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'Orphan Black' Recap: Send in the Clowns and a New Villain

By Craig Wack | TV Reviews | June 1, 2014 | Comments ()


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Last time we saw the clones, Sarah was sleuthing, Cosima was poking, Helena was bonding, Rachel was hooping, and Rachel was nowhere to be found …

“Donnie, you’re out of your element.” - Walter Kovacs, The Big Lebowski

After experiments in horror, sci-fi and road trip genres this season, the latest episode of Orphan Black, “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things,” takes a stab at some slapstick comedy.

While there are some significant developments in the episode (Michelle Forbes!), it’s the first time this season that the show has deliberately broken momentum to reset the pieces. The ability to adjust on the fly has been one of the show’s strengths. The pratfalls and hijinks ultimately led somewhere important; the journey filled with pratfalls, misadventures and a comic death felt out of character for the show.

There was some non-comedic tension thanks to the introduction of Forbes’ Dr. Marion Bowles as the big bad, behind who we thought was the big bad. If she had a handlebar moustache, she would have been twirling it during her scenes. Instead, she glided into her scenes with a scowl and a monochromatic wardrobe, so you knew right away she was up to no good.

She knows all about the cloning experiment and pulls more strings than either Leekie or Rachel combined. After learning that Ethan Duncan is still alive, she’s coldly ready to tie up that loose end (or Rachel or Sarah) once and for all. Ultimately it’s Leekie who draws Bowles’ lethal attention. Lucky for him (for a while anyway), Rachel lets nature prevail and merely banishes him.

While it’s sad to see Leekie go, it does raise the stakes for the flagging Cosima plotline significantly with the man behind the science out of the picture. Bowles is a deeper layer of the onion. She seems to have passed her calculating side on to Rachel, and Bowles’ motivations are going to drive the plot the rest of the season.

Here’s this week’s clone-by-clone rundown of the madcap zaniness:

Cosima: The living search engine doesn’t get in on the funny stuff this week, because she’s too busy getting treatment and finding stuff out.

She shares a tender moment with Delphine when the stem cell treatment is placed in her uterus. The scene is the reminiscent yet the polar opposite of the flashback Helena had of her wedding night in the honeymoon suite of horrors on the Prolethian compound.

Later, Scott and Delphine are still going around in circles about the source of the stem cells, unfortunately this time within earshot of Cosima. She angrily confronts Delphine, who explains the tooth came from the hospital after Kira had her accident. The supply is limited and it’s the biggest factor why Dyad is after Kira. Delphine said they went down the Kira path because there were no others that could possibly save Cosima’s life. Cosima still kicks Delphine out of the lab and slams the table in disgust after being put between a rock and a hard place by this knowledge.

Rachel: Her presence is almost ghostly in this episode. Bowles and Leekie discuss how they think she’ll react to knowing her father is still alive. After cutting a deal with Mrs. S exchanging Ethan Duncan’s location and data with Leekie in exchange for Kira’s safety, Paul takes Rachel to see her father so they can have a tearful and mostly off-screen reunion. We do get a bit of Mrs. S badassery when she tells Rachel she’ll shoot Ethan in the head if there is even a hint of funny business.

Rachel ultimately sends Leekie into the wind, though it’s not clear if it’s a move that sides with Bowles or is the start of a power play against her.

Alison: The comedy team of Alison and Felix reunite in rehab after she spills the beans about Aynsley to Vic, who leaves the custom gloves Alison made for him behind in his haste to set up a meeting with Deangelis. Alison brings the gloves to him but overhears him on the phone with the cop and knows she’s in trouble.

She sneaks to call Felix so he can come over and help her deal with Vic. The next morning, she leads Vic to her room where Felix is waiting for a different kind of intervention. They try to convince him to not to talk to Deangelis, it takes the promise of a meeting with Sarah to get him to stall at least.

While Alison is making Family Day preparations, Sarah sneaks in a side door for a face-to-face with Vic. He seeks absolution and an apology from Sarah, but not before taking a big swig of Felix’s Earl Benzi tea. The drugs take effect right after Vic pleads with Sarah to get back together. Right as his about the drive the point home, he dives head first into a table full of glitter and a Felix one-liner.

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The comedy of errors begins.

To cover for Vic’s incident, Sarah has to impersonate Alison at Family Day which includes a speech and role pay with Donnie. Felix tries to stash the sack of cement that is Vic somewhere. His first hiding place is nixed by Alison, so he has to FelEx Vic’s glitter covered bulk around the facility, ducking Deangelis in the process until he and Alison find a suitable place to stash him.

