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Review: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? on Orphan Black

SPOILER ALERT: Please do not read on unless you’ve seen the Season 3, Episode 3 of Orphan Black, titled “Formalized, Complex, and Costly.

Oh my god, the clones are actually sisters and brothers! OK, so maybe it’s not that exciting as far as revelations go (in fact, it’s kind of obvious that they would be related), but it does add another dynamic to Orphan Black, and even offers the possibility that they can team up and take on Dyad … and maybe even the Prolethians, who are back in fine flower-dress form this week.

It’s hard to tell who the real enemy is in Episode 3. Is it Rudy, who had to kill his own brother because he was defective and it was “protocol”? He goes to extreme measures all the time, but we can’t forget that he’s had a military life, is a messed-up clone, and is on an assigned mission to bring back the genetic material.

Is it Mark? The poor guy genuinely wants to separate himself from the clones and just go off with Gracie. Sure, he tortures Willard Finch (Nicholas Campbell looking his grizzliest) for information on Henrik’s scientific work and inadvertently kills him, but Mark’s motivations are as pure as Sarah’s.

Sarah is looking for Helena, and will stop at nothing to get it. If it means killing someone, she will. So does that make her any less of a villain than Mark? Nope. We sympathize with Sarah because we know her struggles. We don’t know the male clones’ stories—at least not in full. And hey, we’ve gotten to know Mommy a bit better now, and she seems to be a few shades of crazy. Having her raise a bunch of boys (which is what I’m assuming at this point) under a military structure probably provided some serious scars, both internal and external.

To put it simply, I’m having trouble figuring out who to root for. Obviously I love Helena and ultimately want Sarah to succeed in her quest to bring her home, but I feel badly for the Castor clones. I’m a tad concerned that these guys were just introduced to be killed off one by one, with Rudy and Mommy eating bullets in the Season 3 finale.

I’m assuming Mark is dead at this point. If Bonnie (Kristin Booth, represent!) missed from that distance with that rifle, then she’s a terrible shot. So that’s two Castor clones in as many episodes. It’s going to be impossible to form any real attachment to them, and makes me really fear that one-by-one concern, above.

This main-storyline tedium is what makes the Cosima-Scott-Felix brain extraction so fun, and so necessary. As disgusting as it was—I had to stop eating for the duration of the scene—it was a nice break from the cryptic conversations and runarounds of the plot. There was humour, amazing special effects, and hey, it’s interesting! We want that science nerd stuff, it’s engaging; it also brings the story forward when we learn that the Castor clones are suffering from irreversible brain disintegration. And who doesn’t love the occasional Felix rejoinder?

The other other subplot is ticking along according to plan: Alison and Donnie are successfully winning over the local housewife population with their drug dealing, and getting support for her school trustee campaign. I still stand by this subplot as being totally ridiculous and pretty unrealistic, but this is a show about clones who’ve found another group of clones, so who am I to judge? The scene in the garage was entertaining, mostly because watching Alison one-up anyone is a joy. We’ll see if this matures into anything of substance, or if it’s just another distraction from the density of the main plot.

One thing I will ask for is: more Helena. I can’t tear my eyes away when she’s on-screen. She’s either going to beat the Castor clones, or join them, and honestly I don’t know which one I prefer.

Clone of the Week: Helena. Her sassy comebacks make my night.

Random Thoughts:

  • Holy Canadian TV actor cameos! Nicholas Campbell as Willard Finch and Kristin Booth reprising her Bonnie role, all in one night! Such a pleasure.
  • The scene with Rachel undergoing rehabilitative therapy was spellbinding. Couldn’t get enough. Her dialogue reiterated to me that she will eventually go after/try to kill Delphine. So she can’t say “key” right now, but in a matter of weeks she’ll be back to the same ol’ Rachel, except with a badass eyepatch.
  • Did anyone else hear Cosima still coughing? That scared me.
  • Alison: “Go sell a house, Marcie!” and then “I need to cut something.”
  • Why was Sarah still talking/whispering into her phone when she’s trying to sneak into the barn? Who does that? Stealth 101: No phone talking.
  • Shout-out to Jilly’s, the now-gone strip joint in downtown Toronto, which makes an appearance in the background when Sarah and Art question the midwife.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on Space.

Chris Jancelewicz

Chris Jancelewicz

Chris has been an entertainment reporter for almost a decade, covering Canadian and international TV and movies for numerous publications. Mostly known for his work at The Huffington Post, Chris has conducted hundreds of celebrity interviews, including Hugh Hefner, Scarlett Johansson and Michael C. Hall -- just to name a few. You can follow him on Twitter at @CJancelewicz.
Chris Jancelewicz

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