Tag Archives: Orphan Black

“Orphan Black” is Mind Blowingly, Jaw Droppingly Satisfying

Kerplow!

That’s the sound of my mind being blown.

“Orphan Black” does it again with this week’s episode, “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things.”

[Tweet “”Orphan Black” is mind blowingly, jaw droppingly satisfying.”]

If you aren’t watching “Orphan Black”, you should be, so let me catch you up. Street thug Sarah Manning discovers she’s a clone after watching her “identical twin” commit suicide by train. She joins forces with her clone-mates, suburban housewife and mother, Alison Hendrix, scientist Cosima Niehaus, and her actual twin, the wild Helena, to figure out the story behind the clones’ origin.

This week, sick Cosima can be cured using Sarah’s daughter Kira’s stem cells; both Sarah and Kira are on board with sharing a little of Kira’s DNA. Dr. Aldous Leekie (love that name) is given a chance to live by evil clone Rachel provided he run and never look back. And Alison blabs about her role in her neighbour’s death to Vic (Sarah’s ex) who is selling her out to cop Angela Deangelis (Angel the angel – another great, if not redundant, name).

On to the mind blowing. Fuse Number One: the reunion of Sarah, Felix, Vic and Alison in a clever moment of comic relief.

The last time these four got together Vic lost a finger. Since then, he’s enrolled in rehab where he meets Alison. The two strike up an unlikely friendship which is understandable once we realize Vic plans to sell Alison out to Deangelis. This week was Family Day. Vic won’t send Alison up the creek if she arranges a meeting with Sarah so he can atone for his sins. Sarah and Felix arrive at the facility. Sarah is confused for Alison and forced to role play with Alison’s husband, Donny, with laugh out loud results. Poor Vic is drugged by Felix and everyone in the facility thinks he’s relapsed.

Donny is the key to Fuse Number Two.

Alison has always suspected Donny was her watcher. This week we learned he thought he was involved in a sociology experiment, like they did in university. Turns out he had no idea who he was actually working for or that Alison was a clone. When Alison accuses him of ruining their marriage, Donny seeks out Leekie, forces him into his car at gunpoint and Leekie confesses. Donny accuses Leekie of ruining his marriage. Leekie berates him. Donny gets angry and bangs his hand–and the gun–against the steering wheel. The gun goes off. Leekie’s brains are splattered all over the inside of the car.

My jaw dropped and stayed unhinged for several moments thereafter.

[Tweet “”Orphan Black” made my jaw drop and stay unhinged for several moments thereafter.”]

Then I laughed.

Then I cursed. How dare “Orphan Black” keep me hanging as to what comes next for an entire week?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Variations Under Domestication

I love Orphan Black. (I’ve gotten past the inconsistency issue I blogged about earlier.) “Variations Under Domestication,” last night’s episode, was a brilliant comedy of errors, in which Sarah’s, Allison’s and Beth’s lives come together in “Scarberia”, aka Scarborough.

When subplots collide, there can only be two kinds of results – explosive or comedic. “Variations Under Domestication” followed the latter with genius results. Suspecting all clones—or genetic identicals—have watchers, soccer mom Allison is convinced it is her husband. She knocks him out with a golf club to the head and then ties him up in her craft room and tortures him by dropping hot glue onto his chest. Sarah comes to the rescue, switching places with a drunken and self-medicated Allison. She calls Felix in to bartend. If that weren’t bad enough, who should show up but Vic and Paul. The comedy ensues watching Paul brutalize Vic and seeing Sarah try to keep the neighbours—at Allison’s for a block party—out of the basement where Allison is unconscious and Donny is tied up, eyes covered with a pink sleeping mask and pink fuzzy earmuffs. With Allison’s neighbours convinced she is having an affair with Paul, Sarah and Paul sneak out to the garage where Vic has taken a nail through the hand. Sarah gets rid of Vic and she’s left to deal with Paul, who seems to be as in the dark as Sarah and her duplicates. Canadian Eric Johnson (whom I miss from his prior Rookie Blue gig), plays a randy neighbourhood husband. Hilarity, some slapstick (as in the torturing of Donny), some darker (as in what poor—yes, poor—Vic has gone through  with respect to the loss of fingers, beatings and now nailings, since the start of the series.

