Orphan Black Season 2 Premier, a review

Warning: Contains major season 2 premier spoilers

Orphan-Black-Named-Clones

 

Season 2 of Orphan Black picks up just where it left off. Sarah Manning is sprinting through the streets, trying to figure out where the hell her daughter went. Kira is gone. Mrs. S is gone. Nobody’s picking up their phones. Who’s behind this? Cue Helena’s psycho religious captors. A few minutes in and we’ve already got a shotgun blast to a heart and Sarah breaking open a wall with a fire extinguisher to escape a diner. We’re off to a good start.

The episode doesn’t really slow down from there. The pacing rips blearily through like a frantic mother on the hunt for her stolen child. Felix, tripping on some amalgamation of drugs and dressed in his best out-on-the-town suit (aka with the bum cut out), is looped in and assigned the job of getting a firearm from Alison, whose dealer is the son of one of her soccer mom friends. Alison, though willing to help in this regard, tries to keep out of the clone drama. She gets the lead in a play, and, to Art’s dismay, he’s assigned to trail her, forced to watch a musical that he can only describe as “Not Cats.” It’s clear that the writers this season have decided to make Alison the comic relief, perhaps more so than Felix. Director John Fawcett, who grew up in suburbia and created Alison, said that suburbia is just inherently funny. We can only hope that these complex characters do not become a mere laughter device whenever the writers need to lighten the mood. But so far, they’ve done well in getting the characters to defy their archetypes.

Meanwhile, Cosima is battling her clone sickness with the aid of Delphine. Neither Cosima nor the viewers are yet sure whose side Delphine is on. To make matters worse for everyone, Dr. Leekie isn’t sure either, but Dr. Leekie isn’t running the show now, is he? We’re learning that the stratification of bad guys is never-ending. Leekie, it turns out, is working for evil clone Rachel. Well, is it fair to call anyone evil in a show like this? The female characters are complex and deep, and the creators revealed that much of season 2 will be devoted to finding out what makes Rachel tick. I hope so, because so far all we know about her is that she’s a bitch. We’re happy to see Sarah knock her out cold.

Actress Tatiana Maslany has not been given a break this season. In one of her more complicated tricks, she acts as one clone pretending to be another. Last season, we saw Sarah pretend to be Beth and Alison. We saw Alison pretend to be Sarah. This episode, Sarah goes undercover as Cosima to the Dyad party, where she fools Leekie (though the hug was weird) and Delphine (briefly) with her locks and blindingly prescribed lenses. And you know what? We never lose sight of Sarah under all that facade. What an actor!

At the New York City season 2 premier last week, BBC America staff walked the line and asked waiting fans their favorite clone. There was never a consensus on the most-loved clone, but one thing was for sure: Every fan was passionate about their favorite. When Alison came on screen, certain people cheered. When Cosima and Delphine were spotted in Cosima’s dorm room, certain people cheered. When Helena’s theme song returned, everyone gasped, and then certain people cheered. “We knew Helena wasn’t dead since last season,” said Orphan Black writer Graeme Manson. “We’ve been lying to you.”

See also, my review of season 1 and my summary of the season 2 premier Q&A with cast and creators.

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