Orphan Black “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” Review (2×10)

22 Jun


The season finale of Orphan Black opens with a wonderfully shot sequence in which images of Sarah being questioned are intercut with images of Sarah, Felix, and Mrs. S trying to figure out their next move amidst the chaos that results from Kira’s kidnapping. It juxtaposes the very real, human fear of a mother who’s lost her daughter with the cold, sterile environment of Dyad, and once again, we see a prevalent theme shine through: the desire for individuality clashing with the grasp of science.

Sarah’s poked and prodded and continually questioned, treated like an object, a lab experiment, someone to be manipulated by Rachel Duncan. The shot of her staring through the one-way mirror as Rachel taunts her is a clever portrayal of two women on opposite sides of the spectrum, two people just trying to find a sense of normalcy in this messed up world. Yet, that’s all past them. It’s a nice touch that Rachel, usually so cold and composed, breaks down like a child would when her father poisons himself; she’s trying to grasp ahold of her childhood, but memories can’t sustain and Ethan is now dead. Then look what happens:

Screen shot 2014-06-21 at 9.11.42 PM

It’s nice how the episode, bookended by scenes in which various characters are shipped off or manipulated or hurt, still finds room for a Clone Dance Party. It might feel a bit shoehorned in, but this is a scene that I will always defend: it’s a moment that allows all the characters to let loose–especially Helena and her awesome dance moves–and it’s preceded by a poignant scene (even better than the dancing, if you ask me) in which some of the clones meet Helena for the first time and Helena reunites with Kira. The separation of the clones this year is one of the things that may have hurt the show a bit, but I’m so very happy we get the dance party. Sarah and Cosima also have a very moving scene together: the latter states that Sarah is the “wild type”, and Sarah responds that they all need Cosima; as much as fierce independence shines through, they’re truly sisters, and no one can take that away from them.

Of course, Orphan Black being Orphan Black, people will always try to take that away from them, and the episode ends with Paul and Mrs. S watching as Helena is shipped off. It’s an instance of the show moving pieces just because it has to, but the direction we’re heading in season three is certainly intriguing. The Project Castor development was bound to happen at some point, and I’m looking forward to the show exploring both sides of the clones in tandem, as well as making better use of Tony. Just like how this season, we got an exploration of the female side of cloning–used for research, for reproduction–next season, we’ll get an exploration of science using male clones as weapons.

The show’s certainly in danger of becoming overstuffed with this development, as the finale is, but it’s always been able to keep things moving, to keep us entertained and laughing and tearing up. How season three will turn out, I’m not sure, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll be watching.

For now, though, let’s dance it out till season three rolls around.

Screen shot 2014-06-22 at 9.12.39 AM




Another take here:


– “Helena, did you burn down the fish people’s ranch?” “No….” Helena, you’re adorable.

-The show’s technical aspects always astound me. Here’s a Making Of video of the dance party:

You can also find the extended version on the BBC America site.

-I hear Cold Bitch Digest has a great eyepatch selection, Rachel.

-Stop playing with our hearts, show. When Kira walks into Cosima’s room and is all “Cosima? Cosima?”…they’re trying to scare us. Grrr, stop that.

-Paul and Cal, old Sarah and new Sarah.

-Kira’s awesome, and her phone-stealing, Cal-calling skills can’t be rivaled.

-Ari Millen’s acting skills will now constantly be compared to Tatiana Maslany’s. Sorry, dude.

-Oh, Gracie. You just can’t escape from the clones, can you?

-I’m happy Michelle Forbes will be here next year. It’s revealed that Marian Bowles is raising a clone daughter, Charlotte, which is a very interesting development. Forbes plays this moment nicely: she seems caring and compassionate and invested in her daughter, but the fact that she was one out of 400 will always linger; science prevails.

-Speaking of science, Rachel gets stabbed in the eye because of science, and Cosima gives Kira a science lesson!

-This review wouldn’t be complete without one more (two time Critic’s Choice Award Winner–they know what’s up) Tatiana Maslany mention. You are awesome, Tatiana.

