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TV Episode Review: “Orphan Black” “Mingling Its Own Nature with It” (02.03, 2014)

Relationships are breaking down everywhere in Orphan Black. None of the groups we had in place at the start of this episode are still in the same place and stable at the end.

“We are your instruments in the war for creation.”

The Proletheans’ new order, being led by the bizarre Henrik Johanssen, is summed up by his extraordinarily creepy marriage ceremony with Helena. He explains that, unlike their past leader, he believes that he can channel his faith through science. To him, impregnating Helena would be a symbol of God’s triumph in the modern world. Science didn’t know, in his view, how to make Helena fertile, so if she is, it must be from God. (Yeah, like Nick Naylor said, “If you’re wrong, I’m right.”)

The fact that Helena is still barely even conscious not just through the “wedding” but even as Henrik carries her off to what I can only assume is the bedroom where he plans to impregnate her does not seem to bother any of the Proletheans, but it sure makes the entire sequence as creepy as possible. Helena has always been unhinged to the point that it would be possible to argue that she’s never in control of her actions anyway, but docility has never been a trait of hers–she’s still broken. And make no mistake about it, this sequence is really better described as a ritual rape than a marriage.

Now, we can also see the cracks forming in this group–Henrik’s daughter Gracie (Who is played really well by Zoe De Grand Maison–her desire to fit in with her family but discomfort with her father’s actions is palpable from her first appearance but not really spelled out until early in this episode.) doesn’t believe in her father’s vision of the merger of modern science with religion while the way Mark keeps looking at Helena seems to suggest that he will be jealous that his father is the one getting to inseminate her. It’s a bit difficult to know whether this is a rift that’s likely to pull the group apart rather than just this trio, but it’s there.

“But ‘mummy’ threw my Visa card out the window.” “Because they might track us.”

This exchange shows us the cracks in the Felix-Sarah-Kira unit that has been the most stable grouping in the show. And then Sarah takes them to meet Cal, Kira’s father, which makes Felix feel like a fourth wheel on a tricycle–“There’s no place for me here.” Felix has always been there for anyone who needed him, and the discovery that Sarah has someone else in mind to help take care of Kira makes him feel useless, so he decides to go help the clone who most recently begged him for help–Allison.

Felix may have accepted Sarah’s activities in the past, but he also knows just how destructive she can be and has been, telling her, “You’re a wrecking ball.” Could this moment be what leads to Felix turning? He can’t continue to be there for Sarah forever–that’s not how paranoid thrillers work–but rather than dying or otherwise being cut off from Sarah, is it possible that he starts to worry that Sarah is the worst thing for Kira and helps the Dyad?

“He’ll be like, ‘Great Scot, I’ve created life itself!” “Cosima, come here. I think you should see this.”

First of all, that impersonation was sort of scarily good. Why do they have other cast members? Just let Maslany play everyone. Actually, just fire all other actors in the world and let her play everyone ever.

Cosima, the one who is seemingly in the most dangerous position down the hall from Leekie and sleeping with her monitor, is the one in the most stable position. She and Delphine aren’t perfect–Cosima even does call her a “bitch” here–but Delphine is also able to respond perfectly, with complete understanding of what Cosima was saying and no return malice. The only real cracks we get here are the fact that Delphine feels like Cosima isn’t taking her situation seriously enough, which is somewhat true.

“Just wondering. . . . Who are you?”

Cal builds “pollinator drones” for areas where the bee population is too low, but his partners sold out to the military. Can we get more parallels to what the Proletheans are doing with Helena? He built a piece of modern technology to help nature through its own woes only to have someone else take it and use it as a weapon. So, he’s retreated away from science and modernity toward nature, living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a patch of weed out back and a chicken coop out front.

At the end of the episode, he has Kira and Sarah has just been in a car accident not far away, so Cal’s going to end up caught up in this web. Is he the Kathy Hale of this situation–an innocent victim who ends up being the only one the hero can trust? Or is he another old friend who turns out to be part of the conspiracy?


