If last week’s season premiere was a bit of a prequel, this week we’re back with Sarah Manning (and company) in the present. Last season the plot progressed into complication after complication, adding a whole new set of clones. With Season 4, it seems like we’re traveling back in time, down through the rabbit hole, back to the beginning. Two episodes in, it seems like a good choice. So what are Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, and the lot up to?
Hey 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?
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “why does this character have to be gay? It’s so distracting!” Or what about this: “we thought about making this character queer, but we thought it would be a distraction”. It seems like I’ve been seeing this sort of thing a lot lately—I see authors insisting that they’re open-minded and love their “gay fans”, but making characters queer would divert attention away from the story; on the other hand, I see fans complaining that the existing queer characters are distracting. But all I, a queer person, can hear from this is “for me to accept and portray you as a person, I need to ignore a piece of your person; can we pretend it doesn’t exist?” and “no one wants to see you as you are”.
Awesome character, but not an epitome of LGBTQ+ representation
It seems that a lot of creators think that it’s enough representation if they have ‘hidden’ LGBTQ+ characters—only revealing it with a throwaway punchline at the end of a movie (see: Mitch in ParaNorman), or even worse, only mentioning it outside the work itself (see: J.K. Rowling’s “I always thought of Dumbledore as gay”). Many fans cheer when this happens, because, see, you can write gay characters who don’t distract from the story. On one hand, this helps to normalize queer characters; it makes them seem just like heterosexual characters, so straight viewers don’t think of them as ‘other’, but as people just like them. And this is important. But on the other hand, really, what sort of representation is it if the audience has no idea the character is queer for mostof the work? Invisible representation is not representation. It also sends the message to queer audience members that they’re only equal to straight people when they’re indistinguishable from them, when they’re exactly the same; that to be accepted you have to follow the heteronormative rules. If you’re in any way different, you draw attention and it’s annoying and disgusting and the need for you to be this way is constantly questioned.
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!
Saika and I have been watching our way through Orphan Black after Stinekey’s excellent recommendation of it (we aren’t finished yet! no spoilers, please!) and we both love Felix, Sarah’s gay foster brother. Felix is… well, it’s not technically incorrect to say he’s a gay stereotype. He’s an artist, he’s ~fabulous~, and when he ends up roped into babysitting duty, he asks the kids he’s looking after if they want to be crossdressers for an evening. He gets all the snark, all the sass, and all the cool clothes. He is actually gayer than a daffodil.
However, being a stereotype doesn’t necessarily mean that Felix is a poor representation of the queer community.