That was the most anguishing year of my life to get through, and no, not because of my own personal life, but because I had to wait longingly for Season 2 of Orphan Black. When I reviewed a screener copy of the BBC America show, which returned tonight in dazzling and twisting fashion, I watched it through an expected filter. The show’s premise, combined with a slow burn in its first few episodes starring mostly actors I had never heard of, seemed decent at best but never thrilling. Then I continued through the next nine episodes and by the end it was obvious there was something special and completely original here under the guise of traditional sci-fi tropes. It was ultimately a show that, and I may get some flak for this, a show I enjoyed far more than the most recent season of Doctor Who.
The show displays a great sense of build and mystery slowly peeling away its many layers through a lead with tremendous talent that embodies a great balance of a strong female role in current television. Each episode insisted on improving week after week but it wouldn’t be pulled off without its impressive lead that may as well have more credibility with a fan base than the show itself. Tatiana Maslany is no longer an unknown, a statement that can be rectified by her Golden Globe nomination this past January. Her ability to put so much personality and distinction into the many clones she plays doesn’t just come down to the writing as it does her conviction and passion for each separate character. Thankfully all of this returned in full force with the Season 2 premiere which gives us far more than anticipated and never slows down.
Beginning immediately after last year’s cliffhanger, where Sarah discovers that both Kiera and Mrs. S have disappeared, she finds herself in a diner on a rainy night where she is confronted by two armed men. After quick bloody shoot out that leaves one cowboy and the diner owner dead, Sarah finds Felix to plan the next move. Immediately all these tropes satisfy you the moment they return and I must say I greatly missed many of the dry quips of Fe. Anyway, Sarah believes greatly that the disappearances of her daughter and foster Mother is at the hands of Rachel Duncan who we met in the previous season finale and who Sarah’s ally and Beth’s monitor Paul is working for. Along the way Cosima is coming closer to crossing paths again with Dr. Leekie as she continues to show signs of illness.
For the most part the storylines continue as so and everyone stays the path in development but one person in particular is fleshing out greatly. Further development is made early on in Alisson who seems to be taking the most interesting of turns. Her season 1 innocence and reluctance to break her soccer mom lifestyle slowly chipped away towards the end of the first season climaxing in her willingness to watch Ansley die in front of her via trash compactor strangulation (there’s a new kink for ya). Here we see her going as far as purchasing a “peace maker” giving off some early Walter White like character traits. Oh, and she is in a community theater production of “Cats” which Felix is crest fallen to hear; scary stuff right there.
Already the show is laying the ground work for a science versus organized religion discussion as we are reintroduced to the Prolethians, a group of religious fanatics who are trying to stop the clones and that used the deranged Helena to hunt down and assassinate them; her death at the hands of Sarah’s smoking gun prevented this. Or did it? Apparently not! Helena’s sudden appearance in a hospital wounded was the last thing I expected to have happen. We all saw her take that bullet right to the chest, right? If this premiere didn’t stack its cards high enough here is one more for the deck. Already season 2 of Orphan Black is off to a rollicking and exciting start and I look forward to being there with you guys for the ride over the next nine weeks. Cheers, mates!