“I’m not your people.”
Orphan Black seems to always be teetering on the edge of a cliff, a quick push all it needs in order to descend into chaos. The writers have been able to juggle the show’s plethora of plot points effectively, though, and they’ve been able to sustain an overarching storyline without losing control of it. It remains to be seen whether they’ll keep it up–I have confidence they will–but right now, season three is getting off to an exciting, intense start. The premiere is a bit of a scattered episode, but it holds your attention for every second of its running time.
Helena seems to be the character who is holding everything together–both thematically and plot-wise–and it’s very interesting to see, considering she’s been the clone we’d call a “wild card” these past two seasons. What’s evident right from the opening scene is the fact that Helena cares about her family, that her idea of a perfect day would be a poolside party with her sestras and a ton of food. Of course, that starkly contrasts with reality, which is an uncomfortable wooden box. In terms of the scorpion, one of its prevalent symbolic meanings concerns isolation and protection, both of which certainly come into play here: isolation throughout her life and at the moment, protection with her clone family. It’s a nice way of illustrating where she and the rest of the clones are at right now, and it’s clear that a big aspect of this season is going to be about their journeys back toward each other.
They’ll also have to deal with Project Castor, which involves a group of Mark clones who already seem like one big, happy family blessed with nice asses. Although I am certain he will never even come close to Maslany’s performance, Ari Millen does a fine job throughout this episode, and he plays well off of her in the scene captured by the screen-cap above. These clones were all raised together, and that’s a key point to note because it sets up the idea of family in contrast with the female clones.
Let’s go back to Maslany, though. Her playing one character impersonating another is truly incredible to watch, and we have two instances of that going on simultaneously in this episode. Alison’s performance as Sarah is pretty awful–especially with that hilarious wig–and that’s exactly what makes it fantastic; as for Sarah as Rachel, you can see her trying to walk like Rachel and keep Rachel’s posture, but there are some clear differences to be found. My favorite Maslany moment is when Sarah as Rachel slaps Alison as Sarah; it’s certainly a bit of Rachel, but it’s also Sarah’s rage taking over there…not against Alison, of course, but against Dyad as a whole.
We see that even clearly later on when she nearly asphyxiates Ferdinand (who’s played brilliantly by James Frain). Sarah wants to protect her sisters, but as she’s told in this episode: “You can’t put them all under your wing.” It’s an extremely frustrating position for her to be in, and it’s understandable why she’d snap here. All these characters want to do is get back to the people they belong with, but there are no shortage of obstacles in their way. In the end, that sunny day is replaced with the darkness of a box, and it’s up to them to break through.
– “Do you remember our safe word?” “No.” I find it amusing that Ferdinand doesn’t really seem to be bothered by nearly getting choked to death.
-I hear Tatiana Maslany also was able to transform into a scorpion for that opening scene. What range this woman has, am I right?
-Alison vs. Marci Coates for school trustee. This is going to be good.
-Delphine’s dark side is coming out to play now, especially during that Rachel hospital bed scene. She hasn’t been that high on my favorite characters list, but it’ll be interesting to see the show delve more into her character this year. Also, the breakup scene is very well done by Maslany and Evelyne Brochu.
-Some wonderful Felix scenes in this one, as always.
-I’ll try to review each episode this season, although no guarantees. I’m looking forward to it.
Photo credit: Orphan Black, BBC America