Orphan Black has been on a roll in the back half of the third season, focusing back in on character—rather than plot—with tremendous results. Unfortunately that forward momentum stalls in this episode, as Sarah, Felix, and Mrs. S head to London to find the Castor original. While their trip across the pond allows for one of the episode’s best moments, Mrs. S rocking out with her former band, it also leads to the latest development in what has been a disappointingly plot-heavy season. It’s fun to watch Maria Doyle Kennedy perform one of her own songs (“Stuck”), but that’s not why it’s such an effective moment. The jam session gives much-needed nuance and background to the woefully underserved Mrs. S, humanizing her and letting the audience, and Sarah and Felix, see a bit of what she was like before Projects Leda and Castor took over her life.
So far this season, Alison’s subplot has struggled, partitioned off from the rest of Clone Club and driven by one out of character move after another. Thankfully this changes with “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate”, which folds Felix and Cosima into Alison’s story, making it instantly more relevant. It’s great to see Felix helping out with a more mundane problem than usual and in one of the episode’s best moments, we finally get to see Cosima try to pass as one of her sisters.
Orphan Black has had a solid second season so far, bringing interesting new developments for most of the characters (and enough fun with Alison to make up for her somewhat lackluster arc). This week, things kick up a notch, with more action and suspense and serious legwork done to prop up the less successful corners of the show. A key element of what works here is the focus of the episode- unlike in previous weeks, “Governed as It Were by Chance” is very much the Sarah show. We spend memorable moments with the other clones, but Sarah is our throughline, digging into the mysteries of Mrs. S and pulling the audience along for the ride.
Orphan Black, Ep. 2.02, “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” wisely moves series in new directions
Orphan Black came back running, literally, last week and episode two continues this momentum with another strong episode. The season one-ending decisions by Alison and Sarah to sign, and not sign, their deals, respectively, remain less of a limiting factor than many may have guessed, though that surely can’t last much longer. With Alison on to Donnie, she’s likely to begin acting out again. Having signed her rights away, how much space will The Dyad Institute give her before they intervene? Tatiana Maslany continues to shine particularly bright as Alison and her desperation at the end of the episode is palpable, and incredibly affecting.