Welcome readers, to Dork Shelf’s recap of the second episode of Orphan Black season two, “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion”. Despite this title, the episode did not revolve around Tatiana Maslany buying an expensive pair of True Religion jeans, but rather her characters getting into what they do best: shenanigans.
This week we began by collectively putting down the paper bags we had been breathing into after finding out that our favourite self-mutilating and roots-loving clone is ALIVE! The episode opened up with Helena being treated in a hospital. Thank god for Orphan Black being set in Canada, because if we were in Chicago or New York City, the insurance-less Helena would be dead by now and the show would be far less interesting.
Tellingly, the doctor immediately remarks how incredible it is that Helena is alive—because you know, getting shot at close range in the upper body usually leaves you a tad dead. While Sarah may have just been a really poor shot who missed her sister’s vital organs, I think the better bet is that some of the clones have a self-healing ability. This theory would fit in nicely with Kira’s miraculous recovery from last season. “You fool, but Cosima is coughing up blood and Katja was dying!” Yes, that’s all true. It might be that some clones are “defective,” or that Sarah, Helena, and their progeny have special abilities the Dyad Institute was never aware of. If they don’t already know, I’m sure it won’t be long before Dr. Leekie starts playing a fun game of “let’s see which clone survives getting shanked.”
The previous night (man this show moves fast), we found out that the Dyad group did not take Kira. Sarah and Art contemplate that the most likely kidnapper candidate is now the Prolethean religious sect whose main style influence seems to be the Marlboro man. Using the power of a ’90s hacker, Art easily tracks down a call from Kira and the two are off to find the girl despite the fact that the whole thing might be a trap, as Felix so sensibly suggested.
In suburbia, Alison attends Aynsley’s funeral while looking like Audrey Hepburn.
Waiting for Donnie to wrangle the children, Alison sneaks a peek into her husband’s phone and finds the message “She makes her own choices. Placate her. Come outside. Call ASAP—urgent.”
This message is very interesting. Likely someone from the Dyad Institute is telling the monitor not to influence Alison. Seeing as just a few moments prior Donnie was telling Alison he wouldn’t blame her for drinking, the Dyad Institute might be responding to his comment. If they are—how in the world did they overhear the couple’s conversation? And how much did Blackberry pay for this product placement? Help… guys… I’ve fallen into an Orphan Black conspiracy hole.
Alison figures that a non-monitoring husband probably wouldn’t have creepy messages on his phone, and she turns on her “bitch I’m onto you” mode.
At the Prolethean ranch, we’re treated to a bovine rectal thermometer scene. Lovely. Really needed that in my life. Also I might be wrong, but the show seems to building in some homoerotic subtext between creepy Prolethean bigwig Henrik and creepy-hot farmhand Mark. I’m into it.
Meanwhile, Cosima tries her best to convince Dr. Leekie that she is not colluding (what a great word) with Sarah even though she totally is. I have to wonder why this conversation is even taking place. I’m hoping that the Dyad Group is just playing dumb so they can keep Cosima close and siphon information from her. Otherwise they’re being just a ‘lil dumb. I mean, don’t they have enough moolah to tail Cosima and find out that she’s been shacking up with Delphine in Felix’s pad? Get it together, Dyad group. I can’t keep giving you this bad guy consulting advice for free. And no, a fruit basket will not be enough of a thank you (a pizza basket on the other hand…).
The subtlest euphemism of the episode goes to Delphine, who says to Cosima (in front of Dr. Leekie), “I just want to make crazy science with you in our new lab.”
Delphine, I’m proud of you for not winking and finishing that sentence with “SEX. Get it? It’s hot lady sex.” but I’m going to need you to tone it down.
Later on in the episode, Cosima finds out that the space she was promised by Leekie is less a “lab” and more of a warehouse decorated by someone with the aesthetic of a serial killer. A messy serial killer. She and Delphine are able to sneak a quick make-out in before everyone’s favourite hall monitor Rachel pops in to chat with her look-alike.
Despite there being some pesky privacy laws in place, Rachel was able to get her hands on Cosima’s recent medical check-up findings (they can do this but the best monitor they can find for Alison is Donnie???). Turns out that Cosima has a higher than normal level of white blood cells, meaning that she’s suffering from an immune disorder.
When Cosima asks to review the original genome data, Rachel rebuffs the request and reassures her that any issues with the clones stem from the cloning process and not the original DNA, which was “robust” (is it self-healing super DNA???? Because that would fit in well with my Kira as Wolverine theory). Rachel does give Cosima Sarah’s sequenced genome along with a new task: find out why Sarah can have a child when the other clones cannot.
Unfortunately for our cop/grifter duo, Kira is not at the location in which she had been pinned down. After searching the room and finding a poorly done drawing (the production assistant who made this apparently didn’t want to make Kira seem too special), Sarah is sure that they are in the right spot. It’s at this point that I notice that Sarah herself is still wearing shiny leather leggings. Girl, talk to me. What’s going on there? Those can’t be all that comfortable or practical and you’ve been wearing them for two seasons. You must have more garments than this.
On the scene is also Daniel, proclone Rachel’s bodyguard and Sarah track-er down-er. While Art searches/feels up Daniel, Sarah notices a Hansel and Gretl-like trail of clothes belonging to her daughter. A skinny little old man eventually abducts Sarah and takes her not to the Prolethians, but rather Mrs. S., who—TWIST—is apparently the one who stole the young girl away.
