See, now that’s how Sarah Manning should be written.
After I spent a good portion of my time in last week’s review harping about the character I ended up spending the majority of this week’s episode absolutely riveted by her storyline. It helps that as a whole the episode is a rush of storylines changing and shifting into place as we begin to dive into the mess the clones are truly in.
Cosima and Allison are the two that get the shaft this week with slighter storylines compared to what Helena and Sarah get to bite into.
Allison wakes up after last week’s tumble off the stage and while hunched over a toilet vomiting realizes she’s not where she’s supposed to be. With her arm in a sling and wearing her make-up and costume from the performance she isn’t looking up to her usual standards. When an authoritative figure steps into her room Allison believes that she’s been taken by Dr. Leeke but she’s told that she’s actually in a rehab facility.
Felix visits her and she tells him that it must be Donnie who put her there and that she needs someone to sign her out. Felix brings her back to earth though when he tells her that to be admitted, the patient has to approve it themselves. Allison put herself there and, Felix suggests, maybe it wouldn’t hurt for her to stick around for a week. This way she can stay away from Donnie, rejuvenate and come back healthier, happier and in control of her life. She agrees but it isn’t long into her stay until she’s hit with more bad news. Donnie visits and, visibly frightened by her, tells her that if she doesn’t stay throughout the program he’s going to have her ruled incapable of providing for their children. She’s then left alone-completely on her own with her life in shambles.
Cosima is watching more of the video diaries and realizing her fate could be catching up with her and uses Sarah’s plights to distract herself.
Helena has my favorite storyline as we’re shown just how well these characters are drawn especially when you’re like me and find yourself actively rooting for Helena to succeed over the cult that’s kept her hostage. Gracie makes a desperate attempt to smother Helena and for a moment we kind of believe it worked before Helena grabs her from behind and knocks her out.
Helena runs to find her way out of the farmhouse, still raddled by the sedatives coursing through her system and the camera pans up close to her, letting us see how she sees and it’s a sequence brimming with tension as we’re unsure if she’ll get out safely or even escape at all. She finds herself in an abandoned room and there she flashes back to the night when she was taken by the leader and we learn that a surgical procedure was performed on her-she’s confused and horrified and the viewers’ realize that she’s had her some of her reproductive eggs taken to create a child.
And that’s terrible and Helena who has hardly ever seemed to be affected by any form of trauma in any way other than anger seems genuinely terrified. Almost everything has been said about just how incredible Tatiana Maslany is in these roles and how diverse her range of characters are but Helena is the one that I forget is the same actress the most. Above and beyond the way the character is styled and dressed, Maslany imbues Helena with a physicality that screams her fighting nature as well as her innate vulnerability and watching the character you see every wrong thing that could happen to a character such as her.
She leaves the room with a knife in hand, with unfiltered anger, and manages to escape into the woods but not before Art, who has been keeping an eye on the cult, sees her.
Sarah’s story once again takes a good chunk of the running time but this week it works because it isn’t just her making bad decisions while ditching someone she considers to be a brother for a man she hasn’t seen in years.
Well, she still makes bad decisions but it works when she’s alone.
Cal was the one who hit the car last week and they leave it on the side of the road believing Daniel to be dead. She leaves Kira with Cal in a camper they stole so she can go and find out what Ms. S knew about project LEDA and what she wasn’t being told. She knows that secrets are being held from her and it’s gotten to a point that without them it leaves her in huge amounts of danger. She calls upon Felix for help who helps because that’s what you do for people you love no matter how angry you are. They break into Ms.’s house and find pictures of a man who was involved in bringing Sarah to her. Next Sarah plans on sneaking into Rachel’s apartment to snoop some more.
It’s a reckless decision but at first seems also like a successful one. She has Felix and Cosima looking up information on LEDA and while Rachel’s apartment they learn that Rachel’s parents were the head of the program. They also learn that Helena and Sarah could have been in Rachel’s position if not for a mix up. Cosima believes that growing up Rachel must have known that she was the only clone who held a self-awareness which would have built a highly clinical upbringing. She believes that her parents must have instilled a sense of hierarchy.
Sarah however sees a tape of Rachel playing with parents and seeing a little girl with nothing but pure, unaffected love for them and disagrees. So what happened to Rachel to make her how she is? What I love is that the show managed to build up this villainous archetype before tearing it down. Despite broad personalities these characters aren’t one characteristic.
Things turn for the worse when Daniel who isn’t dead walks into the apartment. Bloody and on edge he finds Sarah and knocks her out. He ties her to the shower rod and threatens her. He’s ruthless and tells her that this isn’t going to work out for her and begins to torture her for information on LEDA. I won’t lie-I had to change the channel during this bit. I’m decently desensitized but goodness no to any type of up close, small knives and torture scenes.
But I got the gist.
Luckily she’s spared for whatever horror he was going to implement on her when Helena busts in and kills him.
Sometimes a show will present imagery that knocks you on your ass. In shows such as Hannibal we see hauntingly grotesque images consistently; in Breaking Bad a single shot could tell a story as well as a line of dialogue. Despite not allowed the same cinematic privileges as film, television still is an artistic medium and it’s one that we look to as entertainment consumers to find that “perfect shot”. Orphan Black is a show that embraces the absurdity of its nature: it’s a television show about clones. So when the show combines its fantastical leanings along with their artistry-we’re in for something good.
The last shot of this week’s episode is likely one of my favorite moments to come from this series. Attack the series for its lack of subtly all you want (nagging naysayers) but they know how to utilize what they’re given.
Helena has found Sarah. She followed her ever since Ms. S’s house to where Rachel lives. And, as Kira alluded to, Helena is there, the angel of death, to kill Daniel before he can hurt Sarah any more than he already has. It’s a terrifying image to see feral, wild, Helena dressed in white, lacy garb that’s covered in blood as she approaches Sarah who’s completely vulnerable with a knife in hand. Because, as Sarah points out, she killed Helena-she should be dead. You’d think this would anger Helena but instead she only agrees with a shrug of her shoulders. “It’s a miracle” she mutters. Sarah is still hung from the show, panicking, her tough exterior crumbling as Helena asks her to please not send her back. We know what she speaks of but Sarah is in the dark so Helena’s talk of what was taken from her comes across as nothing but the ramblings of a mad woman, of a mad woman that should be dead. Helena approaches Sarah still strung up and she hugs her-she lays her head on Sarah’s chest looking for comfort, something we didn’t believe she’d every need or want due to her animalistic nature.
Helena and Sarah are bonded. They are two sides of the same coin and have both experience horrors. The image of Helena holding onto Sarah who’s dressed in black and leather juxtaposed nicely with Helena’s white, is eerie and a beautiful way to edge us in to the next episode.
Helena has now saved Sarah’s live and was the guardian angel that Kira predicted. So how much longer can she stay in their lives?