Vic is eventually found drooling behind a nurse’s desk seemingly relapsed and no longer of any use to Deangelis. Sarah leaves Family Day to “tinkle” and meets Felix and Alison back in the room. Donnie interrupts a strategy session and enters a whole new world.

While Donnie is Alison’s monitor, he was just as clueless to the clones’ existence as anyone else, so seeing Sarah in the room was a shocker. He claims it was all part of a big university experiment, but knew nothing about the midnight visits and the probing. Alison, more hurt about the situation than ever, flips out accordingly.

Later, Donnie seeks out and confronts a fleeing Leekie at gunpoint. Donnie really was clueless to the true nature of the experiment and did love Alison. He tells Leekie he quits the experiment (much to Leekie’s delight) and slams the gun on the steering wheel for emphasis.

The gun goes off and sprays Dr. Leekie’s genius all over the passenger side of the car. Better call The Wolf, Donnie. You are going to need him.

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Sarah: The comedy starts right at the top of the show as Sarah and Mrs. S tentatively paw their way through Ethan’s stacked and stagnant smelling papers looking for a needle of a red box in haystacks of trash.

After grabbing a petrified mouse, Sarah’s freak-out knocks over a stack of boxes and the red tin filled with random keepsakes (and vital cloning data) that Ethan needed before abandoning his hidey hole spills out.

Sarah still doesn’t trust Mrs. S but they agree on a course of action, which is to pit Leekie and Rachel against one another. Mrs. S grabs Ethan and the info while Sarah goes to check up on Kira after Cal discovers his computer has been hacked.

She and Cal talk about the relative merits of bugging out to Iceland as Mrs. S goes to Dyad and cuts a deal with Leekie for Kira’s safety. Following the divide and conquer strategy, Mrs. S then has Paul bring Rachel over for a face to face with her father.

Following the adventure at rehab, Cosima sucks it up, calls Sarah and tells her about Kira’s special purpose as Sarah returns to the RV. Sarah and Cal argue about what to do next. Once again, Kira, being the smartest and most mature character on the show, yanks a loose tooth through the old string and doorknob gag, solving the dilemma.

Much like with Helena last week, Cal’s usefulness to Sarah is at an end, so she moves on into the night with Kira in tow toward a certain meeting with Cosima and an uncertain future.

Next week: Cosima don’t look so good, yo.

Craig Wack never thought Felix was much of a glitter guy anyway. Please follow his Twitter.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • vic

    Damn, late to the thread. Donnie being unaware of the clones was a surprise, but actually fits with how clueless the character is in general, so well done there. Gonna be some weird fallout now over Leekie, though. As for Cosima, she can't die! She so cool! I hope Fawcett and Mason don't pull a GoT there. It would make sense, though, if her sacrifice would reveal something about a cure and thus becomes useful for another clone...

  • _Alexander_

    Don't worry. They won't pull a GoT. They are going to pull a Hannibal ;)

  • vic

    I have got to watch that show now. If it reaches verb/noun status, it's officially must-see TV. :P

  • alannaofdoom

    Michelle Forbes is my EVERYTHING. Also, that white coat she wore! I would immediately spill coffee all over myself if I tried to wear it. But a girl can dream, can't she...

  • Berry

    That coat was to die for. How I wish I could be the kind of woman who swans around evilly in clothes and shoes like that. In reality, I go about my mundane business in jeans and sneakers. Oh well.

  • Berry

    Oh, and Donnie and Alison have now both sort of accidentally on purpose killed people. What a couple.

  • Dominic

    As a reply to both your posts , Berry , seems to me this was supposed to be a comedy episode . Because it sets us up for the tearjerker episode next week when Cosima collapses , amd we all see she's going to die . BUT they might as well throw ALL the comic relief characters in , while they can . So Donnie gets some meaty time ...don't doubt that some writer saw that very irony there . Allison will "feel a kinship " with him now lol ...
    I think Cosima dies partly because A) she's in the most serious relationship , so she has to die , for the pathos . nudged by the lesbian factor ...Cruel but network-acceptable storyline... I would have preferred Allison die or be sent to prison . Then we concentrate on Rachel more . ...as you see , they are already making us feel sorry for Rachel ..B) they then find out they need Cisoima 's blood for a serum , to save whoever clone is left . Without draining Kira .... would they put Evelyne( Delphine) in a relationship with another clone ? Sarah ? Rachel ? once Paul turns traitor
    I'm not sure I would or could tell Evelyne to stop snuggling up to me like that , Anywhere ....
    Anyway , writers plan short lulls in story arcs like this , to frame the all-out action coming from the last episodes ...

