More than ever before, this season of Orphan Black has often been a matter of style over substance. Yes, we’ve gotten some big, juicy storylines, some really wild and awesome (and not to mention occasionally horrifying) ideas, and, of course, the tour de force acting of Tatiana Maslany and the rest of Orphan Black’s incredible cast. But more and more, all of that awesome goodness is often covering up fundamentally weak plot ideas that really don’t make sense. That’s not always a bad thing, but when it happens a lot, it’s a problem. And this season, it’s starting to happen a lot.
Our latest episode, “The Antisocialism of Sex,” is a fairly good example of this. It opens on a down note for pretty much all of Clone Club, with everyone feeling the loss of Kendall. Sarah knows that she’s the direct reason for Kendall’s death, and Mrs. S isn’t letting her forget it. When Sarah reminds Mrs. S that Kendall was her blood relative, too, the cold reply is “You came to me an orphan. That’s all you’ll ever be.” Ouch. Guess she’s still a little bitter.
Sarah’s response to this is to run, which makes sense on a certain level – she’s feeling guilty, she’s sick of being responsible for what’s happening, and she wants to cut loose and not think for awhile. Okay, fine. But abandoning her daughter Kira with Mrs. S … that doesn’t exactly make sense, considering how much she’s been bonding with her daughter lately, and how much just about everything she does is to protect Kira. And while going out and getting shitfaced drunk makes sense, going out to a bar, getting shitfaced drunk and snorting drugs and hooking up in a random threesome in Lindsay Lohan fashion is more than a bit overkill. We get that she’s hurting, but that’s using a sledgehammer to make the point.
Fortunately, Sarah’s two main companions for her Clones Gone Wild bar escapade are 1) Dizzy the ZZ top roadie/hacker, who was her recent contact for reaching M.K., and 2) Drunken Visions of Beth. Dizzy inadvertently keeps Sarah tenuously grounded (and inadvertently keeps himself from getting laid) by continuously bringing up Neolution-related topics. Specifically, he’s noticed that Sarah ditched her maggot-bot implant, and wants to know how she got it out. Her reaction is to call him a wanker and leave. Sarah heads to the train station – the one where she saw Beth commit suicide – and has an extended conversation with Drunken Vision of Beth. “You gonna follow me the rest of my life?” Sarah asks. And DVB’s reply of “Tonight’s our last night” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, and neither does the rest of her continued pleas for Sarah to off herself.
Cosima’s not doing much better. Evil Cho’s malware surprise wiped all her research, watching Kendall die wasn’t exactly fun, and Darkwing Duko telling her that Delphine was dead was even worse. Scott’s brought her bad coffee and a good croissant, though. Awww. Scott’s awesome. The thought of starting over their research from scratch isn’t very appealing to Cosima, as she thought everything they’d done was just leading to dead ends anyway. She wants to start from a different angle – and if by “a different angle,” you were thinking “Sarah’s gross extracted maggot-bot in the glass specimen bottle,” you’d be correct. This makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is Cosima proceeding to lock herself in the basement of the Rabbit Hole and trying to stick the maggot-bot in her own cheek. Um, what? She says it’s sensible, but for someone who’s usually so pragmatic and all about the scientific method, and not rushing into things … this is beyond out of character. And bizarre.
Fortunately, for both Cosima and Sarah, Felix is on the way to save the day. (We’ll ignore the fact that his whole “we need to pull the family together, dammit!” attitude is also completely out of character with how he’s been behaving lately.) After hearing from Kira that she thinks her mommy is “following Beth,” he rushes off to find his sister and save her from her latest path of self-destruction. And while he’s hunting down Sarah, Fe gets the phone call from Scott that Cosima’s being equally self-destructive. No problem: Felix proves to be quite the multi-tasker. He manages to get Cosima on the phone first, and relays what Krystal told him last week – that hey, guess what, she saw Cosima was alive!!!
Sigh. Felix, we – the fans of Orphan Black – love you dearly, but …
… you just remembered this now???? Yeesh.
