The Orphan Black season 3 premiere was a little underwhelming, but episode 2, “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis,” is everything I’ve been waiting for. Not only do most of the Leda clones feel like a piece of the same puzzle again, but so do the Castor clones as well.
Tatiana Maslany delivers as usual, but Ari Millen’s Rudy steals the episode. After Seth frees Rudy, the two opt to have a little fun. Rudy brings a woman home for the night and they seem to be hitting it off, but little does she know, her new beau likes to share. In a handful of stunningly haunting visual tricks, Seth gets closer and closer until Rudy’s poor date finally realizes she’s in the middle of a threesome.
The two definitely come across as absolute psychopaths, but at the same time, there is an undeniable gentleness to Rudy and, as this episode progresses, it becomes clear that he’s actually a human being with feelings. After his introduction at the end of season 2, I automatically pegged Rudy as a murderous hothead, but that scene between him, Seth and Paul changes things. Rudy doesn’t lash out at Paul after Seth stumbles through his true/false test. He’s genuinely concerned for his brother’s safety and clearly understands that Paul has the upper hand. Rudy’s got no problem pushing some buttons, but he’s smart enough to know what’s going on and who’s in charge, and in a brilliant twist, that establishes an intriguing connection between Castor and Leda’s agendas.
Even though Cal (Michiel Huisman) attempts to take a step in a better direction by buying a home from him, Sarah and Kira, it quickly becomes clear that settling down isn’t an option – not yet at least. While Cal’s home alone, Paul comes over for a surprise visit. Paul attempts to play dumb by asking Cal what Sarah was doing in Marion Bowles’ basement, but Cal turns the tables on him, revealing that he knows far more than he ever let on, and this new detail might be why. Cal isn’t just a resourceful lumberjack. He’s actually a weapons designer who got rich quick and then ditched the business. No, you don’t want the title “war profiteer” on your resume, but if Cal is going this far to hide that information from Sarah, I’d like to bet that some of those weapons he designed were used by Dyad/Topside/the military and likely have something to do with the clone experiments.
Meanwhile, back at Felix’s apartment, Sarah and Kira attempt to spend a quiet night together when we get another brilliant Castor scare, Rudy creeping up on Kira in her tent. It’s a brutal moment for all involved with Sarah begging for her daughter’s life and Rudy clearly conflicted about hurting a child to get what he and his brothers so desperately need. After an especially intense standoff, the show continues to add wildly fascinating layers to Rudy by having him leave Kira safe and sound to tend to Seth who’s in an excruciating amount of pain downstairs. In the most surprising move of the episode, Rudy puts Seth out of his misery. I’m convinced it was largely an act of mercy, but if Rudy has any loyalty to the higher ups, he could have killed Seth in order to keep him from uncontrollably spilling details regarding Castor, Dyad, Topside, etc.
Meanwhile, Cosima and Scott are busy making new discoveries of their own. First, at Felix’s apartment, Cosima becomes the first one to outright mention that there could be a spiritual component to her improving condition, something many considered after Kira’s touch seemed to bring Cosima back to life at the end of season 2. It’s a theory I completely dismissed when it first popped up, but now that Cosima really is considering it, perhaps the idea could come into play this season. However, over at the Dyad, it’s all about hard science. Cosima and Scott have a meeting with Dr. Nealon (Tom McCamus) during which he reveals that the Duncans took the information regarding the original Castor and Leda donors to their graves. Looks like it’s back to The Island of Dr. Moreau for Scott and Cosima.
Then we’ve got Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper) and the military folks trying to find answers by using Helena. In one of the most unforgettable scenes of the episode, Helena takes one of those true/false exams but, in true Helena form, she makes it frustratingly difficult for the military personnel testing her. That little scorpion introduced in the premiere episode proves her worth by reminding us of what Helena was like when we first met her, somewhat scatterbrained yet also well aware of where she is and what she’s dealing with. However, I’m not quite sure that Helena can handle Virginia’s manipulation. It’s clear Virginia has an agenda is up to no good, but there’s also a warm, motherly quality to her that Helena could certainly fall victim to – especially if Virginia keeps giving her big plates of food.
And then, per usual, Alison is off working on a random project in her own little world. However, unlike in the premiere episode, this time around, it’s actually quite fun seeing what she’s up to. The idea of Alison running for local office isn’t too thrilling, but the idea of her buying a kid’s drug dealing business to gain constituents certainly is.
Whereas “The Weight of This Combination” focused a bit too much on the secretive organizations running the show, “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” taps back into what makes Orphan Black an especially engaging series, the human side of this whole clone operation. There’s still a lot going on, but the episode can handle it because most of the details are rooted in character development, not convoluted mysteries.
Episode Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent
Sequencing and Analyzing:
- “Cosima, these numbers, they’re great, I just can’t explain them.” – Scott “Maybe it’s about more than numbers.” – Cosima.
- “I could beat her, Donnie. I could beat her like a French meringue.” – Alison.
- “Come on. Team Hendrix. Down but not out, am I right? Fist me. Fist me!” – Donnie.
- “Hard science requires hard choices.” – Dr. Nealon
- What’s the deal with Seth and Rudy stealing a lock of hair from that woman? They’re after the “original simple,” but what’s the purpose of taking that one?
- “Where are these mangos?” – Helena
- “The Mark face boys, they are your babies?” – Helena
- “You’re not expendable to me … or my boys.” – Virginia
- “I have just found my voter base and I suspect they will be very loyal supporters, don’t you?” – Alison
- Cal was living in an RV. Why does he have a whole box of plates to unpack?
- I’m glad that Mark is back, but at this point, it’s pretty clear that the writers’ choice to make Mark a clone doesn’t quite connect to what we saw him do throughout the second season. First off, does anyone get a Rudy vibe from Mark during the season 2 premiere restaurant scene? And then we’ve also got to ask, why was Mark with the Proletheans to begin with? If he were loyal to his Castor brothers, it’d make sense for him to be embedded with them knowing that they were trying to find out more about what makes Helena and Sarah special, but then why would he be burning off his two-headed horse tattoo now? Perhaps falling for Gracie changed things and he’s trying to protect the baby?