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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Orphan Black: Let the Children and Childbearers Toil

Yeah, I'm still playing catch-up. I've been as sick as a dog this week, and haven't been able to do much but groan and flail my arms, so this may have to be a quick one if I want to get it done before the next episode airs.
It's time for another round of "guess who's not really dead". Susan Duncan, last seen getting stabbed by Rachel, and Virgina Coady, implied to have been shot at point-blank range by Ferdinand, are both still alive and – well, not really kicking. But alive.
Their dual relationship to P.T. Westmoreland isn't something I'm willing to spend too much time trying to untangle (suffice to say: shit went down and it was complicated) though now it appears he was the grand puppet-master playing all these factions against one another the whole time.
And ... I don't care. It's a shame, but getting answers to the overarching conspiracy/mystery no longer interests me. The show seems to be edging closer to answers, but let's face it – it'll all just come down to unethical scientists trying to direct the course of human evolution. We know that already.
So it's a good thing the writers never lost track of its emotional centre: the familial bonds between Sarah and her extended family. It turns out this was a Mrs S episode, one that focused on the complex relationship she has with Sarah and how well they work together when they're on the same wavelength.
She pulls a lot of strings this episode, and not always in the best way. Why not tell Felix that his half-sister was going to show up? And why not give Sarah more warning that they were about to cross paths with Virginia Coady? (Seriously, that last one is pure authorial fiat). And is there a reason she can't tell Sarah that Delphine is her informant?
But her unnecessary secretiveness at least requires Sarah to trust her – and she does. Watching them play Elizabeth Perkins and the guy at the facility was a gift, and it becomes clear where Felix and Sarah picked up their talents at grifting.
And Elizabeth makes a pointed comment that applies not only to Sarah and Mrs S, but Sarah and Kira as well: "your daughter is struggling on the threshold of what it means to become you." Yeah, Orphan Black takes time out to highlight the complexity of mother/daughter relationships, not only exploring the friction between Sarah and her mother, but making this a parallel to her daughter as well. It's no coincidence that this scene was followed by one between Felix and Kira in which he comments on how similar they look.
I'm gonna miss this show.
So even though I'm no longer all that interested in the underlying mystery of the show, at least it hasn't forgotten its heart. P.T. Westmoreland? The feral guy running around in the woods? Who cares? I've realized that my involvement with the first season of the show had less to do with the conspiracy and more to do with the characters. This show has always been strongest when the cast are in situations they don't fully comprehend, flying by the seat of their pants and relying only on each other.
It's what made the first season so riveting, and why it picked up again in season four. We glimpsed it again this episode, though Mrs S at least was in the know about most of what was going on, and it bodes well for the remaining episodes. I can't believe we're nearly half way there!
Miscellaneous Observations:
Kira is cutting herself to see how fast she'll heal. This is certainly a "better" outcome than I'd originally assumed: that Rachel had given her a self-healing mouse for her to experiment on, but it's still an act of manipulation on Rachel's behalf (c'mon, she must have known this was where Kira's thought process would take her).
Sarah goes to visit Helena in the convent, who is looked after by a nun who tried to protect her in the Ukraine and had her tongue cut out for her troubles. Yikes. At least this covers the inconsistency of Helena going to the church for sanctuary, and it was interesting to see Sarah approach Helena to discuss their sisterhood (though everyone has conveniently forgotten Helena killed off quite a few of their sisters and their birth-mother not too long ago).
This woman noticed the ruckus that Sarah and Virginia were making. Relevant?
It would appear Virginia is going to make her own escape from the facility, though I suppose some of what she said holds significance. According to her, she, Susan and Westmoreland were experimenting on the "unique genome" of a test subject before they discovered Kendall Malone. This would appear to be the man running wild in the woods on the island, though Virginia doesn't get the chance to explain what exactly they were trying to do to him, and what bearing it might have on Projects Leda and Castor.

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