‘Orphan Black’ splits into four separate storylines this week: Sarah continues her search for her daughter, Cosima decides whether to take Dr. Leekie up on his offer, Alison (once again) suspects that her husband Donnie may be her monitor, and we learn why Helena’s gunshot wound from last season wasn’t fatal.
Although the episode jumps back and forth between these storylines, it’s easier to cover each separately. Let’s start with Helena’s story, which both opens and closes Episode 2. We’re introduced this week to the character of Henrik Johanssen (Peter Outerbridge), the cult-like leader of the Proletheans. We learn from Henrik why Helena didn’t die. Since she’s Sarah’s twin, all her internal organs are a mirror image of Sarah’s – meaning that Helena’s heart is on the right side of her body rather than the left, and the bullet missed her heart. We also find out that the surviving guy who approached Sarah in the café at the beginning of last week’s premiere is named Mark, and is more or less Henrik’s right-hand man. Henrik’s group sneaks Helena out of the hospital and to their compound, which appears to be located on a large farm.
One of the things that the Henrik and the Proletheans want to find out is why all the other clones except Sarah are sterile. Sarah is apparently the only one who has given birth, although Henrik wonders if Helena might also be able to conceive. Since we see Henrik performing a procedure to try to impregnate one of the farm’s cows, it’s not hard to imagine that he’ll be trying to do the same with Helena in future episodes. Henrik gives a long speech towards the end of the episode (right before he has Mark kill Helena’s former handler, Tomas) about how science and faith are inseparable. In fact, this episode is titled ‘Governed by Sound Reason and True Religion’, which is a quote from Francis Bacon regarding what he believed to be the God-given right to use science to better mankind.
Cosima gets short shrift this week. Not a whole lot happens with her character, other than the fact that she accepts Leekie’s offer to work for him at the Dyad Institute, and is presented with a new laboratory, where she and girlfriend Delphine can work side by side “making science” (as Delphine puts it, though I don’t think she was talking about lab work). She also gets a visit from fellow clone Rachel, who wants Cosima to use the lab to find out why Sarah is different from the rest of them. (She’s referring to the fact that Sarah can have babies.)
So far in Season 2, Alison has been the most fun to watch. She continues that streak in this episode, turning to alcohol when she feels the watchful eyes of the friends of deceased Aynsley staring her down at Aynsley’s funeral. She has a talk with Felix and tells him that she’s not sure that Aynsley was really her monitor and still suspects it might be Donnie. Felix suggests setting a trap for Donnie to see if he’s really been assigned to keep tabs on her.
Back at home, Alison makes a phone call (which she knows Donnie is listening to) setting up a meeting with “Sarah.” What Donnie doesn’t know is that it’s not clone Sarah, but Sarah from the musical Alison is participating in. Alison meets Sarah at the grave of Aynsley and, sure enough, catches Donnie there. He makes some lame excuse about following her because he knows she hasn’t yet been able to deal with Aynsley’s death, but Alison now realizes that her husband is really her monitor. She also realizes that she was responsible for the death of an innocent woman.
Finally, we come to Sarah, who has decided to trust Art once again and use his resources to help her find Kira. Early in this week’s episode, Kira calls her mom, but she isn’t able to tell Sarah where she’s at. However, a lead takes Sarah and Art to a local motel room they believe Kira might be. Art leaves the room when he sees Daniel in the parking lot. While Art is dealing with him, Sarah notices a trail of clothes leading back down to the parking lot and towards an abandoned car. As soon as she reaches the car, a strange man shows up and tells her to get into the trunk.
After being driven off to an undisclosed location, Sarah is let out of the trunk to see Mrs. S, who tells her that she’s been the one watching Kira all along. Sarah is taken to a safe house which turns out to be the same house that Sarah was raised in. She vaguely recognizes the others there from her childhood – an older woman named Brenda and her son Barry. Sarah is happy to see her daughter again, but not so happy when Mrs. S says she plans to take Kira back to London with her, where she believes the two of them will be safe.
Sarah’s suspicions of Mrs. S grow, especially when Sarah confronts her about a photograph given to her by her birth mother, which shows a young Mrs. S as part of the clone project (known as Project LEDA). Mrs. S claims not to know anything about the photo, but when Sarah talks to Kira, her daughter tells her that she believes Mrs. S has a lot of secrets. Sarah decides to make a break for it with her daughter in a beat-up truck, but Barry comes out to stop them. It turns out that both Brenda and Barry have sold out their loyalty to the Proletheans. Mrs. S shoots Barry before he can get to Sarah and Kira, allowing them to drive away. Then she goes back inside and finishes off Brenda, whom she has already trapped at the dinner table by putting a long two-pronged fork through one of her hands and a kitchen knife through the other. Okay, so Mrs. S isn’t working for the Proletheans, but is she working for someone else. Can she be trusted?
As always, ‘Orphan Black’ remains a complex and highly entertaining show. It doesn’t waste a viewer’s time by spending too many episodes on any one storyline. (Honestly, an American series would have stretched out the Kira kidnapping for half a season, if not longer.) Nor does it provide long explanations about characters’ backgrounds or motivations. The viewer actually has to do all the heavy lifting, and that’s a good thing. Episode 2 this season is as much fun as the premiere was – perhaps even more so since Paul, by far the dullest and least interesting character on ‘Orphan Black’ (I guess female viewers may like him) doesn’t even make an appearance this week.