BBC America

BBC America

Season two of Orphan Black continues to move at a healthy clip with its second episode, but unlike the premiere this one allows us and the characters a bit more time to breathe. That’s not to imply it’s in any way dull though as we’re actually treated to one of the show’s better action-oriented scenes, and the kicker is that it doesn’t even involve any of the clones (Tatiana Maslany). That’s right, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) finally gets to bust out with some killer moves as she returns this week with a vengeance and a very big secret. The clones aren’t sitting idly by though as we discover something new about each of them too.

The episode’s title is “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion,” and while season one used quotes from Charles Darwin this season’s titles will be derived from the works of Francis Bacon. The difference seems clear on the surface — first season focused on the science and nature of it all, and the second may lean closer to the philosophical side of the equation — but we’ll need more than just these first two episodes to confirm that.

What is clear at this point however is that the divide between reason and faith will be a heavily trafficked topic this season. Tomas is now out of the picture following a nicely choreographed scene that ends with a bolt to his head, but replacing him is an entire sect. And as we all know, where there’s sects there’s sex. Usually of the creepy variety. Henrik Johanssen’s (Peter Outerbridge) family seems normal enough, polygamy aside, but he appears to have a mild obsession with artificial insemination. The opening scene finds him elbow deep in a cow’s anus, and by the end of the episode his intentions with Helena appear similarly minded. He probably won’t need to stick his arm in as far with her though. (I’m not a doctor.)

Helena’s predicament finds her squarely at the intersection of science and religion as Johanssen believes the two are compatible to some degree, but while we learn she’s the “mirror” image of Sarah — an identical twin with her insides flipped — she’s less directly (and more interestingly) mirroring Cosima. Just as Helena’s prime motivation is her religious values, the PhD student turned working scientist is driven by scientific curiosity. The two women haven’t met face to face yet, but they seem destined to collide both physically and ideologically at some point down the road.

The remaining two clones — we’re not counting Rachel because she has awful hair and is on the side of evil — just want to be free to live their lives in peace, but instead are each forced to face a betrayal and come to grips with a loss. Sure Sarah gets her precious little mouth-breather back, but she loses the trust she had in Mrs. S when it’s revealed that her foster mother not only “kidnapped” Kira (Skyler Wexler) at the end of last season but that she’s been hiding some juicy secrets regarding her involvement in Project Leda. What’s Project Leda you ask? Hell if I know, but clearly it’s responsible for the origin of the clones and possibly the weapons training that Mrs. S finally gets to put to good use.

And seriously, how great was that dinner table scene?

Sarah takes Kira and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) on the run with her, and it should be fun to see where they go in their beat-up pickup truck. This by the way is the episode’s only false note as we know there’s no way in hell Felix would have boarded that jalopy without making some kind of sarcastic slam against Sarah’s choice of getaway car. Obviously the trio should leave the city, but I expect we’ll discover next week that they don’t make it very far at all.

Alison meanwhile sees her state of contentment and willful ignorance come to an end when she discovers that not only was poor dead Aynsley not her monitor but that her husband Donnie (Kristian Bruun) actually is. The betrayal forces a return to the sauce in the form of an endless supply of airline-sized liquor bottles, but she’s losing more than just her husband. She’s losing her best friend too, and yes, obviously I’m referring to Felix. She shares a final moment with him before he blows town and blows her off, and it’s once again the episode’s funniest moment. Should I be concerned that the story going forward is threatening to keep Alison and Felix apart? It means fewer laughs because his character really only clicks when he’s bouncing off Alison, but on the other hand it looks like she no longer has anyone there to steady her hand and keep her from going completely off the rails.

Something tells me Donnie will soon be feeling pain far worse than that caused by a little hot glue.

Peripheral characters stayed that way as Art (Kevin Hanchard) and Angela (Inga Cadranel) got a tiny bit closer to the truth, albeit on separate paths, while Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) did her continued best to make everyone in her life like her. I’m kind of over her, and I know that’s a bit blasphemous what with the Delphine/Cosima make-out scene and all, but I don’t know as she’s all that relevant anymore. She originally served as a reason for Cosima to give the Dyad Institute a chance, but now that Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer) and Rachel are giving her a lab and access to Sarah’s genome I think Delphine’s presence is a bit redundant. So yes, I’m predicting her death within the next few episodes. Sorry.

The biggest reveal this week was regarding Mrs. S and Kira’s whereabouts, but once again the magic of the show is less in the revelations and more in the presentation. Strong acting, personality and pacing are a mainstay of Orphan Black, and it shows no signs of losing those traits anytime soon.


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