Orphan Black: “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” Review

Orphan BlackMan, I love these episode titles; this one is especially apt for Orphan Black’s second episode of the season. This time we dive a little deeper into the factions vying for control over the fate of Clone Club. We’re also treated to a few plot twists, just in case you thought you had a handle on where the show was going.

Spoilers after the jump.

We start right where we left off last week, with Helena in the hospital and some nurses commenting on the tons of sugar and lollipops in her jacket. Her pockets were filled with them, because of course they were. Then we cut to Felix meeting up with Sarah at Art’s place. Art’s been filled in about Clone Club, which makes me feel like I missed a scene or something. They get a call from Kira, so Sarah and Art rush out to the motel where it’s coming from. Felix thinks it’s a trap, but Sarah and Art don’t care. Felix is clearly feeling a bit steamrolled, and Sarah pulls him aside and tells him that she needs him to believe that this is all going to work out. Felix, mollified, shifts into supportive brother mode.

orphan black alisonNext we cut to Alison and her family at Aynsley’s funeral. I feel like Alison is going to be this season’s source of comic relief. They’ve really cranked the suburban stereotypes up to eleven. There’s a huge (slightly creepy) picture of Aynsley over her casket; Alison channeling Audrey Hepburn in a black dress, pearls, and updo; and catty women gossiping about Alison in the corner. Alison finds some suspicious messages on her husband’s phone—maybe he really is her monitor? She and Felix organize a sting operation to confirm it, and her husband takes the bait. Alison has a mini breakdown and abandons her attempt at sobriety. She wants to talk to Sarah, but Felix makes the executive decision that Sarah has enough on her plate without Alison’s problems. I don’t like this. Alison doesn’t have a great track record of handling things on her own.

At the motel, Art confronts a mysterious agent working for Rachel, and Sarah follows a trail of Kira’s clothes through a door marked “Employees Only” while all of us in the audience hope and pray that there isn’t a sex offender hiding behind it. Instead, Sarah gets jumped and forced into the trunk of a car by a creepy man (So creepy that he also plays Death on Supernatural). He drives into the country, lets her out of the car and comes face to face with… Mrs. S! She’s working with the creepy guy! What? Apparently Mrs. S staged the abduction and fled to her safe house, and, with the help of her rebel-minded old friends, staged Sarah’s abduction, too. You know, for their safety. Sarah’s unconvinced, but glad to be reunited with her daughter.

Meanwhile, Helena is busted out of the hospital and she and her handler are housed by a Prolethean family. Her handler’s old school Orthodox tendencies clash with this family’s more fundamentalist Protestant tendencies, as the family has embraced science as a way of understanding God’s creation, and considers Helena a miracle. It turns out that Helena’s organs are mirrored, on the opposite sides of where they should be, and that’s why she survived. Syngraphea wrote about how Helena’s death was a missed opportunity for faith-based redemption. Now that it looks like she’s going to survive, Helena’s redemption is back on the table.

orphan black prolethean

He says, “That’s totally a thing with twins, sometimes.” We say, “Whatever keeps Helena in the show, dude.”

Helena’s handler insists that she’s a soulless abomination (even though he was just flagellating himself in prayer for her?). We learn that Helena survived because her internal organs are mirrored, on the opposite side of where they would normally be. They remark that Helena and Sarah are twins, and Sarah is so far the only fertile clone. Wait, does this mean Sarah and Helena aren’t actually originals, but clones just like the rest? Or just that they’re natural clones (of each other)? Regardless, Helena’s handler doesn’t care to speculate about her fertility, saying that any child she would bear would be an abomination. So the family shoots him with a nail gun and prays over his body. Because that somehow makes it okay? Can you tell I’m a bit tired of the violent yet ultra-religious person trope? But maybe the fact that Helena’s now with some people who believe she’s got some human dignity is a good sign for her future.

At DYAD, Cosima’s meeting with Dr. Leekie and getting to know her new lab. But I’m paying more attention to the incredible amounts of sexual attention between Cosima and Delphine. The “let’s make a list of things to outfit this old lab” game turns into the “let’s make a list of surfaces we can bang on” game. Heck, it looks like Cosima’s basically got it made. She’s got her own lab, an unlimited budget to outfit it with whatever she wants, and a sexy assistant. But in comes Rachel to rain on everyone’s parade. She instructs Cosima to find out what’s rendering the clones infertile (or what’s so special about Sarah’s ability to have children). Cosima asks for a sample of the original DNA to which Rachel insists that the original was “robust” and the problem must lie in the cloning process. She gives Cosima a sample of Sarah’s DNA. Sketchy.

orphan black cosima delphine

And sexy.

Back at the safehouse, Sarah finds out that Mrs. S booked a flight for herself and Kira to London, leaving Sarah here with Felix until things are safer. Sarah’s outraged, and Mrs. S points out that she has never yet failed to protect Kira, something Sarah can’t exactly claim for herself. Sarah tries to confront Mrs. S with a picture captioned “Project LEDA” but doesn’t get anywhere. She shows the picture to Kira and Kira says she saw it before when Mrs. S was going through their stuff. Sarah decides the two of them need to make a break for it. While they’re sneaking out, Mrs. S figures out that her safehouse buddies sold them out to the Proletheans. She kills her friends, allowing Sarah and Kira to meet up with Felix and hit the road.

 by Ridalfo Ghirlandaio

This is seriously the only SFW piece of art I could find of Leda and the Swan.

Assuming the name of Project LEDA isn’t an acronym, the best guess I have is that the writers are referencing the mythological story of Leda and the Swan. Zeus was known for getting it on with anyone and anything he wanted, and he had the hots for Leda. So Zeus turned into a swan and fell into Leda’s arms, seeking protection from an eagle. It’s unclear whether or not the subsequent sex was consensual. That same night, Leda sleeps with her husband, and soon afterwards lays two eggs. From these eggs hatch Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor, and Pollux. It’s unclear who is half immortal and who isn’t, but storytellers agree that two children are the offspring of Zeus and two are those of Leda’s husband. Helen is the supernaturally beautiful Helen of Troy, whose abduction sparked the Trojan War (her face launched a thousand ships!). Clytemnestra marries King Agamemnon and murders him. The brothers Castor and Pollux are known as the Gemini twins in Latin, and upon Castor’s death Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his immortality with him so the two would never be separated. 

So what does this mean in the context of Orphan Black? I’m prone to speculate that the mysterious illness that some of the clones have might be a parallel to the mortality of some of Leda’s children. Sarah’s ability to have children might be a parallel to immortality, as many ancient cultures believed that having children (and grandchildren) was a way for part of you to live on after death. In the myth, Leda’s children all play important roles in the Trojan War. Helen’s capture provides the spark, and Castor and Pollux invade Attica to rescue her, but the gods do not send a favorable wind for their sails. Clytemnestra is tricked into sending her daughter to be sacrificed to the gods, who then send good winds and Helen is returned home. So far it’s hard to really tell which clone is supposed to parallel with which child of Leda, if any at all. Take Kira, Sarah’s daughter, for example. Is she going to be sacrificed for the greater cause, as was Clytemnestra’s daughter? Is Kira meant to be the Helen of Troy figure, with her mysterious ability to heal quickly? To make matters even more complicated, we already have a character named Helena, who happens to be less of a magnificent beauty and more of a fanatically religious murdering psychopath. Or did the writers simply borrow the name Leda because the myth included twins and the name sounds pretty? 

I hope we find out soon.