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TV REVIEW: Orphan Black “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 8 years ago

By Clinton Bell

Orphan Black’s fifth installment of season 2 focuses primarily on the ongoing conflict between Rachel and Helena. The episode, entitled “Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est,” is arguably the weakest hour of the season so far, lacking the organic plotting of previous weeks. But that doesn’t mean the episode is bad, it’s actually quite good.

Initially, “Ipsa” feels like it’s built to be a slow-burner, fleshing out some things and building bridges to the second half of the season. And most of the episode works well as a slow-burner, but it all leads up to a weird, unnecessary climax. While it makes sense for Helena to be in that building with a sniper rifle, Sarah’s sudden burst of love for Helena feels unearned, especially considering that she had just recently shot Helena. And considering how ruthless and machine-like Helena has been at times, I find it hard to believe an emotional speech by Sarah would be enough to convince her to put the gun down. Equally perplexing is the odd sex scene between Rachel and Paul that occurs right next door to Helena, which I assume was meant to display the power Rachel has over Paul.

Speaking of Paul, this is the first time we’ve seen him in a few episodes, and I can’t say I’ve missed him much. I’m a bit confused as to what the writers are planning for him, as it seemed like he was firmly on team Clone Club at the start of the season. If I had to venture a theory, I’d say Paul knows something we don’t and is going along with Rachel until he figures out what to do.

This episode makes it pretty clear that Rachel’s father, Dr. Ethan Duncan, is still alive, and is a vital player in the clone experiments. Orphan Black’s story continues to add meat to its bones, and thus far, it has avoided stumbling into absurdity, but I do worry the show could reach a point where it’s too convoluted to make sense anymore.

The Proletheans only appeared briefly, but with some interesting moments. Seeing Gracie with her mouth sewn shut was incredibly disturbing, but not nearly as troubling as Henrik suggesting that Gracie will have to carry the “baby” if Helena is not returned. As of now, I’m more interested in what the Proletheans are planning than whatever it is Dyad is up to.

When it’s all said and done, “Ipsa” likely won’t be a season 2 highlight, but it is still a reasonably compelling episode that hints at the dark road ahead.

 

Additional notes:

 

  • I also wasn’t a fan of the RV scene with the police officer. While I appreciate that the show is building the relationship with Cal and Kiera, I am not sure why that cop was interested in searching the RV. I guess he was investigating the shootout between Daniel and the cops?
  • Orphan Black has a crowded cast, and I’m glad the writers are smart enough to let some characters take an episode off.

 

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