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TV REVIEW: Orphan Black “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed”

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 8 years ago

By Clinton Bell

Orphan Black is back, just as high-octane, eclectic, and funny as it was last season. The season premiere finds Sarah searching for her daughter, while simultaneously diving deeper into the conspiracy. It hits the ground running, opening at a diner where Sarah tries to get in touch with her allies, but is interrupted by two religious extremists with ties to Helena. Things get bloody, quickly.

Tatiana Maslany remains excellent in her multiple roles, giving each character their own unique characteristics. What I liked most about the first season was how each clone brought something new and distinct to the show, which continues in season 2. Alison, for example, is trying to forget about the wild turns her life has taken and does her best to resume her posh suburban life. The episode provides us with some instant classic Alison moments, such as her musical rehearsal and her near abduction by Dyad. Cosima, on the other hand, spends most of the episode out of the spotlight, and instead helps Sarah formulate a plan.

At the episode’s climax, it is revealed that Helena is still alive, giving Maslany yet another role to juggle. I honestly did not expect Helena to return. She appeared to be fatally wounded at the end of last season and lost a lot of blood, so I’m not entirely sure how she made it to the hospital alive.

The religious extremists that Helena is affiliated with strike me as a more dangerous adversary than Dyad is. They are more unpredictable and violent than Dyad, and they appear to have taken Kira. I’m more afraid for Kira now that I know she is in the hands of Helena’s people. It’s still not clear on what Kira’s value is to them, but I hope that the show isn’t going to employ a “super child” trope, like many sci-fi shows and movies have done in the past.

Orphan Black has managed to keep the ball rolling, and shows no signs of slowing down. “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed” is a terrific opener, and one of best episodes the show has turned in. The writing remains sharp, rife with bursts of humor. But what really makes Orphan Black so good are its hints of impending doom, the sense that something terrible lurks around every corner.

Additional notes:

– The episode titles for season 2 are derived from the works of Sir Francis Bacon, just as season 1 titles were quotes from On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Creatively, it’s cool, but the titles are such a mouthful that it makes it difficult for TV critics such as myself.

– We learned a little bit more about Maggie Chen, who was apparently working with Helena’s people.

– The episode ends just before Sarah tells Art about everything that’s been going on. I really hope we get to see that moment in the next episode, because it is a moment I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

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