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Orphan Black - By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried - Review: "Clear, Clinical, Effortless"

22 Jun 2014

(Check out my TV ratings website,

Last night's season finale of BBC America's Orphan Black was an hour of television unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Series creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, who also wrote and directed the episode respectively, have lifted the series to the next level. There were twists no one could have predicted, with several new story arcs launched in the final ten minutes of the episode.

Even the best season finales have a couple of faults in them somewhere, and fans waste no time taking them to pieces. But this season finale was flawless. It came together effortlessly. It was clinical in its execution and very clear in its direction. There were no "wait a minute, that's not right" moments. There were no "that's ridiculous" moments. Like I said, it was clinical in its execution and very clear in its direction.

In a high octane, beautifully directed opening scene, we saw Sarah being poked, prodded, and questioned by DYAD employees while simultaneously arguing with Siobhan and Felix as to who was to blame for letting Rachel slip into the hospital ward and take Kira. We got a glimpse into Sarah's earlier years through the dialog with DYAD employees. Among other things, we learned Sarah had had an abortion previously - a topic which was clearly sensitive to her. The doctor who examined Beth Childs in her sleep was also present, which added to the creep factor within the scene.

Next up we saw Rachel walk into Kira's bedroom while Sarah was forced to watch on through one way glass. Rachel told Kira, in a nutshell, that her mother had hurt her, and that had a lot to do with what has happening currently. Kira's aurora of mystery continues to surround her though, and she took everything Rachel said with a grain of salt. Prior, she had the presence of mind to pinch the cellphone from the pocket of the nurse who came to swab her mouth. She wasted no time notifying her father, Cal, of all people. I was predicting a call to Felix or Siobhan, not Cal. Of all the characters, despite the revelations we were left with, Kira is still the one that interests me the most. Something's up with her, and I'm dying to find out what it is.

Meanwhile, Siobhan makes a few calls to friends in high places when Cal presents himself at the door. He reveals it was Kira who called him, and that he had done some extensive research on DYAD. Though Cal didn't play a substantial part in the proceedings of the episode, his input has been nicely integrated into the storyline and I'm hoping he returns in season 3 (thought a third season hasn't officially been announced). I've seen several shows fail to properly integrate a new mother, father or child into the storyline, but the creative team at Orphan Black have shown how it should be done.

The power-hungry Rachel was finally put in her place in last night's episode. The fire extinguisher powered pencil shooter put darts extraordinaire Phil Taylor to shame with its precision, scoring a direct hit on Rachel's (bulls)eye. On top of that, her father Ethan Duncan surprisingly made his exit after a much shorter story arc than I had hoped for. Clearly some DYAD security guy needs the sack after failing to confiscate a tin full of teabags and other potions. I knew the second I saw him use his own 'teabag' that his days were sadly over.

The pencil shooter was designed and built by the ailing Cosima and the bumbling Scott. In another beautifully executed simultaneous scene, Cosima gave Kira a science lesson about force, mass and acceleration. Scott came of age in my eyes last night, opting to risk everything to make the pencil shooter plan work. He had lifted an access card at some point, and used it to give Sarah a lifeline against an impending oophorectomy. Moments after Sarah pulled the trigger, Scott rushed back in to give Sarah the access card.

Luck wasn't on Delphine side, however. Rachel wasted no time in removing her from DYAD, and on a plane to Frankfurt. I'm glad she wasn't killed - yet - because it's my belief that her death will coincide with Cosima's. The creative team haven't written a character out yet - they prefer to dispose of them permanently, which is why I see this in Delphine's future should Cosima die. The hallucination Cosima had of Delphine before she woke to find it was in fact Kira waking her was a clear signal that their bond is still there despite the events of past weeks. It's not over for either of them yet, though this is definitely the biggest bump in the road they've had to face thus far in their relationship.

In perhaps the most humorous moment of this week's episode (there wasn't much else to laugh about), fresh from her Prolethean compound escape last week, Helena's sense of direction led her to Art's door, who wasted no time in calling Felix for advice on what to do next. Felix went to see Helena and Art, though Helena wasn't coming clean as to what happened at the "fish people's ranch".

The return of Paul for the first time in a month was a welcome relief in my eyes. Clearly he had used his time wisely, integrating himself into the military. Siobhan and Paul helped themselves to a cup of tea while they waited for Cal to arrive in a beautiful stretch limo. Inside the limo is Dr. Marian Bowles, the new centerpiece of power, who knows more than anyone currently in the series knows about the clones and how they came to be.

Sarah later travels to Marian's mansion where the pair discuss the biggest turning point the series has seen. Marian's daughter, Charlotte, is another clone, of the same "make and model" as all the other clones the series is based around. The only one still alive after more than 400 attempts, Marian reveals she adopted Charlotte, in a similar fashion to how Siobhan adopted Sarah. Marian reveals she is just one of many pieces in the puzzle of multinational corporations who have interests in the clone trials.

