Now that’s what I call good backstory! This week’s episode of Orphan Black was the first episode that really showed Rachel’s youth and inner thoughts. Though we’ve gotten hints at how this clone was raised in the past, none of those hints painted as clear a picture of Rachel’s life as “Gag or Throttle” did. We know that Rachel was torn from her parents, Susan and Ethan Duncan, at a young age, and then grew up under the thumb of Dyad and Neolution. She seemed to miss her family and to want a child of her own, but we only ever saw her and her emotions from the outside—until now.
Spoilers for the episode after the jump! In a very Orphan Black move, this episode has gore, extreme eye violence, and nonconsensual body modification, so please consider yourself warned for that as well.
As we all hopefully know by now, Orphan Black is a super intense show about clones. For the first two seasons, at least, those clones are a host of wonderfully well-realized personalities played by the inimitable Tatiana Maslany. As such, the clones are primarily (though not all) cisgender, heteronormative, conventionally attractive white women. The feminism of the show may be limited, but within these narrow confines, the show effectively critiques the patriarchy and its commodification of female bodies and agency. Like the show’s limited feminism, patriarchy is also a fairly limited term for the systematic oppression of women by men. Orphan Black shows us how women are affected by the patriarchy and how women can also be complicit in furthering the patriarchy’s systematic oppression.
Although the show is shot from the point of view of its female protagonists, it’s clear that the clones are fighting against an institution that claims ownership over their bodies and tries to interfere in everything each clone chooses to do—which is a nice allegory for the patriarchy. As this great post on Girls Like Giants says, the patriarchy in Orphan Black is metaphorically represented by the Dyad Institute, which stands for corporate/government policy, and the Proletheans, who represent the religious patriarchy. This post will just focus on the Dyad Institute. It’s pretty creepy stuff, and the Dyad Institute’s involvement in the clones’ lives illustrates the many ways in which the patriarchy affects real-world women’s lives.
Spoilers through Season 2 of Orphan Black after the jump!
And here we are, Clone Club, at the second season finale. If you were hoping for some answers, you’re probably watching the wrong show. But if you were looking for some crazier twists than ever before, you’ve come to the right place. And as Mrs. S. would tell you, it certainly helps to know your mythology. So let’s dive right in.
Overall, this week was a pretty info-heavy episode. We get lots of answers about the Duncans and Project LEDA, but as always, the new information raises even more questions. Cosima’s situation gets more intense, we catch up with Alison’s adventures in self-improvement, and Helena gets some quality screen time.
Man, 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.
First of all, how ’bout these episode titles? Apparently last season they were all Origin of Species quotes—appropriate, of course—and this season they’re all from the works of Sir Francis Bacon. Classy.
Anyway, I came late to the Orphan Black party (I only watched it last Christmas as opposed to when it aired), but I’ve still been feeling that special sort of pain that comes from waiting for a show you love to come off hiatus. Thankfully, as of last night, the Clone Club is back in action.
Spoilers for the Season 2 premiere after the jump!