Orphan Black Review: “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis”

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

photo credit: @OrphanBlack

Here’s my review of Orphan Black season three episode “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis.” 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.

To be good at juggling, you have to have very good hand-eye coordination. I don’t have that at all, so I’ve never been able to juggle more than two things at a time. Orphan Black, however, has always been really good a juggling plots and characters like it was nothing. But I’m a little concerned that there might be too many things in the air now since the introduction of the Castor project and the clones that have come with it. Of course, the show needed a new villain since Leekie got killed, the Prolethians burned, and Rachel got a pencil in her eye, but it has been difficult to keep up with all the shifting pieces of this story so far. Since there is just so much, I’m going to focus this review on the Castor clones and examine the question: is this episode an effective introduction to them?

So far we’ve seen 4 Castor clones (that I remember). We’re familiar with Mark since he was around last season. There’s the scarred one that escaped last week. We learn that his name is Rudy. And then there’s Mr. Mustache whose real name is Seth. And lastly, there’s one nameless one working with the people who have Helena.

This episode focuses a lot more on Seth and Rudy. We don’t know much about them other than that they like sharing ladies in bed and Seth’s a bit unhinged. But Ari Millen does a lovely job of portraying a brotherly love between the two of them. They may be cold-hearted killers but they certainly love and care for each other. That’s easy to see as Rudy wakes up Seth after their night of drinking, and then later as he covers for Seth’s problems when Paul visits.

There’s not a lot of exposition that comes with the Castor clones, and that’s a good thing. We need some mystery to keep the story entertaining. Instead we just get bits and pieces, like Rudy explaining “we’re taught to share” in regards to their upbringing, and the hint that something is wrong with the male clones as well when the two of them discuss Seth’s problem. These things work so much better than if they had just sat down and explained their existence to someone. So I think the way this episode flows provides better insight into their characters than last week’s season opener.

The most important part of the Castor clone’s introduction is actually a farewell to one of them. The pacing for this episode was a bit slow until Rudy and Seth put their plan to gather information into action, taking Kira hostage in order to ask Sarah some questions. Things really kicked into high gear when Rudy was waving a gun at Sarah and Seth was trying to keep Cal distracted in the hallway. This sort of action is where Orphan Black really shines. Everything moves so fast-paced that you don’t even have time to think. So it’s a complete shock when Rudy goes to take care of Seth and decides to put two bullets in his chest. “Don’t hold on. Go easy.” Rudy says to Seth in another excellent demonstration of their brotherly bond. He knew Seth was beyond help so he ended it quickly for him instead of letting him suffer further. Even though they’re the enemy right now, I felt bad for them.

So yes, I think this episode was a good introduction to the Castor clones. It certainly was a better introduction than the last episode when they were all sort of thrown at us haphazardly and we had nothing to latch on to. Since the Castors are obviously going to continue to be important, I hope that future ones will be introduced more like they were in this episode. And as sad as it was to see Seth and his mustache go, it was probably better to cut down on the character count. Juggling too many things can get out of hand pretty quickly.

Classified Research Notes

  • I’m actually really interested to see where Mark’s loyalties will lie in future episodes. Burning off his tattoo means that he’s leaving the rest of the Castor’s behind, but will he go help out Sarah and her sisters? Or just take Gracie and try to be a neutral party? Hmm… possibilities.
  • Even with the knowledge that Paul’s been a double agent working for Castor the whole time, he’s still a super boring character. Does anyone else feel like they’ve just retconned everything about his character to give him a place in this storyline when he’s not really necessary? Because that’s how I feel.
  • Oh hey, Sarah got to pretend to be Beth again briefly! It’s just like old times in season one. I almost feel nostalgic.
  • So apparently Cal and Kira are moving to Iceland for safety? How well do you think that will work out? Also, if I were Felix, I would totally move out because WOW how easy is it for everyone to break into his apartment?? Doesn’t this seem to happen like at least three times a season?
  • Alison and Donnie were a lot of fun again this week, but I’m concerned that they seem so disconnected from the rest of the ongoing storylines. Not that seeing Alison become a drug lord won’t be super entertaining (because it totally will) but it would probably be more effective to integrate her back into the main story as well. Otherwise, why spend screentime on her? (Also, Donnie is just wonderful all the time. “Fist me! Fist me!” Gosh, he’s such a dork.)
  • I’m not exactly liking where Helena’s story is going because it’s a little cliched to see her captors try to turn her against her sisters. We’ve spent so much time in the past watching them fight against Helena, it would be nice to have her not return to that place again. But I will say that Helena’s captivity provides a good excuse to show us more of the “villains” for this season, and also her imaginary scorpion friend is still entertaining. “Where are these mangos?”

So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Or just still really confused about this whole season? (me too) Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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