  • Berry

    They've been pointing so firmly in direction of Cosima kicking the bucket that I have to wonder if maybe it isn't a red herring and she gets to live after all. I can't decide what I want to happen there. Cosima is lovable as a puppy frolicking in a field of daisies, but because she's more or less a perfect person, she's also perhaps the least interesting clone, so killing her off would make sense. It would be emotionally devastating, because she's so darn great, but it wouldn't bring the plot to a grinding halt. Especially if her death means Delphine and/or Scott start really working with Sarah et all. Either one of them could fill the duties of human search engine quite nicely.

  • Berry

    Not my favorite episode ever. I don't like it when characters act in monumentally stupid ways just to facilitate the plot, and less because that's the way they act, like Vic did when he forgot the mittens and then didn't even close the damn door when conspiring with Deangelis. But Vic is kind of stupid, so I can forgive that. Maybe.

  • _Alexander_

    To be fair you would be quite distracted if you just hear someone confessing to you how they watch a person choke to dead

  • lonolove

    His face! Ha! I was pretty bummed that he left the mittens though....they were so thoughtful!

  • Berry

    Ha, true enough.

  • asherlev1

    For the love of Buddha!

    ETA: What does it say about me that I laughed for a good minute after Donnie killed Leekie? I was oddly rooting for him to survive but having Donnie of all people off him strangely made me okay with him going. (Of course then I saw the promo for next week and started tearing up)

    Also - I definitely laughed at all the shenanigans with Vic even as a piece of me felt a bit bad for him.

    Definitely some dark comedy at work this episode.

    Also - Rachel! WE SAW TEARS IN HER EYES. An iota of sympathetic characterization showed its face!

    ETA2: Just had to comment on that moment where Cosima shouted "It's my body!!". Damned if it didn't get to me.

  • profession: none, or starlet

    As soon as Donnie pulled up alongside Leekie, I knew Leekie was about to die somehow. There was something strangely fitting about it. It also gave me a weird flashback to Alison slapping him in the face and shouting, "BIG! BOOB! BLOWIES!"

    I've been missing the suburban black comedy since Alison went into rehab, so another Alison/Felix dream team lugging a glittery Vic around hit the spot for me. But is Felix still on remand for murder, or what?

  • Dominic

    no Sarah came in so the frame was never carried thru . Tho that's why Felix got "sodding drunk" and Art had to sober him up , in that scene .. two episodes ago

  • profession: none, or starlet

    I recall Art saying he'd "try" in that phone conversation, but it hasn't been mentioned since then. I guess we assume Art managed to pull strings and/or Dyad hasn't aggressively pursued it since.

  • Dominic

    Dyad 's honest assholes lol
    BUT they still have the gun , yes..

  • John W

    Yay to Michelle Forbes! Another of my favorite genre veterans.

  • Lawrence Aggleton

    "Instead, she glided into her scenes with a scowl and a monochromatic wardrobe, so you knew right away she was up to no good."

    Surely you knew she was up to no good when the name 'Michelle Forbes' was in the credits.

    Donnie's acting when he realised what an idiot he was... not so good.

  • Berry

    But he was pretty great when being Alison.

  • lonolove

    SO spot on as Alison...the hands! I was dying!

  • There may be some not yet trained in the ways of the Forbes.

  • emmalita

    I thought Donnie was perfectly Donnie.

  • _Alexander_

    First: don't you people dare to suggest that Sarah Manning is just using people and doesn't care about them or I will pull a Hendrix on you

    Second: I quite liked how the entire was almost drama free and had so much fun comedy moments and then bham. They show you the promo for the next episode and break your heart

    Thirdlyish: Wow that poor doctor must have felt like the biggest third wheel in history. I expected her any moment now to clear her throat and say " Can you not make out and give each other googly eyes while I am exploring her uterus? It's distracting"

  • Berry

    Worst place for some light foreplay ever!

  • Maddy

    Mrs S is growing on me. And I get this feeling that I probably shouldn't trust her but I can't help it.

  • emmalita

    I loved the hi-jinks. It felt like the light before the dark. I loved Donnie, still a doofus, but a more complex doofus than before. For the first time I had some understanding that he and Alison really loved each other. Dr. Leekie's death seemed strangely appropriate.

  • Erin S

    Oh my god, I loved it. The drama of Leekie running for his life, no home to go to anymore, then just how pissed he got that the first person he saw was Donnie, of all people. He was so worried about whatever mysterious shadowy death was coming for him, but that didn't stop him from ripping into poor dumb Donnie. Imagine whoever was supposed to kill Leekie stumbling upon that scene? I don't know, I enjoyed it.

  • emilya

    i kind of wish donnie was more a part of the gang now, because his accidental killing of leekie is beneficial (I think, who the fuck knows for sure) to our beloved clones. If only he could call paul or mrs. s, he would have some help and maybe some appreciation from the others.

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