TV Recap: Orphan Black, ‘Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est’

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I realize that after reviewing this season of Orphan Black for five weeks now I have failed to mention the fact that all the episode titles are quotes from Sir Francis Bacon, a man who was an early supporter of the scientific method. This week’s episode “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” translates to “all knowledge itself is power” which is a big theme this week as we finally learn more about the mysterious Rachel Duncan. There are the simple things we already know; that she was the adopted daughter of the scientists who headed Project Leda and that all the clones stem from her but internally what we don’t know is just how much power she has and how she chooses to use it as both a subject and patient zero.

Photo: Jan Thijs/BBC America
Photo: Jan Thijs/BBC America

This week Rachel makes Paul her monitor which on one end shows that she still has to follow the protocol from which all other clones abide by but it’s her means of being able to do it that enforces the ideas of dominance and power this week. Paul has kind of become a weak link this season and through lack of information his place even as a monitor seems pointless. Rachel clearly likes Paul and we see her power flexed more during her incredibly seductive activity with Paul in the latter half of the episode. This could have all come crashing down seeing that Helena was close by in sniper’s range of both of them but Sara had something to say about that. Paul’s purpose here gets a bit of an identity when he pulls Felix into the situation by trying to frame him for murder. Now the clones are all connecting back to one another on their journey which also results in Helena and Sara sort of bonding through some dire means.

The ‘seeestra’ connection is growing stronger but out of all these events there is a level of deception I can’t put my finger on. For Sara much of the rocky road in front of her started with a series of lies and withholding information. First it was to Felix who went as far as to leave her and Kiera with Cal and now Kiera is even starting to resent her mother’s absence and lack of information. Even with Helena I question how honest Sara is being to her twin but it also comes out of distrust for someone who did try to kill her.

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/BBC America
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/BBC America

As I had said a few reviews back there has been great emphasis on domination; obviously each clone having some kind of monitor means that there is intentional male dominance but the manipulation of each of their purposes by outside sources has said a lot. This week those roles were reversed as we saw a combination of physical and metaphorical domination from all sides; Helena handcuffing Art in his apartment, Rachel’s intimate domineering of Paul, and Cosima making a deal with Leekie that allowed Sara time to find out more about Project Leda. These are the exact reasons Orphan Black is one of the most progressive shows on television in regards to female driven stories. With the clone club there is enough room for vulnerability while still being in control of any situation presented.

Now at the half way mark Orphan Black’s sophomore season still has a lot to tie up and has in a way slowed on spinning the revelation yarn each week. The possibility of Professor Duncan or “swan man” being alive isn’t too surprising, I mean, lab explosion cover ups are a dime a dozen in science fiction. It intentionally steers the show in a big direction that allows room to spread out and maybe milk some ideas for a few weeks. Not too much should be revealed each week let alone each season because once all the facts are laid out about the clones than the jig is up and the show might as well close up shop.

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/BBC America
Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/BBC America

However power is key in this world and it goes back to the title of this episode. The more the clones learn about each other individually the more they can take control of their own lives but the more power that comes from that knowledge more they have the ability to play the part of God for their personal decisions and those of others. Sara from my standpoint has the most to gain as she lacks an identity in her life compared to her fellow clones and yes, that includes Helena who she is banded by blood with. “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est” once more slowed the engine but as next week’s preview shows things will shift into third gear once more as we barrel our way towards the finale in mid-June.

Related Articles:

Review: Orphan Black, ‘Governed As It Were By Chance’ (Jason Stives)

Review: Orphan Black, ‘Mingling Its Own Nature With It’ (Jason Stives)

Review: Orphan Black, ‘Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion’ (Jason Stives)

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