Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Orphan Black 4x04 Review: "From Instinct to Rational Control" (Goodbyes and Bonjours) [Contributor: Meredith]

“From Instinct to Rational Control”
Original Airdate: May 5, 2016

In my review last week, I mentioned that even when Orphan Black is a bit slow on the plot development and story, the character development and relationship dynamics save it. This was especially true this week, as we learned a few things that will move the plot forward, but really not much happened. Nevertheless, the interactions between the characters (special shout-out to Alison, Donnie, and Felix) and the insights into their psyches still made this a compelling hour of TV, if less so than other episodes.


This episode was mostly centered around unraveling certain mysteries (we know who MK is! We know what the cheek maggots do — sort of!) while opening the door to new ones (what is even going on at that fertility clinic? Will Rachel prove herself to be an absolutely horrid person after all?), and so it served as yet another filler episode.

With help from a few different places, Sarah discovers MK’s tragic background. She was a Helsinki clone, the only survivor of an attack orchestrated by Ferdinand that killed her twin as well as a whole slew of other clones and their loved ones. This has placed Ferdinand in MK’s crosshairs, as well as made Sarah untrustworthy in her eyes, as the latter is working with Ferdinand. There’s an exceptionally powerful scene with Sarah, MK, and Ferdinand in Beth’s apartment — which seems to end with both MK and Ferdinand falling off our radar — for now.

Meanwhile, Alison is issued a stern reprimand by Sarah, who snaps at her sestra to just pull her weight for once, sending Ali, Donnie, and Felix to a fertility clinic that may be a cover for a neolutionist plot. The best scenes of the episode were absolutely Donnie and Felix in the fertility clinic playing a gay couple trying to conceive, followed closely by Alison and Donnie role-playing phone sex while Donnie attempts to deposit his specimen. Donnie and Alison are the light of the show, and whether it’s Helena, Felix, or anyone else playing opposite them, the result is gold.

Elsewhere, Rachel tells her mother that they mustn’t intervene to help Charlotte recover from her illness, because letting it run its course will teach them more. Is Rachel really so evil to let a child suffer and die? Or is she pulling a long con on mama dearest? And finally, Cosima and Scott sort of discover what the cheek maggots are used for — to implant foreign DNA and gene material into their host’s body. But for why?


I love all the sestras equally. I really do. But over the course of four seasons Alison has, to put it simply, grown on me. She is hilarious and heroic at the same time, all while maintaining her perfect suburban mom/wife persona. I’m really glad she’s being brought more into the fray of the actual clone activities, as she has spent much of her time on the sidelines, pursuing her own endeavors. While that was likely purposeful on the character’s part, it’s a really smart move by the show to move her more into the central storyline at this point. Alison has really developed as a character, and this week proved that she’s a masterful schemer and planner, if nothing else. She’s smart and cunning and thinks on her feet, in a different way than Sarah, and I’m really interested to see where this story goes and how she helps guide it.

Of course, Alison is also great for comedic effect, as demonstrated this week. Her character is perhaps the most unique of all the clones, and I find myself forgetting even more than usual that she, too, is played by the masterful Tatiana Maslany. Each sestra is an individual, of course, but I find Alison the most different from the others. Maybe it’s the bangs? Whatever it is, I can’t wait to see more of Alison.


Okay, show. Give me more Cosima. I know, I know. I just said I’m excited to see more Alison. And I know there are so many sestras and so little time. But Cosima has no story so far! She’s locked in a basement with very little screentime, and very little to do. What about Delphine’s “death”? Why are we not exploring her response to that more fully? Her feelings on her own illness? Her work to discover what’s wrong and how to fix it?

My desire for more Cosima is a bit of a conundrum because I really do love all the sestras and want to see more of all of them. But... I miss Cosima. I feel a bit like her storyline(s) has(ve) been left dangling. I’m hopeful that it will be picked up again as the season progresses, but in the meantime I’ll keep saying it: Give me more Cosima. Give me more Cosima and Scott. Give me more Cosima and Kira. Give me more Cosima and S. Give me more Cosima and her sestras. Please.

Aside from more Cosima, I actually am interested to see how Felix’s sister storyline plays out. I have a bad (intrigued, but foreboding) feeling about his bubbly southern belle bio-sis. I’d like more Sarah and Art, please. I’d love if Kira’s dad could take a little hiatus from dragon-hunting and wooing Khaleesis and maybe make a pit stop in downtown Toronto? That poor kid has been through the wringer, and she misses her pops.

Really though, other than my desire for more Cosima, I’m happy with and intrigued by the groundwork this season is laying down. Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Odds and Ends:
  • Fun fact: Aroma Espresso Bar is one of my favorite places in Toronto, and so I giddily tweeted about it while watching the scene filmed there... and then won a free drink to be used when I go home for my summer visit!
  • I am ALL FOR Donnie and Felix. What’s their ship name? Delix? Fonnie? I don’t care. More please. 
  • Tatiana Maslany is the accent queen. Alison’s French accent was spot-on. This woman needs ALL THE AWARDS NOW. 
  • Am I the only one who is totally okay with MK being gone for a bit? I feel strangely protective of the original sestras. They’re the ones whose stories I want to see. 


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