‘Orphan Black’: Project LEDA History 101

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Helena Jesse Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 6 ‘Orphan Black’: Project LEDA History 101

[This is a review of Orphan Black season 2, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.] 

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Episode five gave the impression that characters were finally going to converge and work together to find a cure, safety and answers, but episode six, ‘To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings’, did the exact opposite and suffered for it. The entertainment value is still high enough, but this episode had the least momentum of Orphan Black season two thus far.

If you’ve been keeping up with these reviews, you know how I feel about Helena – the more, the better – but for the first time, the writers took her playfulness a bit too far. Seeing Helena try to share her can of beans with Sarah is one thing, but the shadow puppets, fart and sing-a-along is too much. Helena’s always been a prime source of humor for the show, but it’s humor with a darker touch and that’s what lets the character maintain that enthralling intensity. When Helena tells Sarah, “If you knew where Swan Man was, you’d leave me behind,” it hits hard, but had it not been embedded in such goofy jokes, it would have resonated more.

Jesse Helena Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 6 ‘Orphan Black’: Project LEDA History 101

However, the new side of Helena we get later in the episode works remarkably well. We’ve never seen Helena interact with anyone outside the clone, Neolutionist and Prolethian circles so watching her strike a connection with “a normal guy” is refreshing and extremely satisfying. She’s doing something different, but within the established framework of the character. It makes sense that Helena would flirt by arm-wrestling and it makes sense that she’s now open to romance having just expressed interest in having children. Each progression of her date with Jesse (Suits Patrick J. Adams) feels natural because it’s all connected to that childlike, yet volatile, and dangerous person we’ve come to know.

Helena’s final scene this episode is another standout, particularly due to an exceptionally well-written conversation and stunning performance from Zoé De Grand Maison. She’s done fine work as Gracie all season long, but the conversation she has with Helena in the police station is remarkable work. It’s a complex moment because it’s not just about convincing Helena to return to the Prolethians so that she doesn’t have to carry Helena’s eggs herself. Gracie’s also demonstrating that regardless of Henrik’s threats, she still has beliefs of her own and will adhere to them no matter what, and that makes her an especially strong, intriguing character.

Ethan Duncan Orphan Black Season 2 Episode 6 ‘Orphan Black’: Project LEDA History 101

The less successful sequences in ‘To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings’ are the ones that are not as character driven and are there simply to relay new information. It’s necessary that we continue to learn about Project LEDA, but having Sarah search through files in a church basement and then pressure more details out of a very unhinged Ethan Duncan isn’t a dynamic way of doing it. As far as the search for answers go, it feels as though episode six is just about identifying the different pieces and setting ideas up so that bigger things can happen in future episodes. But none of that serves this one.

‘To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings’ isn’t a bad installment by any means; it just isn’t as strong as the rest. There’s a lot going on in this show and there always has been. The fact that it’s about clones dictates that, but it’s like what Cosima says here: the clones are stronger when they’re together and right now, they couldn’t be farther apart. Hopefully they really will bust Alison out of rehab as Cosima suggested, because having the three of them reunite and actually do something – with the information Sarah just uncovered – would increase the value of this episode – and up the energy and appeal of the ones to come.

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Orphan Black continues next Saturday with ‘Knowledge Of Causes, And Secret Motion Of Things’ @ 9pm on BBC America. 

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

TAGS: orphan black

8 Comments

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  1. I actually enjoyed the stuff with Helena and Sarah joking around at the start. It made me like Helena more

  2. I enjoyed the Helena and Sarah bonding scenes too. I don’t mind the slight silliness this show sometimes adds.

    #clonefart

    • I’m all for a little silliness, but this felt like too much. Then again, I guess the beans necessitate the fart.

      #helenanoms

  3. So Leakey killed Rachel’s mother? The plot thickens. It’s great how characters seem evil, have a moment of redemption but then turn out to be evil and vice versa. Can’t believe there are only four more episodes left this season.

    • I was a little bummed about that. I liked the idea of Leekie being on team clone.

      I’m betting that when the Dyad took over Project LEDA, Rachel’s parents didn’t like where they were going to take it and wanted to shut it down so Leekie went after them to protect the experiment.

      • Effectively kidnapping Rachel and telling her that her parents died? I can definitely see that happening.

        Seems like Paul may also be a kind of a double agent too. I get the feeling Art may willingly take the rap for the murder to allow Felix the chance to help Sarah, either that or he kills the other detective to stop her finding out more about the clones and exposing it.

        • Oh, Angie totally isn’t making it through the season. I’ll call that right now!

          As for Paul, I feel like he’s just confused. I don’t think he really knows what he’s doing – he just plays for the side putting the most pressure on him at the time. Someone taking the blame for Felix is possible, but instead of Art, I think it could be something Paul does to prove his loyalty to Sarah.

          • If Angie dies, it’ll probably be Allison. Seems like she won’t just be an ordinary, neurotic housewife by the end of the season.

            It’d be kinda crazy if somehow, Helena’s twin was Rachel and not Sarah.

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