Anyway, it keeps Cosima from self-implanting a maggot-bot. Felix then manages to find Sarah at the train station, and tells her basically not to follow Beth. “Oy, Sarah. This isn’t the way, is it? You’ve gotta be stronger than her, Sarah,” he tells his sister. He literally talks her off a ledge to self-destruction, which is kind of an amazing scene to watch. They hug, and after the weird awkwardness between Sarah and Felix that’s been going on since the start of this season, it’s a terrific moment.
Meanwhile, Alison’s not quite as lucky. She’s planned a birthday party for Gemma, and she’s determined to make it perfect. So it’s safe to say that a police raid led by Darkwing Duko storming into her house during the party wasn’t exactly on her itinerary. Donnie gets slapped in cuffs and hauled off to jail on drug-dealing charges, no doubt because Evil Cho’s making good on her promise to make the Clones fully obsolete. (Earlier in the episode, Art also chose to beat the crap out of Darkwing Duko, which probably helped move forward the Obsoleting the Clones timetable.) Darkwing Duko chooses to gloat to Alison as Donnie’s hauled off … guess his “I really don’t have a choice” speech to Cosima last episode as to why he’s with Neolution is kind of bullshit. He sure seems pretty happy to be bullying around everyone associated with Clone Club.
Speaking of Evil Cho, Rachel’s still trapped on the Island of Misfit Clones (which seems a more apt description than Susan’s “Island of Dr. Moreau.”) And speaking of Susan, she’s returned to the island, where she informs Rachel about the coup d’état that just happened at Neolution. Susan gives Rachel some plot exposition about the formation of Neolution. Turns out a crazy rich white guy in the 19th Century really dug Darwinism, and formed a secret society devoted to creating perfect humans. Because of course he did. Susan and Rachel then get to conference call Evil Cho, who smugly informs them that she’s now in charge of Neolution, and the Leda and Castor programs are kaput. She also casually mentions that the self-aware Ledas need to be eliminated. Rachel tries to be teacher’s pet and reminds Evil Cho that a) she loves Neolution! Really! and b) she’d be a big asset in rounding up her rogue sestras. Evil Cho’s responds “Do you actually think Neolution would let a clone take a position of real importance?” Oooh, burn! (Meanwhile, I am sooooooo going to love it when Helena finally meets up with Evil Cho to teach her some manners.) Rachel heads off to get pouty with Wednesday Charlotte, lick her wounds … and, oh, by the way, her bionic eye starts giving her pixelated visions of swans. Weird.
And speaking of weirdness, everything gets capped off with Kira playing Minecraft (yay!) and promptly getting hacked by M.K., who tells Kira that she has a message. Oh, boy.
All in all, a fairly depressing episode that manages to end on some high notes. Hopefully we’ve bottomed out for this season, and things start looking up for Clone Club!
“What’s your story?” “Well, I’m a clone. There’s twenty-two of me going around out there.” Yes! Dizzy kicks ass. I hope we see more of him this season.
Donnie’s not the brightest bulb sometimes, but you have to love his sweet, steady devotion to Alison. She may not be thrilled by his invitation of Pastor Mike to the slumber party, but he knows she’s hurting, just like Cosima and Sarah. He’s genuinely trying to help her, albeit in his own bumbling way.
“Yes, it’s fortunate you found such an ineffective means of suicide, Ira.” Rachel succinctly says what we’ve all been thinking anyway, except I think she actually meant to say “unfortunate”. Because it’s what I would’ve said. But whatever.
I’m still trying to figure out why everyone on the Island of Misfit Clones dresses like an Apple Store employee.
So, the past three seasons of Orphan Black have hinged around the Leda clones being of supreme importance to Neolution, worth all sorts of murders and blackmail and skullduggery … and in one fell swoop, they’re suddenly meaningless? AAAARRRGGGHHH. This is when Orphan Black drives me crazy. It’s always about ridiculous extremes, just like Sarah’s Lohan bender. I can see Evil Cho downgrading the Ledas in terms of Neolution importance, but to arbitrarily dismiss them as obsolete? It’s short-sighted and doesn’t make sense.
Wait, Art beats the piss out of Darkwing Duko, and then an hour later, he looks fine when he’s busy arresting Donnie and taunting Alison? Wow, he cleans up nice.
A lot of this episode, unfortunately.