Here’s my first review of Orphan Black starting with the season three episode “The Weight of This Combination.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
So Orphan Black is finally back and I realized that I’ve forgotten half of what happened during the last season. Oops! To be fair, a lot of things happened at the end of the last season and a lot of things happened in this season opener. Orphan Black has always been really good at ramping up the action to keep the audience on their toes. “The Weight of This Combination” was no exception to this, but the introduction of the Castors made things a bit more complicated.
I thought the decision to open with Helena’s fantasy/dream sequence was an excellent idea. Because, firstly, it’s always fun to see the Clone Club (and Felix and Kira) interact and it’s extra fun when they’re so relaxed. If the world was perfect, this is how it would be. Just the group of them hanging out and barbecuing. But the world isn’t perfect for any of them and there’s such an interesting and strange undertone to the whole scene to remind everyone that this isn’t real. It’s sort of Stepford Wives-esque. Nothing is as nice as it seems on the surface, and that sets the tone for the rest of the episode.
Once we get back to reality though, we’re reminded of how much things have changed. The Dyad has captured one of the Castor clones, Delphine is in charge of things, Cosima is mostly recovered, and the Topside organization has come to town to investigate things. That’s a whole bunch of things going on. I don’t even remember who the Topside people are, but they make Delphine nervous either way. A large chunk of this episode is devoted to having Sarah pretend to be Rachel in order to save the Dyad and the clones from this shady Ferdinand guy from Topside.
At first, it feels like this plot line is a distraction from what they really should be focusing on (missing Helena) and I think that’s the reason why everything feels a bit underwhelming at the beginning. Ferdinand is obviously up to no good and Delphine is very concerned, but why is the audience supposed to care? Let the Dyad deal with their own problems and let the Clone Club get moving on their own storyline. While it’s fun to watch Sarah pretend to be “Rachel Duncan, uber bitch” that’s not moving the story forward. She’s trying to dig up info on Helena and redirect resources to find her, yes, but it ultimately does nothing. Ferdinand is not interested. It’s not until the late-episode reveal of the Helsinki plan to eradicate the clones when the stakes are finally raised enough to be important. That’s when it becomes a life or death situation. Perhaps the tension would have worked better if everyone knew the Helsinki plan from the beginning.
But while that aspect of the episode may have suffered, there were still plenty of other strong parts to focus on. The action sequence between Mrs. S and Mr. Mustachioed Clone (no name given yet) was thrilling and I was quite worried when Mrs. S wasn’t able to get the upper hand. Cosima and Delphine’s breakup scene was heartbreaking just by their reactions afterwards. And Delphine’s eye torture on Rachel was chilling to watch, even if we all hate Rachel.
In fact, I would make the argument that Delphine is actually the most compelling character in the show right now. She’s changed so much in such a short amount of time. Has the power of taking over Rachel’s job gone to her head? Is she really on the side of the Clone Club or does she have her own agenda? And why couldn’t she continue dating Cosima? (That “I agreed to love all your sisters equally” was a terrible excuse, yeah?) It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what will happen and if she remain an ally as the season continues.
While it might have been better to go with a simpler storyline with higher stakes for the season premiere, this episode was still really great. It sets up all of the stories we’ll be seeing as we move forward. Let’s see whether things will come together or quickly unravel apart!
Classified Research Notes
- If you’ve been watching this show from the beginning, you already know how excellent Tatiana Maslany is in all of her roles. But let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that Sarah playing Rachel and Alison playing Sarah was just really awesome. Mostly for the moment when “Rachel” walked into the interrogation room and Alison’s impression of Sarah was “Oy, oy Rachel!” LOL
- How do we feel about Ari Millen as the Castor clones? He was really great as Mark last season, but will he be able to keep it up with multiple characters this season? I certainly hope so. It’s hard to keep all of his characters straight right now though since they don’t have names yet.
- Unanswered question: What happened to that Krystal clone? I guess Sarah doesn’t care about meeting any more of her sisters? Do you think she’ll show up again?
- Donnie’s scene where he told Alison that he “told Susan Teller what’s what” (aka he got fired) was my favorite of the episode. He’s surprisingly become a much better character since he accidentally murdered someone last season. Who knew?
- If you had an imaginary talking scorpion friend, what would you name it?
So what did you think of the episode? Love it or hate it? Or just really confused?? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!