TV Review: Orphan Black Delivers Its Best Hour Yet

It’s truly difficult to tell you what I loved most about Orphan Black’s explosive new episode, “Governed By Sound Reason and True Religion (GBSRTR).”

It’s a testament, not only to the storytelling capabilities, but also the creators trust in the show’s audience, that they could cram so much important information and action into one hour of television and make it work. GBSRTR advances the central mystery of Orphan Black, which I just call “What in hell is actually going on here?”, without sacrificing anything much in the process. In fact, this episode is so well paced and packed with big moments, it flies to the finish before you realize it.

GBSRTR touches on one of Orphan Black’s main themes, that is: our secrets, their costs, and the lengths we go to keep them secret. Nearly every character close to our clones at least seems to have a bigger understanding of what is going on and no one knows who they can trust. Dr. Leekie has long since been ruled on the “No” list, now has Cosima close at hand with her new lab. But there’s an even bigger threat at large at Dyad, namely Rachel, the neoclone, who gets reminded of Sarah’s ass kicking moments last week. Rachel takes a bit more than a passing interest in Cosima’s sexuality before handing over Sarah’s genome for in depth examination. It’s a bold, almost overly trusting gesture on Rachel’s part and no doubt meant to test exactly where Cosima’s loyalties lie. One thing is for certain: Sarah’s ability to have a child has caught everyone’s interest.

Even Mrs. S makes a veiled, passing reference to Kira’s greater importance as she works to downplay just what her role is in all of this. When Sarah confronts her with the photo from Project LEDA, Mrs. S perfectly feigns ignorance until necessary and insures Brenda has no idea of LEDA before putting a bullet into her. It does seem we can move Mrs. S to the “trust” list, if only for a moment, after she allows Sarah to leave with Kira, but this may only be due to the double-crossing Birdwatchers and the imminent arrival of the fanatical folks.

GBSRTR wisely reunites Kira and Sarah, because nothing works against goodwill like a cute kid in jeopardy. After more cloak and dagger styled maneuverings, Sarah winds up on a ranch of sorts where she grew up. Mrs. S is there, along with a country bumpkin styled couple dubbed “the Birdwatchers,” who turn out to be quite involved in underground networks. Of course, nothing is as it seems on Orphan Black, and Sarah attempts to make off with Kira hours before Mrs. S plans to whisk the child away to safety in London.

Elsewhere, Alison is struggling with her own secret regarding Aynsley death. Her recent tryst with Aynsley’s husband earns her dirty looks and whispers at the funeral. Bu larger things are about to interrupt her hope for a normal life when Donnie leaves her for a moment to wrangle up the kids and she finds incriminating texts on his phone that point to him, not Aynsley, as Alison’s monitor. This carries a bigger punch to poor Alison’s pursuit of sobriety when she realizes she kinda, sorta murdered her friend. Of course, Alison calls in Felix, who’s become more and more of a friend to her. Together they hatch a plan to reveal Donnie as the monitor once and for all.

GBSRTR also explains Helena’s mysterious survival by way of expanding the clone mythology. Turns out Helena is a mirror image of Sarah, meaning her organs are opposite their traditional placement, allowing that bullet to miss her heart. But now Helena is in the clutches of a Creepy Farmer Guy (can’t remember his name). In the creepiest twist of the hour, CFG wants to try using Helena as a breeder much akin to his cattle since she and Sarah are mirrors after all. Knowing Helena like we do, I have a suspicion that’s not going to work out so well for him.

The episode wraps with Felix, Sarah, and Kira preparing to get out of town, but I’m also pretty sure that Costa Rica trip is not happening. After all the building going on between Felix and Alison, I didn’t like how he basically dismisses her in a moment of dire need to jump town. Based on how much she was drinking at the time, I worry about her now more than Cosima, who hasn’t coughed blood all episode.

Orphan Black builds things nicely this hour, allowing big moments alongside character development that crafts an excellent installment in the series and possibly my favorite hour yet.

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