Orphan Black “The Weight of This Combination” Review (3×01)

18 Apr


“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


5 Responses to “Orphan Black “The Weight of This Combination” Review (3×01)”

  1. Hepburn3 April 18, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

    Oh!! I am ever so happy to see that you are going to try (please do) to review Orphan Black!
    I love this show! It is so well acted by Maslany she is amazing and so talented! She just recently won a Canadian Screen Award for her Orphan Black work! 🙂
    I love this show, it is so well done and I love that it is a Canadian production and it is filmed in Toronto.
    It was great to see Rachel and her sisters again, I missed them especially my favourites Alison and Helena! I love Helena’s dream sequence it was so bright and colourful, it made me think of the Sound Garden video Black Hole Sun.
    And the creepy part with the scorpion crawling out of her dress was so good. Apparently Maslany said it was a real scorpion that had its stinger and claws glued ( not to hurt the animal), and she did create the wee voice for it as well.
    I worry for Helena, but I also worry( not as much of course because they are awful) for the goons holding her because she is going to mess them up when she gets free.
    Alison! I LOVE her, she always makes me laugh and I marvel when she is on the screen because Meslany creates her so well and I love when she is talking to Donnie. I would vote for Alison mos def, you know she is going to win.
    Whenever Meslany plays against herself as one clone to another I always marvel at her skill, but when she plays a clone playing another clone it is something to be in awe of. He scene with her as Rachel and Alison as Sarah was really good, you could see her trying to doing the Sarah as Rachel but not quite comfortable in the other clone’s skin. The same with Alison being Sarah.
    Delphine is also not one of my favourite characters but she showed just how brutal she can be when she was torturing Rachel by pressing on her dead eye socket. That was a side of her that alarmed me. Her break up with Cosima was well acted, and I am stoked to see Cosima try to get some of her own back with the Island of Doctor Moreau cypher.
    Sarah as Rachel with Ferdinand was creepy and that BDSM thing was bizarre I do not think that he suspected anything but he was just very jealous of Rachel being with Paul. Do you think that he will be back or will Delphine have him killed, he seemed rather desperate as he was being taken away by Delphine’s staff,maybe she is going to have him killed?

    I to be honest am not a fan of the Castor clones. The guy playing them just makes all of them seem the same shade of crazy but with different facial hair. He does not have Meslany’s finesse or subtlety, his clones all seem like the same guy, I have no idea who is who, unlike Meslany’s clones. I understand that they grew together but they all seem the same, even twins do not act the same.
    At any rate is was a stellar start to a new season and I am stoked!
    Again I am so happy to see you are review this show PB! Please keep doing it!

    p.s. good first game with the Blackhawks and the Predators! Nice win!
    The Habs are playing good hockey, but playoff Hockey is always exciting! The lead Ottawa 2 games to Nil! 🙂

    Oh and poor Conner McDavid, first round draft pick (he is amazingly skilled) and he has to go to Edmonton… saw his reaction photo he did not look none too happy. I was hoping on the very slim chance that the Leafs would get him but alas no. 😦

    Is PoI on track this Tuesday? If so read you then! 🙂

    • polarbears16 April 19, 2015 at 2:01 am #

      Yeah, I would never bet against Alison and Donnie. They always seem to find a way to win, and it’s very entertaining to watch. As for Ferdinand, that’s a good prediction, although I’d still lean towards him being back. We’ll see.

      And I see what you mean about the Castor clones. I think as they get more material, we’ll see whether Millen will be able to handle it. Hopefully he can.

      Yeah, that was a good win by the Hawks! It was mostly because of Scott Darling, who thankfully is starting game 3. Game 2 was not pretty at all. And congrats to the Habs for the 2-0 start. 🙂

  2. Jordan Dodd April 19, 2015 at 5:24 am #

    This doesn’t play down under. Sounds like I need to listen to my blogging buds and watch this!! Sounds exactly like the sort of thing I’d like. I don’t wanna buy it without seeing it tho… i’ll have to see if it is streaming somewhere. All I have heard are good things and this is yet more praise. God it sounds good.

    Is this anything like the UK show Utopia? That show is easily my favourite, after the first ten mins I was hooked!

    • polarbears16 April 19, 2015 at 11:12 am #

      I actually haven’t seen Utopia, which I really need to get on. I’ve heard wonderful things.

      • Jordan Dodd April 19, 2015 at 11:45 am #

        Yes Utopia is one of a kind. I really wish they had continued the UK series and not switched to the states, as there was nothing wrong with the uk series and it ended with a lot of stuff unresolved. Still, an amazing watch. Will be interesting to see if Fincher can match it

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