I don’t know if any of you guys caught the season finale of Community last week, where the writers capped off an awful season by nearly destroying the darkest timeline by bringing the darker characters into the normal world. It’s a good example of the perils of having actors play against themselves via technical wizardry. In Orphan Black, I have to actively remind myself that Tatiana Maslany is the only actress playing these completely different clone characters. And while it’s obvious from scene to scene as the focus switches over from Sarah’s story to Cosima’s story, whenever Maslany shares the screen with herself, it’s a treat to watch and consistently blows my mind.
The best example in “Parts Developed in an Unusual Manner” is the dive diner lunch date between Sarah and the clone-killer Helena, who marvels at the niceness of the restaurant as she pours sugar on top of her Jell-o. Sarah is hard-boiled and no nonsense, while Helena is childlike in her inability to appear normal around grown-ups. She grew up in a Ukranian convent that saved her from abandonment She’s now under the rather harsh care of whoever Tomas ends up being. He continues trying to convince Helena she is the original, and I’m not sure if it’s just to give her a superiority complex or what.
Instead of going for the ramped-up situational drama that last week’s episode zigged and zagged through, this episode’s pacing is guided by the editing, which stitches together a bunch of smaller scenes that bring everything together in the end. And while there’s a lot of info-dumping and talking, much of it is important information.
Paul is essentially being interrogated by his employer, Olivier, for most of the episode, since Olivier suspects Beth/Sarah of being someone else and suspects Paul of covering things up. These scenes do everything they’re supposed to do. Some light chase scenes, Paul is beaten up for trying to save Sarah’s life by telling her to run, Sarah shows up anyway with her own plan, and everyone gets away accordingly. It all goes interestingly by the book, and informs viewers that something Paul did in Afghanistan is the leverage that Olivier has over him. So it’ll be interesting to see if that turns…Oh, I can’t wait to talk about it anymore.
Olivier has a fucking tail! He’s the owner of a nightclub called Neolution, which is the same science following that Dr. Leekie is involved with, and Olivier answers to Leekie himself. Most of the people who party at Neolution have some sort of biological hack, or body modification, though Fe fits in perfectly without it. Olivier’s “advancement” is having a tail, and after making me curse the gods by only hinting at showing it in one scene, a later scene brings it out in all its skin-toned phallic glory! And what’s more, Helena slices it off, causing a tiny blood geyser to shoot out of Olivier’s back.
Then, in one of the strangest moments of television I’ve seen this year, Helena takes to the dance floor, rhythmically bouncing around in the crowd, waving Olivier’s severed tail like a glowstick. It’s the kind of left-field bizarre that I can’t get enough of. Helena now knows Sarah’s real name, and makes several references to them being friends forever, despite Sarah’s disinterest. I look forward to more of Helena’s wide-eyed behavior as she becomes more integrated into the storyline.
Speaking of people who know about Sarah, detectives Art and Angie figure out that the Jane Doe German clone’s blood matches the DNA of Helena’s blood, though they think it was tampered with. After getting another set of fingerprints from the hand found at the scene – thus ruining all of Sarah’s hard work at covering things up – they figure out that it’s a fingerprint match for Sarah, who they now see looks exactly like Beth. Bum bum bummmm.
Meanwhile, Cosima continues to play her monitor Delphine, getting closer to Dr. Leekie, baiting him for information at dinner. Though she plays her intelligence off as interest, Cosima further throws Delphine off track by coming on to her and kissing her. I’m not sure if this will put any distance between Cosima and Leekie, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
By the by, Alison and Donnie are at a couple’s retreat, after Donnie’s hostage situation last week. Poor dumb guy.
Finally, Sarah finds out from her foster mother that her Brixton upbringing and eventual flight to Canada was at the behest of someone trying to hide her. I suppose that’s how she got away from ever attracting a monitor, assuming she still hasn’t. There are three more episodes in this season that could take us anywhere, especially considering a second season is coming.
Leekie and Olivier now think Sarah is the killer, though Helena’s tail-robbery might convince them otherwise. All of the characters are slowly coming together week after week, and it’s shaping up for an explosive finale, though this show is gloriously free from explosions. And now I’ve got the added bonus of hoping to see more people’s body mods. Can I get a third eye or a third boob somewhere?