She goes further by revealing the military involvement in Project LEDA. The military never shut down the project - instead they split it into two separate autonomous entities, with LEDA looking after the female clone program whilst the military retained control of the male clone program codenamed CASTOR. For those interested in the naming conventions, they originate from Greek and Roman mythology. A recreational conspiracy theorist could assume that splitting the program in this was was a strategic decision by the military to investigate the production of superhuman soldiers. I love a good conspiracy, so this admission by Marian has me frothing at the mouth for more.

Orphan Black isn't a show with a lot of cute "awwwwwwww" moments in it, but there was an absolute gem in last night's episode. I'm of course referring to the introduction of Helena to her sestras, Alison and Cosima. The subsequent clone club party was, for me, one of the best scenes in the series. It was a strange feeling of satisfaction mixed with sadness because you knew the reunion wouldn't last long. It's also worth mentioning the acting and technical brilliance in this scene, because the series has never featured four clones in a room, all visible in the same camera angle, not to mention dancing with each other. This really was something to behold. Need I say more?

That night, Cosima and Sarah were together in bed talking. There was some incredible dialog between the two here, and bond between them was clearly visible. I was surprised that Cosima didn't make mention of the book Kira had given her to read, which belonged to the late Ethan Duncan. If Cosima did die that morning, Kira would be the one holding the secret to the mystery, and no other living characters would know.

Unfortunately, Helena decided to do another runner, and ended up being captured by the military and put on a military transport plane, destination unknown, as Paul and Siobhan watched on. However, among the group of soldiers standing guard was a clone of Mark, who had just married Gracie, to add to the one who was in Marian's basement. The obvious conclusion is it looks like we are in for a new species of clones next season. One wonders how this will go down with fans, given their love for the current female clones. Ari Millen, the actor who played the three male clones we've seen, had better be up to the task, but from what I've seen of him so far, the creative team have made a very good decision in the actor they've chosen to elevate to this role.

Thanks for reading my review of the second season finale of Orphan Black, and if you've read my prior episode reviews, thanks for reading them too! A big shout out must go to the crew of the series who make magic happen each week. The quality of this series is nothing short of sublime, and it's fantastic to see it succeeding and receiving critical acclaim around the world. Congratulations is also due for Tatiana Maslany, who thoroughly deserved her Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for the second year running.

Don't forget to share your thoughts and theories in the comments below!
About the Author - Jimmy Ryan
Jimmy Ryan lives in New Zealand. He is an avid follower of drama television and has a keen interest for television ratings and statistics. Some of his favorite shows right now are Person of Interest, Scandal, House of Cards, Orphan Black, The Blacklist, The 100, and Castle. You can visit his television ratings website, or follow him on Twitter, @SeriesMonitor.
Recent Reviews by Jimmy (All Reviews by Jimmy)


  1. Just watched and it was one of the best episode I have ever seen. So much happened in this episode! And now I have to wait 9-10 months for the third season.... Let's face it, it is getting renewed.
    Congrats Tatiana!
    ( I haven't read your review yet, don't have much time for now but I'll do it tonight!)

  2. What an amazing season finale - was such an emotional one !

    *CC dance-a-thon ....... Allison smacking Fe's bum was toooo funny !
    *"She's eating... "Hello sestra-brother"
    *Paul meeting Daddy Cal ...... "I don't know how she does it"
    *A new young sestra
    *Castors !
    *Gracie married a Fishy-Castor
    *Duncan's tea-time ...... Sadness!
    *Sarah: DYAD beginning & bedtime w Cos ....... More sadness!!

    ...... What wasn't a highlight ???? It was amazing !!!

    *now the wait........Even More Sadness !!!

  3. I loved the interaction between Cosima and Kira. It shows how intelligent they both are. I wonder in the next season will Cosima utilize Kira's innate brain power. Since she already knows the stuff inside the book.

  4. If Kira has a photographic memory all it might take is fir Cosima to tell Kira a couple of things and she will figure it all out herself

  5. Actually she does and Duncan has already clued her into what the book contains.

  6. I've just binged the entire two seasons over the weekend. Not even sorry about the amount of time that equates to because my god it was impossible to not go to the next episode.

    The clone dance is quite possibly one of THE best moments of any Sci-Fi related series in my opinion. From Cosima pulling off her breathing tube, to Alisons uncomfortably reserved dancing - it was fantastic and such a poignant moment for the entire series.

    The one thing I love about the show is the ability of Tatiana. Though she is the same actress in each role, it's never hard to differenciate between them. It's almost as if she genuinely has siblings playing each clone.

    I hope they don't kill Cosima off next season. She and Sarah are my two favourite clones and I think the show needs the science-buff much like Star Trek needed the technobable to make things sound more fact than fiction.

    I have high hopes for S3 with the cliffhanger. I can see the show ploughing full throttle into some serious mythology. I'm really hoping for Siobhan's allegiences to be properly explored as I adore her character, and for her to surprisingly come out of the wordword as a key player was a genius move on behalf of the writers.

    Now for a Continuum renewal and 2015 will be shaping up to be a fantastic year for Sci-Fi fans.


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