Everything about Orphan Black, eh?

Review: Gains and losses on Orphan Black

SPOILER ALERT: Please do not read on unless you’ve seen the Season 3, Episode 2 of Orphan Black, titled “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis.

One down already, and we’re only two episodes in!

Deranged and obviously defective Project Castor clone Seth was shot to death by his brother Rudy, who either couldn’t bear to see Seth suffer anymore, or couldn’t be bothered to continue cleaning up his messes. Seth, we hardly knew ye. I will miss that moustache. It seems rather early in the Orphan Black season to bid farewell to such a potentially rich character (not to mention the possible dynamics between he and his brothers), but it might be a device to draw our attention to the obvious comparison pairing: Helena and Sarah.

I could argue that Helena is “defective” like Seth, but I don’t really see her that way. I see her as a product of abuse, hyper-intelligent, and street-smart. Yes, her one confidante at the moment is a scorpion, but you try being in a crate for an extended period of time and see how you’re doing! Anyway, we can see how much Sarah is driven by her desire to save her sister—no matter what the cost. Enough, in this case, to send Kira to Iceland with Cal (oh, Cal) so she can resume her Helena search-and-rescue without endangering her daughter.

And Helena, even though she’s been sold to the bad guys by Mrs. S., is still loyal to her sisters. When Dr. Coady (“Mommy”) tries to sway her with platitudes and compliments, Helena simply utters “I don’t believe you.” At this point, she still believes she has an ally in Sarah and the girls, and there’s no way Sarah betrayed her. She’s right, of course, but it’s only a matter of time (and waterboarding) before Helena is reprogrammed to go against her fellow Project Leda members. Lest we forget that she’s pregnant, too—a very valuable thing to every camp on the show.

Seeing Cal, Paul and Art for the first time in Season 3 reminded me just how weak the male characters are (with the exceptions of Felix and Donnie). Cal exists as a device to take care of Kira and physically protect someone when he needs to, plus he’s easy on the eyes; Paul is also the stereotypical “hot” guy, but he doesn’t really do much of anything other than threaten on occasion and lurk in the shadows; and oh man, Art. I can see he’s no better at policing than he was in the series premiere.

On one hand, as I’ve expounded above, it’s irritating to have all these fringe male characters (other than the clones) just popping up when necessary to move the plot forward. But on the other hand, it’s interesting to see the gender flip, and I wonder how many current TV shows have unjustifiably weak female characters, merely there to be eye candy. On a show like Orphan Black, which is female-strong, I think it’s an acceptable thing (for now) to have these supplemental people contribute now and then.

Ari Millen was more prominently featured in this episode, and that was a pleasure. Obviously an outstanding actor, he brings a lot of charisma to the male clones. He is at once convincingly scary (as Rudy) but also sincere (as Mark). I think it’s going to be fun watching him unpack the characters over the remaining eight episodes. His scenes with Tatiana are just a joy.

I am also a big fan of the nerd duo, Cosima and Scott. With Delphine “away in Europe” (a.k.a. Evelyne Brochu shooting another TV show), the two scientists are working together to figure out where they stand with Dyad. They’ve got the key to Ethan’s work, and that’s their ace in the hole. We’ll have to wait and see how they wield it.

As for the Alison, Donnie and Ramon side-plot, I don’t want to spend too much time on it because I think it’s ridiculous. As much as I love to watch the married couple bicker and be silly, the idea of running for school-board trustee while being everyone’s drug dealer just makes no sense. Why would anyone willingly elect their drug dealer in a position involved with their child’s education? Alison would have no power over these people. Sure, she knows that they do drugs, but so what? Surely there are other ways to get money. I don’t know, the whole thing just seems very random.

We’ve trudged through the beginning here, but the through-line for the season seems clear: Sarah is now on the hunt for Helena, phalanxed by Mrs. S., Felix and her sisters, and Project Castor (along with Mommy) and Dyad are after them. Like Sarah says: “Now we find Helena and finish this shit.”

Keep it simple, Orphan Black.

Clone of the Week: Rudy. Convincingly terrifying and engaging, I wanted to see more of him. Also, second episode in a row featuring Ari Millen’s ass.

