TV Review: Orphan Black, ‘Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things’


Seven episodes in and heading for the home stretch I am reminded why sometimes it is so difficult to review Orphan Black. The rather simplistic nature of the story combined with the complexity of its themes and undertones makes it tough to dissect each character’s move and each bit of plot development. This week’s episode “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” is one of those that comes on soft but ends with a lot to answer for. We also reach a point now where it’s not about good versus evil but about who do you trust to help influence your decisions.

Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

For every bit of control that tries to be instilled in the Clone Club we get a bit of leverage reversal this week in Rachel. After a meeting with her father, she learns the truth about her mentor Dr. Leekie and the betrayal that she feels towards him. Obviously this was a bad week for Leekie and everything leading up to this point was no help. We met Rachel’s boss Marion Bowles (what up, Michelle Forbes!) who clearly outranks Leekie and devises a plan to get Rachel to assist in offing Leekie. Another new player turns the tide questioning who the real enemy is but the outcome this time was obvious once Bowles put her hands in the cookie jar but we will get to that in a bit.

I’m always disappointed that, despite how interesting she is, Cosima never gets the proper amount of screen time that she deserves. With Helena not present this week we got a little bit more out of her despite her still being confined to the labs of the Dyad Institute. Cosima’s reaction to the revelation that Delphine lied about where the stem cells came from was a crushing moment for her. That speech about being the science felt like it was building for weeks and was more punctual after watching the tender moment those two shared on the operating table. Seriously, medical erotica never looked so good.

Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

For the first time in a while Sarah’s storyline seems so undefined. She feels without an identity or a purpose at the moment and with a lot of small lies here and there she is not being truthful to herself. It was nice to see her come back into the fold with the other clones by aiding Alisson but every step she made this week felt so out of place. I must say though every moment Kiera has a chance to be cute it’s the best; she has been written as a rather bright and understanding child. When she removed her tooth to help the situation with the stem cells it says a lot of how aware of the situation she is.

There were a lot of statements made by the clones this week that defined them for their independence in their choices, monitor or no monitor. Alisson, despite playing the housewife role, has always been a lot smarter than probably some people give her credit for. She was quick on her toes when she realized Vick was talking to DiAngelis behind her back. To top it off you get her finally blowing up Donnie’s spot about him being a monitor (although that came after the realization that he wasn’t completely aware of the situation). The moment he enters the room and sees both Alisson and Sarah is not one of shock as much as it is dumbfounded. Most of the comedy this week ensues at the Rehab facility and a lot of it is gold if you go by the often dark humor that the show produces. Between Donnie’s dead on impression of Alisson and Vick’s gag worthy apology to Sarah that turned into him passing out from a drug laced tea, these were the lightest moments of the episode.

Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
Photo Credit: © Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Ah, Donnie. You went from being such a side bar character to an interesting one after this week and for all the wrong reasons, in fact, your contribution to this week’s cliffhanger was the last thing I expected to happen. It’s a testament to the show’s ability to just build tension on such a quiet and reserved level that when something as insane as Donnie accidentally shooting Leekie happens (not that he wasn’t dead in the water already) it makes a shocking impact. This really is a show motivated and built on its possibilities and ideas more than the big events but they are always welcomed. We still have three episodes left with endless possibilities and as always the questions are unfolding with every cliffhanger.

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Jason Stives is the Music Editor of Pop-Break as well as the resident Anglophile and Pop-Break representative for BBC America conducting weekly reviews of Doctor Who and Orphan Black. He is currently a contributing writer for and a freelance creative consultant for fundraising and marketing campaigns in New Jersey’s various art communities. He is a graduate of Rutgers University’s class of 2010 with a bachelors in Journalism and Media Studies. When he isn’t attending concerts or writing the great American novel he moonlights as lounge crooner J.M Heavyhart turning the works of Dokken and Dio into Sinatra-esque standards (or at least he would like to be). Follow his constant retweets and occasionally witty banter on Twitter at @jaystives.

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