Orphan Black: “Scarred by Many Past Frustrations” Review

orphan-black-season-3Hey kids! We’re five whole episodes deep into Season 3 and yet, by numerous twists of fate, this is actually my first episode review of the season. Let’s make up for lost time, eh?

This week’s episode was titled “Scarred By Many Past Frustrations”, and it’s totally on point, as it seems the story is structured around how our characters are reacting to and growing from their Past Frustrations. How?

Well, that’s spoilers. Hit the jump for more.

While this episode reveals some past secrets from several characters, Helena is quite clearly the one most Scarred By Many Past Frustrations. After being recaptured post-murdering Parsons, Helena is even more determined to escape. Sarah is locked in an adjacent cell to her, but Helena is slow to warm to her sestra’s appearance, as she believes that Sarah sold her out to the Castors. She’s no stranger to imprisonment or betrayal, and, while she’s hostile to Sarah, it seems like she’s just taking the disappointment in stride. Sarah herself addresses a few different Past Scars—first, when she opens up to Helena about why she feels a responsibility to no longer run away from the people she considers family, and second, when she talks to Paul. Sarah is justifiably pissed at him, but Paul insists that it was her or Helena, and that he doesn’t regret his actions. After Sarah’s speech about Kira and Paul’s implicitly backing up Sarah’s argument that she wasn’t consulted on trading Helena to the Castors, Helena appears to trust Sarah again. She brings Sarah in on her plot to escape, and Sarah helps Helena squeeze out of her cell. However, when it’s Helena’s turn to unlock Sarah’s door, she bolts instead, leaving her sestra in the lurch.

By the way, I’m with Luce about Pupok the scorpion: it’s a weirdly off-model and sort of lazy way for the show to give us an insight into Helena’s head.

The lack of concern from anyone, including the paramedics, that she's drinking at age 18 is another clue that this show's definitely set in Canada.

The lack of concern from anyone, including the paramedics, that she’s drinking at age 18 is another clue that this show’s definitely set in Canada.

Gracie goes to see Art first thing in this episode, and after she explains her situation, Art drops her off to Mrs. S and Felix for some comfort and deprogramming. Here we get to see a little bit more of Gracie’s personality. Her Past Frustrations are a little more basic. She’s disillusioned with the Prolethean way of life and wants to experience things like clubs, rock music, drinking, and being scantily-dressed. She appears downstairs dressed in what is clearly some of Sarah’s old clothing and makes to breeze out of the house to… wander the streets till she finds the nearest club, I guess? Felix and Mrs. S stop her, but don’t quash her dreams, either—they mix up some cocktails right at home and give her a private lesson in dancing to rock music.

Unfortunately, as with all adorable Orphan Black dance parties, it can’t last. We see in an earlier scene at the base that Castors who have intimate contact with women are expected to collect a hair sample and personal information from them. It turns out that this is apparently because sleeping with a Castor is a one way ticket to very unpleasant illness. Gracie collapses mid-gyration in sudden and intense pain, and, when 911 is called, we see that the whites of her eyes are completely bloodshot. (Art, off visiting the rape victim of a few episodes ago, discovers that she is displaying the same symptoms.)

Cosima’s Scars from Past Frustrations are less high-stakes than the rest of the group’s. She’s got her first post-Delphine date this episode, with a woman named Shay that she connected with on the Sapphire app. Conversation is awkward at first, but after a while, they go home together. I was never a big fan of the Cosima/Delphine ship because of the uncomfortable power dynamic involved, so I’m actually happy that Cosima’s making new connections and moving on. Hopefully Shay doesn’t turn out to be another cog in the DYAD wheel.

Finally, It’s deeply weird to me how unimportant Alison has been this season, and that’s underscored in tonight’s episode by her not even being in this episode. I think the reason this is so strange to me is that oftentimes, this sort of sidelining is a result of a character’s actor planning to leave the show or being busy with other projects. This is obviously not the case here, so what’s the deal? With only ten episodes in a season and five of them gone, what are they going to do with Alison to bring her back into alignment with the actual plot?

Alison, basically.

Alison, basically.

At least she was in the preview for next time—maybe we’ll find out what’s going on with her next week.

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