After an amazing start to its sophomore season Orphan Black this week decided to slow down drastically — a bit surprising only two episodes in. Obviously this was going to happen at some point or, maybe not, considering how the first season escalated and trumped itself week after week while unraveling its plot. But “Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion” really stalls itself to allow the fracturing storylines to be seen in full view. It’s not a slow episode per say and there are more than enough surprising moments but after the thrilling forward momentum of the second season premiere, Orphan Black has seemed to shift down a gear although that could be just temporary.
We receive a resolution quickly in the disappearance of Kira (Skyler Wexler) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) as we learn that both are alive and well, living with Mrs. S’ friends “the birdwatchers.” But, for Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and for the audience it’s hard to tell if she can be trusted. The look on her face at the mention of Project Leda is one of confusion and shocking realization but by episode’s end we still don’t know what her deal is. Do we trust Mrs. S? Kira clearly does not all of a sudden and the birdwatchers have an ulterior motive as well it seems. Maria Doyle Kennedy gives one hell of a performance here turning her from protective foster mother to a warrior with no hesitation in shooting someone or stabbing someone in the hand with a kitchen knife. I doubt it’s the last we have seen of her but boy did it make for a lasting impression as Sarah and Kiera haul ass out of the compound at episode’s end.
Elsewhere Alison (Tatiana Maslany) finally learns the truth about her husband Donnie (Kristian Bruun) bringing about a dramatic shift in her sheltered world. She is by no means a naïve individual but this rattles her world that she often tries to pocket; her life as a clone is all she has been despite any chance at building a family. What does this mean for her kids or her community theater work? (Side note: I thought she actually was performing “Cats” but I realize now I know nothing of that beloved musical.) What hurts to watch is how she slowly loses everyone she can trust and no, not Donnie, but even Felix (Jordan Gavaris). Some of the best moments in the show have been the banter and chemistry between Fee and Alison and for him to have to leave with Sarah and Kira at episode’s end is pretty heartbreaking but I would assume we will return to this later. For now Alison continues to have the most interesting storyline as her good housewife exterior is now crumbling and she has to make desperate moves to correct the situation.
What has been very surprising to see is how each clone seems to be governed by a sense of ownership whether it’s Donnie as a monitor, Mrs. S looking over Sarah’s lifeline in Kira, or even Cosima’s (Tatiana Maslany) interaction with Dr. Leekie (Matt Frewer). United they may be by similar DNA they are forever separated by being their own individuals with people behind them who see them with a specific purpose in place. This season there really is a strive made to establish the science versus religion storyline which intersects with Helena (Tatiana Maslany) and her interactions or lack thereof with the religious fanatics brings her more to the center stage than anyone else in this episode and that includes someone who is literally center stage in a musical!
As of this time the storylines are set up and placed off into their own quadrants. It’s going to be quite some time I feel before we see a direct interaction with more than one of them which makes the potential plots more interesting for this season. Before all the clones were banded together by a common mystery which they still share but now they are separate in finding their own individual purposes. This makes Tatiana Maslany’s acting the more fascinating because she now has to be in control of four characters basically moving their own shows along. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the weeks to come but for now this was a good episode to really set these ideas in motion even if it wasn’t as thrilling and shocking as its premiere. See you guys next week!