Orphan Black Season 2 Review “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed”

Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 1 Nature Under Constraint and Vexed (3)

Since the first season of Orphan Black wrapped up, it has gained denizens of new fans and widespread praise for Tatiana Maslany’s portrayal of clones Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Rachel, and Helena. The show has blown up and become the jewel in BBC America’s crown. Going into the second season, expectations are high and if the first episode is any indication, we’re in for an exciting ride.

We pick back up with Sarah discovering that Kira and Mrs. S are missing. Sarah rushes out of the house and takes refuge in a diner. She tries to make contact with Alison and Cosima, but gets a message that their phones have been disconnected. As she waits, Rachel calls and offers to reunite Sarah with her family if she’ll agree to come in. Before Sarah can decide on her next move, two creepy guys in suits come in and try to kidnap her. She barely escapes. This scene gives us the best part of Sarah – her will to survive and to fight.

Sarah tracks down Felix for help and finds him in the midst of a snogging fivesome. Felix, Felix, Felix. The assless chaps are hilarious and wrong at the same time. Sarah sends Felix to Alison, which results in one of my favorite scenes of the episode. I love seeing Felix and Alison together. Alison’s wrapping room is fantastic. He tells her that Sarah needs a gun because Kira is gone. Even though Alison has decided to move on with her life, she doesn’t hesitate to help Sarah. They may not have grown up together, but Alison, Sarah and Cosima are starting to act like sisters.

Meanwhile, Cosima appears to have taken Delphine back into her confidence. Delphine’s loyalty to Cosima is unclear. On one hand, she appears genuinely sincere in professing her loyalty to Cosima. On the other hand, we later see her bring a vial of Cosima’s blood to Dr. Leekie.

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Rachel is still a mystery. We know that she’s all business and works with Dyad, but we don’t know anything about her personality or backstory. Considering how well-drawn the other clones are, I anticipate we’ll get more information on Rachel soon. Perhaps she has something to do with the Project Leda photo that Sarah’s birth mother gave her.

We also don’t know if Sarah can trust Art. I’m happy to say that Kevin Hanchard has toned down his portrayal of Beth’s former partner. It was one of my bigger complaints last season that he went over the top in every single scene. The performance is more regulated now and it’s easier to believe he is Art rather than some guy playing a cop. At the end, we see that Art is interested in helping Sarah. I’m hopeful that he is someone who she can trust.

I am glad that Paul and Sarah are still copasetic. I was worried at the end that Paul had gone over to Rachel’s side. In a spectacular showdown, Sarah manages to take down pro clone, while Paul pretends to try and stop her. It’s kind of funny how satisfying it is to watch Maslany punch herself in the face.

Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 1 Nature Under Constraint and Vexed (8)

There are some great little moments throughout the episode, courtesy of Alison. I loved the scenes when she went to see Ramon, took over in the community theatre musical, and pepper sprayed everything around her while trying not to get kidnapped. The musical was awesome, “We will wipe, wipe, wipe away the plasma.”

Tatiana Maslany is the heart of the show and her performance is undeniably nuanced and convincing. However, the writers need to be praised for what they’ve accomplished. This show could have easily been a clichéd mess. While there were some weak parts in the cloning storyline last season, the general plot was solid. The writers really shine, though, in the construction of the various characters. If the characters were shallow copies of one another, it would be much harder for Maslany to pull off the multiple roles. While I want to know the back story for how the clones came to be, I most look forward to what Alison is doing this week or whether Sarah and Paul can maintain a relationship now that they know the truth about one another.

The characters give Maslany the material that she masterfully brings to life. When you watch her as Alison or Cosima or Sarah, it feels like she actually is three different people – not one person who just tosses on a pair of glasses or twinset. Even beyond the clones, Felix has come together as an interesting, funny, and sweet character who tethers the clones together as if he is the brother to all of them – not just Sarah. His relationship with Alison is particularly enjoyable to watch because they are such opposites, but have a heartfelt loyalty to one another.

It wasn’t a big surprise at the end that Helena is still alive. Since we saw her take a bullet to the gut, chances were pretty good she’d survive. It’s when a character takes one to the head that you know they aren’t coming back. Plus, there was no way they would want to get rid of Helena this early. She is the most eccentric of the clones and her relationship with Sarah is complex and fascinating to watch. If Kira is in the hands of the religious zealots that Helena works for, I think the chances are good that Helena will be the one to rescue her.

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