  • “My worst nightmare–not having done my hair for picture day.” Sometimes I wonder if Felix is a bit too much of a walking stereotype, but sometimes he’s just hilarious.
  • When Felix is discussing his departure with Sarah, he is apparently wearing a purple sequin shirt underneath the ratty grey sweater . . .
  • “Your play?” “Don’t belittle me, Cosima!” I’m impressed that no one else belittled it yet! How did Sarah not respond to Felix by saying, “Oh yeah, she needs you for a musical. It’s not like I just escaped armed gunmen with my daughter and that may be more important?” I like that everyone else seems willing to accept that Allison is actually so high-strung and Loony Tunes that her musical actually is a big deal.
  • Why are there so many friendly local cops in movies and TV who will cover up anything for someone just because they think this is a “good” person? And don’t bad things always happen to them?
  • “New Waver, huh? Sounds like ’em.” Much like the description of David Tennant as having “sort of ‘modern’ hair” on Doctor Who, calling Felix a “New Waver” is a somehow perfect description that seemingly means nothing.
  • Want to know more about the weird musical Allison is performing? I think this is its website.
  • And the Polar Bears have a review up as well–we didn’t talk about many of the same things this week, it seems! Fun!





7 responses to “TV Episode Review: “Orphan Black” “Mingling Its Own Nature with It” (02.03, 2014)”

  1. Chase

    Nice job, as always. I hadn’t caught the Cal/Proletheans connections.

    I’m very glad you singled out the Leekie line. I thought that was amazing, too.

    I missed the Felix class photo line, so maybe I missed others, but I thought this episode was very light on humor (which is bad, because this show does humor so well). I thought it was just an okay episode, but that’s still better than most shows. I know Sarah is a, well, wrecking ball, but like Felix, it kind of hit me this episode just how much of a #*$! up she really is. Which is kind of a downer, since I want to like her.

    I know it seems unlikely, but I wouldn’t underestimate Helena. Henrik seems to be the main character of the Proletheans, but it wouldn’t shock me if Helena kills or maims him during the rape scene that’s foreshadowed for next week. We saw him artificially inseminate a cow; I kind of thought they might do the same with Helena, but if he’s going for the ol’ natural insemination, he may have a surprise in store. Definitely a creepy scene, and equally creepy was how unaffected the rest of the Proletheans seem to be by this rape/wedding.

    I thought the Cosima interaction was great. The ‘bitch’ line was exactly what should have happened as Delphine questioned her ability as a scientist. Cosima’s plot line is moving at about 1/10th the pace of Sarah’s, so it’s not as interesting, but Cosima continues to put some distance from the pack as favorite clone.

    Also, was it Cal driving the truck and saving the day at the end? Can we just call him Mountain Man Paul?

    1. While I immediately thought of Cal, I just don’t see how it’s him. He would have to have either left Kira (Who is also his daughter.) at the cabin with a bleeding out local cop and other police on the way or have taken her along with him while he ran the vehicle into another vehicle. Neither seems very likely, so I think it’s likely someone else.

      If I had to guess, I’d say it’s likely Mr. Big Dick, whom we haven’t seen in a while.

      And I felt like this episode was the weakest so far this season, really. As good as this show has been, it’s not the most consistent. However, I think they could just sit around and do nothing and just have Tatiana Maslany make up characters and random nonsense and it would be worth watching.

  2. Chase

    Also, the AV Club review this week was really thought-provoking, particularly at the end:

    1. Agreed. I never read them because I detest “The Onion,” but maybe I’m missing something there.
      It’s not all that often that someone else does a feminist slant (for lack of a better phrase) on something before I do!

    2. By the way, I think you will find this funny–I looked at my blog stats and saw that there was a big spike in viewers and the biggest sender was Twitter, so I immediately assumed that meant you retweeted the review. It’s enough of a pattern that I can recognize it whenever it occurs!
      Thanks for the support as always, Chase!

      1. Chase

        Happy to help. Reading your OB recaps is a big part of the fun, so I’m always glad to see when it’s posted.

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