Orphan Black: “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” Review

orphan black season 2This week, a sadly Alison-less episode redeemed itself by being wildly dramatic enough to make up for the lack of rehab shenanigans. So dramatic, in fact, that we have to warn for rape and body mutilation (and spoilers!) after the jump.

Our main plot revolved around Helena. Upon discovering that Helena killed Daniel, possibly with Sarah’s help, Rachel tells Leekie to not give Cosima some drugs that may help with her respiratory disease. Until Sarah comes to heel, she says, Cosima will suffer.

orphan black helenaMeanwhile, Sarah, Helena, and Felix are holed up in Felix’s loft. Sarah demands that Helena treat Felix with a modicum of respect, as he’s her brother and should be treated as such. “He is sestra?” Helena asks doubtfully, in what has to be my favorite line of the season to date, and Sarah rolls with it. That is, until she leaves to go call Cal and Kira, and Felix takes Helena to Art’s and makes him take care of her. Presumably she thinks Art will be able to get her to talk, but it doesn’t work out so well for him.

Helena gets the drop on Art as he’s attempting to ply her with food in exchange for information about Maggie Chen, the Prolethean who Beth Childs killed in Season 1. She leaves him handcuffed to his own kitchen wall for Sarah to find, and escapes the apartment. When Sarah later frees Art, she discovers a set of coordinates on the kitchen table that Helena has left them. They quickly find out that it’s a locker—Maggie Chen’s locker. Helena has been there, and she’s taken Chen’s motorcycle and her sniper rifle. Sarah finds something more interesting in the locker, though—a picture of the “Swan Man”, so named for his association with Project LEDA. Yes, Ethan Duncan may not be dead after all.

While this is happening, Paul breaks into Felix’s apartment with a bunch of policemen and forces Felix to hold the gun that Daniel used to kill Cal’s police friend, thus putting his fingerprints on a murder weapon. He tells Sarah that if she doesn’t deliver herself, Helena, and Kira to Rachel by morning, Felix will be tried and found guilty of murder. With this in mind, Sarah is even more set on finding and stopping Helena so that she can go find and save Felix. By the end of the episode, she’s met up with Leekie in an anonymous bar and trades information on Ethan Duncan for Felix’s freedom and for Leekie to continue with Cosima’s treatment against Rachel’s orders.

But before that happens, in her hotel room, Rachel is the middle of a very rape-y scene with Paul. She inspects his teeth and then his genitals, and then tells him to strip and straddle a chair. As she proceeds to do the deed with him, we (and Sarah and Art) find Helena and her sniper rifle several stories above, ready to shoot Rachel. When she sees Sarah, she offers nonchalantly to shoot Paul for her too, as Paul is being “unfaithful” to Sarah. Sarah manages to convince Helena that she really does care for her as family (though I have my doubts as to her sincerity) and Helena puts the gun down. The two of them go off together to find the Swan Man.

In our horrifying foreshadowing for the future, Henrik and his wife have sewed their daughter’s lips together as punishment for not telling them the truth about what happened between her and Helena in the previous episode. Gracie finally confesses, and Henrik tells her that she must help them get Helena back. Apparently, they want her to carry the egg they’d stolen from her. No clue as to why—you’d think they could find a more willing surrogate somewhere. If they don’t find her, Gracie will have to carry the egg herself. Whyyyy.

We’ve talked several times about male characters not having enough agency on this show, and that every single one of their actions tends to revolve around one of the female clones. This episode may be the start of changing that. For one, I don’t know how much longer Felix can keep putting up with his sister’s crazy life—he’s ready to paint out all his emotions and when that doesn’t work, he’s totally ready to have some fun times with Colin the morgue attendant from Season 1, who was a delight to have back on the show. Neither his art nor his failed hookup had anything to do with Sarah.

orphan black rachel paul leekieThen we have Paul. We’ve always been meant to think of Paul as loyal to Sarah, especially after he lied to DYAD in Season 1 and helped Sarah escape Rachel at the start of Season 2, but now… is he just jealous that Sarah is on the lam with Cal? Is he going along with Rachel because he has no other options or because he has chosen a different side in the clone war? Or could he be on someone else’s side entirely (perhaps his military background will come back into play)? Or perhaps he’s just out for himself at this point? This episode threw all of Paul’s motivations into doubt.

Leekie is yet another conundrum. It seemed clear that he was Rachel’s man, given his subservience to her and her light claim that she outranked him in the DYAD hierarchy, but in this episode he goes against her orders quite easily. I don’t think that’s because he loves Cosima, either. I think it’s much more likely that, well, he too has been dazzled by science, and he wants to see if his experiment, Cosima, can survive. Cal continues to be a sweet mountain man with bundles of cash, fake identification, and a hidden gun, and I continue to have a Pavlovian mistrust of anyone who’s nice to Sarah of their own accord. Cal, what are you hiding?

With regards to Rachel and the clone conspiracy, my current theory is that the Duncans’ biological daughter was the “original”, and after she died, the Duncans began cloning copies of their child, one of whom was Rachel. Those videos, then, could be of the original child, and Rachel’s mission to find out as much as she can about the clones could be either some form of following in her adoptive parents’ footsteps or some form of vengeance against them. Will this be even close to right? Who knows? See you next episode!