TV Review: ‘Orphan Black’ Is Back And Better Than Ever

Orphan Black makes an exciting return for its second season.

The season premiere, titled “Nature Under Constraint And Vexed,” wastes no time setting events off in explosive fashion. Opening mere moments after the season finale, Sarah takes refuge in a local diner, still reeling from the kidnapping of her daughter, Kira, and Mrs. S. Calling the clones does no good as all their cell phones are deactivated save Sarah’s, and the only person calling her back is Paul. Sarah is certain Rachel is behind Kira’s disappearance and still not complete certain about trusting Paul. After a violent exchange with two cowboyish henchmen, Sarah’s back on the run, but also on the offensive. Where most of last season found Sarah reacting to her world completely changing, now she has a mission and nothing is going to stand in her way.

Nothing can keep the Clone Club apart either, as Sarah leans on Cosima and Alison for help in hatching and exacting her plan. Alison may have signed Rachel’s agreement, but that doesn’t stop her from calling in her all purpose source for contraband to score a gun for Sarah. In fact, Alison’s world keeps getting richer, whether it’s buying drugs or weapons from the local supermarket cashier, landing the lead in the community play, or making the shit out of would be attackers. She’s still holding strong as my favorite character, next to Felix, of course (assess chaps and pacifier included!)

“Nature Under Constraint And Vexed” continues Orphan Black’s breakneck pacing, almost chasing after Sarah and her vendetta on Rachel. Sometimes this pacing proved nearly too much, as when seemingly vital information is flying at us last season. But action is the key in the premiere and it has that in spades. The opening diner scene alone plays out with stylistic violence, switching from slow motion to Sarah’s rapid and improvised escape. And there’s nothing more satisfying that Sarah’s eventual takedown of Rachel, even though the neo clone never had Kira in the first place. When Sarah wipes that smug look of her face, first with an unexpected gunshot and then with a pistol whip, we can’t do anything but lap it up. In fact, the only thing that doesn’t work as well is the awkward standoff between Paul and Sarah, after she discovers Rachel never had Kira. It’s obvious he wasn’t going to turn her in, so what was the deal with the gun?

Regardless how much has already been said about Tatiana Maslany’s abilities and talents, it’d be a crime not to once again call to attention her work. Her complete devotion into creating and translating each of her characters to the fullest is all there onscreen. Once again, each clone feels fully developed and entirely individual, which makes the episode’s final reveal all the more shocking and fearsome (no spoilers from me!). Seriously, Maskany deserves all the accolades and awards.

Welcome back, Orphan Black. It’s good to return to Clone Club!

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