In the mean time, Cosima is at university, getting to know a blonde woman whom she suspects is her watcher. The blonde has ties to a scientist who preaches taking control of your own, personal evolution (played with gusto by Matt Frewer) and you just know he figures into the story behind Sarah and her “sisters’” cloning.

The episode begs the question of whether the clones really do have assigned watchers. If Paul was Beth’s watcher, Allison suspects Donny of being hers, and Cosima suspects her new friend of being hers, who is Sarah’s watcher? Maybe it’s Vic and that’s why he refuses to leave her alone. I’m voting for Felix in the role. Think about it…they’ve known each other since they were kids and he knows exactly what’s going on. Felix’s primary role is as Sarah’s confidant and fixer, but other than that, he’s comedic relief on his own. Aside from fencing stolen drugs and prostituting himself, Felix has to have a larger role. Wouldn’t it be great if he were simply playing the fool when instead he was the mastermind of the whole affair, or at least in league with the masterminds?

One more thought occurs. Allison adopted her kids because she couldn’t have any on her own. All of the sisters were surprised that Kira was Sarah’s natural-born child. What if that’s because Kira is another clone? Sarah could carry her to term because Kira’s DNA would have been genetically identical to her own. Keep in mind that other than the fact that Kira’s father isn’t Vic, we have no idea who the father really is. What if that’s because there is no father because Kira is yet another Sarah clone?

Time will tell, I guess, and we have a lot of that, considering that it’s been reported Orphan Black has been renewed for another season.

Graphic from thunderclam.wordpress.com

About the Author

Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.

Download PHASE SHIFT for the price of a tweet. Visit http://www.eliseabram.com, click on the button, tweet or Facebook about my novel and download it for FREE!

Inconsitencies I have known.

Consistency.

It’s something writers strive for in their work, especially with respect to setting and character descriptions. For many, an error in consistency can break the narrative flow, reminding the reader s/he is immersed in a construct of reality and not the real thing.

On film, errors in consistency are typically referred to as bloopers. And though they can be fun to spot, if you’re like me, and the gaffes are serious enough, they can also be maddening. Minor consistency problems are artifacts of the way television and movies are filmed, a result of the final product being an amalgam of various takes and camera angles.  This is the shirt that mysteriously buttons and unbuttons or the strand of hair that magically tucks and untucks itself from behind an actress’ ear as the scene plays out. In a recent episode of Cult, it was the level of water in Skye’s bottle that randomly rises and falls.

Errors like these are more amusing than annoying.  The inconsistencies prompting me to write this blog are much more serious than that. The ones I’m talking about are due to errors in the writing and/or interpretation of the script, errors that should have been caught and edited out long before production began. Take, for example, the Once Upon A Time episode in which Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin is led to believe August is his son. This correlates with an hour of my yelling at the screen that August couldn’t possibility be Baelfire because August has blue eyes and Bae has brown. And while it turned out August wasn’t Bae, I don’t know how I noticed this and the boy’s own father didn’t.

Another issue arose watching this week’s Hannibal.  The police assert that their murderer was killing girls of the same age, height, weight and with the same hair and eye colour as his daughter. They show a series of victim photos, and I swear the last girl has brown eyes. Trouble is, when they show the daughter in the next scene, her eyes are decidedly blue.

Perhaps the biggest gaffe I’ve noticed was in this week’s Orphan Black. I remember being told via subtitle in the premiere episode that the story takes place in New York. Wikipedia observes the police used NYPD coffee mugs and drove NYPD cars in that episode. But this week they drove to a building I recognize as being on the U of T campus driving cars with Ontario plates. To make matters worse, Sarah/Beth drove through Chinatown to get to a Kensington Avenue address and walked into The Waverly Hotel (it said so on the door as she entered). While I love that shows (like Rookie Blue or Bomb Girls) use Toronto as a backdrop for stories told in Toronto, I need a show to pick a location and stick to it so that I forget I’m watching a construct and not actual people’s lives.

In other words, do the viewers a favour and make the effort to remain consistent.

graphic from:http://escapepod.org/2013/04/02/tv-review-orphan-black/

About the Author

Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.

Download PHASE SHIFT for the price of a tweet. Visit http://www.eliseabram.com, click on the button, tweet or Facebook about my novel and download it for FREE!