have to accept as the master puppeteer.
I don't mean to be unsympathetic but I don't buy the reason Beth killed herself.
She knew too much?
Neolution is going to keep hounding her and threaten Paul and her sisters so it's better to just to do away with it all.
I had a brief discussion with someone on Facebook last week. I had posited that Sarah may be tempted to kill herself with all the pressure she was facing. That someone said Sarah had a better support group and Sarah is a lot tougher. Agreed on both points.
Beth had MK though. She had Art. She had the Police force. She had the leverage of inside knowledge of Cho and the Neolutionists. Yes, some of those relationships were tenuous but they were there.
That person on Facebook is right about strength of character. And as I said, I don't mean to be unsympathetic towards people facing unrelenting pressure and emotional pain. It's just that it didn't seem convincing to me from Beth.
It least it gave us all the answers behind her death. Orphan Black always gets points for moving things along.
Odds and Ends
Scott toys with Leekie's Maggot-bot. I think he has his finger on something important.
The scene of Ira's attempted suicide reminded me a lot of the famous painting of "The Death of Marat" by Jacques-Louis David. Marat was murdered but one could interpret Ira's brush with death as the work of someone that is revolutionary.
We now know Duko is being manipulated, probably blackmailed. So that makes him a sympathetic character. Really, do we have to feel sorry for him?
Cosima had a great line for Cho near the end, "You can't perfect the human genome, you can't know what perfect is." Well said. Especially the latter part. These word will come back to haunt the Dr. Frankenstein that Cho really is.