-Season three predictions? Hopes? Share below, if you’d like. It’s been a fun ride covering this season, folks. I felt like it was a bit of a step down from the well-oiled machine that was season one–I’m happy it delved more into each specific character, but there were stretches of episodes where some just didn’t show up–but like I said above, it’s a show that constantly manages to be entertaining as hell. I look forward to next year.

Photo credit: BBC America, Orphan Black



6 Responses to “Orphan Black “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” Review (2×10)”

  1. Aalex June 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    I’m still processing this episode, but was very happy to find hope for Cosima at the end. I knew there had to be more to that book and look forward to Delphine coming back hopefully with some of kira’s bone marrow. I’m afraid of what bat-sh** crazy Rachel is going to be like after losing her father and her eyeball 🙂 Have to say I’m not liking the project Castor twist, especially with that actor. No one can compare to Tatiana’s acting. Finally, why is Helena always getting fu**ed over?! This season we’ve grown to understand and love her to see her getting used and manipulated again. A bit apprehensive about season 3………….

    • polarbears16 June 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      I agree. We’re on shaky ground right now, and the writers can only keep juggling everything for so long. This is one instance where I wish they’d slowed things down a bit.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Crowd of Full Pockets/Shattenjager June 23, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    My favorite part about the clone dance sequence was that the only people who really looked comfortable dancing were Cosima and Felix. Alison looked uptight and afraid of making a fool of herself, Sarah looked like she wanted Felix to guide her, and Helena looked like she just wasn’t entirely sure what to do. And yet they all seemed to be, in their own way, enjoying themselves.

    Adding new clones seems like a bad idea–this show sometimes loses its way plotwise by getting caught up in the depths of its own conspiracies and gets carried by Maslany, and I think it’s unlikely that they have another actor who can do that (Just because few can–I wouldn’t try to judge him based on what he’s done on the show so far.). That means we may have significant portions of the show where the writing HAS to be on point, and this show just hasn’t been consistent enough that I feel comfortable expecting that of it. I know I already said this in my own review, but it was uncomfortably close to the ending of “Jekyll,” an oddity added for the sake of oddness that seemed to have no future. In that earlier show’s case, it didn’t matter, since there never was a second season, but here it could be an issue.

    I will say that I’m glad Gracie will likely continue to be around.

    • polarbears16 June 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Excellent points about the dance party. Once again, each character’s personality shines through, and I will once again heap praise upon Tatiana Maslany.

      I share your uncertainties about the direction we’re going. The show was already filled to the brim, but this may be what tips it over a bit. I hope not, but I wonder how long the writers can keep juggling everything.

  3. Hepburn3 June 23, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

    I love this show and appreciate your reviews. I enjoyed this season it is always hard to “top” an outstanding first run, so i never look for that, i just hope for layered nuances and enhancements that intirigue. I did experience the layered nuances and enjoyed them. I was so happy that we had more of Helena and Allison for they are my favourite clones. And I am wondering and excited for what will happen to and with Helena, she will survive and probably kill all the soldiers, except Paul.
    I am not too thrilled with addtion of the Castor clones and having to see more of creepy looking JimJones Amish guy. If he is Castor then who is Polux? I am wondering how they will keep the focus on Sarah and her sisters and their struggle with this new guy clone (I did wonder when seeing the male clone will they do the Transgender clone male to female? I just hope that with all these new addtions that this show does not go the way of Heroes which was great season one and decent season two but just went all insane clown posse in the third and following seasons. The fault with Heroes was they kept introducing new people with powers not tying up ends and making Sylar all kinds of ridiculously pointless. I hope that this does not happen with Orphan Black.
    Here’s to an outstanding season three, that will bulid the story and characters and enthrall the viewer! 🙂


  1. TV Episode Review: “Orphan Black” “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” (02.10, 2014)) | Crowd of Full Pockets - June 23, 2014

    […] be sure to check out the Polar Bears Watch TV take–the last one of the […]

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