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Orphan Black “The Collapse of Nature” Review (4×01)

15 Apr

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“Is this my life now?”

What a fascinating way to open a new season of Orphan Black. When the new year starts, you expect to get advancement of the present-day narrative and answers to lingering questions, but “The Collapse of Nature” defies expectations, instead choosing to delve into the backstory of Beth Childs. We already know her story–to an extent–through pieces of information that we’ve gleaned throughout the first three seasons, but that story has always been filtered through the eyes of Sarah Manning…and by extent, through the eyes of the other clones. Here, though, we get the backstory front and center, and it’s a great way to reintroduce us to the perfection that is Tatiana Maslany.

Beth Childs’s tale is one of uncertainty and isolation, and Maslany expertly navigates the range of emotions her character experiences here. It’s a story of a life led as a lie, of the various hardships she struggles with all compounding and culminating in that heartbreaking final sequence. It’s a very character-based episode, and it’s certainly difficult to watch Beth spiral downward into her foregone conclusion. What’s important to note here is the reaction Beth has to these struggles: guilt, specifically in reference to other people. She laments dragging other clones and Art into her mess, and she states early on, “this is my shit”. What’s interesting about this is its seeming contrast to an overarching theme of the series: the idea that the clones are stronger when they’re together, when they’re family. That holds true, but it’s understandable that Beth would feel this way; it also exacerbates her sense of loss and isolation .

At the same time that the “rah rah team” mentality is pushed, the show is also introducing ideas like the ones that form the Neolutionist foundation. “Neolution is just an ethos,” Trina tells Beth midway through the episode. “It’s about, like, creating yourself…individual evolutionary choice.” It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on this mindset moving forward.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Nice to get so many appearances from characters of past seasons.

-Interesting contrast between the Paul-Beth scene in this episode and the steamy sex scene between Sarah and Paul in the pilot.

-Probably won’t have time to review every episode this season. Apologies for the significant cut down in television coverage. I plan on making Person of Interest a priority when it returns in a few weeks, though.

Photo credit: BBC America, Orphan Black

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8 Responses to “Orphan Black “The Collapse of Nature” Review (4×01)”

  1. Keith Noakes April 15, 2016 at 1:14 am #

    I do admit to catching onto this show late but I think Tatiana Maslany is the greatest and Orphan Black is a great show. What makes me like it even more is that it is a Canadian-produced show. Person of Interest is great too and I am mad that it is ending as it was finally going somewhere plot-wise.

  2. Linda April 15, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    I loved it! I enjoyed seeing how the shooting Beth was being investigated for played out. Exactly how close she and Art were and not just from hints we were given in previous seasons. I am looking forward to learning more about M.K. as well.

    I think seeing Beth’s backstory will really shine a light on her head space when we first met/saw her on that train platform.

    I hope they go even further. When did Beth first learn she was a clone and how she met Alison and Casmia.

  3. Lee Banks April 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

    I liked episode but it jumped around a lot is MK the Russian shot in the head in season 1 why didn’t Beth leave Paul so many loose ends

    • Hepburn3 April 19, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      MK is a new clone, the clone that was shot in the head in season 1 was German.

  4. Matthew Thompson April 16, 2016 at 1:54 am #

    Really liked this premiere. Had no idea it would be a flashback episode. It felt really focused though and did a good job of giving a little extra backstory on Beth (or at least filling in some small blanks I guess) and introducing the new clone. Tatiana was of course excellent and I liked seeing her get some more time to play Beth. I forgot how much I missed this show until I sat down to watch this episode.

    • polarbears16 April 16, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      Yeah, the backstory episode usually doesn’t come this late in a show’s run, but I think they pulled it off nicely.

  5. Hepburn3 April 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I love this show and I am happy that you are giving it a gander again PB!
    It is very innovative, clever and entertaining. It was nice to see Beth fleshed out a bit more since we have only ever seen her in flashback and dream sequences.
    Her demise is sad knowing what we know about her.
    I am looking forward to the rest of the season and I love watching to see if I can spot Toronto landmarks!

    OH I am so happy that you are stoked for Person of Interest, but I am sad that it is a short and final season. I know it will be good! 🙂
    I am looking forward to your point of view!

    • polarbears16 April 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, innovative and clever describe the episode perfectly.

      And I’m sure POI is going to go out with a bang. I’m sad it’s over, but at least they were able to craft the best ending possible.

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