Turns out Mrs. S. has a lot more tricks up her sleeve and is still in contact with her underground railroad of kind, yet shifty-looking cockney people, the Birdwatchers. Mrs. S. plans to smuggle Kira to the UK, and oop Sarah sorry, you’re not invited. As much as I love Sarah and wanted to side with her, Mrs. S. is right to take Kira away on her own. At the moment, the Dyad Institute is interested in Sarah and not necessarily her daughter. If Kira were to stay in Canada, she would be used as a mere pawn to manipulate her mother. And let’s not forget that Mrs. S. is a bad bitch who knows how to operate a machine gun. At the moment I am pretty sure I would trust her with my firstborn.
In a cute little touch from the Orphan Black team, Alison’s community theatre musical turns out to be all about cleaning up murder (Alison has no experience with this I’m told). Not cute is the fact that the play director is an ass man who enjoys pretending not to know where someone’s sacrum is (hint: you can’t find it by squeezing someone’s ass cheeks). Thank goodness Felix drops by with a new clone phone.
When Alison confides her fears about Donnie in Felix, her friend is predictably skeptical. When he points out that they’d concluded that Aynsley was the monitor, Alison breaks down, downs a tiny bottle of alcohol (did she grab those from a hotel mini fridge???) and confesses to letting her blond friend die. Felix, being awesome, comforts Alison and the two hatch a plan to test out the Donnie theory: Alison will suspiciously mention someone named Sarah in front of her husband and give him something juicy to report to the Dyad Group. If he is her monitor, then he’ll take the bait and tail her.
Predictably, Donnie finds the information too tempting to resist and follows his wife to Aynsley’s grave site. As it turns out, Alison did meet up with a Sarah, just not the one the Dyad group had expected. Being a boob, Donnie is swiftly discovered when he tries to duck behind grave sights. Yeah, I don’t think marriage counseling is going to help these two.
We then check in with Helena, who has been smuggled from the hospital and into the inner sanctum of the Proletheans’ ranch, where the men seem to love men (head-canon, I’m keeping it), and the women love wearing figure obscuring dresses. Helena is not the only guest of the cowboys, however, as Tom-ASS has also been brought there. While Tom-ASS sees Helena as “defective and dangerous” because she is a product of science, Henrik the hipster Prolethean sees her as a special snowflake because her internal organs are reversed.
He also keeps talking about how “fertile” her twin sister is, meaning that there is an 8000% chance he wants to put a bun in Helena’s oven…HAHAHAHAHA. Oh guys. Sorry. I just cry-laughed thinking about how well it’s going to go for anyone that tries to mess with Helena.
Later on in the episode, Tom-ASS and Henrik have a conversation that reveals a clear rift between the two men’s ideologies. Unlike old school Prolethians, Henrik’s new sect is much more accepting of science, so much so that they see religion without science as “blind”. It’s likely that the cult wants to use Helena as an example of the melding of science and religion—an experiment and a miracle all at the same time. The two men also disagree on another fundamental point: Tom-ASS sees himself as alive, and Henrik sees him as someone who should have their brains blown out with an air gun. Oopsies.
Back at the Birdwatchers’ lair, Kira and her mother agree that despite Mrs. S.’s insistence that she is on their team, there are enough secrets being kept from them to warrant distrust. While Sarah tries to leave with her daughter, Mrs. S. confronts her former contacts about the secrecy surrounding her and Kira’s transportation to the UK. Once a loud car gives way to Sarah’s plan, shit hits the fan, and we find out that the Birdwatchers are dickbags who have sold the women off to the Prolethians. Although the Birdwatchers put up a fight, a shotgun and culinary utensil-wielding Mrs. S quickly dispenses them (seriously, how badass is this woman??).
Although her past is murky, it’s clear from the scene that Mrs. S.’s allegiance is very much with Sarah, otherwise she would not have protected her or let her and Kira go. How much does Mrs. S. know? Well, this segment confirmed that she’s aware of Project LEDA and that she knows Kira is special. How special? I tried screaming “WHAT? I HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK?” at my TV screen but sadly that did not provide more answers. Sorry guys. I tried.
Towards the end of the episode, Sarah and Kira finally run off with Felix. This sadly leaves Alison all by her wine-some.
Overall opinion: I very much liked that the new baddies are not more of the same. At the moment, I have an idea of where the plot is going, but the show is leaving hundreds of questions unanswered. I’m very interested to learn more about how the various sects were formed, but I highly doubt we’ll get those answers anytime soon, as the producers of Orphan Black have proven to be withholding teases (and we love them for it). I also liked that more of Mrs. S. secretive badass skills came out to play.
I am a tad concerned, however, with the fact that Sarah and company are now going on the run. This puts the team farther away from the other clones. Seeing as one of the best parts of the show is seeing how the women interact with one another, I’m worried the show will suffer the more distance there is between the characters. Here’s to hoping that Sarah and Helena will be reunited soon!
Felix, in response to Alison insisting she’s a murderer: “No no… well… I mean not really, y’know, just like… hardly.”
Alison: “I killed Aynsley, Felix.” Felix: “Aynsley wore a scarf in the kitchen.”
Rachel: “I’m Rachel Duncan.” Cosima, upon seeing her for the first time: “You sure are!”