You know we are not just a concept, right?
That we are your consequences?
Orphan Black has always been a narrative about humanity and ownership over the woman’s body. Sure it’s also about the divide between science and faith and how the two interweave to try and stake claim to women whose agency have been taken from them but more than anything it is a purely human story amidst all the science fiction and fantastical elements. What a surprise that the character who’s acting the most on gut, human instinct is Helena, the one character who’s been raised feral.
This week offers up another stellar episode as more truths are discovered, motives are unleashed and we try to decipher who wants what in a mess of lies these women have found themselves in and it’s Helena who seems to be pursuing the purest of wants.
Helena who has been controlled her entire life, Helena who has often been on the receiving end of violence of mistrust is the one throughout the entire episode who is turning herself willingly, vulnerably, over to others with the inherent belief that they will do no wrong by her. She quickly puts her faith in Sarah, who she in her own way wants to bond with, who she’s found an unconventional support system in. And in the end when she’s arrested and sees Sarah Helena believes that she is the sister who’s come for her. When she meets the random man in the bar she opens herself up to him, allowing a playful demeanor to shine through-like it did with Sarah in the impromptu road trip-and willingly attacks another man when he dares interrupt him. When Gracie is the one who shows up to the police station to pick up Helena and tells her of her child waiting at the Prolethian camp Helena goes immediately-seeking the human connection that motherhood could provide.
Helena is suddenly the most interesting, dynamic and relatable character on the show. These people may have abused her but when she’s given the chance to for some sense of normality she jumps at it. Characters on the show consistently treat her or react to her as if she’s a wild animal who needs to be tamed. Whether it be the Prolethians who use her body and eggs for creation like they would one of their livestock or whether it be Sarah telling people she’s going to sick Helena on her like a dog-Helena isn’t always looked at as being anything more than something wild and this week’s episode is a complete undoing of that notion.
This only makes the prospects for her storylines outcome all the more troubling. Before we mourned the loss of a character Tatiana Maslany played beautifully-now we’re fully invested in her.
The other clones are no less interesting but none undergo the same character deconstruction and character growth that Helena does.
Sarah is Sarah-impulsive and angry but she seems to have cooled off enough to get some well-earned answers. After finding the church that Helena says she saw Duncan (Rachel’s father) she digs into his research and finds out about all the orphaned children that were tested on. There are connections to Project LEDA and the Dyad but none that she can decipher alone. So she tracks down where Duncan has been staying and finds Ms. S at the safe house as well.
She tells Sarah that she’s been running away from people and keeping secrets for longer than Sarah has been alive and that if she can’t trust her, who can she?
Granted it’s easy to see Sarah’s point when Ms. S introduces Duncan, a slightly broken man who teeters and totters about and worries about a daughter who was stolen from him so long ago. Sarah thought isn’t putting up with his owlish demeanor and is demanding answers. She tells him that they-the clones-aren’t simply theories or test results to be forgotten about as remnants from his past life. She is a consequence-Allison and Cosima are the consequences of his science. He tells her that he only ever did it because he and his wife wanted daughters.
So Sarah tells him it’s time for him to protect his daughters-to protect the women he helped create. Sarah has the upper hand with her knowledge of Rachel’s whereabouts and it’s nice seeing her survive an episode with no bodily damage. Duncan tells Sarah that project LEDA had been working on the clone experiments when it was taken over and exploited by the Dyad. Sarah wants to know why he did this-why he and his wife believed this would the scientific stream worth taking and he tells her it’s all because he wanted daughters. Well, Sarah tells him; his daughters (his Rachel) need his help now. He has a personal vendetta against Leeke for uprooting his life and killing Rachel’s mother and staging his death so this is the right push that he needs to help Sarah.
Meanwhile we see Ms. S catching up with dull Paul and telling him that she’s on to him-knows he’s following Sarah-and that she’ll be watching him.
In the science realm of things Cosima is desperate for a cure but as she tells Sarah midway through the episode, science is all about poking at ideas with sticks. Sometimes they land a good theory and sometimes their beliefs play out to being ultimately nothing. Breakthroughs begin with guessing games where nothing is certain. So despite showing a decent reaction to her first testing she’s still uncertain. What causes more trouble is the involvement of a friend back from her University who Delphine has called upon to help. He caught the info about the clones through the data that was sent to him but doesn’t know that Cosima is one of them-he is the one who found the match for her treatment though.
Later when he brings the link up to Delphine he tells her that the match was related of some sort to the clones-a daughter or a cousin. Delphine tells him to never speak of this to Cosima.
So we’re all assuming its Kira right?
After sitting last week’s episode out Allison is back this week and still surly and stuck in the rehabilitation center. She isn’t responding well to having to admit to her addictions and she sees herself as above the rest of the group. It’s at one of the group therapy sessions that she runs into Vic (“Vic the Dick” from last season) who claims to have started fresh with his life after his involvement with Sarah left him with a missing finger and in trouble with the law. He tells Allison he’s there to get over it and that her pepper spraying him is a thing of the past. Allison doesn’t want anything to do with him at first but soon finds someone willing to listen in him. It’s yet another odd pairing involving Allison but it works-it works so well that ultimately you can’t help but be disappointed when it turns out he was simply a pawn to get more information out of her for Angie as a deal to get any charges of his dropped. My current hope is that something changes but I have a feeling Allison is facing another harsh let down.
It’s crazy to think that we’re already six episodes in. A lot has happened but there are so many storylines up in the air that it’s uncertain how they’re all going to resolve. More characters are getting moments to shine this season but that means a whole lot more to wrap up without it seeming rushed. Helena is back into the fray of the Prolethians, Cosima is getting sicker, Sarah is waking into the unknown and Allison is stuck. It’s been said by characters and critics that they work better together and right now they are as far apart as they’ve even been since discovering one another. How long until they’re reunited-and will it matter much by that point? With every new answer comes two more questions and it’s seemingly becoming more and more difficult for these women to find the truth.