TV Review: Orphan Black Takes A Few Risks

Was it just me or was this week’s Orphan Black a little complicated to decipher?

To be sure, with “To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings,” Orphan Black took some risks and chances with its story and character developments. As the mythology engine is getting revved up (something we’ll talk about in a moment), the supporting characters are breaking their typical boundaries and crossing paths with others in interesting ways. With Vic sharing the same rehab program as Alison, Angie gets her claws in him, bargaining to clear him of charges or information on Alison. Angie’s been growing increasingly frustrating as she chases down leads after Art warns her off the Sarah Manning case. Still, there are some great moments as Vic uses his new Buddhist nature to mentor Alison, particularly her annoyance at his “Namaste” gestures. Donnie’s still holding the kids over Alison’s head, to the point where she finally commits to the program just to see them.

Even more promising is the pairing of Art and Felix, stepping into a Scooby Gang style role. After sobering up, Felix and Art begin their own investigation, combing through the “treasure trove” of crazy salvaged from Helena’s storage locker. It’s a daunting task that only begins to make sense after a call from Sarah who’s off on a road trip of sorts, paired up with her twin sister. There’s a surprising amount of humor in the scenes with Sarah and Helena, which only speaks to the immense talent of Orphan Black’s star, Tatiana Maslany. Whether it’s flatulence issues or Helena’s desire to sing at the top of her lungs, much of the first half of the episode is devoted to making us smile.

Of course, this is Orphan Black and things can’t stay calm for long. Sarah and Helena’s search for one of the original scientists involved in Project LEDA sends them to a quiet town, where Helena is arrested in a bar fight and the two are tailed by both Paul and Mark. Paul and Mark have a bit of a standoff, squaring off over their respective clone territories. Still, Helena learns that Henrik Johanssen was successful in fertilizing her eggs and wishes to place them back inside their mother. Helena’s referenced her desire for children multiple times, but it’s still a shocker when she chooses to return with the Proletheans. Surely, she has a plan of her own, so we’ll just have to bide our time.

This episode is also quite a large information dump regarding the truth about the clones and requires a patient watch. I’ve watched this one closely a few times and I think I’ll still a bit in the dark here. The audience is owed a few answers, especially in light of the action heavy half of this season, but they do come fast and furious here once Sarah finally comes face to face with Duncan/Peckham. The basics are easy to grasp: Duncan brands Leekie as the real enemy, murdering his wife, stealing Rachel, and forcing Duncan to hide. It’s the mention of the damage Leekie has done to Rachel, whom Duncan was raising in a loving home, but is now a cold monster, paired with learning that the clones are getting sick, that brings him to align with Sarah and help. Meanwhile, Siobhan plots with Paul to a mysterious end. Still, if you were to ask me about the particulars of the revelations of this hour, it’d probably take some time to walk through them. I don’t blame the show for sticking to its quick pacing, but it can be a problem when it doles out large chunks of important information.

“To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings” sets many new pieces in place and answers some questions, doing so without sacrificing pacing or engagement. The world of Orphan Black is getting wider now, and I’m anxious to see where this all leads.

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