This episode of Orphan Black was less insanely dramatic than both the last episode and the premiere, but, being Orphan Black, still had quite a few twists for us. The most interesting one is—oh, spoilers!
Below the cut, that is.
In what I thought was the most interesting development of the episode, Sarah takes Felix and Kira to the cabin of an old flame, Cal Morrison. It’s then revealed that Cal is most likely Kira’s father. Felix dramatically and uncharacteristically nopes out of the cabin, saying that there’s no place for him there, while Sarah, Cal, and Kira attempt some family bonding. Even though Cal starts off the episode ticked off that Sarah had reappeared in his life after eight years, he seems very taken with his supposed daughter and allows them to stay for a while. Sarah, too, certainly seems like she wants to stay hidden for a while, and she definitely has more chemistry with him than she did with Paul. Unfortunately, the creepy guy whose name I am never going to learn appears at the farm and takes Sarah away at gunpoint. He forces Sarah to drive them to an unknown destination, and as she’s doing so, they get hit by a car.
Cal’s immediately extraordinarily likeable, even if he seems a little too eager to help Sarah and Kira. I’m suspicious that he’s not who he says he is (it’s Orphan Black, after all). Some people have previously suggested that Orphan Black has a problem with undeveloped male characters, and as strange as that is to hear, introducing better male characters might help to alleviate some of those concerns. It remains to be seen if Cal will be a fully rounded character or if he, like Paul, will only react to Sarah. Will Cal go down an oddly stereotypical “mother” route, motivated only out of love for his daughter? Either way, I really hope those bee pollinators factor into his plotline.
Elsewhere, Art and Angie are continuing their investigation of the clone club, albeit separately. Art has tracked down the Proletheans’ farm, where he hides stealthily in the bushes to snap some photos. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get inside the farm, so he misses out on the really strange marriage ceremony that the Proletheans had for Helena. The Proletheans say that she has a soul—yet somehow I don’t think they’ll treat her as just another human being, because they also point out that she’s fertile. Granted, they might be just guessing at that because they know Sarah is fertile, but given the wedding ceremony I’m pretty concerned on Helena’s behalf. She’s clearly not in a place where she can consent to being pregnant, whether that occurs through sex or other forms of fertilization.
Angie introduces herself to Alison as her new neighbor, which immediately puts Alison on guard and is one of the many factors which cause her to mix one too many pills with drinks before her play. At opening night, even seeing her BFF and “acting coach” Felix doesn’t help, possibly because Donnie’s also there. She takes one step too many and falls off the stage, thus, I presume, ending the show.
Back at the Dyad Institute, Cosima and Delphine discover the video diaries of Jennifer Fitzsimmons, the young clone who we learned about in the trailer materials. As heartbreaking as it is to watch Jennifer crawl a little closer to death in each progressive video, it’s even more heartbreaking to watch Cosima’s reaction to each one. (I still can’t believe Tatiana Maslany didn’t get all the Emmys). Delphine and Cosima then begin the autopsy of Jennifer’s body, where they discover that the polyps on Jennifer’s lungs may have originated in her uterus, leading to the infertility of almost all the clones.
I know that they need some mystery to solve, but I sort of preferred it when it was just the giant clone conspiracy and the respiratory disease. Now that Helena is out of action for some time, even with some sort of healing ability, it seems that we’re focused on the illness. Specifically, how the illness relates to a clone’s ability to have a child. Given that most of the clones generally do not seem bothered by their infertility, I wonder why Orphan Black has chosen this aspect for their mystery to revolve around.
Even when the clones do talk about children, the sentiment is patchy at best: we’re told the most important thing to Alison is her two children, who have no names and who we don’t see for more than a couple scenes, and we know that Sarah would give her life for Kira, even though at the start of Season 1 she left Kira with Mrs. S. and disappeared to parts unknown for a year. The cold Rachel Duncan, last episode, did seem affected when she asked Cosima to look into “why she’s [Sarah’s] different than we are”, so that may hint at a deeper, more tragic backstory. But generally Orphan Black is quite progressive, and I hope that the infertility plotline isn’t based on the idea that all women want to be mothers and have biological children.
Next episode: find out if Sarah is alive. Tune in then!