Random Thoughts:

  • Anyone else counting the minutes until Mrs. S. and Mommy throw down? Mother-figure fight!
  • Thanks to the readers for pointing out my errors last week—I could swear Alison said “diddle,” but apparently it was “doodle.” Also, the new Leda clone is spelled “Krystal,” not “Crystal.” Love you Orphan Black fans, so dedicated!
  • Felix on the new clone phones: “Blue as the skies of Lesbos!”
  • Donnie: “Fist me.”
  • The fake moustache budget for this show has now substantially declined.
  • That hockey-in-the-house scene with Cal, Kira and Sarah was so contrived I had to hold in my laughter.
  • Michiel Huisman (Cal) is so drastically underused on this show, it’s almost criminal. See: Game of Thrones.

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

Link: Ari Millen of ‘Orphan Black’ on Being a Clone and a Dad

From Kathryn Shattuck of The New York Time:

Ari Millen of ‘Orphan Black’ on Being a Clone and a Dad
A maniacal leer, a zipper scar slicing his cheek, a body pumped to kill: You wouldn’t want to run into Rudy, the new guy on the cellblock in BBC America’s “Orphan Black,” in a dark hallway.

But Ari Millen, 33 — who plays Rudy as well as his clone brothers Seth, Miller and Mark — didn’t seem the least bit scary in a recent phone call from Toronto, where Lily, his daughter with his fiancée, the actress Kassandra Santos, squalled in the background just 32 hours after her birth. Continue reading.

Poll: Who are your favourite Canadian TV cops?

Have you heard the news, Rookie Blue fans? Season 6 of Global’s homegrown cop drama returns on Thursday, May 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Andy, Swarek, Oliver, Dov and the rest make up the latest crop of cops created for Canadian TV shows. How do the Rookie Blue folks stack up against Det. Murdoch and the Toronto Constabulary? Where do Haven‘s east coast coppers rate against B.C. boys and girls in blue?

We’ve put together an exhaustive list of current and past Canadian TV cops for you to choose your three favourites from. If we missed any, type them up in the comments section. Let the voting begin!

Who are your favourite Canadian TV cops?

View Results

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Comments and queries for the week of April 24

Orphan Black feedback
I wouldn’t bet on Rachel killing Delphine if only because she clearly has brain damage, so possibly some physical struggle as well as speaking. I sort of felt badly for Rachel during the eye socket torture but went back to hating her by the end for the Helsinki plan. Anyone who threatens Alison is on my bad side instantly.

Clone of the week: Sarah as Rachel. Also, the scene of Felix turning her into Rachel felt like a behind-the-scenes look at the make-up department.—Dan


No love for Coldwater Cowboys
Most of these boys/woman should be put in a rubber room so as not to cause injury to themselves and others around them. The way these people carry on makes me ashamed to be a Newfoundlander. They have more troubles in one season than most people have in their entire fishing carrier. You truly paint a sad pic of Newfies.—Ern


More Murdoch finale chat
Wow! Careful, concise and constructive comments regarding the interview and the possibilities that the course of the show might take, without devolving into name-calling and random political diatribes … how is this possible?! Oh … right … you folks are from Canada, where rational differences of opinion are possible and even encouraged and no trolls allowed! Must be nice. I do have some hope, however, since Sharon appears to be American; between the two of us, we may be the beginnings of a civility movement in the States. All joking aside, I recently discovered The Artful Detective by happenstance and find it charming. Although I have read the synopses of the first six seasons (in order to make some sense of the relationships), I will have to delve into my Netflix account to watch the episodes, as time allows. All the actors look like they are enjoying themselves immensely and they “play it straight,” with only an occasional scandalous wink (think of Julia removing her black wool bathing stockings at the lake) at their audience. I hope the ensemble wants to remain together for many more seasons of Murdoch! P.S. I really enjoy how the show entwines actual historical figures and events with the characters’ story lines … great fun!—Susan

Got a comment or question about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or @tv_eh.

Link: How the creators of Orphan Black manage all those clones

From Joel Keller of CoCreate:

How the creators of Orphan Black manage all those clones
“I think a lot of shows get forced into slowing down, just because of the material, and frankly we probably should be slowing down, and a lot of time that would be exciting and fun to do but it just never happens. If we left the foot off the gas for too long it doesn’t feel like our show, and we can do it for character moments and beats, and those are great moments of relief, but it’s great that the audience is on edge because they know that they’re going to get slapped in the face every time we do that.” Continue reading.